Dual Acquisition of ‘Cleanskin Coffee Co’ & Artecaffe Coffee Roasters’ Sydney

One of NSW’s largest wholesale coffee roasters, Schibello Caffe has completed its dual acquisition to acquire the business and intellectual property assets of Cleanskin Coffee Co & Artecaffe Coffee Roasters. 

The acquisition provides Schibello Caffé with:

  • Acquiring Australian & international intellectual property owner of represented brands
  • 50 per cent increase in roasting throughput;
  • A stronger presence in the commercial coffee sales channel in addition to an established foothold in the Brisbane & Sydney specialty markets;
  • Key management transitioning to Schibello Coffee Roasters

Schibello’s CEO Ross Schinella noted that the transactions satisfied external due diligence investigations while simultaneously increasing supply-side scale and vertical integration opportunity.

“Cleanskin Coffee Co complements and extends the company’s existing market penetration by providing the Group with a specialist coffee brand to grow scale in the ever increasing Brisbane, Gold Coast & Northern NSW regions,” Schinella said.

“Artecaffe adds to the strength of the specialty market in NSW and both acquisitions allow Schibello to stay in a position ahead of our competitors in an ever-changing and dynamic industry.”

Cleanskin Coffee Co is a specialty coffee roasting company aiming to bring people an exceptional and informed coffee experience.

In a similar fashion, Artecaffe is setting its sights on becoming a brand known for premium artesian coffee with a high level of personal service to its customers. 

Fast cleaning of barrels, drums and food vessels

The TankJet M60 Mobile Tank Cleaner from Spraying Systems removes tough residues quickly and effectively using low flow rates.  The tank cleaner is ideal for cleaning wine, food, beverage and chemical barrels as well as drums and kegs up to 5’ (1.5 m) in diameter. 

Features include narrow angle full cone sprays that rotate in multiple axes for complete and thorough 360° coverage and a non-lubricated air motor which allows for continuous and reliable operation. Cycle times can be achieved in less than 5 minutes with one full cycle completed every 16 revolutions. 

The TankJet M60 Mobile tank cleaner offers effective and efficient cleaning with no damage to the barrel toast. In addition, the tank cleaner is simple to use, easy to rebuild and is compatible with a wide range of pumps including pressure washers. Having a mobile tank cleaner like the TankJet M60 gives users the added benefit of being able to move the tank cleaner from one barrel or drum to the next with ease when required.

The tank cleaner is able to fit in openings as small as 1-3/4” (44.5 mm) and can be easily inserted in standard bunghole openings. The materials, which have direct contact with fluid include 316 stainless steel, carbon graphite PTFE-filled PEEK, EPDM and PTFE. 

Dairy alternative consumption to reach $19.5 billion in 2020

Dairy alternative consumption is set to rapidly rise globally as Asian-Pacific consumers increasingly turn to products like rice milk, soy milk and almond milk.

According to a MarketsandMarkets report, global consumption of dairy alternatives projected to grow 15.2 per cent over the next five years.

Dairy alternatives are lactose-free, which resemble a milk-like texture and are used to replace dairy-based products. They are produced through various cereals such as oats, rice, wheat, barley, and nuts.

Globally, the health benefits of dairy alternatives have led to its large-scale adoption in numerous applications.

Changing lifestyles, growing health awareness, increasing cases of lactose allergy, and growing application sectors are some of the factors driving the growth of the dairy alternatives market.

The Asia-Pacific region dominated the dairy alternatives market last year, and is set to nearly triple in size over the next five years.

“The growing health awareness, rising preference for vegan diet, and rising cases of lactose intolerance and milk allergy in this region are also driving the market,” the report said.

In order to improve the nutritional value of products whilst increasing sales, dairy alternative manufacturers are presenting new flavours and fortified products, including those with calcium and vitamin D, to the market.

Some companies may use the term ‘dairy-free’ to describe lactose-free or low-lactose products for those consumers with lactose intolerance. Or they may use it on products that are free of traditional dairy ingredients such as milk and cream but not free of milk derivatives such as caseinates or whey.

However, if the products contain milk protein, they are unsafe for individuals with milk allergy. Unfortunately, those with milk allergies cannot rely on "dairy free" claims and will need to scrutinize the ingredient statement for evidence of milk.

