Sao Paulo, October 13, 2016 – The preservation of the sensory attributes of desired quality in coffee essentially depends on the storage conditions of the beans. With this in mind, Brazil’s largest paper producer and exporter and the leading manufacturer of corrugated board packaging and industrial bags, entered into an agreement for unprecedented research, whose findings prove that it is possible to preserve coffee quality for extended storage periods and that high barrier paper packaging is the most efficient in such process.
Led by professor Flávio Meira Borém of the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA-MG), in partnership with the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association (BSCA), Brazilian Agency to Promote Exports and Investments (Apex), Videplast, Bourbon Specialty Coffees and Carmocoffees, the study assessed eight different packaging types for two kinds of specialty coffee in the Brazilian and international markets for a period of 18 months. Using sensory analysis as reference, the final report, published in the first week of October, reveals that after 18 months of storage at a commercial warehouse in Brazil, results varied depending on the packaging used and on the type of coffee. Both natural coffee and peeled cherry coffee reached, in all areas, numbers above international levels when vacuum-packed in high barrier paper. At the end of the 18 months, all coffee packed in high barrier paper reached levels above 82 points, in addition to being considered more financially advantageous by the market, when compared to vacuum-packaging.
These findings have revolutionized the path of packaging consumption in the coffee industry in the last years, as vacuum-packing was considered till then the best storage system by the majority of coffee importers. A great deal of coffee production in Brazil is still conventionally stored in jute bags which, according to the findings, was the type of packaging that showed the highest and fastest reduction in bean quality, reaching levels below 80 points at the six-month assessment. Said loss of quality is due to variations in the water level of the beans and their interaction with the environment, which result from such type of packaging.
“The change in culture in the use of packaging must come not only from the coffee producers, but mainly from the coffeehouses that trade in the beverage. These places must demand from the specialty bean suppliers efficient packaging for long-term storage, which is exactly the big differential of the high barrier paper packaging, that is, preserve quality for longer periods when compared to the other packaging types”, points out Douglas Dalmasi, Klabin’s executive industrial packaging officer.
At six months storage, natural coffee packaged in jute bags scored below 80 points; the same result was observed at the end of 12 months in products stored in low barrier packaging. Nevertheless, low barrier paper packaging is directed to the segment known as “commodity coffee”, that is, beans considered non-special and produced in large scale, as it is more effective for this type of product when compared to jute packaging.
“In its 25 years of existence, the BSCA has endeavored to innovate to better place Brazil’s specialty coffee on the global market. We firmly support the project for assessment of new packaging alternatives and are convinced that the products will be of great use to the sector, leading to a break of paradigms with regards to coffee packaging” states Vanusia Nogueira, executive officer at BSCA.
International market of specialty coffee
According to data by Index Mundi, world coffee production is estimated at 139 million coffee bags for 2016, with Brazil accounting for 49 million bags of 60 kilos of that grand total. Export numbers for the year are estimated at 116 million coffee bags, again with Brazil leading with 33 million bags. Dalmasi also informs that of the 49 million bags in the 2016/2017 harvest in Brazil, more than 24 million will be put in bags. “Of these, 10 million bags are of specialty coffee beans, which proves the potential of the segment in the country, a segment that needs to adopt the alternatives for high barrier paper packaging so as to have a leading position by innovating in the type of packaging that will guarantee quality of the product exported to the world”, adds Klabin’s executive officer.
The objectives of the study included the identification of the physical and physiological changes to the coffee beans, sensory profile characterization and description of sucrose, glucose and fructose in the beans according to the packaging methods and the different storing conditions. Thus, the batches of commercial coffee were graded with an initial average assessment higher than 85 points, which classify coffee as very good and special, according to scale of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). Six sampling of natural coffee and of peeled cheery were carried out during the national stage as well as four in the international stage. The parameter of the referred to sensory analysis is the one that uses human senses to determine the characteristics and attributes of a product and assesses consumer preference, making it thus the main reference for buyers of specialty beans worldwide.
High barrier paper bags
At the beginning of this year, Klabin announced an agreement with UFLA, BSCA, Apex, Videplast, Bourbon and Carmocoffees for conducting the research and, on the same occasion, announced their new high barrier paper packaging for specialty coffee, manufactured with high resistance extensible paper, hermetically sealed when closed, with high protection film against luminosity, together with a system that eases opening called Easy Open. Bourbon and Carmocoffees pioneered the adoption of Klabin’s high barrier paper packaging, carrying out the first exports. In the wake of the research announcement, others took the same initiative, such as the coffee farmers cooperative Cooxupé (Regional Cooperative of Coffee Farmers of Guaxupé). Together with better potential for the preservation of the original characteristics of coffee, high barrier paper packaging is recyclable and made from renewable natural products produced with raw material from Klabin’s planted and certified forests.
To read the full final report “Assessment of packaging and storage methods for specialty coffee” visit:www.boremcafesespeciais.com.br.