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AI-powered start-up Demetria partners with Nespresso to ensure high-quality coffee beans

3 min read
AUTHOR: Tilly St Aubyn

Demetria, an AI-powered startup working to increase sustainability of the coffee industry, have announced their latest collaboration with Nespresso after a successful pilot programme.

Founded in 2018, Demetria has built a software distribution platform to measure coffee quality and traceability across the entire coffee supply chain including farmers, traders and roasters. The start-up uses near-infrared sensor technology and AI-driven data profiling to ensure accurate taste and quality of the green coffee beans. The platform safeguards farmers by enabling them to consistently acquire high-quality coffee plants and earn fair payment for their produce.

Nespresso seeks to continually develop their coffee varieties in efforts to bring high-quality coffee to their consumers and have recently been deploying a grafting technique to combine two plants into one. The company previously used a few trained experts to manually implement this horticultural technique and will now utilise Demetria’s handheld sensor technology and machine-learning models to measure the seedlings instead. This technology will enable Nespresso to increase their operational capacity and efficiency whilst maintaining consistent quality of the coffee plants.

During the pilot, Demetria’s technology was used to classify more than 240K seedlings over the course of three months which have since been supplied to Nespresso’s network of farmers across Colombia. Through the operation, the Colombian coffee farmers have been granted high-quality grafted coffee seeds meaning they can achieve an efficient yield and fair payment.

Santiago Arango, Green Coffee Project Manager at Nestlé Nespresso, said: “Demetria was able to understand, design, develop and deploy a solution to meet our needs in the field in a very tight timeframe.

“This work is an introduction to our long-term plans with Demetria. We are embarking on applying their pioneering technology to build a suite of applications that will allow our network of farmers to accurately measure and manage their post-harvest processes for the first time, in order to consistently produce optimal coffee quality”, he added.

Demetria’s co-founder and CEO Felipe Ayerbe said: “Demetria leverages technological innovation to create shared value across the coffee supply chain with a particular emphasis on positively impacting the livelihoods for the crop’s smallholders.” 

He added: “We’re delighted to be working with Nespresso at such an early stage in our company’s growth and we hope this application is just one of many high value use cases we can provide, bringing a new level of efficiency to a critical stage of coffee production while minimizing the cost of failure for both the roaster and the farmer”.

Demetria is based in Bogota, Colombia and has raised $3M in funding to date.