WCR welcomes Dr. Verônica Belchior, Research Scientist for Coffee Quality Evaluation

A brief profile on the latest addition to our global team

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World Coffee Research (WCR) is thrilled to announce the recent appointment of Dr. Verônica Belchior to the position of Research Scientist for Coffee Quality Evaluation.

Dr. Belchior comes to WCR with 10 years of experience in coffee research and nearly 15 years of experience in the coffee industry overall. Most recently, she has served as an educator and consultant, leading courses on Q-Grader Preparation, Roasting Chemistry, and Coffee Extraction Kinetics worldwide.

She holds a Ph.D. in Food Science from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), where she also served as a postdoctoral candidate and spearheaded a project to build roast profiles of coffee samples across different roasting equipment using evaluation by Fourier Transform Medium Infrared Spectroscopy and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.

Dr. Belchior has been a Q-grader since 2013 and has acted as a taster in coffee quality contests throughout Brazil. In 2014, she created her version of the Specialty Coffee Sensory Analysis course and taught it at the best specialty coffee shops and roasters across the country. Even further, she was a partner in the Coffee Sensorium Project.

In her new role, Dr. Belchior will provide scientific expertise and technical leadership for coffee quality evaluation within WCR's varieties-focused research and development (R&D) programs.

Dr. Belchior will provide oversight and act as a liaison between industry, external research collaborators and WCR’s plant breeders, agronomists, and program staff to ensure coffee quality is an integral component of our program design and variety evaluation processes. She will work toward the primary goal of addressing coffee quality at a global scale to support breeding programs in many of the world’s coffee origins.

WCR's Communications Manager, Maeve Holler, spoke with Dr. Belichor and asked her a few questions about her personal and professional experiences with coffee, what she hopes to accomplish in her new role given her expertise in coffee quality, and what she enjoys doing in her spare time at her home in Brazil.

1. What is your experience working with coffee?

I have 15 years of experience with coffee. In 2009, I had my first specialty coffee and fell in love. I was very young and working toward my Master's in Ecology. Since then, I've dedicated my career to studying and talking about coffee. In 2010, I worked as a barista. In 2013, I got my Q-grader license, and in 2014, I started my Ph.D. program researching coffee. While completing my Ph.D., I started giving courses about coffee. After a while, this became my primary profession—being a coffee educator. But, I also worked as a Q-grader for a coffee trader, a coffee consultant, and I had the chance to contribute to The Coffee Sensorium (TCS) Project. We (TCS and I) also created the Flavor Kit, which is a relevant tool for those who want to learn more about coffee flavor.

2. What has been the main focus of your research throughout your career?

In my coffee research, I've been dedicating my time to developing new ways to achieve the coffee composition, which would be relevant for the whole industry to understand cup quality. Through my Ph.D. research, I've built statistical models to classify coffees analyzed by FTIR (Spectroscopy in the mid-infrared), Chromatography, and physicochemical analysis.

3. What excites you about working for World Coffee Research? What drew you to the organization?

I'm a biologist, and since I was very young, I’ve had the desire to change the world. I think working for World Coffee Research is a way to achieve this goal since we are creating what is new and relevant for the world of coffee, and also relevant in the face of climate change.

4. What do you hope to contribute in your role as a Research Scientist for Coffee Quality Evaluation?

I really believe that I can support the research necessary to achieve good quality in coffee. I hope to be part of the food science that is needed to make a change in the results of quality in the WCR breeding initiatives and discoveries.

5. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love to be close to the ocean or waterfalls when I have time. I also like to hike and walk trails. So, anything close to nature makes me feel good in my spare time.

6. Where do you live and what do you love about it?

I live in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State in Brazil. I love the food, mountains, and the friendly people we have around.

7. How do you take your coffee?

I like filtered coffee. Simple, clean, sweet. It is the best way to start my day.