Firm Strategically Builds Global Recognition One Step At A Time
January 19, 2016 – Miami, Fla.
Ninety Plus Coffee® announced today that 2016 marks its tenth anniversary as a leading specialty coffee producer. The Company’s decade long growth has been built around its disruptive technology in production, processing, and taste profiling innovations, resulting in its award winning coffees. The Company will recognize its success, and honor the efforts of its team, with a series of announcements and events throughout the year. www.ninetypluscoffee.com
Ninety Plus Coffee built its global reputation one step at a time. According to a former executive, “The Company’s trajectory has been built on the vision of its founder and executing on a series of strategic initiatives, leading to a market and operations presence on five continents as of 2016.”
The Company’s founder, Joseph Brodsky, developed a love of premium coffee during his travels around the world as a young man when his path led him to Ethiopia in 2005. That introduction was the first in a series of visits and the next step to importing coffee for Novo Coffee, a coffee roasting business founded by Brodsky and his family in Denver in 2005. Novo successfully continues in business as a roaster and retailer in Denver.
In these early years of travel to Ethiopia, Brodsky conceived of the innovation of creating taste profiles “on the ground” at origin farms, rather than the conventional approach to building flavors at the roasting and retail level. Based on this new paradigm of post-harvest processing techniques at origin, Brodsky founded Ninety Plus Coffee in 2006.
Ethiopia remains a keystone of the business. Today, ten years later, the Company has strong partnerships with regional farms in Ethiopia, including its most famous producer, Abdullah Bagersh, Chairman of the East African Fine Coffees Association. The Bagersh family was the first company to export coffee from Ethiopia and currently is the country’s fifth largest exporter. These partnerships allow Ninety Plus to control quality and innovate taste profiles with a talented team at the source.
Building a Brand
The Company’s disruptive technology in the areas of production and processing was recognized very early in its history. By 2007, Ninety Plus® was recognized with consistently high ratings by The Coffee Review, a preeminent industry trade publication and industry benchmark. In the last 24 months alone, Ninety Plus Coffees as presented by roasters and retailers, have received two ratings of 96, four ratings of 95, and many others of 90 or more. In 2012, one coffee was rated at 97, tied for the all-time high score with the first ever 97-point coffee, which was also produced by Ninety Plus in 2007. The successes in these higher than 90 rankings continually validate and reinforce the brand name “Ninety Plus®.”
Panama Farm Ownership
“A logical next step in the evolution of the Company was ownership of our own farm and the cultivation of the rarest coffee variety,” said Brodsky. “This strategy gave us the widest latitude to produce, experiment, and amaze our customer following,” he said. On that premise, in 2009 Ninety Plus purchased a 135 hectare farm in Panama with a concentration on the Gesha varietal. “The ability to innovate with microclimates, new processing techniques, and Gesha, soon led to prize winning coffees commanding historically high prices per pound. In 2013, the Company purchased its second farm in Panama. And centralization of certain operations in Panama has given us a new strategic platform,” said Jorge Bracho, Director of Latin America Operations.
As the reputation of Ninety Plus grew, it was time to introduce more profiles, different price points, and higher volumes – moving from boutique coffee to also include in the Company’s offerings coffees in the specialty category. In 2015, the Levelup brand was introduced. “We began to reach a wider audience, develop more international markets, and work with our Ethiopian partners to exploit our competitive advantages with a whole new category,” said Ashenafi Argaw, Director of Operations for Ninety Plus. “This success will lead us to expand the strategy with the introduction of an additional brand and volume price points in 2016,” said Argaw.
Ninety Plus built its core business by direct sales to U.S. roasters and retailers. But to scale the business required a new business model based on distributorships. Beginning in 2013 the Company sought out partners to be Distributors that, under contracts, buy large volumes of green coffee and then re-sell to roaster and retailer customers in their region. This strategy propelled growth a created a global reach. Asia became the Company’s largest market in 2015. Today, Ninety Plus has very successful distributors in China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. The distributor model has also built large customer bases in Australia, Europe, and Canada. Between sourcing and taste profiling coffee around the world, and selling in international markets, Ninety Plus now has a presence on 5 continents. Further geographic growth is expected in 2016.
There has been no greater validation of success for Ninety Plus than the numerous international barista championships where Ninety Plus coffee is featured. In the “open service” portion of final competition rounds, baristas select a coffee to feature in their preparation and service to the judges. Ninety Plus coffees were dominant in the winner’s circle in 2015 being the selection of eight winning baristas in four premier competitions, including the World Brewers Cup in Sweden. A Ninety Plus coffee was also the used to win the 2014 World Brewers Cup in Italy.
Methodically building the Company by executing on a series of strategic initiatives continues. “Our innovation, international brand recognition, and quality of products, has created a great platform for our future,” says Brodsky. “We have ambitious plans for 2016 and look forward to telling our story and taking our next steps.”
Ninety Plus Coffee® is an internationally recognized producer of green coffee sold to its distributors and customers around the world. Its brands include Ninety Plus®, Levelup®, and Level 1. The Company is headquartered in Miami and has offices in Miami, Florida and Volcán, Panama. www.ninetypluscoffee.com