Coffee is diverse, complex and infinite. We’re as amazed as you are with how rapidly this little bean has evolved from a commodity into an artisanal experience. Our founders Ovian and Jessie emphasize on a simple but powerful mantra – there is no end to the learning process.
Naivo is proud of its global sourcing network that has been built by Ovian and Jessie over three decades. We have committed ourselves to highlighting the amazing work done by coffee farmers and producers across India and around the world. We do this by pushing our limits to continuously educate ourselves and apply the best, most modern and perpetually evolving methods of roasting to each lot of coffee that we source. We swear by a threefold approach (represented below by the Naivogram) following which we are able to deliver a product to you that can truly be termed CRAFT COFFEE.
RELATIONSHIPS AND TRACEABILITY
INTUITIVE ART AND PRECISE SCIENCE
CONTINUOUS QUALITY ANALYSIS
COMMITMENT TO PERFECTION
V E Ovian
Below are answers to a few important questions about our approach to the sourcing process, roasting and quality control from our Co-founder & Director – V E Ovian.
The global coffee sourcing network is extremely sophisticated and getting your hands onto good quality beans that have moved up a “fair value chain” is a daunting task. We achieve this through direct trade with coffee producers with whom we have held relationships for decades. Most of our producer-partners are more than just business partners – they are long-term friends. This enables us to pay a fair price for our coffees with zero hesitation and acquire only the best quality that is a result of solid trust that is tested by time.
In cases where we are unable to commit to minimum required volumes from farmers – specifically at international origins – we purchase them via global specialty coffee houses who have spent several years developing relationships with these farmers. They have invested in various projects associated with farmer welfare in addition to investing both time and capital in the improvement of their growing, harvesting and processing methods. Our partner import/export trading houses are also strictly committed to the same values of transparency and quality as we are. This way, we are able to dynamically purchase volumes that we need from top farms around the world and craft them to perfection for Indian coffee lovers.
In four simple words, I can summarize mindful sourcing as trust, transparency, quality and relationship.
Think of something like single malt whiskey. Single estate coffees are the coffee equivalent. These coffees are lots that are procured from one farm alone. They are usually sourced from producers with whom we hold very close relationships. They produce consistent, fantastic coffees year after year and we’re proud to put their names on our labels.
Single Origin coffees are selected grades of coffee from a particular region. An example of an Indian Single Origin coffee would be Monsoon Malabar AA or Mysore Nuggets Extra Bold. Other examples are Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, Kenya AA and Costa Rica La Pastora. These coffees usually have consistent characteristics from season to season and broadly exhibit the same consistent flavor profile for which they are popular around the world.
Our Signature Blends are a marriage between coffees from different regions. Typically, we bring a Single Origin or Single Estate coffee from an international origin and combine it with a top-quality Single Estate or Single Origin coffee in India. The idea is to explore how global coffees mix with Indian coffees to create interesting cups. Blends are great way to experiment with flavor and achieve very specific profiles that might not be possible with Single Estate and Single Origin coffees. For example, we can bring together the sharp acidity of an East African coffee with a rich-bodied Indian coffee to create a cup that exhibits striking acidity that is complemented by a balanced, lingering aftertaste. The world of blending is a vast playground and Naivo’s Signature Blends are an effort to bring the best of the world’s coffees together in singular concoctions.
Indcaffe – Naivo’s sister firm – has operated as a coffee brokerage enterprise since 1996. It has been an absolute pleasure to have been a part of the coffee trading scene from the early days when coffee was first privatized in India. Within a few years, we saw the potential of specialty coffee in India and began marketing these coffees in global markets along with the regular commercial grades. I must say that Indian coffee has come a long way regarding its reputation in the late nineties.
