NIUMILA — Coffee giant Massimo Zanetti Beverage now owns Kaua‘i Coffee Company, the nation’s largest coffee estate. The Italian-based company owns plantations in South and Central America, roasting plants and hundreds of coffee shops all over the world.
MZB CEO Massimo Zanetti came across Kaua‘i Coffee four years ago. On Tuesday, he was back with a contingent of MZB dignitaries, to finalize the Kaua‘i Coffee acquisition from Alexander and Baldwin.
“The announcement today is the culmination of the process jointly announced on Dec. 23,” Kaua‘i Coffee President and General Manager Wayne Katayama said in a press release.
Final terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The event was marked by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. proclaiming the date as Kaua‘i Coffee-Massimo Zanetti Day, and inviting the MZB CEO to join him in song, after learning of Zanetti’s ability to sing.
“Today we celebrate the acquisition of Kaua‘i’s premiere agri-tourism operation, Kaua‘i Coffee, by MZB USA,” Carvalho said in the proclamation. “We look forward with great optimism that Kaua‘i Coffee will continue to flourish on Kaua‘i and make valuable contributions to our community as a model employer, a sustainable agricultural operation and generous supporter of worthy causes under the leadership of Massimo Zanetti. We unite to move forward.”
MZB USA CFO John Boyle highlighted Kaua‘i Coffee employees’ love for coffee.
“The passion people at Kaua‘i Coffee have for the care of the plants, in milling the coffee, and marketing the coffee made this a perfect fit for MZB,” Boyle said. “The soil, weather conditions and cupping experience makes Kaua‘i Coffee like no other, and the estate-grown Kaua‘i Coffee will join other MZB operations in Brazil, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Honduras and Indonesia. We welcome Kaua‘i Coffee into our portfolio of prestigious brands.”
Boyle said MZB now has the capacity to bring to market almost 50 percent of all the high quality 100 percent Arabica Hawaiian-grown coffee in the United States.
“It’s a wonderful new entry point for us into the growing super-premium coffee segment,” Boyle said.
Kaua‘i Coffee is the nation’s largest coffee grower, with more than four million coffee trees grown over 3,100 acres, and employing more than 100 people on Kaua‘i, Carvalho said in the proclamation.
The business is a model of sustainable agriculture on Kaua‘i, utilizing drip irrigation instead of spraying or dusting for fertilization, re-using water from the fields in its processing plant, utilizing 100 percent renewable energy for its operations and providing five percent of the general power supply for the island of Kaua‘i, according to Carvalho.
Kaua‘i Coffee is an active member of the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau, the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce, the Hawai‘i Hotel and Lodging Association, the American Culinary Association/Kaua‘i Chapter, and the Kaua‘i Made and Kaua‘i Grown programs, Carvalho said.
“We acknowledge A&B as the founder of Kaua‘i Coffee and a good steward of this company, its employees and the land for the past 24 years,” Carvalho said in the proclamation. “We embrace Massimo Zanetti’s vision of a commitment to total quality culture, dedication to world class execution, and an organization focused on the customer.”
The Zanetti family forms the core of the MZB story. Massimo Zanetti’s grandfather sold coffee, and so did his father.
Massimo Zanetti was the first in the family to produce and sell roasted coffee, starting 35 years ago, according to the MZB website. At that time, MZB was selling about a ton of roasted coffee a year.
Carvalho said MZB, founded in Italy, has a century of experience in the coffee business, currently with nine roasting plants and 700 coffee shops worldwide.
MZB sells over 120,000 tons of coffee annually. Its operations include a coffee plantation and green coffee processing plant in Brazil, a coffee mill in Costa Rica, a green coffee export company in both markets and a green coffee trading company in Switzerland, serving customers in all continents with an annual turnover of $1.2 billion.
MZB USA is headquartered in Portsmouth, Va., and is a subsidiary of the privately held MZB Group, the world’s only vertically integrated coffee company comprised of almost 50 companies operating in about 100 countries.
Speaking through an interpreter, Zanetti said the company’s working mission is to be an entrepreneur, to create business and employment for Kaua‘i.
The acquisition of Kaua‘i Coffee will continue to expand and improve the MZB line, Zanetti said. The aim is to create wealth for everyone and to let more people throughout the world know about Kaua‘i Coffee and the island of Kaua‘i.
Some of the brands being handled by MZB include Chock full o’ Nuts, Hills Bros., Hills Bros. Cappuccino, Segafredo Zanetti, Chase and Sanborn, MJB, Corporate Brands and Segafredo Cafés.
Kaua‘i Coffee is located between Koloa and ‘Ele‘ele on the south side of Kaua‘i. The visitor center remains a popular tourist destination, operating everyday and welcoming as many as 700 people daily.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or email@example.com.