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175 year old company chooses organic coffee and tea.

175 year old company chooses organic coffee and tea

Right in the ancient center of Amsterdam, the coffee roasting and tea trading company Simon Levelt is situated in two buildings dating back to the 16th Century. The present director, Hans J.M. Levelt, is the fifth generation of the family, who runs this 175 year old company.

Being a relatively small roaster and trader in the low lands, Simon Levelt concentrated on the specialty niches. The firm imports the majority of its products itself directly from the plantations, without mediation of the trade, which is exceptional for a Dutch coffee roaster and tea trader.

Two Shops in Amsterdam

Simon Levelt owns several coffee and tea specialty stores, two of which are located in Holland's capitol city. Simon Levelt supplies gourmet shops, restaurants and hotels in the Netherlands. The company sells both blends, as well as various pure types of coffee and tea.

The past 15 years, the firm has put a lot of energy into a new specialty: Organically grown coffee and tea. Both inside the Netherlands, as well as abroad, the company is now widely know for its organic products of outstanding quality. "Organic" means that no artificial fertilizers nor chemical pesticides or herbicides are used.

"For us that means a lot more than leaving the shrubs to their fate," said Hans Levelt. "Organic implies growing methods that allow the plants to grow naturally without depletion the soil. To protect the crops, good care and a lot of attention is necessary. Also the shrubs need to be further apart than they are nowadays on the high yield plantation. Having the plants at a close distance enhances diseases."

The company keeps close contact with the farmers who grow organic coffee and tea. Regular visits are routine and, if required, Simon Levelt sends an agricultural expert in organic farming.

Coffee Varieties No Longer Available

In his contacts with farmers and plantations, Levelt could avail himself of his long standing experience as an importer of coffee and tea specialties. Hans Levelt speaks sadly about coffee varieties which are no longer available. Especially for these old types, he thinks there are good opportunities for organic growing. Traditional varieties are often more resistant against diseases than shrubs on the modern mass plantations, which heavily rely on artificial fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides. Over the years, traditional varieties have adapted themselves to their environment, giving them a typical character of their own.

Simon Levelt is market leader in the health food sector in Holland with over 400 shops. The company has eight varieties of packages and 24 varities of packed organic teas. Furthermore the company established itself as an exporter of both packed organic coffee and tea and bulk products. The company supplies all over Europe, and also to customers in Asia and the United States, where Simon Levelt has to live up to its excellent reputation.

PHOTO : Headquarters of Simon Levelt

PHOTO : Coffee being cooled on a Probat roaster
COPYRIGHT 1991 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Simon Levelt
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Previous Article:On land, in air, around the world, you may well be drinking Drie Mollen.
Next Article:New facilities, new energies; Antwerp shines for coffee day.

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