KARLSTAD, Sweden – On 7 March, 25 years has passed since the coffee group Löfbergs as the first larger roaster in Sweden produced the first package of organic coffee. There was not much of a demand and few people were willing to pay extra for sustainably certified coffee, but the family-owned coffee roaster was still convinced that this was the future. Today, Löfbergs’s entire assortment is certified.
“I was relatively new at Löfbergs when I was instructed to find an organic coffee that met our requirements for flavour and quality. It was not that easy since there were not many who produced organic coffee back then, but I finally found what we were looking for at a farm in Mexico,” says Tony Broman, Senior Trading Manager at Löfbergs.
The hunt for organic coffee beans brought Tony Broman to Finca Santa Anita in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. This is where he found what Löfbergs was looking for: tall Arabica beans of great quality with the right flavour profile.
“We were convinced that organic was the right way to go, and when we found the right coffee we purchased an entire container, 17 tons! The sales were slow in the beginning, and I nervously walked down to the green coffee storage every day to count how many bags of organic coffee we had left,” says Tony Broman.
Löfbergs : Every fourth cup is organic
The sales took off at last, much thanks to Löfbergs’s hotel and restaurant customers that embraced the sustainably certified coffee early on. Every fourth cup that Löfbergs sells today is organic. Much of the coffee has two certifications, which has made Löfbergs to one of the largest purchasers of organic and Fairtrade certified coffee in the world.
“An amazing development and a first important step in the sustainable conversion of the coffee industry. I could not dream of it when I stood there in southern Mexico and tasted the organic beans 25 years ago,” says Tony Broman.
Certified coffee makes a difference
The first container with organic coffee that Löfbergs imported to Sweden became the starting shot for a conversion of the entire industry. The speed picked up when Löfbergs a couple of years later started selling coffee that was both organic and Fairtrade certified. All coffee sold under the Löfbergs brand is certified today.
“We work together with certification bodies and customers in retail, hotels, restaurants and cafés to increase the supply and demand. It is about helping both farmers and consumers to understand the benefits of choosing sustainable coffee,” says Tony Broman.
“Today we are working with three different certifications: organic, Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance. They have a somewhat different focus, but all of them contribute to a sustainable development for people as well as the planet.“