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ZHAW Chemist Chahan Yeretzian discusses the new Blended Learning-CAS for Coffee Specialists.

The new CAS in Coffee Excellence, led by Prof. Chahan Yeretzian, is starting on April 5, 2021. In this interview, he explains why he has opted for a Blended Learning approach, what he sees as the highlights of the CAS, and his coffee drinking habits in his home office.

Prof. Dr. Chahan Yeretzian is the ZHAW's leading coffee expert and is the head of the Coffee Excellence Centre at the Institute for Chemistry and Biotechnology.

How does the new CAS in Coffee Excellence differ from the CAS in The Science and Art of Coffee that you've been offering for the last ten years?

There are two main differences: Firstly, the new CAS in Coffee Excellence will be taught in English, and secondly, 80 percent of the course will be completed via distance learning. Nonetheless, twenty percent of the programme will still be face-to-face, in the form of a workshop. Instead of running this at the ZHAW, however, we'll be holding the workshop at an international coffee event. The level of the new CAS is also slightly more demanding;  it's a 1-year program, with plenty of time in between lessons for students to digest what they have learned and grow with the course.

What inspired you to develop this new programme?

The needs of the stakeholders in the coffee industry were my primary motivation. For the existing CAS, the participants have to travel to Wädenswil every Friday, and they needed to be able to speak German, which has been a barrier for a large portion of the international target audience.

So this isn't in reaction to the current need for distance learning?

No, the blended learning CAS has been in development for over three years. First, we completely overhauled our learning materials, then we adapted them for a blended learning context. The course will include virtual classrooms, but a great deal of the content will be delivered as self-study. We have developed a platform where all the learning materials such as videos, assessments, and quizzes are available. We learned a lot as we were developing the course, continuously improving our skills and collaborating with professional agencies.

What are the highlights of the CAS for you, and what are you particularly looking forward to?

On the one hand, I'm looking forward to working with qualified participants, who we will be able to educate and engage in discussions at the highest level. On the other hand, I'm excited about the enthusiastic international response. Organisations and companies from around the world have connected with the programme by contributing content or sending participants. We have already received interest from over 80 participants and we are no longer accepting registrations.

What are the main trends in the coffee industry?

The importance of science in the coffee industry is increasing, and the industry relies more and more on knowledge and innovation. Traditionally, there have been many artisans and newcomers to the industry, but today it requires deep scientific understanding in areas such as agronomy, fermentation in green coffee, roasting, grinding and extraction to succeed. That's where we come in. We impart knowledge from the fields of biology, agronomy, technology, chemistry and sensory science to bring the craft to a new level. This development will improve both the quality of coffee and the sustainability of the industry.

At the moment, you often drink your coffee in your home office. How does your coffee consumption at home differ from in the office?

I drink more delicious filter coffee and less espresso. My espresso equipment at home is not as good as in the office, where I have access to a whole range of the best equipment. On top of that, I can't discuss the flavours in the cup with my team at home.

We are no longer accepting registrations for the CAS in Coffee Excellence starting on April 5, 2021. However, starting on October 5, 2021, a second course will be offered. For further information and online registration please visit: