Óscar Daniel Sànchez Arenas, an agronomist specialist in soil management and crop production, braved the cold to watch speechless as hundreds of bags of Colombian-grown green coffee were unloaded from a train at the Nespresso Orbe production centre.
“The coffee arrives as it left our country. Through all the export process, nothing has been mixed, the coffee is as perfect as when it left Colombia in its neatly sewn bags,” he reflected later.
Sànchez was one of a group of 10 Colombian farmers and agronomists who travelled to Switzerland in March in recognition of their best practices and participation in the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program. They toured the Nespresso production facilities as part of an exchange of information, expertise and ideas sharing sessions with the equally passionate Nespresso employees who transform their green coffees into the highest quality Nespresso Grands Crus.
For the first time, the farmers and agronomists who grow highest quality green coffee with passion and dedication, and who stand at the heart of the Nespresso coffee creation chain, met the Nespresso team in the production centres. They learned about the process that develops the aromatic profile of their green coffee to create refined and balanced Nespresso coffees for consumers.
Sharing expertise, fostering knowledge
The group visited the Nespresso production facilities at Orbe and Avenches as part of their six-day stay in Switzerland. They were astonished at the number of quality controls and level of sophistication in the production centres. The group was hosted by experts who talked them through every part of the production process. The group also took part in green coffee and finished product tasting sessions, two of the many quality controls performed in the production centres. Through sensory analysis, experts control that the received coffees have the Nespresso aroma profile requirements and ensure the consistency of the in-cup quality of the Grands Crus. Farmers and agronomists tasted and compared the subtle aroma variations that the coffees can have from one terroir to the next within the Colombian typical coffee fruity winey aromatic profile.
“I will go home and tell everyone every step of the process in the production centres,” said farmer Fabio Alonso Reyes. “I did not expect it to be like this. To see such quality control, to see that the coffee that we have grown with the utmost care is also handled with the utmost care and respect, is impressive.”
“Two essential parts of the Nespresso coffee chain are meeting each other. It is the farmers who grow the coffee and our production experts who transform their coffee into fine Nespresso Grands Crus. They are the people who are at the heart of what we do, coffee,” said Martin Bugmann, Manager of the Nespresso Avenches Production Centre. “That is what makes this visit so special and so emotional.”
Explaining the benefits of the AAA Program
The farmers and agronomists also participated in the official launch of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program at Nespresso headquarters in Lausanne. They spent an evening sharing their stories as farmers and agronomists and experiences on coffee fields with around 250 Nespresso employees.
Ask any of them of the benefits of being part of the Nespresso the AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program and they talk about improvements in environmental practices which in turn have led to improvements in the quality profile of their green coffee production.
Jaime Marino Delgado, a coffee farmer from the Nariño cluster, has planted native trees around the many natural springs on his property to prevent erosion of the soil. This has in turn attracted native birds and deer.
“In my opinion, the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program should operate eternally in Colombia as it is one of the best programs that has been developed,” he said. “Each improvement that is made through the program is reflected in the improvement of the life of the farmer and the state of the environment, which is essentially about the improvement of our planet.”
At his farm in Nariño, Carlos Alberto Chimachana, who is also an agronomist, said the program had resulted in better prices for his green coffee crop. He said the farmers he worked hand-in-hand with on AAA also had seen quality and therefore price improvements. “The farmers I work with are honest, hard-working and devoted to producing high quality coffee which does result in best prices,” he said. “And in Columbia so many people depend on coffee.”
Shared passion for highest quality coffee
For Rosa Helena López de Soto, a coffee farmer and community leader , there is little difference in the people like herself who are growing coffee with commitment to quality and the employees in the production facilities with their devotion to excellence. “They are talking about their work passionately, in the same way that we coffee farmers are talking among ourselves, with passion.”