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  • The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

    Copied this from "Whats in my grinder and cup today?".... a post by Luca. Definitely newsworthy in my opinion....

    Mal.

    Originally posted by 776E787A1B0 link=1192703585/269#269 date=1234581021
    Cupping bowl: Ethiopian "Shakiso" experimental lot.  Quite easily the best natural processed and the best ethiopian coffee I have ever tasted.  Intense strawberry, a hint of cherry, some iodine emerging at room temperature.  Utterly excellent.  

    These lots are the product of partnerships between import companies, growers and millers, whereby feedback from the consumer (ie. roasters) can be fed back to origin.  Unfortunately, these projects are possibly under threat by proposed ethiopian legislation that will only allow coffee to be sold in standardised bags, as mixed lots with a provincial designation (ie. sidamo, harrar, yirgacheffe).  Apparently the ethiopian government thinks that this will help it to establish value in trade marks for the provinces, presumably apropos of legal battles with Starbcuks over these marks.  Whilst this may be true for the lower end of the market, this could potentially destroy the super specialty end.  If this happens, the effect on Australia remains to be seen; by and large, Australians dont really spring for the super duper microlots, which, as far as I am aware, are mainly traded through Dutch, US and UK import and export companies.  So if there is a drop in quality, consumers may not feel as pronounced an effect as consumers of the roasters in the US, Netherlands and other countries that actually buy the top-of-the-top lots.  Nonetheless, Australia does seem to be at a tipping point, where a few market leaders are dipping their toe in the water of the ethiopian super duper coffee market and I very much hope that the people with whom they deal are able to maintain their sourcing relationships.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  • #2
    Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...


    Originally posted by 776E787A1B0 link=1192703585/269#269 date=1234581021
    [ch65533]Unfortunately, these projects are possibly under threat by proposed ethiopian legislation that will only allow coffee to be sold in standardised bags, as mixed lots with a provincial designation (ie. sidamo, harrar, yirgacheffe). [ch65533]Apparently the ethiopian government thinks that this will help it to establish value in trade marks for the provinces, presumably apropos of legal battles with Starbcuks over these marks. [ch65533]Whilst this may be true for the lower end of the market, this could potentially destroy the super specialty end.
    Having had several super (and I think a few of them were the super-duper ones) Ethiopians lately ... pretty sure that idea sucks real bad!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

      Originally posted by 342E382D2D590 link=1234599207/1#1 date=1234651875
      Having had several super (and I think a few of them were the super-duper ones) Ethiopians lately ... pretty sure that idea sucks real bad!
      Too right Michelle.... >

      It always worries me when govts get involved in trying to manage commercial primary products... Far too many fingers in the pie when this happens and it only ever leads to a much poorer outcome for all interested parties. Nothing like this sort of interference to bring everything down to the lowest common denominator..

      Mal.

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      • #4
        Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

        Yeah, well all be keeping our eyes on this.

        Digressing for a moment, I should point out that I really struggle to find a way to adequately distinguish between good coffee and amazing coffee. The problem is that lingo and buzzwords travel so quickly over the internet that roasters and consumers are able to misappropriate words so quickly that they are perverted away from their intended usage before they actually develop any sort of public recognition for what they are intended to mean. In other words, people equate whatever the latest buzzword is with good and then think my coffee is good, so the latest buzzword must apply. So I hope that I havent confused anyone into thinking that this was just another good coffee. This was extraordinary coffee, the likes of which I have probably only tasted half a dozen times and, even then, only from stuff that was neither cheap, nor easy to source.

        Cheers,

        Luca

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

          Originally posted by 0D140200610 link=1234599207/3#3 date=1234782861
          Yeah, well all be keeping our eyes on this.

          Digressing for a moment, I should point out that I really struggle to find a way to adequately distinguish between good coffee and amazing coffee.  The problem is that lingo and buzzwords travel so quickly over the internet that roasters and consumers are able to misappropriate words so quickly that they are perverted away from their intended usage before they actually develop any sort of public recognition for what they are intended to mean.  In other words, people equate whatever the latest buzzword is with good and then think my coffee is good, so the latest buzzword must apply.  So I hope that I havent confused anyone into thinking that this was just another good coffee.  This was extraordinary coffee, the likes of which I have probably only tasted half a dozen times and, even then, only from stuff that was neither cheap, nor easy to source.

