PRINCETON, Mass. — X Cafe LLC, a manufacturer of coffee extracts, has received the 2008 Award for Innovation in Business by the Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE). The company was recently honored at a dinner on May 7 in Waltham with the prestigious New England Award. SBANE’s 2008 New England Innovation Award recognizes that innovation is at the heart of economic prosperity and seeks to single out those companies that have transformed their innovative ideas into a company, product or service that delivers value to customers.

SBANE has the distinction of being the first to honor such now familiar names as Staples, Genzyme, Ben & Jerry’s, Direct Tire, Nantucket Nectars, Taggies and IRobot.

X Cafe coffee extractsCompanies are judged based on the following criteria: innovative business in its field, independent and headquartered in New England, in business for a minimum of two years, 10-300 employees, $100 million maximum revenue, and profitability. SBANE noted that, “Innovation is not only the ability to conceive a new way of doing something, but it’s also having the faith, ingenuity and perseverance to turn possibilities into reality.”

X Cafe was one of 200 companies considered for the award. Over the last six weeks, the company has participated in a round of presentations before panels of judges to make its way to the winner’s circle. At the final round of judging, Cathy Kalenian, Chief Financial Officer of the company noted, “We are in the coffee business but We Think Outside the Cup.”

The company was founded by Cathy and Paul Kalenian of Princeton, Massachusetts, a husband and wife team who have been business partners in three successful start-up businesses over the last 28 years.

X Cafe is a manufacturer of coffee extracts and was founded in 1999. X Cafe literally means Extracts from Coffee, and it is based on a patented process that can take freshly roasted Arabica beans and capture the signature taste profile of the beans. The final product is a concentrated coffee extract.

The extract has two primary uses: 1) Coffee on Demand, wherein the extract is placed in a post-mix dispenser and served 24/7 on demand so it is fresh whether it’s one cup or 500 cups. This application is perfect for high volume in health care, sports arenas, cruise ships and the military. 2) and Ingredient Use – in such products as energy drinks, RTD beverages, liquors, ice creams, and baked goods.

X Cafe is invention based and has received numerous U.S., Canadian and International patents for its extraction technology. The business employs more than 30 people full time in its 63,000 state of the art facility in Portland, Maine. Its annual growth rate has averaged 46% since start-up. This year it is on target to exceed 70% growth.

“Coffee is an enormous industry,” said Paul Kalenian, President. “Coffee is the world’s second largest dollar volume commodity, behind oil. Coffee employs 2% of the earth’s population. And we have brought innovation to the world of coffee through worldwide patents on high pressure extraction technology.”

The company is also environmentally Green. 100% of its coffee grinds from the extraction process are turned into biomass energy at a nearby co-generation facility. 80% of its water is recycled for thermal energy.

“In nine years, we have become the leader in the manufacture of coffee extracts,” said Cathy Kalenian. “We are the only one in the industry worldwide who can replicate the signature taste profile of any coffee, regardless of its origin, in a shelf-stable extract.”

X Cafe has customers throughout the United States and internationally. Its wholesale customer base includes nearly every major coffee roaster in the country and numerous national food distributors. On the ingredient side, many of the countries’ largest beverage companies and co-packers use the company’s coffee extract.

SBANE is a private non-profit organization of approximately 800 member companies located throughout the six-state region. Its mission statement is to enable successful growth through profitable connections, innovation, leadership, advocacy and education for the New England business community.

X Cafe’s corporate office is located in Princeton, Massachusetts, with its roasting and extraction facility in Portland, Maine.

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[tags]X Cafe LLC, a manufacturer of coffee extracts, Paul Kalenian, Smaller Business Association of New England, SBANE Award[/tags]