How Quality is Created in Every Step of the Production Process
Alessandro Pavoni, Chef and Owner, Ormeggio, Sydney
I recently travelled to Colombia with Nespresso to see how its coffee, which I serve in my Sydney restaurant Ormeggio, is farmed.
Alessandro on the coffee trail near Jardin, Colombia
During my time in Colombia observing Nespresso’s AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program in action, I learned many things. The most significant of these was that Nespresso is absolutely uncompromising when it comes to the quality of its coffee.
This resonates with me, because it’s what I do every day as a fine-dining chef in my restaurants, and it’s how I train my chefs too. Quality is key to everything we do. In Colombia we visited growers near Jardin. We saw how Nespresso’s agronomists assist and educate farmers to care for the soil, to add some biodiversity to improve their crops, to pick the coffee cherries at the right time, and, importantly, to choose which cherries to deliver to the community mill. Cherries that meet the stringent requirements for Nespresso’s AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program result in a better price for the farmer.
Alessandro with coffee farmer Humberto
We saw Nespresso’s quality controls in multiple places: on the farms when farmers grow and pick the cherries; at the community mill when the cherries are graded initially; at the regional co-op when the cherries are washed, dried and their skins are removed; during the cupping process where a single “bad” bean can result in an entire batch being rejected. There are quality controls at every stage of the process, and at the end only a small percentage of beans meet the AAA Sustainable Quality™ benchmark. I understand that this quality control system continues in Nespresso’s roasting facilities in Switzerland, where there are yet more stringent quality targets to be reached.
Alessandro Pavoni cupping coffee beans, which are tested and classified multiple times
I have trained my chefs to pursue quality at all stages of the cooking process but like Nespresso’s coffee it all starts with the raw product. My chefs look at produce when it comes in and accept it if it’s good enough; if not, they reject it. Clever cooking technique can of course create some magic (and disguise some flaws) but the quality of what you have in your hands before you cook (or roast, with coffee) is the most important thing.