Today we were blessed with some extra time to sleep in before our first office visit. With that much needed sleep and a delicious Brazilian breakfast, we made our way to Nespresso, Brazil’s leading coffee innovation company. On the bus ride over I began thinking about the past few days and realized that we all seemed to be adjusted to this new lifestyle and culture. Our energy levels were high and the excitement of another day in Sao Paulo was evident in everyone’s faces.
As we arrived at Nespresso, we immediately found out that this place LOVES their coffee and they were proud of it, too. The main lobby looked like a museum dedicated to coffee, with its own coffee bar and some of the coolest interactive screens I have ever seen. After about twenty minutes downstairs we were led to a conference room to begin our lesson on Nespresso. Our speaker, Carolina, was a young woman who had worked her way from selling coffee in stores to now being employed as a corporate worker. We learned that Brazil, though the leading producer of coffee, was second to the United States in consumption, something that Nespresso had dreams of changing. Nespresso wasn’t interested in just selling coffee and making profit, Nespresso was interested in creating an unique coffee experience for its consumers as well as providing its farmers with opportunities to grow their businesses and be more educated in agriculture and basic finance and business practices.
In order to learn about coffee, we of course had to try some coffee. The difference in this office visit was before we even got our first sip, we first had to learn about different tastes and how they affect our tongue when we mix and create combinations. These four tastes – sweet, bitter, sour, and salty – all played key roles in how coffee should be made and served. After being served our first cup, the temptation to drink it all was high but we were instructed to first look at the coffee, and then to smell the coffee, finally we got our first sip of delicious Brazilian coffee. Not only was it amazing, but we were given different foods with each cup that changed how the coffee tasted. It was very interesting to be able to feel the taste of one cup of coffee change with varying tastes and flavors. It was also interesting to see the passion that Nespresso had for this. Carolina told us her dreams of working with Nespresso and coffee; it was so rewarding to see someone with that kind of passion in what she does for a living. This was a unique experience we had and was one of my top office visits. It also helped that afterwards we were treated with a Caipriniha with coffee (it sounded disgusting at first, but ended up being the best drink I had while in Brazil).
After a quick lunch our group made our way to the Brazilian “Wall Street.” This company visit was to BM&F-BOVESPA, home to the Brazilian stock market and securities and futures market. We were led into the original trading floor, equipped with real-time stock prices being displayed on giant screens encircled around the room. Our speaker guided us through a short video and tour of the history of the stock market in Brazil from its creation to how it is run today. It was very interesting to learn the similarities and differences of Brazil’s stock market compared to ours back in the United States. We were given a basic lesson on how a stock market works and then were led back onto the floor to see how stocks were traded before modern times of buying and selling electronically. I learned that because of my height and size I would have a key advantage to be able to push my way to sellers and be able to get the best prices. This could also be my downfall if smaller brokers decided to team up against me. Overall, it was a lot of fun to get interact with our speaker and learn from this experience.
With the rest of the day to ourselves, groups were split with the girls wanting to go shopping at the market and the boys who needed to eat. Timmy and I grabbed some delicious sushi that was next to our hotel and got a nice nap in before we all met up for dinner. While exploring Sao Paulo we celebrated Jamie’s early birthday and also got to meet the brother to the original founder of Sierra Nevada Brewery. His partner and he spent time with us just talking about his company and learning from someone who nicknamed himself the “beer ambassador” for Sierra Nevada. By the end of the night we all went to our rooms knowing it was another amazing day in Brazil and an experience that we will never forget!