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CAS in Coffee Excellence

Delve into the science of coffee. This online learning course takes you from crop to cup, exploring the scientific aspects of the whole production process, including a critical examination of the supply chain. Join our next cohort to deepen your knowledge, meet and interact with other coffee professionals, and grow your network.


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At a glance


Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Coffee Excellence (15 ECTS)





CHF 7'350.00

Comment on costs: 

The cost includes the tuition fees, application fee, course materials, virtual lessons, exam payment and diploma certificate. The costs do not include any customs fees when sending the packages, coffee equipment and coffee for the practical exercises. 

Language of instruction:



Find answers to most frequently asked questions

The registration deadline has been postponed by 2 weeks to 18 September!

Breaking Coffee Myths with Science (3:14)

Objectives and content

Target audience

What is CAS in Coffee Excellence?

The graduate certificate programme CAS (Certificate of Advanced Studies) in Coffee Excellence is an online programme designed at the highest level of the coffee training path. Coffee professionals are offered a comprehensive science-based education on coffee along the whole value chain, through a flexible, remote learning course format. The course provides new insights and perspectives on all aspects of coffee, from green coffee to roasting and extraction. Along the way students will be assessed to ensure they are mastering the material.

Why CAS in Coffee Excellence?

This part-time distance learning graduate certificate programme aims to help you develop and deepen your knowledge of the coffee value chain; from crop to cup. Developed by a team of experts in coffee science and technology, you will gain scientifically-based expertise through an online course format. An additional advantage of this course will be an expansion of your network of professional relationships within the coffee industry and the establishment of contacts with relevant experts.

Is CAS in Coffee Excellence for me?

  • Are you an educator and disseminator of coffee knowledge? This programme will calibrate you with a shared and validated science-based coffee knowledge on which you can teach and create your own customized curriculum.
  • Are you an innovator, involved in R&D on coffee? We will equip you with an actionable knowledge that drives the creation of sustainable and profitable innovations.
  • Are you a leader in the coffee sector? We support you in your personal development and help you create the necessary insights and networks for your decision-making processes based on a holistic, responsible and sustainable context.
  • Are you a a person who wants to enter and grow in the coffee sector? We will equip you with all the knowledge, networks and insight needed to find your own personal journey in coffee.

Although not explicitly necessary, participants will find a basic knowledge of biology and chemistry to be helpful.


What can I expect to learn?

The course has been developed by coffee scientists at the Coffee Excellence Centre of the Zurich University of Applied Science. The Institute of Chemistry and Biotechnology at ZHAW is a world class research institute, and our experts will support and guide you through the learning journey to achieve the following broad academic goals on completion of the course:

  • Acquire in-depth knowledge and a comprehensive overview of the science of coffee from crop to cup
  • Apply a multidisciplinary scientific and practical knowledge of all processes involved in the coffee value chain
  • Take a fact-based approach and critically examine all aspects of coffee
  • Integrate knowledge on selected coffee topics into professional contexts
  • Enlarge your professional network and make contacts with experts in the coffee sector.


Curriculum overview

The course curriculum is divided into three distance learning modules as follows:

  • Module A - The Coffee Fruit: From Tree to Trade
  • Module B - The Coffee Bean: Transformation and Composition
  • Module C - The Coffee Cup: Extraction and Sensory

Module A - The Coffee Fruit: From Tree to Trade

In this module, we will explore all aspects of the coffee cherry in origin countries; from its discovery to how different coffee species and varieties evolved worldwide. We will also consider important aspects of botany and the role of agronomic practices on the farm to improve yield and quality while developing strategies to combat pests and diseases. We will discuss harvesting as well as processing aspects until green coffee is obtained. Finally, we will take a look at the economics of coffee production, sustainability and different models of trade. 

  • Cost: 2250 CHF
  • Duration: 21 weeks
  • Workload: 125 hours
  • Academic credits: 5 ECTS*
  • Course dates: 2 October 2023 - 25 February 2024 (Virtual Classrooms every 2-3 weeks on Thursdays 15:00 p.m. CET, Closing VC Session in March 2024)
  • Module facilitator: Dr. Sebastian Opitz

Module B - The Coffee Bean: Transformation and Composition

This module covers all aspects of physical transformation and chemical composition of the green coffee to the roasted bean, until extraction. We will investigate the many factors that have an impact on coffee freshness and the process behind decaffeination and soluble coffee. We will also look into the subject of coffee as it relates to health. 

  • Cost: 2250 CHF
  • Duration: 21 weeks
  • Workload: 125 hours
  • Academic credits: 5 ECTS*
  • Course dates: 11 March 2024 - 21 June 2024 (Virtual Classrooms every 2 weeks on Thursdays 15:00 p.m. CET, Closing VC Session in July 2024)
  • Module facilitator: Dr. Samo Smrke

Module C - The Coffee Cup: Extraction and Sensory

This module covers the complex dynamics of extraction and the vital role that water composition plays, as well as machine technologies from grinding to brewing as a means to influence the quality of the brew. We will also investigate the sensory world in coffee.

