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Ever innovative coffee

Whether you like it espresso, ristretto, cappuccino, noisette, long or decaffeinated, coffee remains the sweetheart of consumers. This key product is the superstar at the Equip’Hôtel Salon and its range is constantly growing with new innovations.

“Coffee should be tasted the same way as a good wine: first with the eyes, for a creamy espresso, then with the nose, for its aroma, and finally with the mouth,” enthuses Bernard Quartier, president of the Institut pour le Développement des Cafés et Cafés-Brasseries (IDCCB).Equitable commerce and sustainable development are major war horses for producers, and more than 25 million people depend on the economy of coffee. The intention is laudable, although the measures are still rife with imperfections. For fifteen years Kraft Foods, at the sides of NGO (non-governmental organisations), has been committed. It finances programmes that provide aid in Peru, Vietnam, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Nicaragua and is starting measures to promote sustainable agriculture in Ethiopia. Kraft Foods has also entered into partnership with Rainforest Alliance, an NGO that is highly implicated in nature preservation. It is committed to buying increasing quantities of coffee certified by Rainforest Alliance (6,400 tonnes in 2005). The group also offers “Un Café pour agir” under the brand Jacques Vabre that consists of 100% coffee grains produced under supervision by Rainforest. Lavazza, meanwhile, has obtained approval for its project Tierra which it has supported for three years with Volcafè (one of the world’s largest coffee producers) and Rainforest Alliance. The goal is to help small producers in Honduras, Colombia and Peru improve their coffee as well as quality of life. The new product Tierra is entirely traceable. It is a blend of three types of green and treated Arabicas.Espresso, ristretto, long, cappucino, noisette or decaffeinated, the “petit noir” has always been popular among consumers. Moreover it is the only beverage whose sales are up (+5% last year) in cafés and café-pubs. This year it stars at Equip’Hôtel, particularly in the café-bar space designed by Miguel Cancio Martins to showcase the renewal of bars and bistrots. His signature, which graces the décor of nightspots and trendy bars (Buddha Bar in Paris, Club Olivia Valere in Marbella), enters a partnership here with the great names in coffee Lavazza, Malongo, Nespresso, Café Richard et Café Illy to create the promotional operation: “Un café un jour”.In fact the range available to consumers is constantly growing with new innovations. These new blends are all based on two of the major species of coffee: Arabicas (75% of production) with its smooth and mellow, slightly acidic flavour, and Robustas, which are fuller bodied and bitter and have a higher concentration of caffeine.Like wine, coffee has its regional origins: Central America, South America (Brazil, Colombia,...), Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya,...), Indonesia… as well as its best years. Classification depends on very specific criteria (botanic species, altitude, harvest, treatment,...). “Pure Origin” coffees, which are guaranteed to be 100% from the same source, are the most characteristic. According to specialists, the greatest coffees are Arabicas, which have more aromatic qualities than coffees made with Robusta. Roasting and blending of varieties with different origins thus compose the extensive palette offered by specialists. At fine restaurants and within certain hotel chains such as Sofitel, menus now include a coffee list in addition to the wine list. On the list offered by Heston Blumenthal, chef at the English restaurant The fat duck, 3 stars from Michelin, one may even find blends by Nespresso, which is proud to have seduced such as chef with its new products.Another trend is equitable commerce, a theme that has gained increased public awareness. Cafés Richard, which, in France, supplies the National Assembly, the Elysée and the Regional Council of Ile de France, have added two coffees bearing the Max Havelaar seal of approval to their range. This label guarantees profitable revenues for small producers. Other producers have made pledges through NGOs to support initiatives that are intended to improve living conditions of local populations .