NESCAFÉ sets high standards in coffee-bean buying
April 2008

Those tasked to screen the coffee beans are specially trained to spot the best coffee beans

Titus Fernandez of Nestlé Philippines Cagayan De Oro Factory stabs three sacks of green coffee bean (GCB) with a “buriki”. In one swift move, he gets random samples of the morning’s delivery for strict standard evaluation.

“How strict? The GCB will be graded according to the percentage of total triage by weight of a composite sample, its moisture content, and finally, its cup taste which are all based on international standards,” reveals Fernandez.

The first screening is designed to filter out deliveries with physical defects. These include green coffee beans with foreign body, admixture, black beans, cherry, stinker beans, husk fragments, parchment fragments, broken beans, moldy beans, immature beans, and insect-damaged beans.  

“These defects affect the overall quality of coffee,” explains Fernandez. “In fact, few of these defects can cause problems in our production as they can damage our equipment.”

Nestlé Philippines GCB Grading System puts prime weight on the presence of foreign body, which bears 7.0 weight coefficient, in evaluating the GCB because this indicates poor harvesting and processing by the coffee farmer or trader. The most common foreign bodies found are the corn, rice, soya and stones.

Harvested coffee beans go through a very strict process of selection.

Next is the presence of admixture, which is sound bean of another botanical variety other than Robusta, at 3.0 weight coefficient.

“NESCAFÉ Classic, our main product in CDO Factory, is made of 100 per cent Robusta coffee,” explains Fernandez. “Any ingredient other than Robusta can cause undesirable taste and aroma.”

The third at 2.0 weight coefficient are black beans, coffee beans of which half or more than one-half of the external appearance is black. Fernandez says black beans produce the most awful taste: dirty, astringent and woody.

NESCAFÉ only buys GCBs with Grade I to Grade 3 or coffee beans having eight percent to 16 percent triage.

The GCBs are then evaluated for their moisture content. Those with 12 percent moisture content are automatically rejected.

Harvested coffee berries are poured into a floatation tank to separate floaters from the sinkers. Sinkers are good quality ripe berries that are free from insect damage. To ensure high quality GCBs, coffee berries that have been dried and dehulled, sinkers must be dried within 24-48 hours after harvest.

Tasting is an integral part in cofee making.

“Partially dried coffee can lead to fermented or fruity flavors in the coffee,” says Fernandez. “It’s also susceptible to mold which can cause moldy or musty flavors.”

The final screening after moisture test, of course, is cupping or cup tasting. Coffee with moldy, fermented, and foreign taste is automatically rejected.

“We have a team of highly-trained cup tasters who can detect slight nuances of coffee taste and aroma,” says Fernandez, who is himself an experienced cup taster.

In recent years, Fernandez says they have been getting good quality coffee from Grade 1 to Grade 2 from coffee farmers.

“I think Nestlé has successfully gotten its message across coffee sellers,” says . Fernandez “We are serious about making coffee.”

The Nestlé CDO factory is where the country’s best-selling instant coffee, NESCAFÉ is produced from GCBs brought from Nestlé’s 11 satellite buying stations across the country.

“A lot of things go in the preparation of NESCAFÉ,” says. Fernandez. “The great thing is that consumers need not worry about anything except pouring in the hot water.”

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