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The Nestle Connection

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George and Nespresso: creating coffee to die for

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 18 2010, 11:55

Interesting. Here comes this from the (pro-Nestle) Jakarta Globe

Creating Indonesian Coffee That’s to Die For

Zack Petersen | December 17, 2010

In the hills of Lintong, North Sumatra, Dariusz Lewandowski, pictured, and his Volkopi crew scour the markets for the best coffee beans available, which are mostly picked and sold by local women. Volkopi is the exclusive supplier for Nestle’s high-end Nespresso coffee brand. 

Actor George Clooney has been busy shilling Nestle’s new Nespresso coffee system — a machine that brews gourmet espresso from special capsules containing ground coffee —in a series of television ads.

In one commercial, he is killed by a falling piano just after buying a Nespresso coffee-making system. At heaven’s pearly gates, he argues with Saint Peter, played by John Malkovich, saying it’s not his time. But when Saint Peter tries to trade him a trip back to earth for his new coffee maker, Clooney refuses and enters heaven, where he is later seen sitting with Malkovich on a white couch, the two of them happily sipping fresh-brewed espressos.

But if he knew where his Nespresso coffee came from, and all the hard work and passion that went into making it, Clooney may have been even more unbending in the deal he made with Saint Peter, perhaps keeping all the espresso for himself.

Dariusz Lewandowski, who has spent the better part of the past 10 years high up in the hills of Lintong in North Sumatra, is a coffee connoisseur who knows exactly what goes into each cup of Nespresso.

Ask him about wine over dinner and he’ll lean in close and admit with a smile that the only thing he knows is that there are two kinds — red and white. But ask the blond Polish national, who has spent almost every day for the past 10 years digging his hands into 140-kilogram bags of what many would argue is the best coffee in the world, about the differences between different types of beans and roasts and he’ll lean back, cross his arms and open up like an encyclopedia.

If you drank a cup of Nespresso last year, Lewandowski probably knows the farmer who picked the cherries and he probably helped dry and bag the beans. Nespresso is Nestle’s highest end coffee and, last year, Volkopi, the Medan-based company Lewandowski is general manager of, won the exclusive supply rights for the Nespresso brand.

This means he probably picked through the finished product, wondering about screen size — the width of certain coffee cherry beans — or if there were any peaberries — technically defective beans that some connoisseurs regard as diamonds in the rough.

Lewandowski’s premium coffee — grown 1,400 meters above sea level in the lush hills of Lintong, six hours southeast of Medan, right on the lip of Lake Toba — is some of the most sough-after coffee on the planet. While coffee lovers across the globe are quick to give Lewandowski the credit for his recent string of coffee successes, the father of three is even quicker to praise the farmers and, more important, the women, of Lintong.

Lewandowski knows everything there is to know about Lintong coffee — from which cherries on the trees look the most promising to the weights and blends inside containers of coffee waiting to be shipped on the docks. But he knows even more about the people who pick the coffee, the women of Lintong. Unlike the coffee economies in other countries, he says, the women in Lintong are the ones running the market and setting the prices.

They’re the ones who are the first to get their hands on the beans that turn into coffees for prestigious labels such as Lake Tawar, Blue Batak, Tarbarita and Lumika, coffees that can be found in some of the best coffee shops in the United States and Europe.

“It’s a woman’s business,” he says in the drying room of one of his producers, where beans sit and mature for months before they are shipped across the world’s oceans and finally land in a roaster, most likely in the United States.

“Women have patience. You have to be able to talk to other women who bring the coffee to the market — the small farmers that come to the market by bus with just a bag, half a bag. You have to talk to them, you can’t just say, ‘OK, how much?’ That’s what men do. Men don’t want to talk too much. Women … they talk, argue, smile and build relationships. They know the whole art of it. Men don’t do this.”

He says the men of Lintong don’t have a passion for the art. They can’t see the angles. Coffee collecting is a lot like collecting art. If your heart’s not in it, if your head’s not in the right place, you’re going to get taken to the cleaners.

“The reason all the collectors are women is because the men are out in the fields,” says Ibu James, one of Lewandowski’s closest associates and his connection to the coffee trade. She is referring to the women who go from farm to farm or set up stalls in local markets to buy coffee beans from selected local farmers. In Lintong, the buyers and sellers all tend to be women because, if a man gets involved, chances are he will get ripped off.

“If the cherry sellers are women, the buyers have to be women too,” she says.