While non-dairy is a term that is frequently used on coffee creamers, it is also used similarly on various other products containing caseinates.

Many in the industry are excited to see a natural evolution of businesses that aim to address weight, lifestyle and diabetes concerns. 

Nespresso launches first coffee exported from South Sudan

 Nespresso has launched the first ever coffee to be exported from the new country of South Sudan.  Suluja ti South Sudan, a rare and unique coffee, is the country’s first significant non-oil export in a generation and represents a positive step towards rebuilding the economy.  

The result of a strong combination of coffee expertise and sustainability innovation, this unique coffee reflects Nespresso’s Creating Shared Value approach to business and its ongoing commitment to coffee farmers in South Sudan.  While Suluja ti South Sudan will only be available in France due to its extremely limited volumes, it is significant of the long-term investment that Nespresso has made to help revive the coffee industry in South Sudan. 

South Sudan has a long history of cultivating coffee but the industry has largely been destroyed following conflict in the region. Partnering with local farmers to rebuild this important industry, Nespresso and the non-profit organisation TechnoServe, have been working to revive high quality coffee production in the country since 2011.   

Nespresso CEO, Jean-Marc Duvoisin said: “Nespresso’s goal is to source the highest quality coffee in the world….Together with the coffee farmers in Yei and TechnoServe we are excited about the potential of this project for economic growth in the region.”

Fairtrade finds reasons to celebrate International Coffee Day

 Whether it’s your morning get-up-and-go or your afternoon pick-me-up, we can all agree coffee is worth celebrating, which is exactly what will be happening on the first official International Coffee Day set to be celebrated on 1 October, 2015.
Tomorrow coffee drinkers around the world will be sharing their love of the beverage and supporting the millions of farmers whose livelihoods depend on its production. 

With 80% of the world’s coffee produced by small scale farmers, Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand is using the day to raise awareness of the benefit our daily caffeine hit can have on farmers in some of the lowest ranking countries on the Human Development Index, including Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Haiti. 
“Coffee is big business and remains one of the most valuable primary products in world trade. However, for many of the world’s 25 million coffee farmers, coffee is a labour intensive crop that frequently yields very little financial return,” says Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand CEO Molly Harriss Olson.
“Small scale farmers are particularly vulnerable to the growing effects of climate change, but increasing sales of Fairtrade coffee can help farmers in developing countries combat the devastating impacts and help lift themselves out of poverty,” she says.
Climate change has been identified as a key factor facilitating the outbreak of leaf rust disease, which is affecting over 50 per cent of the total coffee growing area in Central America.
Fairtrade sets standards for a variety of products, including coffee, which focuses on three areas of sustainable development; social development, economic development and environmental development. These Fairtrade Standards help to act as a safety net against the unpredictable market and provide security to coffee producers so they will receive a price that covers their average costs of sustainable production.
A major commodity in the Fairtrade system, coffee is a growing industry, currently being produced across more than 30 countries. In 2013 alone Fairtrade coffee farmer organisations received $AUD63.6 million in Fairtrade Premium. Of this Premium, approximately 50 per cent was invested back into the producer organisations to improve infrastructure, facilities and processes while the remaining 50% was spent of direct services to local coffee farmers and their communities.
“Consumers of Fairtrade coffee can enjoy their beverage knowing that their purchase is supporting farming communities in developing countries to raise their standard of living and create a sustainable future for their whole community,” says Harriss Olson.

New steamer wins Australian award

Coffee Machine Technologies’ ‘Viper’ multi-purpose steamer has won the Best New Australian Made Product Award at the food industry’s largest trade event, Fine Food Australia.

 The Viper steamer is made in Victoria using all Australian-made components and can froth milk manually or automatically and dispense hot water for tea.
The prize for winning the award is a licence to use the Australian Made logo, paid in full for one year. The iconic green-and-gold kangaroo logo is Australia’s only registered country-of-origin certification trademark for the full range of genuine Aussie products and produce.
Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, welcomed Coffee Machine Technologies onboard and congratulated the team on their win.
“Coffee Machine Technologies’ commitment to Australian manufacturing is commendable and we look forward to helping the company promote its great quality Australian Made products to the world,” Mr Harrison said
“The Australian Made Campaign is proud to support the food and foodservice industries through the Fine Food Best New Australian Made Product Award.” 
“We are very excited to have won the award for ‘Best New Australian Made Product’,” Coffee Machine Technologies Managing Director, John Colangeli said.
Runners up for the award were Queensland Plastics, for its preparation board, and Kialla Pure Foods for its ‘Plate 2 Farm Tracker’ software.

