Israeli startup Demetria to use AI-tech to remove the guesswork out of quality coffee production

ISRAEL – Demetria, an Israeli–Colombia-based start-up, is set to drive efficiency, transparency, and sustainability throughout the coffee value chain using its first-of-its-kind AI-powered software.

The firm notes that it’s AI technology will significantly help in improving the quality of coffee at the firm level by bringing to farmers “first-of-its-kind insights” on which farming methods produce better crops.

According to the startup, Cupping (which determines the quality of coffee)  is inaccessible to the vast majority of the 12.5 million smallholder farmers who produce 60% of the world’s coffee beans.

This means that farmers have no understanding of the quality of their produce.

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Their produce is thus usually sold for a base price via a complex supply chain, and as a result, many struggle to cover their operating costs or maintain their livelihoods.

Additionally, the lack of access to cupping is also a significant problem for first-level buyers, such as cooperatives, who effectively buy their beans blindly, with no idea of their beans’ quality until cupping can be performed.

Demetria’s technology addresses these challenges by bringing insights and invaluable data intelligence to the coffee industry for the first time, enabling farmers, traders and roasters to make more informed, better decisions.

Utilizing state-of-the-art portable near-infra-red (NIR) sensors to analyze and fingerprint green coffee beans for biochemical markers, Demetria’s AI-based data intelligence platform accurately matches each bean profile according to the industry standard coffee flavor wheel.

By using its technology, Demetria says growers will understand which farming methods produce better crops, significantly motivating them to grow crops that will earn them more money both for their families and communities.

“The ability to discover the quality of green coffee beans is a game-changer for an entire industry that’s relied on a primitive supply chain and artisanal processes for 300 years,”  Felipe Ayerbe, co-founder and CEO of Demetria details.

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“It’s hard to believe that the world’s biggest roasters have effectively been buying beans with minimal knowledge about their quality and that the majority of coffee farmers – the most critical players in the supply chain – don’t understand the quality of their crops and hence are paid unfairly, threatening the sustainability of this US$450 billion industry,” Ayerbe adds.

US$3 million seed funding round

Demetria’s revolutionary technology has caught the eyes of investors enabling it to raise US$3 million in a seed funding round led by Latin American-Israeli investor Celeritas.

A group of private investors including Mercantil Colpatria, the investment branch of Grupo Colpatria, which is a key player in the Colombian financial sector, also contributed to the round.

This funding according to  CEO Ayerbe, will be used to scale the company as it acquires new customers and further develops its suite of applications for farmers, traders, and roasters

Demetria has so far, completed a pilot with Carcafe, the Colombian coffee division of one of the world’s oldest and largest agricultural commodity traders Volcafe/ED&F Man.

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