Lewandowski admits that if he walked alone into the lion’s den of a market where sellers and collectors haggle over bean prices, he’d be eaten alive. Chances are he’d end up laughed at and walk out of the market stripped of his profits and his pride.

“If a man was trying to negotiate with a woman he would end up paying a higher price. It would be difficult for a man to negotiate because the women would take advantage of him,” he says. “They’d sweet talk him and make his heart, and his profits, melt.”

But because he’s smart he has spent time building up relationships with local female vendors, adding the ones he trusts to his Volkopi crew. Now, when the beans are harvested every two weeks, he can send his team of procurers out to bring back the best beans they can find. This system has helped create more than a few watershed deals for Lewandowski and Volkopi Indonesia, such as winning the exclusive supply rights for Nespresso.

“We want the coffee directly from the plantation,” he says. “The less people involved in the chain of supply, the better the quality of the beans when we get them.”

Normally, Volkopi only buys from farmers who have between 400 and 600 trees. “That way there is only one collector between us and them,” he says.

But there will always be a need for the collectors because they finance the farmers when there is no crop.

“When there is no coffee, the farmers need to eat. They need to buy rice. They need to send their kids to school,” he says. “Where does the money come from? They will usually borrow the money from the collector and say ‘I’ll pay you back when the crop comes.’ ”

The men here just never found coffee appealing as they are usually preoccupied with other matters. Depending on the season, they have other crops to tend to, such as rice, corn and cabbage. On average, a farmer who has 400 to 600 trees might only bring in $880 annually from his coffee.

But Lewandowski and his Volkopi crew are fighting for the farmers of Lintong. Fighting to give them a fair price and a reason to care for their trees — to stop using chemicals and to create more efficient compost piles. They help them plant shade trees and prune back coffee trees so they will eventually increase their production.

“We don’t produce a huge amount of coffee. Volkopi’s exports only account for 3 percent of Indonesia’s total coffee exports,” he says. “We focus on a high-end, niche market to produce something special. We are picky. We demand a lot.”

Meanwhile, all the praise he gets online, from cafes and people around the world, including respected companies like Caribou Coffee and Sweet Maria’s, do little to puff up his ego.

“It motivational. It keeps you wanting to produce good stuff,” he says.

Lewandowski himself describes the coffee he gets his hands on as intense and consistent, with hints of herbs, citrus, cocoa, forest fruits, chocolate and tobacco.

But coffee is a process. It takes months to blend and shape what Lewandowski’s farmers hand-pick off the trees into what hits the palettes of coffee connoisseurs around the globe.

Ask him about the process and he instinctively looks at his hands.

“I always believe that nature and people can make quality coffee,” he says. “If you are lucky enough to have good people that treasure the quality and process of fine coffee, then I think you have a good chance to process something unique and to differentiate yourself.

“There are a lot of Sumatran coffees. You can just join the club or you can choose to differentiate yourself. To do this you must know where your coffee comes from and make sure that it has a special, unique character.”

Again, Lewandowski evades taking the credit for his successes, instead pointing any applause to his Volkopi team.

“It’s the people you work with. Without people like Eko, Roberto, Edwardo, Uden, Dadang, Nanang, Ineu, Mita and Eman and 70 other great people who touch the beans every day, this wouldn’t work,” he says. “I can tell you one thing ­— I’m the luckiest guy on earth. If you have a good crew, your chances for success are high. You can make it.”

Maybe the goal really is producing a coffee that George Clooney is willing to die for, even if he doesn’t know all the complexities of where it comes from.

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Re: The Nestle Connection

Post by Guest on Sat Dec 25 2010, 17:13

Sad.

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The Nestle Connection

Post by Katiedot on Fri Mar 04 2011, 15:24

So, do the Denner coffee pods fit into Nestle machines?

ZURICH -(Dow Jones)- Swiss food giant Nestle SA (NESN.VX) was dealt a blow by a Swiss Court Friday in its battle to retain control of the coffee capsule market.
The court withdrew a preliminary ban on a rival coffee capsule to Nestle's ( NESN.VX) Nespresso single serve coffee brand, in a move that could open the market to other competitors.

The Commercial Court in St Gallen withdrew an injunction against Swiss retailer Denner, which is owned by Swiss cooperative Migros, and its manufacturing partner Alice Allison, that prevented the company from selling its own version of the Nespresso capsules.

The injunction had ordered that production, sale and advertising, of Denner's capsules, which first went on sale on Dec. 15, be halted.