  • Cost: 2250 CHF
  • Duration: 21 weeks
  • Workload: 125 hours
  • Academic credits: 5 ECTS*
  • Course dates: 5 August 2024 - 15 December 2024 (Virtual Classrooms every 2 weeks on Thursdays 15:00 p.m. CET, Closing VC Session in January 2025)
  • Module facilitator: Dr. Marco Wellinger

*ECTS = European Credit Transfer System. ECTS is a standardized and comparable student performance assessment system across Europe. One credit is awarded for a workload of 25 - 30 hours (contact time and self-study). More information is available here.


To successfully complete the course, participants will be expected to commit to a workload of approximately 7 to 8 hours per week. Each module consists of six sessions, and participants have 2 to 4 weeks to complete one session. Within that time, participants can plan their study time freely.

It is delivered as a mix of interactive and self-study materials which include:

  • Online lectures and group discussions in virtual classrooms
  • Quizzes
  • Live-lab sessions
  • Practical exercises at home
  • Office hours with module tutors
  • Additional content for further reading


For the three Modules (A to C), your learning journey will be assessed online as you progress through the curriculum as well as a standalone self-learning research project to be submitted at the end of each module and a module assessment (multiple choice questions). For this practical part, participants will receive coffee samples from ZHAW. Virtual classrooms and other activities and exercises need to be attended and completed (at least 80 %) in order to pass the Module.

More details about the implementation

What does it involve?

You will be required to complete 375 hours of study or 15 ECTS points to gain your diploma. This corresponds to 7 to 8 hours per week spread over the 15 months period of the CAS programme. 

Each Module (21 weeks) is generally structured as follows: 

  • Introduction: 1 week 
  • Sessions 1 - 6: 15 weeks including Virtual Lab Sessions in Module B and C
  • Assessment: 3 weeks 
  • Closing / lecture-free time: 2 weeks (attendance of one Virtual Classroom Closing Session 1.5 hours) 

Enquiries and contact


Institute of Chemistry and Biotechnology


Offered in cooperation with

Cooperation Partner: The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) supports the dissemination, communication and networking (e.g. ALUMNI events) of the CAS program.

Research Partner: The Coffee Excellence Center joins forces with leaders and innovators of the industry to continuously improve the content and quality of the CAS in Coffee Excellence. Research-Partners are Sucafina SA, Sanremo Coffee Machines, BWT AG, Probat, HACO AG. The main objectives of the Research Partnership is:

  • Insight: Create deeper insight and mastery of coffee through joint research projects on coffee.
  • Education: Apply new insight to upgrade the content and quality of CAS in Coffee Excellence. Educate and train next-generation coffee scientists and technologists.
  • Dissemination: Communicate and share results through publications, conferences, and media.


Admission requirements

There are two different paths to be admitted to the program:

a) Admission with a University Degree

Those who meet the following requirements will be admitted to the CAS in Coffee Excellence:

  • Degree (diploma, licentiate, bachelor's or master's degree) from a state-recognised university or previously recognised equivalent school. Furthermore, the following competences must be present:
  • At least 2 years of professional experience in the coffee industry or related areas (food, hospitality management, etc.) at the time of registration.
  • Good written and verbal communication skills in English.

b) Admission without a University Degree

Admission to the course requires:

  • Proof of a qualification in higher vocational education and training (tertiary B): BP
    professional examination (federal diploma) or HFP higher professional examination (federal diploma) or HF higher professional school. In exceptional cases, other persons may be admitted if their qualification for participation is based on other evidence.
  • At least 3 years of professional experience in the coffee industry or related areas (food, hospitality management, etc.) and an SCA Coffee Skills Diploma at the time of registration.
  • Good written and verbal communication skills in English.
  • Passing an admission interview.

Information for applicants

  • Participants register for the whole course.
  • This program requires a registration fee of CHF 600.- which should be paid upon admission. This is a non-refundable payment.
  • Graduates will be awarded their diplomas once all modules are successfully completed, and the final assessments have been passed.

Application process

1. Online application: Complete the application form, upload the required supporting documents and submit it on time. 

2. Confirmation: You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail once you have submitted your online application.

3. Application screening: If your application is complete and received by the deadline, it will be reviewed by the course management.

4. Information about admission decision: Admission or rejection.

5. Application fee: A processing fee of CHF 600 is charged for the application. This fee is due once your application was approved. It is a non-refundable payment. Payment of the fee is only possible by credit card (Visa, MasterCard) or PostFinance Card.

Payment schedule

1. Registration fee: CHF 600.- upon admission by credit card.

2. Tuition fee for each module: CHF 2250.- The payment is due upon start of each module. Payment by credit card, invoice only by exception. Discount CHF 500.- if application fee and total course fee is paid before September 4.

Start Application deadline Registration link
02.10.2023 18.09.2023 Apply here

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