Nescafé moves to Tumblr to entice a younger generation

Nescafé has become the first global brand to move all its international and local websites to the Tumblr platform, with the aim of building stronger relationships with younger consumers.

The change reflects its position as Nestlé’s top-performing brand on social media, with more than 35 million fans worldwide. It will allow Nescafé to further develop consumer-led communications and its e-commerce offering in formats optimised for mobiles and tablets.

Tumblr, which hosts more than 250 million blogs and 110 billion individual posts, is a cross between a micro-blogging site and social network.

The new global Nescafé Tumblr platform allows fans to share images, videos, GIFs and other coffee-related content uploaded by the Tumblr community.
It is the latest in a series of recent innovations from the Nescafé brand, following the 2014 launch of a new, unified look and feel across all of its products in the 180 countries where it is sold.

These include the Wake-Up app, a ‘mobile social alarm clock’, the ready-to-drink chilled Nescafé Shakissimo range, and a new flagship store in Tokyo, Japan.

Jed’s Coffee Co Bean Bags

Product Name: Jed's Coffee Co Bean Bags

Product Manufacturer: Jed's Coffee Co

Launch date: May 2015

Ingredients: 100% freshly roasted ground coffee

Shelf Life: Six months

Packaging: 10 single serve foil sachets, each containing coffee bag, in a box

Brand Website: www.jedscoffee.co.nz

What the company says:

New Zealand Coffee Company, Jed’s Coffee Co, is set to make a mark on coffee lovers of Australia with the launch of Jed’s Bean Bags, an innovation using pyramid-bag technology to create ‘brew in your cup’ fresh roasted coffee.

Jed’s Bean Bags is the only brew-in-a-cup bag in Australia that contains 100 per cent freshly roasted ground coffee, with no trace of instant coffee. Developed by the Innovation Team at Jed’s, the collaboration of tea and coffee technology was jointly led by coffee Brew Master Stuart Hargie and Master Tea Taster, Matt Greenwood to emulate a fresh plunger experience.

The individually sealed single serve packs are light in weight and full in flavour and the bag is 100 per cent biodegradable.

Marrickville’s Aroma Coffee takes home trophies

The 2015 Australian International Coffee Awards winners have been announced, with five major trophies awarded.

Aroma Coffee from Marrickville NSW has taken out the coveted Champion Australian Roaster trophy for the second year in a row (in addition to the Champion Filter Coffee trophy for the second year in a row).

Aroma Coffee is a boutique roaster and socially responsible ethical buyer of premium speciality coffees from around the globe, who source mostly by direct trade ensuring better financial outcome for farmers.

The Champion International Roaster trophy was this year awarded to Tanamera Coffee from Jakarta, Indonesia. The win is a huge boost for the region and testament to the quality of local beans grown in an increasingly flourishing coffee industry.

These results follow the rigorous and meticulous judging process last week, which saw a panel of local and international industry specialists sample and critique almost 700 coffee entries.

The Champion Roaster trophies are awarded to the Australian and International roasters with the highest average score, calculated on the basis of the roaster’s three top scoring exhibits. The awards recognise excellence in and consistency of quality coffee roasting.

The 2015 Australian International Coffee Awards were presented by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV).

The 2015 AICA Champions are:

  • Champion International Roaster presented by RASV:  Tanamera Coffee, Jakarta Indonesia
  • Champion Australian Roaster presented by Bonsoy:  Aroma Coffee, Marrickville NSW
  • Champion Filter Coffee presented by MICE:  Destinations Panama Boquette Beauty by Aroma Coffee, Marrickville NSW
  • Champion Milk based Coffee presented by Lion Dairy and Drinks:  Organic Roast by MFC Roasters, Kew VIC
  • Champion Espresso Coffee presented by Espresso Mechanics:  Best of Africa by Mikro Coffee Roasters, Mount Gambier SA.

