UCC Quality

Recognizing that the raw coffee bean is the basis of quality coffee, we have developed a thorough quality control system in the growing regions that spans from procurement of the initial ingredients on through shipment, ensuring that only the best raw coffee beans reach Japan.

Only strictly checked green coffee beans pass muster

We established a local subsidiary in Brazil in 1984, drawing on the country's preeminence as the world's largest producer of coffee to conduct quality control inspections of green coffee beans. Following our dedicated UCC Quality standards, beans are passed through a multi-stage series of strict checks before shipment.UCC Quality defines standards for screen size, defects, and cupping. This unique set of in-house guidelines enables us to perform quality checks that are considered the strictest in the original growing countries. In 2011, we opened an inspection office in Vietnam, the world's second largest coffee producer. Along with our facility in Brazil, this allows us to select the best and safest beans and ship them to Japan.

The raw coffee beans reach Japan and are again inspected by coffee “classificadors” (appraisers) certified in Brazil. They follow the UCC Quality standards to perform a second check. Only the highest quality beans passing these checks are ultimately imported and shipped to our plants nationwide. Certified raw bean inspectors at each plant again conduct inspections before producing a safe and high quality product.

We also pursue thorough safety through dedicated quality assurance departments and partnerships with third party inspection organs to conduct regular checks for the presence of pesticide residue. Our Innovation Center works on researching and developing new techniques for the verification of safety.
Our seven plants are ISO9001 (quality management) certified, with the key plants also being ISO22000 (food safety management), ISO14001 (environmental management), and FSSC22000 (food safety systems) certified.
We also have HACCP and JAS (organic) certification for select products.

Using certified coffee

The US-based Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit seeking to protect human rights and the environment. It requires farms seeking certification to comply with rules like protection of rivers, the classification and proper disposal of waste generated in the agricultural process, and countless other measures. These varied checks also include the protection and revitalization of forests, protection of water sources and ecosystems, improvement of working conditions, and education of the children of the employees. The Rainforest Alliance works with not only coffee producers, but banana, cacao, and producers of many other crops, and broader areas like forestry and tourism.
Developing more estates that comply with these standards contributes to a sustainable way of life for producers, creating a climate for the cultivation of coffee in the long run. This means the continued supply of delicious coffee for consuming countries. Efforts of this nature are underway on a global scale; in effect, this is a global movement.
UCC is a proud supporter of this ethos and has been selling Rainforest Alliance Certified? coffee since 2004.
Indeed, we have led the industry in the Japanese market in this regard by expanding our lineup of organically grown coffees.

In pursuit of the "phantom coffee"

Bourbon Pointu is a legendary grade of coffee that was loved by Louis XV of France.
Arabica beans, originating in Ethiopia, crossed the Indian Ocean and reached the French colony of Bourbon (now Réunion) at the start of the 18th century.
Production of this coffee reached a prosperous peak, but natural disasters and other impediments eventually led to the decline of its cultivation.
Seeking to recreate this legendary "phantom coffee", the UCC team visited Réunion in 1999 to investigate.
With help from local staff, we found ancestor trees traced to the Bourbon Pointu cultivar. Our enthusiasm reached a French research organ, and we spent seven years working together to recreate the bean.
This success was owed to UCC's expertise in agricultural techniques developed by directly managing coffee estates. Our unyielding curiosity and enthusiasm for the possibilities of coffee created a new page in history.