Nestle coffee production building, Gympie.Photo Patrick Woods / Gympie Times
Nestle coffee production building, Gympie.Photo Patrick Woods / Gympie Times Patrick Woods

Gympie's quality is enjoyed by millions

IN 1929, following the Wall Street Crash and the collapse of coffee prices, there were giant caches of coffee beans sitting in warehouses in Brazil and investors were scratching their heads at the question of how to sell the stock.

A decision was reached to ensure the longevity and usefulness of the bean, and for an innovation in the way it was formed as a product.

Nestlé was approached as to whether these stocks could be turned into a more "soluble” product to be sold to consumers.

Chemist Dr Max Morgenthaler joined Nestle to find a solution.

After three years of research they discovered that café au lait - coffee mixed with milk and sugar - converted into powder kept its flavour for longer.

Nestle factory, Gympie, August 18, 2015.Photo Patrick Woods / Gympie Times
Nestle factory, Gympie, August 18, 2015.Photo Patrick Woods / Gympie Times Patrick Woods

But challenges were posed because milk and sugar were not easily soluble.

The addition of sweetened milk with coffee was discovered to preserve better than unsweetened, and Dr Morganthaler found it also kept longer when exposed to high temperature and pressure.

His concluded the secret of preserving the coffee aroma lay in creating a soluble coffee with enough carbohydrates. Innovative thinking at the time.

He refined a technique to achieve the desired effect and a year later he presented his find to the heads of Nestle.

Two years later on April 1, 1938, the product, Nescafé, was launched in Switzerland.

The company set up a large-scale production line in the Swiss town of Orbe.

The brand was rolled out in the United Kingdom two months later and the United States in 1939.

By April 1940, Nescafé was available in 30 countries worldwide, including Australia, which began local production in 1948.

Nescafé during the war effort

MORE than three quarters of Nescafé's worldwide production was consumed in Switzerland, the UK and the US during the Second World War.

Its shelf life - longer than fresh coffee - helped its popularity to grow and sales volumes doubled.

The bulk of Nescafé's production was provided as supplies to US troops.

Two production factories were set up in the US by 1943 to keep up with demand.

Following the global popularity of the world's first instant coffee, Nescafé was imported to Australia in 1938 and local production began 10 years later at the former Nestlé factory in Dennington, Victoria.

In 1986, production of Nescafé moved to the Nestlé factory at Gympie in Queensland, which now manufactures iconic coffee brands such as Nescafé Gold and Nescafé Blend 43.

Nestles staff member Peter Tierney  Fill and Pack and Labeller operator. the Gympie factory.
Nestles staff member Peter Tierney Fill and Pack and Labeller operator. the Gympie factory. Renee Albrecht

Nestlé has also made significant progress to address responsible farming, sourcing, manufacturing and consumption across its coffee supply chain.

It is part of a CHF 500 million investment in coffee projects by 2020.

The plan includes a set of global objectives that aims to help Nestlé further optimise its coffee supply chain, including an increase in direct purchasing as well as technical assistance programmes for coffee farmers.

Under the Nescafé Plan, the company aims to buy more than 180,000 tonnes of sustainable coffee sourced from about 170,000 farmers by 2015.

Today, Australians drink more than 3.6 billion cups of Nescafé instant coffee every year, with the Gympie factory supplying 15 millions cups of coffee per day across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Each one of those 15 millions cups of coffee has Gympie hard work added into it.

Drink it up.

QUALITY CONTROL: Denis Hanlon tests a cup of coffee made in the Gympie factory.
QUALITY CONTROL: Denis Hanlon tests a cup of coffee made in the Gympie factory. Patrick Woods
Gympie Times


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