Article

An Australian Way of Life

We want to do a lot of stuff; we’re not in great shape. We didn’t get a good night’s sleep. We’re a little depressed. Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup.”

~ Jerry Seinfeld

As the Category Leader for the Hot Beverages’ procurement team at Foodbuy, coffee is a core part of my role. Luckily, coffee to me is also my passion, a true daily interest and a real necessity in my work and personal life. It has been said, “the day begins with turning on the coffee machine”. I think there is something in that!

And I am certainly not alone, but am just one of nearly 19 million Australians who drink coffee. 28% of these Aussies drink three or more cups of coffee daily and we consume 37 million kilograms of coffee a year!  It is an incredible volume of coffee and to consume this much we spend a staggering $3 billion on coffee every year with an average Australian consumption of 14 cups of coffee every week. In fact, 23% of coffees ordered in Australia are takeaways with around 35% of households containing a personal espresso machine.

We truly are a coffee nation – and that suits me down to the ground!

Most of us, (not all admittedly, though we’ll talk tea another day), turn to coffee daily. It is a well-loved ritual, an important part of our daily routine and an experience we can all truly involve ourselves in. Our loyalty to our favourite brands, blends, and ambience at our local coffee shop is what keeps us engaged in this daily beverage consumption, but to what involvement do we, personally, have with the actual product we consume?

To some, coffee is but a welcome source of caffeine – a wakeup call to increase energy levels and feel less tired. Some drink it to assist the body’s metabolism and improve brain function. To others, it is for comfort, familiarity and a personal or shared social interaction. Additionally, there are those that hold a scientific fascination in the origin, the processing, the roasting and the method in which their coffee is served – this is the world I am immersed in. To procure coffee, as a profession and on behalf of our Member Clients and their customers, means to understand and respect the whole process – the entire supply chain and the unique science and unbelievably, talented and passionate people that sit behind our favourite blends.

We are all somewhat “Sommeliers of coffee” but this is also a unique and valued profession within a global industry of both international and Specialty experts who help to develop and shape our coffee culture and who understand the factors influencing the flavour of our coffee. Starting with the environment in which the coffee is grown, its Origin. The sun, the wind, the rain, and shade all directly impact the profile of the soil in which the coffee plant grows. This environment the coffee bean grows within shapes an earthy taste or carries almond notes or citrus bursts. Our emotional link to aroma helps define the flavour we experience and helps us identify with our chosen coffee; from chocolatey notes to fruity or nutty tones, the flavours and aromas are what underpins the consumer experience and, for me and my team, is what makes this category so compelling. It informs the development of our broad portfolio and the work we undertake to develop personal and tailored experiences for our Member Clients through our “Coffee Democracy” programs.

More and more consumers wish to know where their coffee has come from, what varietal bean has found its way into their midst and how their own coffee consumption impacts the world. The journey of the coffee bean is a long and fascinating one, in which the human touch has lovingly cultivated a tiny seed into the vibrant and emotionally charged beverage we enjoy today. The journey starts with the farmer planting a seed in a sunny climate, lovingly tending the plant while it grows and bears fruit, (which can take many years) and where the fruit, known as the Cherry, is harvested, sometimes by machine, sometimes by the human hand.

Inside the Cherry is a coffee bean, green in colour and not ready for grinding just yet. From here the bean is separated from the Cherry, dried, and milled as part of processing, the beans are exported, still green, (or non-roasted), and shipped. Talented quality graders and roasters will roast small batches and test the quality, aroma, and flavour – known as the cupping process and these batches are then bought, roasted, and packaged ready for sale.

This whole process embodies our equal passion and focuses on the ethical practices and eradication of Modern Slavery for those people and communities involved in the coffee planting and harvesting process. Your coffee should give you comfort that it symbolises the responsibility and respect for those that work throughout the supply chain to bring it to you.

And the science doesn’t stop there…

Coffee, like anything else we eat or drink, tastes, smells, and feels the way it does because locked inside the coffee bean is a complex molecular and genetic code that determines what we experience. Every flavour, every aroma, every texture originates in a set of chemicals, which in turn are determined by the seed’s genes, by how and where the coffee was grown, and by everything it has experienced since leaving the tree (processing, drying, milling, storage, transport, roasting, brewing and so on).”

~ World Coffee Research – Sensory Lexicon                     

Here at Foodbuy, our team embrace and explore our own relationship with coffee, not just the experiences we value as consumers but also how we can, with our Member Clients, influence and support a positive social impact through the cup of beautifully presented Cappuccino we hold in our hands. Our work in this category, supported by our dedicated and unique “Worldfirst” ethical and sustainable procurement platform ensures we place responsibility and community right through the supply chain to the seed being planted at the farm. With our carefully selected Supply Partners as our guiding source of excellence and introduction into the world of coffee, we have been able to expand our understanding of coffee farming, green bean buying, Q-grading and processing to ensure our Member Clients and consumers can feel proud of the blend and brand they choose and have both transparency and confidence to appreciate the humanitarian impact this little berry and its seed has on the world.

