Reyansh Chaturvedi, a technician from Bangalore, spends seven minutes shopping and 20 minutes choosing his jitter juice in the specialty coffee section of the store. Before buying, he first checks the packaging. Then he pulls out his smartphone and scans the QR code on the packet to find out if the Arabica bean he likes is indeed from Barbara Estate in Chikmagalur, Karnataka, as he claims. Digital coffee traceability is a must for millennials addicted to liquid power – believable coffee.
The digital traceability of coffee raises many questions. Do you know where your coffee bean comes from? How do you know your Robusta is what it says? How can you trust what the brand says about your coffee? Digital coffee traceability helps customers get right under the skin of the bean, say Anil Nadig and Srivatsa Sreenivasarao, co-founders of Bengaluru-based TraceX Technologies, a blockchain tech company that promises to shell out the whole odyssey “of bean by the cup”. All shoppers have to do is scan the barcode on any coffee packet, which will take them directly to a webpage with a product summary, geographic location of the coffee farm, quality data, information on production, sourcing and processing, and shipping. It also sends links to videos and photographs.
There is also hot news that the current session of Parliament will address the repeal of the Coffee Act of 1942. For the past 80 years, the production and distribution of coffee in India has been governed by colonial law obsolete. The Coffee (Promotion and Development) Bill 2022 is expected to position India as one of the leading coffee producing and exporting countries in the world. Nadig says that while the bill could open up the market, quality control is crucial.
“Coffee is a premium product and Indians are doing everything they can to get their hands on new specialty coffees. They want to know where their coffee is grown, altitude, location, drying time, how it was roasted, the processes it went through, if it is from ethical sources, fair trade coffee of a collective of farmers without involving child labor and the distance and time spent in transit,” he adds. Simply put, this technology helps you understand the boxes the coffee bean ticked before it arrived in your cup. A report published by Markets and Markets in March 2022 indicates that the food traceability market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.1%, with its estimated value reaching $26.1 billion by 2025.
Srivatsa says that as global markets opened up over the past five years, sparking a surge in coffee exports, technology became necessary to provide transparency. In May 2022, the company started dealing with 3,500 coffee growers in the Araku Valley near Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. They joined Technoserve, an NGO that works to improve the crop value chain.
TraceX staff, through Technoserve staff, send instructions to the farmer’s cell phone in the local language. The platform also sends actionable point SMS alerts in eight Indian languages, which are sent simultaneously to TechnoServe’s crop advisors and field officers. It partners with high-end Indian coffee brands to track every step of the process, the cost of which could increase by 13% if the brands decide to pass these expenses on to the consumer. Some companies, however, don’t use it because they think it’s part of their transparency ethic. Knowledge is power. And your brew might just taste better knowing where it came from.
Why blockchain traceability?
✥ Collected data acts as a single source of truth.
✥ It captures real-time data, from raw material sourcing to input use and sustainable practices.
✥ Post-harvest module captures and streamlines production processes, inventory and batch management, and improves operational efficiency.
✥ Understand the data generated to help
reduce losses due to waste in the supply chain and provide better information to stakeholders to make informed decisions.