A recipe for success
UNICAFÉ has exported coffee for over 50 years now and, during that time, it has developed a work methodology which has become standard for all our negotiation processes.
The first step is the purchase of green coffee from the internal market. After it has been purchased and delivered, the coffee is stored in suitable facilities and the product is checked in its entirety. Afterwards, the coffee is graded in our labs using samples.
The importer determines the desired quality, volume and shipping dates. The price is based on the coffee rates at the three main exchange boards (CSCE in New York, Lifee in London and BM&F in São Paulo) and on the local market.
After negotiations, the lab is responsible for preparing the quality desired by the importer and our logistics department takes care of the physical, operational and logistic portion of the export process, or of internal transport to the national coffee industries.
Purchase and selection
UNICAFÉ has offices and purchase and sale units in the main coffee producing areas of the country. The company buys directly from the producers, traders and associations, and then stores this coffee in its warehouses. This is where, later on, the coffee will be processed according to strict procedures and guidelines so as to eventually produce the varied export grade qualities that are demanded by the our foreign consumers.
Partnership and trust
UNICAFÉ´s clients visit the producing areas periodically so as to monitor the crop and to make contacts. This closeness brings about a sense of trust that is of utmost importance in the process of buying and selling the product.
GRADING AND SAMPLING
Grading is a fundamental step in the coffee negotiation. It´s through grading that the product´s commercial value is established. There are two types of classifications: by coffee bean or by beverage quality.
The process of defining commercial value
The coffee is analyzed through 300g samples of the product. In the labs, UNICAFÉ keeps samples of every single type of coffee stored in its warehouses. The exported qualities are prepared based on these samples.
During the process that goes from receiving the purchased coffee to shipping to international markets, our product undergoes several quality checks and controls through sampling.
This analysis is done with a uniform 300g sample of the product, whose “ type” will be determined based on the amount of imperfection. The COB (Official Brazilian Classification) table labels coffee as “Type 2” to “Type 8” – and one more inferior quality - , considering that the lower the number, the fewer the imperfections. The foreign market usually considers a “type 4/5” or better as an export-type coffee.
Besides imperfections, other factors are weighed in the sample analysis, such as: coffee aspect and coloring, sieve (average bean size), roasting, humidity and harvest date.
Classification by beverage quality is a major factor in the general classification of the product. By tasting the beverage, the evaluators assess its characteristics such as acidity, body and flavor, to name a few.
Uniformity is one of the determiners of the coffee´s value. Classifiers use specific terminology to evaluate the beverage: Strictly Soft, Soft, Hard, Rioy, Rio and Rio Zona.
Every market has its own specific preferences, which can all be met due to the wide range of coffees available in Brazil.