BeanScene speaks with Cafetto about its deep industry support and the significance of sponsoring the World Coffee Championships on home soil.
When Cafetto Director Chris Short received confirmation that his business would be the Qualified Cleaning sponsor for the 2022 World Barista Championship (WBC), World Brewers Cup (WBrC), and World Cup Tasters Championship (WCTC), it was a full circle moment for the company that had pioneered cleaning and sanitation products in the prestigious global competitions.
“There was no cleaning equipment sponsorship of the World Coffee Championships (WCC) until I proposed the idea in 2008,” Chris says. “I had gone to Vancouver in 2007 at the suggestion of my friend, Instaurator, to witness the qualification process for grinders and coffee machines involved in the competition. I then thought about the need to have clean machines on stage at all times for the world’s best baristas. I wrote a proposal to the WBC board, they came back and said they loved the idea, and we formalised the arrangement.”
Chris submitted a cleaning and rinsing protocol aimed at having the competition espresso machines clean and ready during an international coffee competition. The aim was for each competitor to have an equal opportunity to present their coffees without contamination.
“To guarantee the cleaner would not leave a residue nor was corrosive to the machine, I stated that any competition cleaner must be certified by NSF to its P152 standard. This is a comprehensive standard which deals with the health effects and corrosivity associated with the use of commercial espresso machine chemical cleaners. Naturally, Cafetto’s Espresso Clean and EVO espresso machines cleaners are certified by NSF to this very vigorous standard,” Chris says.
Cafetto became the equipment cleaning sponsor of the WBC in 2008, and from 2015 to 2017. This year, Cafetto will again be a key sponsor of its own backyard event: the WBC and WBrC, both taking place at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) from 27 to 30 September.
“I’m extremely chuffed for Cafetto to be supporting World Coffee Events again,” says Chris. “Cafetto is recognised as a very important brand in the global industry, and to be a recognised partner of the world’s most prestigious coffee competitions, and in front of a home audience in Melbourne, is a really special announcement.”
Cafetto General Manager Christine Song says the Australian brand has always been interested in supporting events that help grow the coffee industry, such as the Australian Specialty Coffee Association and New Zealand Specialty Coffee Association national championships, and partnering with the WCC is another testament to the brand’s relevance to the global market.
“Within the past 10 years, such a wide portion of the industry have come to know Cafetto, and this global partnership is another opportunity to show people who we are, connect to the industry, and share the importance of our product to execute coffee quality,” Christine says.
“We take pride in providing cleaning solutions the industry wants. For some people who are new to the industry or have never attended MICE or seen a global coffee competition, it will be exposure to a new audience and demographic, which is equally as exciting.”
Cafetto is also hoping to reignite its Barista Base Camp, a host venue for the world’s barista champions to train ahead of the heats at MICE. Cafetto first launched the concept in Melbourne at MICE in 2013, and continued the initiative in Gothenburg for the World Latte Art Championship in 2015, then again in Dublin in 2016, and Seoul in 2017 at the respective WCC events.
“Demand for the first Base Camp in Melbourne was enormous. I remember we had baristas training from 7am all the way until 2am trying to get as much practice time on the machines as they could. I really hope to provide that facility again as part of our hospitality to the world’s best baristas coming all the way to Melbourne,” Chris says. “I want to make Melbourne and this year’s WBC a huge success for Australia, and the Barista Base Camp is just another layer to that.”
Since the last time Cafetto was a WCC sponsor in 2017, Cafetto has expanded its Organics line of products, and upgraded its production facility to keep up with customer demand and provide a reliable supply chain. But as Chris affirms, the success of Cafetto, which is now distributed globally in more than 70 countries, all started thanks to a gap in the marketplace, and a love for Melbourne’s coffee scene.
When Chris first lived in Melbourne in 1985 for six years, working at 179 Queen Street in Melbourne’s CBD, he would often frequent Nick’s Coffee Bar around the corner, a traditional Italian coffee bar run by Nick Fazzolari and his brother Michael.
“I got to know them really well and it was their place that made me fall in love with coffee,” Chris says. “I went there every day. Melbourne really was an important chapter in my coffee journey. My love for coffee has stayed with me my whole life.”
When he moved back to Adelaide in 1991, Chris missed his coffee experience so much that he installed a one-group commercial espresso machine and grinder. It was then that he realised it needed a special cleaning product. On Chris’ next trip, he visited the espresso machine distributor and purchased the recommended cleaner. He used the product but found it to be unsatisfactory and thought it would be better to make his own.
Chris’s father Leslie operated a cleaning and sanitation products business called Dominant. He decided to give the company’s research and development team the task of developing an espresso machine cleaner. They did, and it became Espresso Clean, Cafetto’s original coffee machine cleaning product, now used globally.
“I still recall a conversation with my father where, after I proved there were many opportunities for cleaning products within the coffee industry, he said: ‘I don’t mind you going in this direction but don’t lose sight of the main goal,’ which he believed to be my commitment to Dominant,” Chris says.
Since the first day Cafetto was established, that “direction” has been a longstanding commitment to the Australian and international coffee industry. It has meant a focus on specialised cleaning products for espresso machines and equipment. It has also meant ensuring the company responds to customer needs and requests.
Chris recalls working with Miriam Heycoop and her husband Eric, co-founders of Emporio Coffee in Wellington, New Zealand. “She asked if we had a product that could clean milk jugs. When I realised we had a gap in our product offering, I sat down with our chief chemist and developed a formulation for that purpose. I called the product Inverso, and sent Miriam the first jar Cafetto manufactured,” Chris says. “It must be a great product because all these years later, Emporio Coffee still uses it.”
Chris says listening to market needs has helped the company stay in tune with market trends. He says it was Rob Balassa of Douwe Egberts’ (now Jacobs Douwe Egberts) need for cleaning tablets and other product – none of which Cafetto produced at the time – that led to a rapid expansion of Cafetto’s most popular product.
“We now make millions of tablets and sachets each month and Douwe Egberts became a customer,” Chris says.
Cafetto has become a trusted brand and significant contributor to the global coffee industry over the past 19 years. When Chris looks out at the competition stage at MICE, surrounded by cheering fans after three years of event postponement, and the world’s best baristas producing their best-tasting coffee thanks to clean equipment, it’ll be a moment to savour for “the little company from Adelaide that put coffee cleaning agents on the map”.
“I’m still genuinely amazed at what we’ve achieved,” Chris says. “I could never have imagined, sitting in Nick’s Bar all those years ago, thinking we would make a global business of cleaning products. I love what we’ve accomplished and where we’re headed.”
For more information, visit www.cafetto.com
This article appears in the June 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.