Tokyo Tour: Brazilian coffee on the opposite side of the World


From Brazil to Japan. In early September, representatives of Nucoffee visited the Land of the Rising Sun to introduce the innovative nutraceutical coffee technology at the 2019 SCAJ World Specialty Coffee Conference and Exhibition.

This year’s event focused on “Innovation with Hospitality” and counted on the participation of the Business Manager of Nutrade, Roberta Armentano and the Head Professor at the Agricultural Engineering Department, Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), Prof. Dr. Flávio Borém.

During the meeting, Roberta introduced the Nucoffee platform to the audience, while Prof. Borém presented his recently completed research on nutraceutical coffees - the result of a public-private partnership (PPP) between Nucoffee and UFLA.

According to Roberta, during the lecture, the main question raised was whether the technology could mask the coffee defects. “We explained that Nucoffe/Syngenta Nutraceutical Coffee Processing Center will only receive mature and healthy beans, leaving the floaters, raisin and dry cherry, separated in the coffee washing machine of the farm. All control will be done so as to receive green, immature, but 100% healthy and defect-free beans”, she highlighted.

In addition to participating in SCAJ, Roberta and Prof. Borém had the opportunity to introduce the nutraceutical technology during visits to the largest coffee companies in Japan.

“The trip was a success! The nutraceutical coffee surprised everyone and the interest was huge. Undoubtedly, the opportunity to open the market in Japan is great, mainly because it is a country that seeks for healthier products,” said Roberta.

More quality in the farms and more flavor in the cup

Drinking a good coffee is the pleasure of thousands of people around the World, and this habit can be even more strength if the coffee provides benefits to health in addition to flavor. This is the advantage brought by nutraceutical coffees to the table.

The word "nutraceutical" is a combination of the words "nutrition" and "pharmaceutical". Thus, a nutraceutical product can be nutritious, functional, providing medicinal properties.

This innovation comes from a public-private partnership (PPP) between Syngenta and the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA) in Minas Gerais, which jointly conducted a study that improved the chemical profile of the beans, enhancing their flavor and increasing up to 40% its antioxidant properties. This improvement of coffee beans is what makes them nutraceutical coffees.

If up to now the so-called "coffee waves" have been based on:

- quality;

- consumption experience and

- the new methods of product processing, being the latest the artisanal coffee;

taking advantage of the functional food trend,  the research findings pave the way for the fifth coffee wave: the wave of healthiness, which broads its properties and reposition it as a functional food.

With this new approach, nutraceutical coffees allow the growers to offer beans with flavors not yet tasted by the consumer, besides exploring the commercialization of the product in other market segments, such as medicinal, supplements and even cosmetics.

The outcomes of nutraceutical coffee research

Started five years ago by Dr. Flávio Borém, Head Professor at the UFLA Department of Agricultural Engineering,  the research was designed to meet the following need: increase the healthy properties of coffee while improving its flavor. The research goal was successfully achieved.

Obtained through an innovative process that uses up to 30% of green beans, the new technique increases crop productivity, as well as the coffee bean quality score that, up to then, did not exceed 80 points when comprising a large amount of green cherries.

This means that nutraceutical coffees offers (in the cup) an unparalleled flavor, with more sweetness, complexity, acidity and body, and increasing 3 to 5 points on the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Sensory Rating scale.

Concluding, the results of the nutraceutical coffee research allow Syngenta, through Nucoffee platform, not only improve the quality of Brazilian coffees, but also contribute to the challenges faced by growers in terms of harvest productivity.