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The coffee of the future will bring quality and ethical sourcing to the forefront

MILAN, Italy — The “Third Wave”, which brought single-origin coffee and ethical sourcing to the forefront, did a lot to change perceptions of coffee. And also demand throughout the supply chain.

The spread of Specialty Coffees and micro-roasting concerns requires, for example, machinery suitable for producing small batches. “We have devised equipment that help master roasters create a roasting recipe that releases just the right flavour and aroma from the single-origin coffee.

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Also on small-capacity models,” say Luca Giberti, sales manager for IMA Coffee Petroncini and Nicola Panzani, strategic marketing manager for IMA Coffee GIMA.

“In the field of packaging, in particular for single-use capsules, we are seeking a very clear trend towards environmental sustainability aimed at reducing the packaging, through the use of barrier capsules that do away with the need for flow-packs, and through the choice of recyclable materials (PP or AL) rather than non-recyclable plastics. In the case of single-use capsules, the aim is to improve the quality of coffee made at home: here there is continuous innovation on materials and systems, with new solutions being developed every year.”

The quality of single-origin products has also led to another demand “for green-coffee cleaning and selection systems, for medium and large-scale roasters, leading to an increase in ever higher-performance technologies that guarantee a constant level of quality for the raw product and, thanks to the full control of the internal process, give added value to the finished product.”

So the new imperative in all channels is so-called “premiumisation”, that is to say, trying to stand out from the rest.

“The main tools for increasing the quality perceived by the customer are high-quality, ethical sourcing, environmental sustainability, eye-catching packaging and an attractive location. As for different ways of enjoying coffee, the factor that enhances the perception of the quality of the coffee being drunk is the experience that goes with it,” the two managers from the IMA group say.

The increasing attention towards quality in the cup also involves bar equipment, including grinding machines, as Silvia Marcato, product manager of Mazzer explains: “Coffee grinding is an operation that involves a strong human interaction in an artisanal component and that remains an important added value.

In this regard, there is plenty of room for any technical innovation that enables expert baristas to keep every aspect of the grinding process under control, so that they can bring out the best in the coffee. And thanks to IoT, those who work in the sector now have at their disposal instruments that continually improve the service provided and give better guarantees of quality. It is precisely because of this need to protect and appreciate the value the human touch gives to the whole process, that the technology we introduce must not take over entirely, but rather work alongside and assist people, offering them new, unexpected ways of working.”

Innovations will ensure constantly high performance levels and extreme precision in setting the grading of the grains: “with digital control in microns of the distance at which the grinders are spaced from each other, the system can be continually recalibrated to maintain settings over time and transfer them to other appliances,” Marcato concludes.