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Cafetto keeps it clean

From the February 2018 issue.

Cafetto, a specialist manufacturer of cleaning and sanitation products, is helping the coffee industry get the best from its equipment.

Cafetto Founder and Owner Chris Short says delicious coffee begins with clean equipment.

“You can have the best equipment, you can have the best coffee, and have the best barista, but if you don’t have a clean and effective functioning machine, then you’re not going to get the best coffee,” he says.

Short set up Cafetto after starting work in his late father’s chemical company in Adelaide, Australia, when he recognised the opportunity to merge his passion for coffee with his cleaning product business expertise. The result was the development of a range of cleaning products specifically formulated for the coffee industry.

The company was founded in 2003 and quickly gained strong market share in its Australian home market before expanding to New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea, then further throughout Asia and into the Middle East. Today, it has a truly global market and sells to 50 countries, with a presence in both Europe and the United States, while maintaining the manufacture of all its products in Australia.

“If you want to buy a good coffee, you’re going to pay quite a bit for it. Coffee in Australia is going to cost you AU$30-plus (about US$23.65) a kilo. In some cases, you’ll spend tens of thousands of dollars on great equipment to make the coffee. You are going to pay a barista a salary and go through a lot of training.

“It makes no sense to invest in all those parts of the process but not focus on having clean machines that function well.”

Short explains that Cafetto wants to give its customers confidence that, no matter what machine they use, Cafetto will have a product to suit to clean and sanitise that equipment.

In line with that goal and the growing trend worldwide for cold brew coffee, the company recently brought out a product line specifically for cold brew equipment.

“A crucial factor for cleaning cold brew equipment is sanitation,” he says.

With a hot water system, the heat from the water is itself a sanitiser, but that isn’t available with a cold brew unit. Therefore, products to clean a cold brew system must include a sanitiser to be effective, and it needs to leave no residue or taste that would make its way into the coffee.

“There’s been a lot of time and effort to make sure the products do that effectively.” Short says.

Scale removal is equally important for cold and hot systems, but is often forgotten with cold water dispensing units, Short adds.

Cafetto pioneered the first range of organic espresso cleaners, including the world’s first organic espresso machine cleaner EVO, and Grinder Clean – a gluten-free grinder cleaner. Last year it released Eco Capsule Clean, the first eco-friendly Nespresso-compatible cleaning capsule to remove build up within the brewing chamber.

The Australian company’s organic range is certified by the Biological Farmers of Australia and the US-based Organic Materials Review Institute. Formulating products that meet the certification criteria is a complicated process.

“There are many, many ingredients that people would use in a regular cleaning product that are not allowed into an organic product,” Short says.

For example, Cafetto’s milk frother cleaner, MFC Green, is an organic liquid cleaner formulated to remove milk residue from milk lines, frothers and parts on automatic espresso machines. It could not include a sanitising agent but still needed to act as a sanitiser.

Again, Short says, solving this took a great deal of time and targeted research, but the result is an effective product that has passed certification.

Cafetto’s research and development team is an important part of the business, providing new product development and technical expertise to the company, the company’s customers and sales representatives.

R&D Manager Damien Rankine says his team of four scientists design and develop new products based on customer requirements or new ideas identified by the customer support team.

“All new products go through a development process before release. The first step is to formulate a product that suits a specific purpose or meets a particular need. Factors taken into consideration include performance testing against a range of relevant soils, including coffee and milk, physical properties of the product, compatibility with coffee equipment, long-term storage testing and organic certification – which is very important for many of our customers,” he says.

From there, Rankine says, practical testing takes place under laboratory conditions, before moving onto customer trials using the equipment the product is designed for.

“The way a product performs can change based on how it is used by customers, particularly in fast-paced retail environments,” he says. “We like to trial our products in very busy cafés and retail establishments to ensure our products are comprehensively tested.”

Rankine adds that customer trials are a final check-up to ensure all the laboratory tests and technical knowledge is best translated into the real-world application.

For Short, these factors contribute to the quality of Cafetto’s range of products, which he sees as integral to the overall process of making a good cup of coffee.

“If you want great tasting coffee, you need to do it on good equipment with good raw materials and a competent barista on a clean machine,” he says.

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