For more information and full results (including the full list of Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners), click here.


Coffee pods slammed by inventor

The inventor of one of the world’s most popular coffee pods has labelled them as expensive and bad for the environment.

John Sylvan is one of the inventors of K-Cup, a coffee pod sold in the US. Last year Americans bought 9 million K-Cups and K-Cup’s parent company, Keurig Green Mountain, made $4.7 billion in revenue.

Despite their popularity, Sylvan said he doesn’t even use the pods he invented, Perth Now reports.

“I don’t have one. They’re kind of expensive to use,” he said in a candid interview with The Atlantic. “Plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make.”

Sylvan sold his share of the company for just $50,000 in 1997, but it’s the pod’s impact on the environment which causes him the greatest concern.

K-Cups are made from plastic and foil and are still not recyclable or biodegradable.

“No matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recyclable,” Sylvan said. “The plastic is a specialised plastic made of four different layers.”

Reflecting on the impact his invention may have had on the environment, Sylvan says, “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it”.

Some brands, like Nespresso (their pods are made from aluminium) offer to recycle their used pods for you, but you have to take them to specific collection points.

In 2013, Nespresso said it collected “75 percent of all capsules sold worldwide”, according to consumer group Choice.

“But while it may have collected 75 percent of the capsules, Nespresso doesn’t say whether that many have actually been recycled,” Choice says.

“Nespresso has sold an estimated 28 billion capsules worldwide and counting – that’s about 28 million kilograms of aluminium, much of which may be sitting in landfill.”

Although it’s possible to buy sustainable coffee pods from brands like Eco Caffe, most are only available online.

Chief sustainability officer of Keurig Green Mountain (which owns K-Cup) Monique Oxender, acknowledges the brand has a long way to go.

“I gotta be honest with you,” Oxender said, “we’re not happy with where we are either. We have to get a solution, and we have to get it in place quickly.”


Microbrewery creates a breakfast beer

Columbus microbrewery Zaftig and coffee roaster Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea have partnered to create BamBaLam Breakfast Stout.

To produce this new brew, Zaftig mashes dark roasted and chocolate barleys to create wort, or unfermented beer. Bittersweet chocolate and Crimson Cup’s Ethiopian Sidamo Kellenso are added after boiling the wort but before fermentation.

“After the success of our Dry Hopped Nitro cold brew coffee, we started looking at other ways to incorporate ideas from the craft brew world. We met Zaftig at the launch party of our Hopped Nitro, and from there we began discussing ways of incorporating coffee into craft beers,” said past brewmaster and current Crimson Cup Coffee Buyer, Dave Eldridge.

BamBaLam won rave reviews at The Columbus Winter Beer Fest, a Tap Takeover at The Ohio Taproom, The Grandview Craft Beer Associations Hullabaloo and an event in Dayton called the BrewHaha.

“As a small-batch brewery, we can't make enough to keep up with the crazy demand for this beer right now,” said Zaftig Co-owner Jim Gokenbach. “This coffee beer collaboration has helped us branch out to meet more local community business partners.”


Schibello Caffé opens research & development roasting laboratory

Schibello Caffé has launched their new Research & Development Roasting Laboratory in Sydney’s north-west.

Situated in Rhodes next door to the Schibello Caffé headquarters, the facility features a coffee training academy coupled with an on-site espresso bar and a dedicated roasting laboratory.

The roasting laboratory, complete with a boutique roaster, allows Schibello Caffé to perform cupping session and experiment with small batches of new blends. The laboratory will be open for cupping session, and is available for clients who want a coffee blend developed for them.

 “The coffee sector is ever-changing, and very dynamic. Our success over the past 15 years has been due to our adaptive nature, and our understanding that great coffee is about more than just the product – it’s about the experience, the social dynamic, the environment, and the sense of belonging,” says Ross Schinella, CEO of Schibello Caffé. 


Former head of Nespresso takes Nestle to court

A former head of Nespresso and chief executive of Ethical Coffee, has lodged a complaint in court against Nestle for patent infringement.

Jean-Paul Gaillard, chairman and chief executive of Ethical Coffee, helped create the single-dose coffee market as chief executive of Nespresso and then went on to launch the cheaper Ethical brand of coffee pods to counter Nespresso.