Denner said it would now restart production of the capsules, which its sells under the NexPod brand name, with the capsules returning to the shelves in the next three weeks.

Denner spokeswoman Nicole Schoewel told Dow Jones Newswires: "We are so happy. This decision is not just for us, but it is for the whole market."

The court upheld its previous ruling that Denner withdraw its "Denner What Else?" marketing, which Nestle had claimed was too similar to its own advertisements featuring Hollywood actor George Clooney.

Nestle said it would continue legal action in the case, one of several it is contesting against other single serve coffee manufacturers including Sara Lee Corp (SLE).
"This ruling does not predetermine any future decisions by the court in this matter," Nespresso spokesman Julian Liew said.

"We believe in the strength of our legal arguments and we will continue with the legal action to protect our intellectual property rights."

Nespresso is also taking legal action against the Ethical Coffee Company in France, as well as Sara Lee in the Netherlands and France over coffee capsules.
The brand is one of Nestle's fastest growing, with sales up more than 20% to CHF3.2 billion ($3.44 billion) in 2010.

It suffered a setback last month when a court in Zurich ruled that Denner's pods did not infringe Nestle patents, as they were not identical to Nespresso ones.
While the Zurich case referred to the patents, the St Gallen one was concerned with the shape of the capsules.

-By John Revill, Dow Jones Newswires; +41 43 443 8042 ; john.revill@ dowjones.com

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Nespresso and Controversy

Post by clooneys six on Tue Apr 12 2011, 00:22

Hey was there a thread about the controversy behind George's endorsement of Nespresso? Well, it's because Nestle gets a lot of agony from environmental activists for its destruction of rainforests, etc.
I wrote a blog about it long time ago....actually I was fuming my way to glory on some other blogger's page, defending George Razz I absolutely had to, because the blogger was making slight of George's humanitarian efforts because of this endorsement. I've followed much celebrity activism and can objectively say that George is 100% sincere, more so than any celeb!

So here it is, enjoy!
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Re: The Nestle Connection

Post by melbert on Tue Apr 12 2011, 00:32

Thanks for posting this and Welcome Clooneys Six!

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Re: The Nestle Connection

Post by sisieq on Tue Apr 12 2011, 00:36

Thanks for sharing and Welcome!

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Re: The Nestle Connection

Post by clooneys six on Tue Apr 12 2011, 00:41

Thanks guys! I'm really liking this forum Very Happy

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Re: The Nestle Connection

Post by sisieq on Tue Apr 12 2011, 00:48

clooneys six wrote:Thanks guys! I'm really liking this forum Very Happy
Oh, Oh!! Melbert's horns just grew! Well, the laurel wreath can now sit better on her head.

Love3 (just luv this one!)

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Re: The Nestle Connection

Post by melbert on Tue Apr 12 2011, 00:58

Sweet, sweet Sisieq!! What am I going to do with you???

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Re: The Nestle Connection

Post by sisieq on Tue Apr 12 2011, 01:25

melbert wrote:Sweet, sweet Sisieq!! What am I going to do with you???
ROTFLOL!!! Hey, don't give SS any ideas. She'll start another new thread about the "troll team". Wink

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Re: The Nestle Connection

Post by melbert on Tue Apr 12 2011, 01:29

I could and would NEVER do anything like that to you!

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Re: The Nestle Connection

Post by watching on Thu Nov 10 2011, 07:58

I guess it is a start - few years late and doesn't address all the issues but it's a start.

George Clooney asks Nestlé commitments on fair trade
10/11/2011

Internet broadcasting of a video parodying advertising Nespresso signed by the association Solidar Switzerland, and inviting users to write to George Clooney for Nestlé adopts the standards of fair trade, has apparently had the effect it . According to the German newspaper Der Taz , the famous actor reportedly asked Nestle to renegotiate his contract stipulating that the group adopted with the rules of fair trade and did not use the work of children.

Link

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Re: The Nestle Connection

Post by Dexterdidit on Thu Nov 10 2011, 10:29

It's about time. if he stops doing commercials for them it would show he wasn't happy about their trade practices. Let's see if they resign him.

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Re: The Nestle Connection

Post by Coco on Thu Nov 10 2011, 19:11

I always thought the big issue with Nestle/Clooney was that Nestle heavily promote baby formula in 3rd world countries (eg Sudan) where water isn't safe to drink and so bottle fed babies get diseases from the water and die ... it seems Nestle (like so many large coporations I'm sure) have poor ethics in so many areas.

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Re: The Nestle Connection

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