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  • From bean to global shelves: on Kannan Jubilee Coffee

    December 2nd, 2017adminCoffee News


    Coimbatore-based Kannan Jubilee Coffee brand goes international

    Smell. Sip. AK Jayakumar, founder of Kannan Jubilee Coffee, instructs and I obey dutifully. I hold the dark concoction to my nose, inhale the aroma, and then sip a spoonful… “Slightly bitter,” is my verdict.

    Jayakumar says it’s a full-bodied Peaberry coffee. I drink freshly-brewed filter coffee, enjoying the uplifting scent of roasted coffee beans around me.

    “I was 22 when I started in 1971,” he recalls, as we tour the coffee factory spread over 40,000 sq ft at Thudiyalur, in Coimbatore.

    Recently, the over four-decade-old brand entered the international market. Kannan’s Kaapi Instanto, a premium range, is now available at stores in Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Malaysia. Jayakumar’s son, Shanker Krishnan, says that the next big step is stand-alone cafés across the world, adding, “Our instant coffee is doing well in the international market. We have a steady customer base for filter coffee in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. We have the volume, but we wanted to branch out.”

    In the last five years, after Krishnan took over as partner, he introduced new products under Kannan’s Kaapi (from ₹1 instant coffee sachets to premium packs costing ₹1,200): Dgree Coffee (100% coffee), Instanto (with 20% chicory blend), Royal Cafe (with over 50% chicory, exclusively for the suburbs), a unique blend of Kannan Jubilee Peaberry Coffee that comes in butter paper packets, and Rich Cafe (with 20% chicory in standing packs).

    Instant success

    “Instant coffee was a big step. We reached out to corporates, hospitals and colleges, and introduced online sales on our website and on Snapdeal and Amazon. We sell about 80 kilograms online every month. Coffee is a global market. Taking on MNCs is not easy. I hired professionals to study the market. It took several months,” explains Krishnan.

    When Jayakumar started Kannan Jubilee Coffee (he added Jubilee as the year marked his parents’ 25th wedding anniversary), he would participate in auctions in Bengaluru and Coimbatore to buy coffee beans. Now, they go to the coffee estates.

    “Karnataka is the hub,” he says, “Several tonnes of coffee are cultivated in The Nilgiris, Yercaud and Valparai. We buy Arabica, Robusta and Cherry Coffee beans from the coffee belt in Kushalnagar, Chikmagalur, Baba Budangiri, and Wayanad. We pick estates that meet the pre-requisites — an altitude of 2,000 feet above sea level, 16 inches of rainfall and four daily hours of sunshine. The crop season is between November and February. We buy uncured beans during this period.”

    He shows me the curing process. The uncured beans go through a painstaking cleaning process first to remove dirt, pebbles and debris. A gravity separator removes defective beans, based on weight. Once the green beans are peeled, and polished, they are graded based on weight and size. A coffee seed godown stores the green seeds.

    Let the magic begin


    A Probat coffee roaster, imported from Germany, takes over the roasting process. The temperature is set at 214° Celsius for 16 minutes. “It is while roasting that the green coffee beans get their characteristic brown colour. Right temperature is the key. Once the machine empties the coffee beans, an automated process cools them down, after which they are collected for blending. Our production capacity is two tonnes, though we can go up to five tonnes,” says Jayakumar. The Swiss-made Ditting, with a capacity to grind 300 kilograms per hour, is in place.

    Kannan Jubilee Coffee now has 38 retail outlets across Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and will soon be launched in Tiruchi, Bengaluru and Kumbakonam. The team is also experimenting with new products, like three-in-one instant coffee pouches (with milk powder, coffee and water), a travel pack (with a filter to make decoction), and chocolate bars in coffee flavours.

    Jayakumar, who is a certified coffee taster, says one can never compromise on quality. “I set up the coffee-tasting lab in the factory to maintain quality. The coffee roaster roasts small quantities. I recommend a suitable blend after tasting it,” he says.

    Says Krishnan, “Connecting with people has been our driving factor, our USP. My father shared a personal rapport and treated customers like extended family.” Recalling the days when he would cycle with coffee packets to sell them at retail stores in the city, Jayakumar says the growth has been gradual. “Slow, but steady.”

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style> Food / by K Jeshi / November 30th, 2017

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