Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 94 of 99

95 FD: After some time on the Nabob desk, and due to my specialty experience, I was asked to lead the Swiss Water Decaffeination business that Kraft owned at the time—they had acquired Swiss Water through the purchase of Nabob. I had roasted marketing experience with Nabob, but it was exciting for me to then build a deeper understanding of the coffee industry on the green importa- tion and sales side through Swiss Water. I also really appreciated getting a lot closer to the U.S. specialty-coffee market, which was then just in its infancy. Swiss Water was (and still is) based in Vancouver, but I ran the business from Toronto for three years until the famous New York mar- ket "inversion" of 1997. That year the futures market experienced a phenomenon in which the next futures period was way less expensive than the current one. This led to massive losses on the Swiss Water Decaffeination business, and it also led to the sale of the business by Kraft—they just did not understand the green coffee futures market from an importer point of view. Ultimately, the business was sold to private-equity interests in 2000. I moved to Vancouver to run the busi- ness then, and we took the business public through the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2002. BMag: Can you talk about Swiss Water's jour ney since becom- ing independent in 2000? How has the company grown and positioned decaf coffee as an appealing option for cafés and their customers? FD: Since we became our own entity in 2000, we have been able to focus solely on the development of premium decaffeinated green coffee and the development of the Swiss Water brand. We came up as a marketing company, but then we had to become a high-quality processor and a specialty-green-trading operation with worldwide logistics capabilities. All of this would have been impossible within a large organization like Kraft, so it took some time to build this part of the business. Our growth has been driven by a relentless approach to improving quality and developing a strong sensibility for the specialty-green-cof- fee trade. We have always used good science and rigorous data to improve our operations, but we really switched these capabilities on in 2010 when we adopted Six Sigma manufacturing practices to limit variability and hold quality consistently at ever-higher levels as we improved our processing technology. In working with decaffeinated coffee every day, we have realized one of its key appeals is that it enables roasters and café owners to sell more coffee through afternoons and into the evening. So really, our role in the industry is to help the entire coffee trade sell more coffee. This has been a very simple but rewarding realization in that we simply help with the industry's overall profi tability. Additionally, we do that in the most sustainable manner possible—without the use of dangerous halogenated solvents like methylene chloride or the chemical ethyl acetate. BMag: What are you interested in outside of coffee? FD: I am still very much into sports. I play tennis several times a week all year and play ice hockey twice a week during the season. I also still ski aggressively and went to Hokkaido, Japan, in January for cat skiing (a form of guided backcountry skiing). I also spend a fair amount of energy on music; I started playing bass when I was 14, and for many years I've played upright and electric bass in a three-piece rockabilly/psychobilly band by the name of Atomic Robot Man. In a brush with nepotism, I suppose, we played the Swiss Water Christmas party in December! online original content for the coffee community EVERY SINGLE DAY.

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