Ethical Coffee Company has lodged a complaint in a Paris court against Nestle for patent infringement with its Nespresso coffee machines, news.com.au reports.

Ethical, which makes coffee capsules that can be used in Nespresso machines, said in a statement that it had suffered losses of at least 150 million euros ($A225 million) since 2010.

Nespresso has been accused of modifying its machines to keep competitors’ capsules out of them with a “harpoon” device in its new Pixie range which jams the capsules.

ECC said this move went against its patent.

The company added that a decision by the Paris court would only apply to the ECC patent violation in France, but it could launch similar legal action in other countries.

Nespresso denies any patent infringement and says it will fight the case in court.

In June last year, ECC won a legal suit against Nespresso in France when a Paris trade tribunal ruled against the giant in an unfair competition suit filed in 2012.

It ordered Nespresso to pay 500,000 euros to ECC and 40,000 euros more to cover legal fees.


Australian International Coffee Award entries open

The Australian International Coffee Awards provide coffee roasters globally with an opportunity to benchmark and promote their product.

Entries to the awards are open to industry from now until 6 February and will be judged by an esteemed judging panel.

 One of the most respected names in the industry, Aida Batlle will join an el in 2015.

A fifth-generation coffee farmer, Aida Batlle has joined the panel. Batlle is the current director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Leading Australian industry figure Peter Wolff will oversee the judging process as official Head Judge. Peter's global industry experience spans 30 years as a coffee roaster, creator, trainer and business developer.

“The AICA has quickly established a reputation as the superior awards program for industry. It affords an opportunity for coffee roasters from all over the world to benchmark and promote their products.” Wolff said.

The awards program upholds a blind judging process, ensuring fair and consistent marking across categories. Entries will be judged by the panel of industry specialists, who have been selected for their outstanding knowledge and expertise.

Australian International Coffee Awards – Key Dates 2015

Entries Close: 6 February 2015

Judging: 3 – 6 March 2015

Cocktail Party and Awards Presentation: 12 March 2015

Melbourne International Coffee Expo 2015: 13 – 15 March 2015

For more information, click here.


Starbucks urged to withdraw support from GMO labelling lawsuit

According to online campaign group, SumOfUs, Starbucks has effectively lent its support to agrochemical company Monsanto which is planning to sue the US state of Vermont over its GMO (genetically modified organism) labelling laws.

In April this year, Vermont became the first state in the US to pass a bill that requires the labelling of genetically modified foods, and now the Growers Manufacturing Association, to which Starbucks is a member, are aiming to block the landmark law, claiming that it is an assault on a corporation's right to free speech.

SumOfUS launched a petition which has already gained 268,859 signatures, calling upon Starbucks to “Withdraw [their] membership in the Grocery Manufacturers Assocation and support for the lawsuit against Vermont’s food labelling law.”

“We need to undermine the Grocery Manufacturers Association's base,” the SumOfUs petition reads. “Monsanto might not care what we think — but as a public-facing company, Starbucks does. If we can generate enough attention, we can push Starbucks to withdraw its support for the lawsuit, and then pressure other companies to do the same.” 

The petition also refereed to Starbucks’ progressive response to LGBT and labour law issues, stating that it is disappointing that the company would choose to associate with Monsanto and support such a move.

Members of SumOfUs have also donated money to support the small, rural state of Vermont’s legal defence, and have risen close to quarter of a million dollars to date.

In addition to Starbucks and Monsanto, other members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association industry group include Dow, Coca-Cola and General Mills.


Nespresso Ristretto Intenso

Products name: Ristretto Intenso

Product manufacturer: Nespresso

Ingredients: Robusta & Arabica Coffee

Shelf Life: 12 months

Marketing Manager: Trevor Hannam

Brand Website: https://www.nespresso.com/pro/au/en/home

What the company says:

The full-bodied Ristretto Intenso Grand Cru has an intensity of 12. It offers a creamy texture, with a pleasurable aftertaste.

It has distinctive aromas, which come from its spicy and woody notes and its intensity comes from a blend of two Robustas from Guatemala and Brasil and an Arabica from South America. The unique origins and split roasting technique bring out the best characteristics of each coffee variety.

