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Alvorada - supplying Eastern Europe with coffee.

During my journey through Eastern Europe last November, my very last stop was at kaffeehandelsgesellschaft, roasters of Alvorada coffee. This family-owned business, which started in the 1950's in Salzburg and eventually relocated in the outskirts of Vienna, was bustling with activity the day I arrived.

Alvorada is the largest roasting facility in Vienna, Kornel Bator, director-green coffee, proudly told me. The usual roasting production is 100,000 bags per month, with the majority of roastings going to the former Eastern Bloc countries. The company' s facilities are actually too large for Austria's needs but, luckily, demand from Eastern Europe keeps the plant producing. Alvorada has approximately 25% of the Austrian coffee market.

With current market availabilities and depressed prices, the company now imports from everywhere versus emphasizing on Brazil.

Kornel Bator is not a happy man when it comes to discussions on the ICA. He sadly shook his head as he relayed stories about the exporters losing too much in overhead costs as coffee prices dip lower and lower. He's personally seen several farmers giving up on the crop and abandoning it totally. He feels Brazil needs a strong coffee leader in the government, someone who knows the produce and its people. "The world produces too much coffee, and that's a fact; so you need a mechanism to control coffee," stresses Bator.

Austria has had a slight increase in coffee consumption, but roastings in Austria have dramatically increased due to its export market. Per capita consumption is estimated to be 8.2 kilos per person.

In Poland, there were several stores which imported German and Austrian coffee, and the consumers had to use foreign currency. The normal consumers got inferior coffee and coffee substitutes like roasted corn and chicory. They can only afford Robusta, and blend requirements change from country to country, region to region.

Austria has many coffeehouses and more tradition; people had mail coming to coffeehouses because they spent so much time there. Men and women can practically stay all day with one cup of coffee and, often, students are found studying in coffeehouses.

Alvorada has actually two companies: Kaffeehandels which handles green coffee purchases, and Alvorada which roasts. Now the two companies are the same.

The company uses the media, television and radio for advertising the brands, but not heavily. Alvorada is not an expensive coffee. It is popular among the medium class, and there are no coffee shops for Alvorada. The company does private label packing, but only for a very few. Roastings are continuous every day, 24 hours a day. The company also has other companies roasting for them when necessary, and they do have a packing plant for soluble coffee.

All decafs come from Germany. Alvorada is the main brand name. Wiener Kaffee is the most popular espresso in their line. The company also produces top quality gourmet products.

The firm also roasts for Yugoslavia and, while my November visit showed some civil unrest, Alvorada was still packing coffee for that country and getting paid.

Roasting equipment includes several new 4,000-kilo Probat roasters, two were installed a few months before my visit and, Bator assured me all roast continually24 hours a day. The number of silos holding green coffee amounts to 12 and roasted coffee silos account for five, with an additional five to come. Coffee is originally sorted at the port warehousing and handling facilities in Italy.

As I proceeded through the roaster, Bator showed me the various entrepre- neurs who were loading the boot of their car with coffee. Not only were cars lined up, but vans also were loaded up to the top, and they were all headed for Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland, and Yugoslavia.

Good coffee is reaching far and wide within Eastern Europe.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Title Annotation:Viennese coffee roaster
Author:McCabe, Jane
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Sep 1, 1992
Previous Article:Austria - they're roasting up a storm.
Next Article:Germany: Eduscho and Tchibo approach vacuum-packs.

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