My name is Mirja and I am an apprentice at Neumann Gruppe. In this feature I will tell you, how my co-trainees (you can see one of them on the picture above) and I experience our apprenticeship in a whole new way preparing lectures about coffee origin countries.

Tasty breakfast, good-smelling lunches, the rattling sound of tableware and some midday chatter: This is how our “Coffee Lounge” could usually be described. During the last weeks this changed temporarily. Tables, chairs, salt shakers and pepper mills were replaced by a large screen, a projector just as big, a speaker’s desk and a lot of chairs allowing for a bigger audience. But how come?

Once a year the “Coffee Lounge” turns into our stage: Each springtime an apprentice lecture series is taking place. All trainees of our Hamburg based group companies, namely Neumann Gruppe GmbH and NKG Kala Hamburg GmbH, are involved. Working in teams of three to four persons, we prepared presentations about countries in which coffee and especially the cultivation of it are of utmost importance. Those presentations grant us a chance to experience standing on the other side of our apprenticeship, if you will: On this occasion we are the ones who share their (newly gained) knowledge with our colleagues, the Board of Management of course being amongst the audience.

This year we presented the three coffee origins with the highest export volumes worldwide: Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia. To gather information, we did not simply type “coffee in Vietnam” into Google’s search mask and hoped for the best. We rather made good use of Neumann Kaffee Gruppe’s (NKG) large company network: Talking to cooperative colleagues all over the world and interviewing experts in Hamburg’s offices, the research process became much more interactive and the acquired information much more authentic. We prepared relevant facts about the country in general, its economy and (naturally and most importantly) its engagement in coffee. Focusing on coffee regions, processing methods and qualities, export and local consumption, detailed information about NKG’s local activities cannot be missing. Being present in all sectors along the green coffee value chain, we are of course represented in those three origins: Which companies operate there and what is their core business? Particularly for this part of our presentations, the information search in close contact with our colleagues and firms was indispensable.

The lecture series were quite challenging – also adding to this is the fact that we basically gave them in front of an audience excelling in coffee. Nonetheless, looking into a subject as deeply, standing on the other side of the speaker’s desk and practicing my presentation skills was a great experience. Also, there is always a jury observing our presentations closely and giving feedback afterwards. With this input in mind and the plus in experience, us trainees will hopefully be able to perform even better next year. I for one am looking forward to presenting further topics and sharing my gained experience with our new co-apprentices.