The intense roast of the Robustas highlights the strong bitterness and body. In contrast, the long roast of the Arabica brings out finer notes and natural sweetness.


Asia leads iced coffee growth

The chilled ready-to-drink or iced coffee sector has experienced significant growth in recent years, with the majority of product launches taking place in Asia.

According to Innova Market Insights, in the 12 months to the end of July 2014 the iced coffee segment accounted for only 4.2 percent of global launches in the soft drink industry. However, this is up from less than three percent five years ago, and the actual number of launches  has nearly trebled over that time.

Asia accounted for 53 percent of RTD coffee introductions, ahead of Europe with 30 percent and North America with 11.5 percent.

Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, said “Although ambient canned and bottled coffee drinks continue to dominate globally … particularly in well-established markets such as those in parts of Asia and the USA, it is the chilled milk-based variants in lidded cups for on-the-go consumption that have been leading growth, particularly in the relatively undeveloped European market.”

The dairy industry has been driving activity, with launches including Emmi of Switzerland’s Caffe Latte range, Starbucks’ Discoveries range of RTD iced coffees from Arla, German company, J Bauer’s premium Mövenpick line as well as the Landliebe range from FrieslandCampina.

More recent activity has focused on the arrival of leading hot coffee brands into the chilled sector. A significant entrant to the German market in 2014 was Mondelez, which brought its market-leading Jacobs coffee brand to the chilled iced coffee market. During the summer of 2014, the world’s leading coffee brand Nescafe entered the European chilled dairy iced coffee market with the launch of Shakissimo, a range of three milk-rich coffees in lidded cups.

Earlier this year, Vitasoy launched its Soy Milky Iced Coffee product, in response to consumer demand for a non-dairy, lactose free iced coffee product.

Beth Roberts, senior brand manager, Vitasoy said “We asked our fans what flavour soy milk Vitasoy should develop next and iced coffee was a clear winner.”


Oxfam to launch organic, Fairtrade and biodegradable coffee capsules

To coincide with International Coffee Day (29 September) Oxfam with be launching Fairtrade certified, organic and biodegradable coffee capsules.

Julia Sumner, Oxfam Australia’s trading general manager said that the new range was an exciting development for the Oxfam ‘fair’ brand, and that the capsules provide consumers with a convenient, ethical and environmentally friendly coffee option.

“Oxfam has been working hard to develop a range of capsules that are not only Fairtrade certified and organic, but also reduce the environmental and waste impacts often associated with capsules,” said Sumner.

“While most other brands use full aluminium capsules, Oxfam’s range is made using biodegradable plastic, meaning that even if the capsules are not recycled they will naturally break down in landfill.”

The capsules are compatible with Nespresso coffee machines and are roasted in Victoria. The capsules will be available in a #5 medium roast through to a #10 dark roast and a #12 intense roast.

The coffee is sourced from a number of Fairtrade cooperatives including Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU) which works with 274 coffee farmers across Ethiopia. The Fairtrade premium received by OCFCU has resulted in the building of schools, kindergartens and health clinics in local communities.


QLD taps into a caffeine-free coffee bean

Scientists believe by sequencing the genome of the coffee, it will be possible to breed new strains of coffee based on flavour, aroma and caffeine content.

The discovery could see a caffeine-free coffee bean produced, which would provide a pure, less-processed product to the 12 percent of coffee drinkers who choose decaf.

Professor Robert Henry, at UQ’s Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), said this was one outcome of an international research effort analysing the coffee genome.

“It should soon be possible to select and grow coffee with a pre-determined level of caffeine – ranging from zero-caf to jumpstart,” he said.

“Helping Queensland producers to grow export-quality coffee destined for high-value niche markets is our ultimate goal.”

QAAFI, which pursues scientific methods to add value to Queensland produce, is also working with flavour scientists and industry partners to unpick the genomic component of premium coffee.

Australia produces a small fraction of the 7.8 million tonne global coffee market, exporting less than 1000 tonnes a year.

“Potentially, Queensland could develop a multi-million-dollar market for high-quality, premium coffees, ranging from full strength to decaffeinated,” Professor Henry said.

