Ricardo Oteros

October 3, 2018
  Ricardo Oteros Oteros is the managing director of Supracafé. A coffee expert who went to Colombia to work as an intern as soon as he finished his studies and, once there, he found in coffee, in its varieties, and in its growers, an unending source of knowledge to acquire. Today, with over thirty years’ experience and at the helm of Supracafé, he shares all his acquired wisdom about varieties of coffee, roasting processes, coffee planting and terroir, blends and service. He divides his heart and his philosophy between Spain and Colombia. There, over a decade ago, the company bought 120 hectares of land in the Cauca region to grow their own coffees of selected varieties, allowing them to manage, in situ, a production model that is facing numerous kinds of difficulties. The first, is social: while the roasting, packaging and marketing of coffee have advanced with giant leaps in recent years, and in line with the globalization of coffee consumption – something previously restricted to the West but has now reached the markets of Asia – production still clings to techniques which have evolved very little. Supracafé is thus not only committed to exhaustively selecting the best varieties of coffee to be marketed at the top end of the Spanish restaurant industry, but is also a company whose level of social responsibility is very involved, promoting all kinds of programmes in Colombia. Among them, and for more than a decade now, is one that promotes the empowerment of women coffee growers within a predominantly male world. This is just one example, there are more. The company, which has a turnover of more than 5-million Euros a year, also focuses a large part of its strategy for the future on R&D investment at the source. The models they follow are that of wine and, more recently, of oil. Both industries have transformed their value chain through technification and investment aimed at where these foodstuffs are produced, something that quality coffee is just beginning to see today but which is paradoxical: Coffee, one of the foodstuffs that moves the most money on the global market, hinges on an agricultural foundation where producers are often on the verge of poverty. So, Supracafé’s future is obviously on the coffee plantations, and that implies the participation of producers in the process. Hence, the company has always had Colombian partners and is, in fact, a brand that feels it has dual citizenship. Because if 98% of its sales are in Spain, 100% of its coffee comes from Colombia. By Miguel Ángel Rincón