Interview with Massimiliano Damiano, Qahwa’s Purchasing Manager
How was the last year and a half for Qahwa? We can say that it has been a difficult year for everyone: due to Covid and the restrictions of bars and restaurants, we too have suffered from the situation. Having said that, we cannot complain because, in any case, we were able to work and make a profit, which is already a great result. In recent months we have made a great restart, even if our sector still carries the aftermath of this pandemic, which has been very problematic at a global logistical level in the handling of goods. This led to delays from the outset and a surge in the prices of all raw materials.
Qahwa has a long list of coffee selections. What do you think is the best? And why should a roaster choose it? In our list we have the most used origins for the creation of Blends so, as I always say, it depends on the result that each roaster wants to obtain. All our origins are high-quality, but if I have to mention one in particular, I am very affectionate to Brazil Santos Guaxupè Honey since the selection of the Blend was made directly by us. Density, sweetness, and balance, I think it's a great product.
Which kind of services does Qahwa offer to its customers? The first service we offer is the supply of green coffee, obviously accompanied by the newsletter with the update of the quotes in real time. We also offer customer service, and we are working on an app to interface directly with our customers and support them in the best possible way.
Coffee and technology: do you think it is a feasible combination? As I mentioned, we are trying to make this combination come true. Since I come from the ICT sector, together with our partners and the company IdeaLab, we are trying to create an app in which each of our customers can access their personal data and manage and monitor various information. So, through the app, they will be able to control the management and balance of the various fixed contracts, orders placed, invoices issued, and deadlines and they can also monitor coffee shipments in order to know when the goods arrive directly from their smartphones. As regards our company, we are trying to process, through the application, all the part of the logistics and accounting management, in order to always have under control the situation of warehouse stocks and arrivals and, in a bit of time, we hope to be able to include the part of the statistical data that can be processed to be more efficient in our sector. So, the answer to the question is definitely yes.
You mentioned the use of special software. What benefit will they give to customers? As I mentioned before, surely the benefit for our customers will be to have the graphs and the history of their purchases at hand, so that they can check all the information they need from their phone at any time, including the average price of their purchases.
Due to climate change, drought is putting a strain on some of the producing countries, causing an inevitable increase in costs. Do you think coffee can become a luxury item? Prices have certainly increased due to the problems linked to the climate change and the difficulty of the international movement of goods. We have already had significant increases in the coffee market in the past. Surely over time, if production is not increased, given the increase in consumption demand, we would also have an increase in the prices of raw materials. Nevertheless, this is the market law: as the demand increases, the prices increase. However, to say that coffee will become a luxury item seems excessive to me and, moreover, romantically I like to think that coffee is a pleasure for everyone so it should be accessible to everyone.
Traditional or pod coffee? Surely, if the coffee is of good quality, the extraction of a professional coffeemaker cannot be compared to a pod. However, I myself consume coffee pods at home and I have to say that if there is quality, the pod also gives a good result.
At the end of October Qahwa will be at the Host Milano Fair with its own stand. What do you expect from this fair? We certainly hope to make ourselves known and have new customers, but the most important thing for us is to introduce our company. After having worked for many years with the Dutch company, we have decided to embark on this new adventure as protagonists.
At the moment, Qahwa's turnover is centered on the Italian market, how do you think the foreign market can develop? We certainly have most of our turnover in Italy, but we are have already customers in Slovenia, Germany, Croatia and Romania, where we aim to increase market shares. Next week I will personally go to Romania to visit potential new customers: I always prefer direct contact to emails and phone calls.
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