QAAFI flavour scientist Dr Heather Smyth said traditional methods of minimising caffeine often led to flavour loss.

 “Understanding the origin of caffeine in coffee means that potentially we can develop varieties with low or no caffeine,” she said.

“If the decaffeinating process could be avoided, the beans would retain the full coffee flavour.”


Quality brews: talking coffee with Toby Smith of Toby’s Estate

Toby’s Estate is a brand that is synonymous with quality in Australia’s coffee scene and now it’s cemented its place on the global coffee stage.

Starting out with humble beginnings in 1998, Toby’s Estate has grown to become a household name in the Nation’s speciality coffee market and more recently, has expanded overseas to the likes of Asia and the US.

Food Magazine recently caught up with Toby Smith, founder of the Toby’s Estate brand to talk coffee, farming and how he has managed to maintain an exceptional level of quality as the company has grown over the past 16 years.

Interestingly enough, Smith says that he was first introduced to the world of coffee – for better or worse – by his mother’s inability to make a quality brew.

“My mother had a café and used to make pretty bad coffee,” says Smith.

“It was then that someone taught me a few things about coffee and I started to get a bit more serious about it and thought wow, coffee is actually a really incredible product – this is for me’. So it was that, but to be honest, I was also desperate to get out of working and studying law.”

With the days of his mother’s bad coffee and law class well and truly behind him, Smith has successfully raised the stakes of quality coffee production by purchasing a farm in Panama where he says the best coffee in the world is produced.  

Panama is where it's at

“Geisha is the Grange of coffee,” says Smith. “And Panama is this little country with really small farms that is growing the world’s best coffee… Other countries are growing Geisha but they are struggling to sort of get that unique flavour that Panama has. It really is something special and there are some incredible families with a long history in coffee growing it.”

Smith says that he has been working with a particular farm in Panama for the past three years, so when the opportunity arose to the purchase it, he – together with his business partner Andre – didn’t hesitate.

“Andre is a finance legal guru so he tackled a lot of the issues relating to coming into Panama as a foreigner… There were some pretty involved documents that needed to go through so we could own the farm, but it was all very doable, it just required a lot of patience. So Andre looks after the legal stuff, and then I sort of look after the coffee side of the business – the growing and production.”

Smith said that he has already initiated a number of programs to ensure that the farm employs the best possible farming practices, together with significant upgrades to on-farm facilities.

“We have a little school on the farm which we are upgrading along with a number of roads. We have also upgraded the accommodation for the indigenous coffee pickers that come on mass every year for about four or five months at a time. We’re also mixing up and changing a few of the farming and processing methods, and the agronomist is always working on making the trees look amazing to produce high quality coffee.

“With growing and agriculture it’s not like ‘ok let’s change this’ and it happens within a week or within a year, it can take two, three, four or five years… so we’ve got a nice program in place for the next 3-5 years.”

Now in its 16th year, the Toby’s Estate brand has continued to go from strength to strength and now has a solid presence in New York together with a number of Asian countries. Smith credits this ongoing success to a number of factors, but primarily to the consistency of the product.

Quality is the key focus

“Our greatest focus as we grow larger and as we spread our coffee further is quality. We don’t make a move unless we know that we are on par with what we currently have as far as quality goes, or we’re improving it. That’s always been our philosophy. We’ve always been about sourcing quality beans, and roasting them to the best of our ability, so our growth path is determined upon our ability to uphold that level of quality.

“Obviously we are a big organisation but we actually say no a lot. We go to the extremes of quality assurance and control… we cup everything that comes out of the roasters before its released and we scrutinise and record everything to make sure that we get it right on the outset.”

In addition to maintaining a high level of quality and consistency, Smith says that logistical efficiencies and a highly dedicated team are key factors that have enabled the company to expand while remaining at the top of its game.

“The wholesaling speciality coffee market is often driven by price, and we have a great advantage in that shipping coffee in a container to Australia takes a long time and it costs a lot of money, but in the multiples and the volumes that we import, we get a better price for great quality coffee. So we feel that we are at a great advantage in that way,” he says.

“We also have fantastic equipment that gives us great consistency and we have an incredible team of really experienced guys who have been working with us for many years, and those that are new to the have been trained really well by those experienced ones around them.”