The relationship with our Foodbuy Supply Partners is founded on our values – on trust and integrity and in a shared commitment to sustainability, equality, and respect. As a procurement team, we understand both our responsibility and opportunity to connect our Member Clients to the very best roasters and farmers and to create a consumer experience that reflects these commitments and our passion for excellence.

The global coffee community recognises this integral human interaction in the coffee bean’s journey and is bringing the world’s trading governments together to cooperate in reducing the humanitarian challenges facing the coffee sector throughout the world.

 “The ICO’s mission is to strengthen the global coffee sector and promote its sustainable expansion in a market-based environment for the betterment of all participants in the coffee sector. It makes a practical contribution to the development of a sustainable world coffee sector and to reducing poverty in developing countries…”

~ International Coffee Organisation

The ICO member governments currently represent around 98% of global production and 67% of global consumption. They have 43 exporting members and 6 importing members. The industry is confronted with many challenges, and aligned to the broader global food community, minimising food waste through over-production is a top priority. The fluctuations in consumer supply and demand naturally impacts the producer’s forecasting and management of production capacity and where the global coffee community is working hard on technologies, innovation and with their clients to develop both short-term and long-term solutions that meet this growing sustainability expectation and challenge.

At the centre of the industry is both sustainable farming and meeting the ever-evolving consumer dynamic. The consumer awareness and expectation for sustainable coffee plays a key role for further investment in technologies and innovation at the farming level in addition to greater brand awareness and marketing at the outlet. Currently, the purchase of sustainable or certified sustainable blends and brands represent around 2% of the World’s consumption in developed markets – clearly a significant opportunity ahead of us and where the industry has high hopes that over the next decade the consumer selection and purchase of the certified sustainable coffee segment will strengthen to become the standard rather than the competitive differentiator it is often positioned as today.

Our coffee options not only hold Fairtrade certifications, which dedicate transparent and respectful partnerships with those who depend on coffee farming as their livelihoods, but also Rainforest Alliance certifications and Organic guarantees. The Rainforest Alliance seal is a recognised certification that ensures farmers and foresters are aligned and working together in creating harmony and sustainability for the production and environment where this widely traded commodity is cultivated.

Did you know, around 65+ countries in the world grow coffee along the equator? This is known as the Coffee Bean Belt and is located between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. This longitude and latitude sparked the name of our very own award winning Foodbuy private label; 30 Degrees South Coffee. Sitting across 6 blends, 30 Degrees South Coffee offers a range of taste profiles to suit the palette while incorporating a Fairtrade Organic certification – Coffee with Purpose!

We partner with some of the World’s best roasters, who have developed our portfolio of coffees across seven pillars of excellence which span Private Label, Exclusive, Branded, Specialty, Indigenous, Locally Roasted and Micro Batch blends. We can provide solutions to satisfy even the most particular coffee drinker and where our Supply Partners select their procurement with global brokers who in turn operate robust ethical and environmental programmes to ensure sustainability in the supply chain. They also source direct with the farms at origin, visiting and grading coffee with the growers and walking the coffee estates in person with the families that tend the harvest as their livelihood.

At Foodbuy we listen closely to the needs of our Member Clients and the growing global trends concerning sustainability and locality, Specialty and origin. With the help of our talented roasters we can offer a wide variety of coffees that satisfy complex taste profiles, seasonal variety, local roasting, sustainably sourced and certified, and community focussed Indigenous options. This ensures we, as your procurement agent, can offer you the peace of mind that the coffee you are drinking has been sourced from a supply chain that has quality, sustainability, and the farmer at its heart.

Fancy a taste of “Coffee Democracy”? Take the ‘plunge’ and come and meet the team at www.Foodbuy.com.au

At Foodbuy, we love the amazing relationships we have with our Indigenous-owned Supply Partner community. Click here to view the latest Partner Showcase celebrating our longstanding partnership with the team ​at Waddi Group.

We can’t ‘espresso’ how much we like to talk about coffee. There will always be a brew waiting for you at Foodbuy!

 

References:

https://whatasleep.com.au/blog/coffee-statistics-australia/

http://www.ico.org/mission07_e.asp?section=About_Us

http://www.ico.org/libser/executive%20summary.pdf

https://worldcoffeeresearch.org/work/sensory-lexicon/

 

Emma Stehlin is the Senior Procurement Manager (Café, Prepared Foods & Manufacturers), Foodbuy Australia 

 

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