Industry News | May 12, 2010

Sara Lee and Douwe Egberts Head Back to School

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To educate its sales staff and consumers on the ins and outs of its Douwe Egberts Cafitesse liquid coffee product, Sara Lee Foodservice announced the launch of its Cafitesse Academy at its Suffolk, Virginia, liquid coffee plant.

“Cafitesse Academy is an atmosphere where we can bring our employees and our customers in to explain the heritage of Douwe Egberts, the innovation of Douwe Egberts, and teach them about our quality, our sustainability, and our whole package that we can offer the operator and the end user,” says Chad Black, senior training manager of beverage solutions for Sara Lee Foodservice.

The Cafitesse coffee system the Academy is training users on is the latest liquid coffee product from Douwe Egberts, which is in the Sara Lee Foodservice portfolio of brands.

The Cafitesse—meaning “fast coffee”—product concentrates roast and ground coffee into a liquid that is placed in a bag-within-a-box system. Each box is flash frozen after production in order to maintain aroma and freshness. Operators place the boxes of coffee liquid inside a proprietary Cafitesse dispenser.

Black says many things can affect the quality of coffee, including shipping time, storage, cleanliness, coffee to water ratio, water quality and temperature, time on the burner, and so on.

With the Cafitesse product, which produces a cup of coffee on demand with the touch of a button, he says Douwe Egberts is letting operators produce a consistent, quality cup of coffee.

“We are taking all of the liabilities out of the brewing system for the end user through our Cafitesse system,” Black says.

Greg Immell, director of marketing of beverages for Sara Lee Foodservice, says operators benefit with the Cafitesse system because of its consistency, ease of operation, and higher profitability that results from lower waste.

“Twenty-five percent, on average, of coffee that is brewed is thrown down the sink,” Immell says.

The Academy, held at the $93 million Suffolk facility that was completed in 2004, is modeled after a similar program held at Douwe Egberts’ sister plant in Joure, The Netherlands.

The sales force for Cafitesse, as well as some end users—which include quick-serve operators, hotels, casinos, and other foodservice providers—are put through a three-day course as part of the Academy, learning about the history, blends, and sustainability of Cafitesse, among other things.

Black believes a similar education would benefit the coffee-drinking public.

“More education that the public has about coffee, the better the whole industry is,” Black says. “We’re here to improve the industry through innovation, and through our technology with our Cafitesse liquid coffee product.”

By Sam Oches

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