By Ryan Miller
Near the shores of the Adriatic Sea in Treviso, Italy, an aspiring Massimo Zanetti expanded on his family’s passion for purveying green coffee through roasting, production and global distribution. From the coast of Italy to Coastal Virginia, Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group established its corporate headquarters and roasting plant in Suffolk for its division Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA more than three decades ago, where they now roast approximately 120 million pounds of coffee annually. Massimo Zanetti USA is the fourth largest manufacturer of coffee in the U.S., and the only vertically integrated coffee company in the country, as they focus on farming, roasting, manufacturing and distribution.
In contrast to Virginia’s crops of cotton and peanuts, coffee isn’t indigenous to the commonwealth. However, the region’s port provides an ideal location on the East Coast to receive and process about 1.2 million burlap bags of green coffee per year sourced from farms in Central and South America, as well as MZB’s own orchard on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. From Suffolk’s corporate headquarters and roasting plant, the coffee is then shuttled to the company’s distribution center in Portsmouth, which serves the entire nation.
Chock full o’Nuts, one of MZB’s largest brands, and Kauai Coffee, their newest brand, are both roasted locally in Suffolk and are available in the region at marketplaces and major retailers. Before Kauai Coffee is shipped to Coastal Virginia, their company-owned orchard producing the coffee utilizes renewable energy with hydroelectricity. To ensure quality and environmentally friendly practices, they’ve introduced ground cover to the fields to eliminate water runoff and replenish soil amendments through compost. “Better soil equals better fruit, and better fruit means better coffee,” shares Brian Kubicki, vice president of marketing.
These efforts are derivative of MZB’s emphasis on environmental stewardship, which is further exemplified through the manufacturing in Suffolk of its single-serve Filter Cups, which use 35 percent less plastic and reduce the amount of waste bound for landfills. MZB also developed its first certified 100 percent compostable coffee pod, PurPod100, released on Earth Day earlier this year. PurPod100 is made of a ring with bio resin and coffee chaff, which is the skin of the coffee bean that’s a byproduct of the roasting process. Once the coffee chaff is collected, it’s built back into the ring and aids in a naturally occurring breakdown. The company has found during tests that the PurPod100 would actually break down and disappear faster than decomposing orange peels.
The single origin of MZB’s devotion to sustainability stems from founder Massimo Zanetti. “It really comes from the fact that we’re farmers sort of at heart. We grow the coffee, we produce the coffee, so taking care of the land and our resources is truly a very important part of who we are in the entire supply chain,” explains Kubicki. “It’s important that we take care of the land so we’ll have coffee available for future generations.”
Learn more about Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA at MZB-USA.com.