Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce members visited Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA’s manufacturing facility in Suffolk, Virginia on October 21. The tour was attended by 36 chamber members and was hosted by Ali Atani, Massimo Zanetti’s Vice President of Manufacturing. Atani gave a twenty minute presentation including a video about the origin of the Massimo Zanetti Brand.
Atani said the main goal of this manufacturing facility is “Producing the best coffee possible every single day.”
The manufacturing facility, located on a 51 acre parcel about four miles north of downtown Suffolk, was purchased by Massimo Zanetti in 2005 and roasts approximately 140 million pounds of coffee a year, with a total capacity to produce 180 million pounds a year. The plant in Suffolk is the company’s largest manufacturing facility in the United States, producing over 1000 Stock Keeping Units (SKU’s) as well as employing 250 local workers.
Among the attendees of the event were two Suffolk City Councilmen. When asked why manufacturing facilities like these are good for the City of Suffolk, Councilman Lou Ward said “These types of facilities keep Suffolk open for business.” Suffolk City Councilman Jeff Gardy added “We would like to have 10 more just like it!”
During Atani’s presentation, the President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber, Bryan Stephens, asked, “How do you measure the quality of coffee?” Atani said, “There are a lot of quality attributes we use, but cupping is the best indicator that we have to judge the quality of our coffee.”
Cupping for those of you who are not supreme coffee aficionados, is the rating of coffee based upon three main attributes: Acidity or the bite that the coffee has during the first sip, the body or aroma of the coffee and the overall flavor of the coffee.
Following the brief presentation there was a tour of the manufacturing facility that covered everything from the purchase of coffee commodities, to the roasting, grinding, packaging, and shipping of hundreds of different brands of coffee including 40 or more flavored coffees.