SAO PAULO – Império Café, a coffee company based in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo, ships half of its exports to Arab countries. The enterprise has sold product to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya and Syria.
Its first dealings with the region took place in 2006, via international brokers stationed in Brazil. “We are keenly interested in expanding on the Arab market; there are plenty of countries in the region to which we do not sell yet,” says managing partner Henry D’Avila Stefenoni.
Império Café has recently become a member of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, and plans to break into as yet untapped markets. The goal is a 30% increase Middle East and North Africa exports to Arab countries, according to the businessman.
At this time, Império Café ships Arabica-type coffee grown in states of Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais to the Middle East and North Africa. “It is a strong-flavoured variety,” says Stefenoni.
Império Café’s foreign sales are not, however, restricted to Arab countries. The enterprise ships product to Europe, North America and South America. There are plans to sell to Asia as well, according to the managing partner.
Exports account for 40% of the company’s total sales. On the domestic front, the company sells to the states of São Paulo, Bahia, Minas, Goiás and Paraná.
Império Café sold 1.3 million 60-kilogram bags of raw coffee bean last year. The company selects the bean, separates it by type and quality, and then sells it as raw material to processing companies in Brazil and worldwide.
It operates with coffee of the Arabica type, grown in the states of Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais, and the Conilon – aka Robusta – type, grown in Espírito Santo, Rondônia and in the south of Bahia.
“Arabica coffee possesses the flavour that the foreign market demands. It usually gets sold to countries in the Middle East, Europe, and North America,” says Stefenoni. The Conilon or Robusta variety, in turn, has a more neutral taste, and sells to the world over.
Because its taste is not as strong, it can be combined with Arabica, the executive explains. Robusta coffee is also cheaper than the Arabica type. Império Café’s suppliers include sole growers, companies, and 300 hectares of proprietary crops, which yield 15,000 to 18,000 bags per year.
The company’s headquarters and managing facilities are in the city of Colatina, Espírito Santo. Its storage facilities are located in Marilândia, another municipality in the same state, with capacity to store 200,000 60-kg bags.
“We use state-of-the-art equipment to process 720 bags per hour. Thus being, we are able to source out the coffee very quickly either to ports, to be shipped abroad, or to storage sheds owned by our customers in Brazil,” says Stefenoni regarding the facilities in Marilândia.
The coffee is freighted to its final destination by either the company’s own fleet, or that of specialized companies.
Império Café has a branch in the state of Bahia, at which it is currently implementing new coffee storage and processing facilities, and another in Manhuaçú, in the state of Minas Gerais, which operates with Arabica coffee.
Império Café is a family-run business currently in its third generation.
It was founded in 1960 by David Stefenoni to buy and sell raw coffee bean throughout Brazil.
Source: Brazil-Arab News Agency