In Brazil Ipanema Coffees´s new quality control coffee tasting facility has been built to optimise reuse and recycling.
Open to customers and visitors, the new cupping room and laboratory are more than just a place for tasting the speciality coffees produced and exported to 28 countries by the three farms located in the cities of Alfenas and Conceição do Rio Verde in the south of the state of Minas Gerais.
During coffee harvest season – from April to September – more than 500 cups are tested in the Cupping Room in a single day. On average, two hundred thousand bags are analysed per year.
Designed to require minimum resources, the construction is said to express the sustainability principles practiced on the farms – reduce, reuse and recycle.
The reuse of shipping containers, the use of photovoltaic cells and the reuse of woods from coffee plantations, among other initiatives, are said to make the quality control lab and the cupping room a model of innovation and sustainability.
The 2153 ft² (200 m2) building, located on Conquista farm in the city of Alfenas, uses of seven containers amounting to 27 metric tonnes of steel turned into a sole structure with differentiated spaces.
Despite the fact that these containers can last more than 100 years, they are usually discarded after 20 years of use, and often abandoned instead of being sent for recycling.
With this construction technique, it was claimed that the facility saved 180 metric tonnes of resources including water, sand, gravel, cement and iron, in addition to reducing construction debris from 21 to 4.6 metric tonnes.
In addition, the cupping tables have been made of wood from 45-year-old coffee tree trunks cut as part of the plantation natural renewal.
Meanwhile the “spitting” process – traditional among coffee tasters – has been rethought: the liquids that are left recycled and the solids reused in the garden as fertiliser.
According to tot he developers, in total the facility saved 280 tonnes of building materials, avoided the production of 16 tonnes of debris and reduced CO2 emissions by 98 tonnes over 20 years.
The video below demonstrates some of the facility’s environmental credentials.
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