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CQI’s Post Harvest Processing Manager visits Brazil

December 16, 2022
Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) was recently invited by the Brazilian Soluble Coffee Industry Association (ABICS) to learn about its new quality assessment system for instant coffee. Yimara M. Agudelo, a Q Arabica Grader, QP3 Expert and CQI’s Post Harvest Processing Manager, had the opportunity to travel to Brazil to learn more about this initiative. Yimara wrote this blog to share some of her experiences.

CQI Visit to Brazil

BY YIMARA M. AGUDELO

Soluble Coffee Market

In the global coffee market, soluble/instant coffee makes up 25% of all coffee consumption and has been growing steadily by 2% each year. Brazil is currently both the largest producer and exporter of soluble coffee in the world and has maintained that position for several decades. Though there are other exporting and producing countries, Brazil continues to have the world’s largest instant coffee production capacity, making it the global leader in soluble coffee. Additionally, as a producer of Arabica, Conilon, and Robusta, Brazil offers a great variety of blends, with incredible flavors and complexity.

Brazil is currently pursuing ways to improve its implementation of sustainable practices and low-carbon production, in partnership with coffee producers to focus on traceability and to incorporate concepts that allow consumers to select their coffees based on preference or consumption method (E.g., black coffee, blends with milk, gastronomy etc.).

Steps Towards a New Quality Assessment System

ABICS is member of the Global Coffee Platform (GCP) and 4C, working to develop digital platforms for traceability and sustainability. In cooperation with The Institute of Food Technology (ITAL), ABICS has developed a quality methodology (a sensory science development) for instant coffee that proposes a sensory Lexicon and a quality categorization.

This commitment to quality is a shift from historical approaches to the identification of instant coffee qualities that also provide an educational opportunity for the final consumer of the product. Soon consumers will make informed purchases depending on their specific needs for the coffee as well as the taste and flavor characteristics. This allows soluble coffee to begin to be recognized also for its quality and uses in the food industry.

From the perspective of sensory quality and the personnel that identifies and determines it, this system marks an advance in the industry as the first evaluation system for soluble coffee.

This evaluation system will facilitate determining the degree of instant coffee quality using three categories:  

a.  Conventional

b.  Differentiated and

c.  Excellent

Though a score is used in the process of evaluation of the sensory attributes found and their intensity, scores will not be necessarily shared with consumers.

"This system is the beginning, advancing quality and expanding the market for soluble coffee."

-YIMARA M. AGUDELO

The official launch of ABICS’s new quality methodology took place during the Semana Internacional do Café (SIC) in November 2022. ABICS, through its brand called Explore & Enjoy, aims to promote a new identity for Brazilian soluble coffee, extending an invitation to consumers to explore all the possibilities that the product has to offer.

CQI was grateful to be invited to learn about ABICS’s valuable work in soluble coffee and hopes to support a global adaptation of this initiative in the future.

 To learn more about the white paper by ABICS, visit their website and download the document.

The group that ABICS invited to the launch, with its chair of the board Fabio Sato (second person on the left). In the group there were people from the Japanese coffee association and instant industries, representatives of regulatory entities and world coffee quality organizations, and journalists from different well-known magazines in the coffee industry.
The different products and brands of soluble coffee in the ABICS Explore & Enjoy space at the SIC.

Innovation and Integrity

On this trip, we were able to learn more about the companies responsible for the production of soluble coffee, the complexity of the process and the strict quality control that occurs behind the scenes.

We even had the opportunity to visit CACIQUE, one of the pioneering companies in the industrialization of Brazilian coffee. CACIQUE’s first production of soluble coffee was for export and today is the leader in both production and export of soluble coffee there. The company was founded in 1959. In 1964, the Brazilian government authorized the license to import all the necessary equipment to produce soluble coffee and in 1966, one of CACIQUE’s main factories in Londrina was officially opened.

CACIQUE has cutting-edge equipment and develops exclusive blends for a wide range of cultures. They make use of the latest technology and uphold strict standards for quality and food safety. From the beginning, their mission has been to provide the highest quality beverage at the highest global standards. CACIQUE really is a model for excellent products, socioenvironmental best practices, and respect for partners, employees, and clients. These are values for which the company is recognized worldwide, as an economically viable, ecologically ethical, and socially just company.

CACIQUE facility

Anyone who does not know instant coffee should definitely visit CACIQUE to see both the work and precision required through - out their production, operation and the positive impact that this company generates for the community and its employees.

This model was so fascinating to learn about because it really shows that the well-being of the people who do this work is what makes the difference in the success of the company and its commercial leadership.

The leadership and staff are a solid, well-prepared team where values and performance are linked. They provide support to their people and recognize their performance and the importance of their individual leadership roles. CACIQUE is a company where people do not feel the need to look for better jobs or opportunities. It is a place where people want to stay, learn and do better to continue contributing. A workplace like this makes a positive difference that’s reflected in both the final product and in the well-being of its workers.

"This system marks and advance in the industry as the first evaluation system for soluble coffee."

-YIMARA M. AGUDELO

CACIQUE exports to more than 65 countries, with the capacity to produce instant coffee in bulk, create private labels, produce coffee oil, and create infinite varieties of spray-dried, agglomerates, and freeze-dried. If you would like to learn more about Cacique, visit their website.

The Incredible CACIQUE TEAM that received us. From left to right: Anderson Almeida Bologna- Production and R&D Manager; Claudia Cardoso- Coordinator Integrated Management System and Sustainability; Ulisses Colonheze – Quality Assurance Manager; Yimara M. Agudelo – PHP Manager – CQI; Valderi Cristiano– Industrial Director.

Carlos Brando (left) sharing about the work of GCP.

A Global Mission

We were also able to learn more about the Global Coffee Platform.

GCP is a unique multi-stakeholder membership association of coffee producers, traders, roasters and retailers, civil societies, associations, governments, and donors, united under a common vision to work collectively towards a thriving, sustainable coffee sector for generations to come.

GCP has more than 130 members worldwide and is currently working in 10 countries addressing the most pressing challenges contributing to changing business practices through collaboration focusing on areas such as coffee sustainability, living income, data and measurement, climate change and gender equity in the coffee industry.

The coffee sector is entering a new era where sustainability is a shared responsibility. With the aim to prevent duplication or short-term projects developed in isolation, the Global Coffee Platform believes that only through working together under a common vision and commitment will we see a greater impact on the resilience and livelihoods of coffee farming communities around the world. By engaging with all stakeholders in the coffee sector, whether small, medium, or large, a global agenda is formed with farmers at its core. This global agenda is the voice of the coffee community, and all members of the Global Coffee Platform can contribute, shape, and participate in achieving this global vision. To learn more about the global work that is being done by GCP, visit their website.

"There is much work to be done, but initiatives like these are so important. We must work together to look for common solutions that allow us to continually put people and their well-being first to make a change in the industry, so that a higher quality of life can be ensured for all people who produce coffee."

-YIMARA M. AGUDELO