20 years of AAA Program



This International Coffee Day, let’s keep protecting the taste we love

Coffea arabica is a delicate and demanding plant: it grows only at certain altitudes and requires a very exacting balance of temperature and moisture. This makes it one of the crops most at risk from climate change

Two decades ago, we realised that the long-term supply of high-quality coffee was under threat. We decided to act, building a coffee sourcing program unlike anything seen before.

20 years of care

The result was the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, co-created in partnership with the Rainforest Alliance. The founding principle of AAA was to build strong and direct relationships with coffee farmers, protecting the nature and life in landscapes where coffee is grown, and to strengthen communities’ environmental and economic resilience.

On October 1st we celebrate International Coffee Day. And this year, it represents a special milestone as the AAA Program celebrates its 20th anniversary. A program which has grown from 300 farmers in Costa Rica in 2003 to over 150,000 farmers in 18 countries, creating a lasting legacy for thousands of farming families and protecting the future of the unforgettable Nespresso taste our Club Members know and love.

The AAA program provides technical training that empowers the farmers improve the quality of their coffee and increase the yield of their harvest.  Nespresso then rewards the investment farmers make in sustainable quality by paying a premium price for their beans. A distinctive aspect of this program is that Nespresso buys coffee from the same farmers year after year, giving them the security of a reliable, long-term partner, allowing us to build mutual trust and enduring partnerships Through initiatives such as agroforestry, crop insurance, and retirement savings schemes, Nespresso’s AAA Program helps farmers to safeguard their land and livelihood for the future.

From sustaining to regenerating

Extreme temperature fluctuations, heavy rainfall and droughts pose serious risks to coffee crops, while weather shocks can also exacerbate pests and disease. And if the coffee is exposed to risks, so are the farmers. This demands urgent action: it’s why we’re working together with Rainforest Alliance and our partner farmers on an ambitious transition to regenerative agriculture. An approach that goes beyond sustainable farming, embracing the power of nature to heal and restore itself.​

This is regenerative coffee agriculture, a vision based on harnessing nature and its diversity as an asset. Through the AAA Program, coffee farmers will make a positive contribution to the natural ecosystem by adopting regenerative farming practices and by producing in ways that restore and protect biodiversity in and around their farms – embracing the power of nature to heal and restore itself.

Regenerative agriculture delivers benefits to farmers, environment, and society by addressing the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and community resilience. As we move through the decisive decade, Nespresso sees a tremendous opportunity to transition the whole coffee industry to a model that supports ecosystem services, sequesters carbon, and provides diversified sources of income to farmers.

Coffee is a force for good

This AAA Program is a reflection of Nespresso’s core belief: that the coffee sector has the potential to be a powerful force for good in the world. This deep and long-term commitment helped us earn B Corp status, putting Nespresso within a community of companies which meet high standards of social and environmental sustainability.

For over 30 years, sustainability has been part of how we do business at Nespresso. Today, our sustainability strategy is called “The Positive Cup”. More information about our sustainability goals, strategy, and achievements can be found here.

Read more about the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program here.