Catering to the rise in demand for premium coffee at home

premium coffee at home

Sensoria by Buencafé reinvents the experience of enjoying coffee at home as demand for premium soluble coffee solutions continues to rise.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people drink coffee. Not only are they making it themselves at home, but they also expect it to match the quality cafés offer.

While these trends have influenced all or most coffee product categories, instant or soluble coffee remains one of the simplest and most common ways people can make themselves coffee in their own kitchen.

According to soluble coffee producer Buencafé, the premiumisation of and demand for instant coffee has only gone up since the start of the pandemic.

“Our freeze-dried soluble coffee is not only high in quality, but also extremely versatile. Throughout 2020, we have observed a growing interest in premium soluble coffee and coffee concentrates, as both standalone products and ingredients in the premium food and beverage market. This includes concentrates used in RTD beverages, syrups, and more,” says Andrés Cruz, Research & Development Director at Buencafé. “Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global coffee supply chain, during the first half of 2020, we experienced the best growth in our history.”

Buencafé’s sales reached US$160 million by the end of the year, a 10 per cent increase versus 2019. Cruz says this is largely thanks to Buencafé immediately implementing safety measures following the onset of the pandemic, meaning the factory never had to cease operations.

“We quickly recognised that coffee consumption never really decreased during the pandemic – it just changed. We adapted to satisfy a new, emerging demand for home coffee consumption,” he adds. “Within our 10 per cent increase in sales, we saw particular spikes in private label B2B products for both wholesale and retail – our coffee concentrate sales, for example, grew by 70 per cent. This is because consumers are increasingly seeking quality, convenience, and sustainability in their coffee. Our innovation ticks all three of those boxes.”

Andrés Cruz, Research & Development Director at Buencafé.

In 2019, the soluble coffee plant rolled out Sensoria by Buencafé, a suite of innovative multi-stage technologies and processes, such as early aroma recovery and dynamic extraction, allowed Buencafé to expand its portfolio and enhance the quality of each offering.

“By using these techniques, we seek to preserve the coffee’s attributes throughout all stages of the process and deliver them, intact, to the end consumer,” Cruz says. “This means adhering to rigorous quality standards from farm to cup, using 100 per cent Colombian  Arabica coffees, and leveraging our cutting-edge technology and coffee expertise.”

Once Buencafé receives hand-picked green coffee beans from Colombian producers, its team carefully roasts them, unlocking the delicate, volatile flavour compounds that are responsible for the aroma and taste of the coffee. “Thanks to Sensoria by Buencafé, we are able to capture and return those compounds at the right time, avoiding losing them and maintaining distinct and complex flavour profiles,” Cruz explains.

“Our freeze-drying process then locks in these flavours, [which] results in an instant coffee or coffee concentrate with cupping profiles that resemble freshly brewed roasted coffee.”

To maintain this quality, Buencafé’s quality control team continually monitors, cups, and evaluates its entire range of freeze-dried coffees.

“By using Sensoria technologies, in tandem with our preexisting soluble coffee techniques, we have reached a new level of flexibility with our products,” Cruz says. “We now have the ability to create lots of combinations, pursuing even more personalisation than before. This has given us a much more dynamic and focused range of flavour profiles.”

Buencafé describes two cup profiles in particular for the freeze-dried coffee that Sensoria by Buencafé can seamlessly produce for private label customers.

Coffage offers an intense aroma, subtle refreshing citrus notes, mild sweetness, and a touch of spices, leaving the “genuine experience” of fresh coffee in the mouth.

Lineage is “luxurious and splendid” with an elegant coffee flavour, vibrant aroma, pronounced body, and deep and pleasant character that lingers.

“We have always chosen to make custom-designed products – this has been one of Buencafé’s value propositions for years,” Cruz says. “We manufacture what the client wants and needs. With Sensoria by Buencafé, we can give our products so many more profiles and flavours than we could before.”

According to external market research carried out in North America and Europe, consumers have commented that soluble coffee produced with Sensoria by Buencafé “smells like it is freshly brewed ground coffee” and “the aroma is gentle and not overpowering. The coffee tastes rich and is full bodied on the tongue, with a nice lingering aftertaste”. 

Cruz says Sensoria by Buencafé has been successful in both of those regions, as well as the booming Asian market. According to global consulting firm LMC International, freeze-dried soluble coffee will have a compound annual growth rate of 9.8 per cent in Southeast Asia and 21.5 per cent in China. Cruz believes the premiumisation that Buencafé can offer primes it to take a lead in these emerging markets.

“Our focus on operational efficiency, improving quality, and leveraging new innovations in soluble coffee have secured our place as a world leader in the [soluble] coffee sector,” he says.

“Our new tech-suite, Sensoria by Buencafé, is a testament to this. It offers the freshest instant coffee you can possibly dream of, always tailored to your needs. Our technology makes the impossible possible, by letting us surprise the world with a rich, complex, and unique taste.”

However, Sensoria by Buencafé is only one aspect of what the soluble coffee supplier has to offer. Since 1973, Buencafé has continued to expand its coffee portfolio to offer micro-ground and coffee concentrates alongside its high-quality freeze-dried soluble coffee and fully customisable private-label service.

“Around 90 per cent of our total production is exported annually for consumers to enjoy in more than 60 countries around the world,” Cruz says. “Our goal is to increase the number of customisable options available each year, as well as improving our social and environmental impact.” 

Buencafé’s goals include to reduce its use of plastic, develop more eco-friendly packaging options, and promote sustainable practices across the supply chain. One such recent initiative was the introduction of a recyclable tin can container for Buencafé’s private label instant coffee products.

Since its inception, each innovation Buencafé makes with its products – all of which are grown, roasted, and freeze-dried in Colombia – is done for the betterment of Colombian coffee growers.

“Every year, 100 per cent of our revenue goes towards supporting these producers and improving their wellbeing,” Cruz says. “[Our] success doesn’t just see Buencafé benefit. It also supports half a million coffee-producing families across Colombia.”

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This article was first published in the September/October edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.

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