“The same consumer trends may be observed in all countries. Some are simply more advanced in terms of innovations,” observes Amélie Jugan product manager at Kraft foods. Espresso remains the core market, at least in France where consumer habits are closer to those in Italy. On the other hand, Germany and Belgium (and Northern Europe in general) have habits that are more akin to those found in the United States and Great Britain. There, coffee is served in larger portions using mugs or large cups. Most often, it is long and served with milk and cream.Coffee service also benefits from technological advances. In CHR, today there are three types of machines available for preparing a cup of coffee: the traditional percolator, with its grinder; automatic machines where it’s enough to push a button to achieve consistent quality; and single doses in the form of pods or capsules, the invention of which considerably changed consumer habits. “The CHR market was significantly less impacted than mass retail which underwent a veritable revolution,” indicates Amélie Jugan, however. But this did not stop professionals from adopting pods and capsules as well because they solve problems related to practicality and hygiene and ensure a high standard of quality. This is particularly true in upscale hotels and restaurants. Thus, Nespresso is present at all Relais & Châteaux and in the Radisson chain’s 170 hotels, which make a selection of grands crus sealed in airtight capsules available to their clientele. This is just one way for luxury properties to develop the loyalty of their business clientele during seminars and congresses when the slightest detail matters in the quest for excellence.“Globally speaking, the coffee available today is good! But today it is also possible to have an espresso at home whereas just a few years ago it was only possible in bars that were equipped with a machine. This necessarily effects tastes of consumers who more readily seek a brand they are already familiar with. It is reassuring. In fact, the consumer doesn’t care how the coffee is made. What matters is the quality of the product and the price on it,” observes Amélie Jugan.Single doses have the advantage of being practical and enabling a broader selection of aromas. At Lavazza, the Lavazza Blue range offers a wide choice from Espresso Delicato 100% Arabica, which is slightly acidic, to Intense Espresso, which is a blend of Arabicas and Robustas, not to mention Caffè Crema Gusto Dolce, smooth and velvety, Espresso Decaffeinato Soave, with its chocolaty aftertaste. The range also includes a variety of black teas, flavoured teas, green teas, and sweet milk preparations as well as herbal teas. Nespresso produces six varieties and two limited editions each year.The way coffee is served has also changed and is becoming increasingly sophisticated. More and more often it is served with a glass of water and a choice of sugar and sugar substitute, a chocolate or sweet. At upscale properties, it is presented with a dish of mini desserts. This little extra adds polish to the service and has a certain effect on the client’s pleasure, as does the choice of attractive crockery. And the little packets of “grains de sucre” (three pieces of blond sugar shaped like coffee grains) produced by the company Belle de Sucre also play a role in this. And such staging is not without any impact on price! By adding “related products”, it is possible to compensate for the drop in dessert consumption thanks to an “enriched” coffee that may be sold at a higher price.Moreover, new habits are appearing with mixed beverages inspired by consumer habits in Anglo- Saxon countries where they are offered at fast-food chains such as Stardhust or Colombus. These beverages are more gourmand, milkier, and the consumer is familiar with them, and looks for and asks for them. Capuccino is a classic, but it is already available in varieties with whipped cream, milk, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, amaretto, macadamia nut, chestnut, and all kinds of fruits added to it.A wide array of combinations are possible that are increasingly trendy and have joined the ranks of the café frappé, steamer and Irish Coffee. Coffee has become a gourmandise- pleasure that may almost be likened to a dessert.Sustainable development: the industry’s commitment Equitable commerce and sustainable development are major war horses for producers, and more than 25 million people depend on the economy of coffee. The intention is laudable, although the measures are still rife with imperfections. For fifteen years Kraft Foods, at the sides of NGO (non-governmental organisations), has been committed. It finances programmes that provide aid in Peru, Vietnam, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Nicaragua and is starting measures to promote sustainable agriculture in Ethiopia. Kraft Foods has also entered into partnership with Rainforest Alliance, an NGO that is highly implicated in nature preservation. It is committed to buying increasing quantities of coffee certified by Rainforest Alliance (6,400 tonnes in 2005). The group also offers “Un Café pour agir” under the brand Jacques Vabre that consists of 100% coffee grains produced under supervision by Rainforest. Lavazza, meanwhile, has obtained approval for its project Tierra which it has supported for three years with Volcafè (one of the world’s largest coffee producers) and Rainforest Alliance. The goal is to help small producers in Honduras, Colombia and Peru improve their coffee as well as quality of life. The new product Tierra is entirely traceable. It is a blend of three types of green and treated Arabicas.

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