Buencafé’s essence of Colombia

The municipality of Chinchiná in Caldas, Colombia, a region of steep mountains that average 1500 metres above sea level, is nestled among lush coffee plantations on volcanic soil in what is known as the heart of the country’s coffee region. Here, surrounded by farmers and their families, is the home of Buencafé, which has more than 44 years experience transforming Colombian beans into freeze dried coffee and coffee extract. With a mission to generate value and wellbeing for Colombian coffee growers, Buencafé is part of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC), a non-profit group that represents more than half a million coffee-growing families. Buencafé invests its profits into improving the lives of those families, generating wealth and welfare by ensuring the present and future of the country’s coffee industry. Buencafé’s Research and Development Director Carlos Osorio says the company’s coffee extract, made using 100 per cent Colombian coffee and pure spring water, has many uses and is an ideal ingredient for the booming ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee sector. It is also used in a wide range of other products, including but not limited to alcoholic beverages, cakes and bread, sweets, and chocolates. Coffee extract is an intermediate product in the process of obtaining freeze dried coffee, so has been produced by Buencafé since the company began making soluble coffee more than 44 years ago. “It has been exported to different continents for nearly 20 years, along with our deep expertise in quality control and packaging details, which ensure that the best products reach the customer with full strength and quality,” Osorio says. Many techniques in the production process contribute to the high quality of Buencafé’s coffee extracts, Osorio says. These include the careful selection of only superior Colombian Arabica beans, plus the use of very low temperatures during freeze concentration. This removes water in the form of ice and preserves the delicate aroma of the coffee, which needs to be handled very carefully and with minimal contact with oxygen. This differs from the evaporation technique used extensively by other producers. “Buencafé’s coffee extract is 100 per cent natural coffee in pure water, which means it has no chemicals or preservatives at all, and only the gentle and sophisticated techniques used to capture the best coffee notes allow the soul of the beans to be captured in the viscous liquid,” he says. The coffee extract is particularly suited for RTD black coffee versions, Osorio says, where only coffee and water are used so the flavour needs to be completely free from defects which might otherwise be masked by other ingredients. Commercial Director Cristina Madriñan says Buencafé produces 11,500 tonnes of concentrated coffee extract and freeze-dried coffee each year, exporting its products to 63 countries on five continents. Its main client countries include Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Madriñan says the company’s extract is recognised for its superior aromas, which make it an ideal ingredient for multiple uses. “We are well-recognised for offering a differentiated Colombian coffee extract from our competitors because of the high content of aromas that make it an ideal ingredient for preparation,” Madriñan says. “Additionally, from this year, we will have frozen coffee extract available in New York, offering from small to high quantities for any kind of need. Our clients recognise us for reliability and transparency.”
R&D Director Osorio says Buencafe’s extract portfolio covers a wide range of cup profiles according to the different roasts. “These range from very light such as New England and Scandinavian, where the mild subtle fruity acidity of Colombian Arabica beans can be projected, through balanced profiles such as American and Viennese, to the darker, stronger versions like French and Italian with a powerful coffee character,” he says. Osorio adds that the latter are especially useful to give an intense coffee flavour to ice cream, confectionery, and other products where multiple flavours need to be combined. Buencafé has been awarded three Golden Stars from The International Taste and Quality Institute, a Brussels-based organisation in which highly recognised chefs and sommeliers judge the taste of food and drink products. The company credits the composition of its concentrated coffee extracts for the recognition. “Buencafé’s coffee extract and the beverages prepared with it are visually very attractive because they are shiny and translucent and the taste is mild and complex, representative of Colombian coffee, and absolutely clean and free from any off flavours,” Osorio says.

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