Specialty coffee fuelling Škoda employees’ creativity

Specialty coffee fuelling Škoda employees’ creativity

What does “curiosity fuel” taste like? It’s a blend of coffee beans from India and Tanzania. Coffee lovers working at Škoda plants drink nothing else. What’s more, the residual matter after this coffee is roasted is used in car interiors.

6. 6. 2024 Škoda World

Škoda has been gradually switching to its own coffee since last October. The coffee is called Curiosity Fuel. It aims to fuel employees’ curiosity while they look for sustainable solutions along the entire value chain. It’s intended directly for employees at all the company’s Czech plants. And not just in cups on the table.

20240126-DSC07322_ce6299daŠkoda plants in Czechia get through 25 tonnes of coffee a year.

The coffee, which the Czech carmaker gets through over 25 tonnes of every year, is grown, roasted and packaged in a way that is nature-friendly and farmer-friendly. This is done with a partner firm called JABLUM, a Czech roasting plant. “The aim was to create a coffee that has an interesting taste. Not only for espresso lovers who prefer a full-bodied taste and rich crema, but also for those who like to enjoy subtle nutty notes when they add milk to their coffee. Indian coffees are characterised by a strong body with a chocolatey, bitter taste. Beans from Tanzania, on the other hand, give the resulting blend a sweet, fruity flavour,” explains Petr Nývlt, co-founder of the roasting plant.

Nyvlt_bd4825faPetr Nývlt
JABLUM family roasting plant

Specialty coffee

The beans for Curiosity Fuel coffee are grown by family farms. Checks are performed to ensure that people’s demand for a good cup of coffee goes hand in hand with respect for nature and the landscape. After a pilot run, the project has moved on and now conforms to the Rainforest Alliance’s sustainable principles. Thanks to this approach, the Czech carmaker will always pay a fair price to farmers while ensuring that the local environment is respected and local biodiversity is not compromised at the expense of coffee plantations. Another goal is to directly support local communities – the first on the list is an Indian school.

As Petr Nývlt says, an Asian country was the logical choice for supplying coffee to Škoda: “Škoda has plants in India, so it was the preferred country. In addition, we were able to find farmers in India who have high-quality coffee and are able to meet our requirements for processing coffee on the farm. Rainforest Alliance certification helps us to apply and maintain these requirements and standards.” 

20240126-DSC07579_9207b0baGrains from family farms are used for Curiosity Fuel.

Several other aspects develop the sustainability of the whole coffee consumption process. Buying directly from farmers and bypassing traders or wholesalers, for example, means that the distance the coffee is transported is significantly reduced. It does not travel from one warehouse to another, but goes directly from the farm to the roasting plant in Mladá Boleslav.

Sustainable roasting

The JABLUM roasting plant supplies two coffees to the Czech carmaker. Curiosity Fuel is an 80:20 blend of Arabica and Robusta. The predominant Indian Arabica gives the coffee a pleasantly strong body with a subtle chocolatey, bitter taste. The Robusta makes the coffee perfect for milk drinks like cappuccino or latte. One new development is that the cafés in the plant also receive 100% Arabica from the same plantations in India. Pure Arabica has a flavour profile with minimal acidity and also has naturally less caffeine compared to Robusta.

20240126-DSC07155_4157cbdfIt’s not just the coffee grains that are put to use: the husks are used to tan leather for seat covers.

At the roasting plant, Curiosity Fuel coffee is packaged in 100% recyclable packaging that is made in the European Union. After use, the packaging can then go for recycling and further exploitation via yellow waste bins. In addition, the family-owned roastery boasts that it uses the latest American LORING technology to roast its coffee. These machines register energy savings of up to eighty percent compared to conventional roasters and lower greenhouse gas emissions with each roast. What’s more, the company uses two other hot-air roasters designed especially for smaller batches of select coffees.

Férová káva jako palivo pro škodovácké nápady After roasting, Curiosity Fuel is packed in 100% recycling packaging made in Europe.

Tip for a refreshing summer coffee

Petr Nývlt also shared a fragrant coffee tip for hot days with Škoda Storyboard readers. “The wonderful thing about coffee is that it can always surprise and delight you. Whether it’s a great espresso made from Indian coffee or a summer cold brew made from fruity African coffee from Tanzania. With summer on the way, blended coffee drinks served on ice are sure to be popular – try an espresso with freshly squeezed orange juice on ice.”

Coffee in seats?

As well as being drunk, Curiosity Fuel impacts directly on production. In line with the principles of the circular economy, the coffee bean husks are put to use. Škoda has developed a process in cooperation with a supplier, Bader, to use this waste product to tan the leather for seat covers in the Škoda Octavia and Kodiaq models in the Suite trim level. On top of that, Škoda is exploring other sustainable solutions for leatherworking – the leather for the L&K version of its Superb model is tanned using waste water from olive processing, for example.

Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance certified farming is a farming method that emphasises sustainability, conservation and improving conditions for farmers and their communities. Rainforest Alliance promotes practices that reduce the impact of farming on surrounding ecosystems. This includes protecting biodiversity, reducing the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers and conserving natural resources such as water and soil. The certification, which you can recognise by the green frog on the packaging, also means that farmers and farm workers have better working conditions and are paid more fairly. Rainforest Alliance certification is most commonly found on coffee, chocolate, bananas and other tropical crops.