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CAS in Coffee Excellence

What is CAS in Coffee Excellence?

The postgraduate CAS in Coffee Excellence is an exclusive blended e-learning program designed at the highest level of the coffee training path. You will gain science-based and practice-oriented expertise on coffee along the whole value chain, through a flexible, remote learning course format. It is delivered as a mix of interactive and self-study documents, tests, practical exercises, assessments and individual project work.

Launched in April 2021, in collaboration with the Specialty Coffee Association this program is supported by our research partner Sanremo Coffee Machines and Sucafina SA.


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At a glance


Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Coffee Excellence (12 ECTS)





CHF 7'400.00

Comment on costs: 

The cost includes the tuition fees, course materials, virtual lessons, exam payment and diploma certificate, as well as expenses related to Module D which includes accommodation, dinner and entrance fees to World of Coffee and specialty coffee events. Each module is invoiced individually.


Online on moodle platform
(Module D is in person during World of Coffee or Specialty Coffee EXPO events.)

Language of instruction:


Objectives and content

Target audience

Why CAS in Coffee Excellence?

This part-time distance learning diploma education 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 & technology and on e-learning practices, you will gain scientifically-based and practical expertise through an online and flexible course experience. Above all, you will benefit from a rich, engaging and informative experience in a safe learning environment so that you can further your professional development in the world of coffee with greater knowledge, skills and confidence.

Is CAS in Coffee Excellence for me?

The eCAS in Coffee Excellence is aimed at those who already work within the coffee industry and wish to deepen their knowledge, or those who have an educational background and wish to pursue a career in the exciting world of coffee. The course is also suitable for people who want to teach or advice in the field of coffee or similar products.


What can I expect to learn?

The course has been developed by experts at the Coffee Excellence Centre of the Zurich University of Applied Science. As a world-class research Institute of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry at ZHAW, 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 along 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 four modules as follows:

  • Module A - The fruit: From tree to trade (online)
  • Module B - The bean: Transformation and packaging (online)
  • Module C - The cup: Extraction and sensory analysis (online)
  • Module D – Workshops (hands-on at one of the major coffee events)

Historical, social and ethical aspects of coffee as well as economic and business management topics will complement the course curriculum. 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.

Module A - The 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 also discuss harvesting as well as processing aspects until green coffee is produced. Finally, we will take a look at the economics of coffee production, sustainability and different models of trade. The module is structured into six sessions of self-study on the online learning platform Moodle, and will involve discussions with fellow participants in the virtual classroom before completion by assessment.

  • Cost: 2000 CHF
  • Duration: 19 weeks
  • Workload: 100 hours
  • Academic credits: 4 ECTS

Module B - The Bean: Transformation and Packaging

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 impact on coffee freshness and the process behind decaffeination and soluble coffee. The module is structured into five sessions of self-study on the online learning platform Moodle, and will involve discussions with fellow participants in the virtual classroom before completion by assessment.

  • Cost: 1700 CHF
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Workload: 75 hours
  • Academic credits: 3 ECTS

Module C - The Cup: Extraction and Sensory

This module covers the complex dynamics of extraction and the vital role that water quality plays, as well as machine technologies from grinding to brewing as a means to influence the quality of coffee. We will also investigate the sensory world in coffee and the important subject of coffee as it relates to dietary requirements and health. The module is structured into five sessions of self-study on the online learning platform Moodle, and will involve discussions with fellow participants in the virtual classroom before completion by assessment.

  • Cost: 1700 CHF
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Workload: 75h
  • Academic credits: 3 ECTS

Module D - Workshop

This module is a tailormade hands-on workshop, to deepen the content covered in Modules A to C and will happen during one of the three main coffee events (World of Coffee in Europe or EXPO in US). This module is completed by an assessment in the form of a report.

  • Cost: 2000 CHF
  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Workload: 50 hours
  • Credits: 2 ECTS

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).


To successfully complete the course, participants will be expected to commit to a workload of approximately five to seven hours per week of self-study. Relevant know-how will be delivered and developed through online lectures by recognized experts, case studies, group discussion and self-study. Additional content will also be provided for further reading, practical exercises, participation in forum discussions and online virtual classrooms.

More details about the implementation

What does it involve?

You will be required to complete 300 hours of study or 12 ECTS points over 12 months to gain your diploma. This corresponds to a 20% workload (1 day per week) spread over the 12 months period of the CAS program. 

For the first 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 written project  to be submitted at the end of  each module.

Comprising of 75 to 100 hours self-study time each, the first three online  modules will cover the key aspects of the coffee value chain from The Fruit (Module A), The Bean (Module B) and finally to The Cup (Module C). You will be expected to spend at least five hours each week to cover the core content provided.

Module D (50 hours) will be organized during one of the main coffee events (EXPO in the US or World of Coffee in Europe). You will put your learnings into practice while attending interactive workshops. You will also have the opportunity to meet your fellow students in person and talk to experts in the coffee industry.

Enquiries and contact



Offered in cooperation with

The course is offered in partnership with the SCA Specialty Coffee Association.


Admission requirements

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

a) Regular admission

Those who meet the following requirements are admitted to the CAS in Coffee Excellence certificate course:

  • Final diploma from a state-recognized university (diploma, licentiate, bachelor's or master's degree).
  • At least 2 years of professional experience at the time of registration.
  • Good written and oral skills in English.

b) 'Sur Dossier' approval

Persons who do not have a university degree are admitted if they meet one of the following requirements:

  • A qualification comparable to the regular admission, or at least 3 years of professional experience in the coffee industry or related areas (food, hospitality management), including a SCA Diploma.
  • Good written and oral skills in English.

Information for applicants

Participants can register for the whole course or for modules separately.

Participants who meet the requirements will be considered in the order in which their registration was received.

You will be awarded your diploma once the course has been successfully completed which includes the compulsory presence requirement has been fulfilled, all modules and the final assessment have been passed, and 12 ECTS credits have been acquired. The criteria must be met in order for you to be awarded your ZHAW CAS Diploma in Coffee Excellence.

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