Jenni Uusilehto

Happy Beans Guarantee Great-Tasting Coffee

Did you know that responsibility and sustainability are taken into account in every stage of the production chain of Paulig coffees? The barista can increase the value of coffee and promote the consumption of sustainable coffee by telling customers about coffee-related responsibility issues.

The happier the bean, the better the coffee – staff at Paulig are convinced about that.

“Coffee tastes bitter if some of the beans are unhappy. If there are problems with farmer wellbeing, the farm is looked after poorly or the coffee plants fertilised in the wrong way, you can taste this in your coffee. Ultimately it’s happy beans that make the customer happy. That’s the kind of effect that good coffee has,” says Training Specialist Ella Takalainen from Paulig Barista Institute.

When it comes to responsibility and sustainability in the coffee context, most eyes often turn towards the start of the production chain despite the fact that the barista also plays an important role in this perspective. If the coffee is ruined in the brewing stage by errors such as wrong measurement or dirty equipment, the labour input of hundreds of people is wasted.

In addition to careful preparation, the barista can create added value for coffee by communicating to the customer about the origin of coffee and about the responsible production chain.

“We have in-depth knowledge about many coffees: we know where they come from and how they have been processed. By sharing their knowledge, the barista can turn ordinary coffee into something special for the customer,” Takalainen points out, ”For example, the barista can tell the customer where the coffee was produced or what kinds of flavours you can find in it.”

Takalainen underlines that also those customers who might not think of asking questions about coffee may still be interested in hearing about it.

“Even if not initiating a conversation, the customer is usually ready to listen. Chatting about coffee also provides a nice change and creates a positive vibe for the barista’s working day.”

Happy coffee bean characters enjoy a warm bath in the coffee cup

Coffee is tested multiple times in advance

By the time coffee ends up in the customer’s cup, it will have already been tasted eight times during its journey from the country of origin to the Paulig roastery in Vuosaari, Helsinki, and into its packaging. The intended flavour and aroma are generated at the roasting stage. The Vuosaari roastery is fully powered with renewable energy, using 100% Finnish biogas in the roasting process.

After roasting, coffee is ground and packaged. Packaging plays an important role in protecting the valuable coffee and its aromas.

Paulig carries out continuous development work for more environmentally friendly packaging. In the spring, Paulig introduced packaging material for the Mundo coffees that is made 45% from plant-based and renewable sources. The aim is that in 2025 all coffee packaging will be made from renewable raw materials.

Committed to environmental objectives in coffee transport

Paulig purchases around 1% of the world’s annual coffee production – a total of just over 60 million kilos of green coffee every year. Coffee is sourced from countries including Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Coffee is transported by sea from the country of origin to the Paulig factory. It first calls at Hamburg, Antwerp or another major European port and is then shipped to Finland on board a smaller cargo ship. The Vuosaari roastery is located by the harbour, enabling the loading of coffee directly from ship to roastery.

Paulig seeks to use transport methods and equipment with a minimum burden on the environment. The transport companies collaborating with Paulig are also committed to reducing the environmental burden of their operations.

In the country of origin, coffee is loaded into the shipping container either in a single super sack or in smaller 60-kg jute bags. Today, around 90% of the green coffee bought by Paulig is transported in super sacks. Using these large plastic sacks enables the transport of 15% more coffee per container than when using traditional jute bags.

The switch to super sacks has also reduced the amount of roastery waste. Paulig has achieved zero landfill waste at the Vuosaari roastery.

Happy coffee bean figures are playing with sacks

Eco-deeds already in the country of origin

Most coffee berries are ready for picking once ripened to a dark red colour. Many coffee farms also grow other edible crops, such as maize or bananas. Many commercial crops protect the sensitive coffee plant against scorching sunshine and help balance farmers’ income and improve their food security.

Most coffee originates from small family businesses facing threats such as climate change and shortage of income. Paulig aims to improve farmers’ standard of living and ensure coffee farming will remain a profitable livelihood in the future too.

Ethical and environmentally friendly aspects of coffee production are promoted through various certification programmes such as Fairtrade, UTZ Certified and Rainforest Alliance. In addition to certified coffee, Paulig buys coffee from carefully selected and responsibility-verified partnership projects in the countries of origin.

Partnership projects are tailored specifically for each region to meet local needs. Project activities include teaching farmers new, more productive farming practices, helping farmers adapt to challenges brought about by climate change and forming farmer communities to reduce farming costs. Partnership projects also help improve the wellbeing of the entire community through actions such as supporting children’s literacy or renovating schools.

Paulig has set the objective that by the end of 2018 all of the green coffee it buys will be responsibility verified, that is, sourced through responsible partnership programmes or responsibility certified.


Barista, here are some ideas on what you could tell your customers about coffee: 

What is your role in the production chain?

  • You have prepared the coffee using a suitable method and clean equipment and ensuring the correct storage of coffee.
  • Also tell your customers about the responsible production chain of the coffee served by you.

What about the roasting process?

  • Paulig’s Vuosaari roastery is fully powered with renewable energy, using 100% Finnish biogas in the roasting process.
  • 100% Finnish biogas also used to roast coffee at Paulig Kulma and the Porvoo artisan roastery, Robert Paulig Roastery.

Anything else?

  • At its shortest, the journey of coffee from the country of origin to Finland takes four weeks.
  • All of Paulig’s transport partners are committed to reducing the environmental burden.
  • Paulig buys 60 million kilos of coffee per year – around 1% of the world’s total amount of coffee.
  • Coffee is the source of livelihood for around 25 million farmers.
  • More than 70% of the world’s total is grown by small farms with a few hundred coffee plants.
  • One plant produces around 400 to 1,500 grams of green coffee.
  • Farmer income security and the wellbeing of local communities are developed through certification and partnership programmes.