As a brokerage house with a dedicated quality lab run by Jessie, we were able to identify the top estates and producers in India and connect them to importers and roasters abroad. At both ends of the spectrum, we have developed some special business relationships that have evolved into great friendships over the years. Coffee has been the lifeline for all of us. We speak, breathe, dream and drink coffee. Our common values along with an inextinguishable passion for this crop are the fabrics with which our relationships have been weaved.
Arabica Coffee follows the “C” ticker on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and is traded out of New York. Robusta prices follow the “RC” ticker on LIFFE (The London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange) which is now a part of ICE. Typically, various coffees trade at differentials (a certain number of dollars above or below) on these exchange prices. However, in the last decade or so, specialty coffee has gradually been dissociating from these price indices. One of the main reasons for this is that these indices are influenced by a large number of uncontrollable factors such as currency fluctuations and trading by speculators. Coffee buyers are becoming more conscious of ensuring that producers are fairly monetized for their hard work.
While commercial, premium commercial and even certain certified specialty grades are still traded at differentials against the exchange price, several roasters and traders in the specialty coffee world promise a fixed fair price to producers for their coffee. This ensures that good quality coffee is properly incentivized and producers are protected from irrational price movements in the global market. It also helps to develop trustworthy long-term relationships between buyers and producers that play a pivotal role in the Craft Coffee value chain.
Continuous experimentation, tailored roast profiles, small-batch roasts for more control/consistency and attention to origin discernment – we could say these are the overarching features of the Artisanal Roasting process. The idea is to unveil the hidden gems of flavor present in each lot of coffee. Due to the large volumes roasted in commercial lines, it is difficult to apply these practices as it is simply not feasible both operationally and economically. However, it is attention to these factors and an unrelenting focus on producing high quality coffee at all costs that differentiates craft coffee from its mass-market equivalent. Staying true to these qualities requires shining the spotlight on the sourcing process. The soil at origin, growing techniques, harvesting methods and post-harvest processing play a very large role in defining how the coffee is to be roasted. By being mindful of each of these factors allows the Roastmaster to develop the ideal profile to achieve the best flavor the coffee has to offer.
Furthermore, we pay a lot of attention to understand what kind of brewing a particular lot of coffee is best suited for. We first try and play with each lot to see if an omni-roast profile (suitable for espresso and filter) is possible. This way the coffee becomes accessible to both espresso and filter brewers. However, omni-roasting is not possible for all lots and we choose the best suited profile (espresso or filter) in these cases.
The first level of the value chain is the coffee farmer. A lot goes on in this level in terms of what affects the quality of the final cup. It’s quite obvious that the type of soil, patterns of rainfall, types of fertilizers, cross-breeding between different varietals of coffee and other such factors all play a huge role in influencing the quality of coffee. These factors can vary drastically from one region to another even within the same country. They also vary from one coffee farm to another. The beautiful thing about this is that there is no end to your coffee experimentation.
Origin Discernment is the ability of a coffee drinker to distinguish between one origin and another. At Naivo, our roasting approach aims to highlight various flavors in the coffee that are characteristic of the region/farm where it was grown. We want to encourage coffee lovers to train their senses of smell and taste to easily distinguish between origins. Not only does this improve your coffee knowledge but it also enhances your level of enjoyment of each cup.
Cup! Cup! Cup! The art and science of cupping will never lose its significance irrespective of how drastically the coffee scene evolves globally. India is a tropical country. Our weather patterns see large fluctuations in humidity which is a factor that largely influences the aging process of green beans. Needless to say, good storage material and conditions are a must. In addition, we ensure each batch of coffee that is roasted is cupped to check quality. This helps us understand how the coffee changes with time and weather patterns. Our roast profiles are altered accordingly to make sure external influences are not impacting the final flavor.
In addition to cupping, we also keep brewing and drinking our own coffees using the full range of brewing methods so we are aware of what the end consumer is experiencing. We’re obsessed with bringing to you the coffees that we find irresistible. So, if we don’t like something, we don’t expect you to either. Our philosophy of Continuous Quality Analysis is founded on this premise.