          Cheers,

          Luca
          Its entirely possible Im reading that the wrong way, Luca, but slap on the wrist duly noted.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

            Originally posted by 4F62666A670B0 link=1234599207/0#0 date=1234599207
            Unfortunately, these projects are possibly under threat by proposed ethiopian legislation that will only allow coffee to be sold in standardised bags, as mixed lots with a provincial designation (ie. sidamo, harrar, yirgacheffe).
            ...dont even get me started on the Fairtrade system which forces the small holder farmer who produces an outstanding coffee into a co-op so their good work can be diluted with random floor sweepings.... and that is happening in coffee growing regions all around the world, not just Ethiopia.

            There is a whole lot of politics in coffee that we as consumers never know about, govt, co-op and dodgy people up and down the chain all have a say in what gets exported.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

              this is brutal..... I think im gonna play the ostrich, stick my head in the ground and pretend its not happening.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

                Originally posted by 2A30263333470 link=1234599207/4#4 date=1234785901
                Its entirely possible Im reading that the wrong way, Luca, but slap on the wrist duly noted.
                Yes, you probably are reading it the wrong way and I didnt intend any slap on the wrist. In any case, if we are using the same words to refer to coffee of different standards, its not your fault - it just goes to illustrate the poverty of language and the internet when it comes to the realm of the taste of coffee. What is interesting, though, is that when you get a bunch of experienced tasters together for a cupping or whatever, there usually tends to be a surprising amount of agreement on the relative merits of everything that is on offer. I wish that the coffee internet were like that.

                FWIW, if you had any of the IMV or the Beloya that Mecca imported recently, thats probably in the outstanding/exceptional/super duper league. I only found out that they had some when Paul told me yesterday ... after they had run out I reckon the Dale and Zeke are probably very good to excellent, but not in the same league.

                Originally posted by 3E22223D26470 link=1234599207/6#6 date=1234790070
                this is brutal..... I think im gonna play the ostrich, stick my head in the ground and pretend its not happening.
                Originally posted by 0629233E470 link=1234599207/5#5 date=1234788138
                ...dont even get me started on the Fairtrade system which forces the small holder farmer who produces an outstanding coffee into a co-op so their good work can be diluted with random floor sweepings.... and that is happening in coffee growing regions all around the world, not just Ethiopia.
                I would very gladly get you started on this topic, Andy!

                Originally posted by 0629233E470 link=1234599207/5#5 date=1234788138
                There is a whole lot of politics in coffee that we as consumers never know about, govt, co-op and dodgy people up and down the chain all have a say in what gets exported.
                Yeah, its interesting. The internet brings us an amazing amount of knowledge, but there is still so much more that you only really find out by talking to people in the know.

                You know, I bet that in every single roastery, no matter how bad the coffee that they produce, there are a few bags of really good coffee that the roaster keeps aside for themselves and would never sell because the green is simply too expensive. Id love to see the day when a roaster can command $80/kg for exceptional coffee and the consumer can buy it with a fair chance that they wont get a dud batch.

                Originally posted by 3E22223D26470 link=1234599207/6#6 date=1234790070
                this is brutal..... I think im gonna play the ostrich, stick my head in the ground and pretend its not happening.
                Yeah, I kind of agree. On the other hand, I guess that there is a zany possibility that if they allow certain importers/exporters to continue as they have been, there may be more demand for their product, which might result in more production and, hence, more chance that well actually see some ... albeit at a higher price. Just speculating, but if you feel anything squirming in the sand next to you, its probably just me moving my head into place.

                Cheers,

                Luca

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

                  Originally posted by 554C5A58390 link=1234599207/7#7 date=1234866848
                  Originally posted by 2A30263333470 link=1234599207/4#4 date=1234785901
                  Its entirely possible Im reading that the wrong way, Luca, but slap on the wrist duly noted.
                  Yes, you probably are reading it the wrong way and I didnt intend any slap on the wrist.  In any case, if we are using the same words to refer to coffee of different standards, its not your fault - it just goes to illustrate the poverty of language and the internet when it comes to the realm of the taste of coffee.  What is interesting, though, is that when you get a bunch of experienced tasters together for a cupping or whatever, there usually tends to be a surprising amount of agreement on the relative merits of everything that is on offer.  I wish that the coffee internet were like that.

                  FWIW, if you had any of the IMV or the Beloya that Mecca imported recently, thats probably in the outstanding/exceptional/super duper league.  I only found out that they had some when Paul told me yesterday ... after they had run out    I reckon the Dale and Zeke are probably very good to excellent, but not in the same league.
                  Haha, I deliberately, but mistakenly, picked up on your language because the coffee you initially mentioned sounded similar in name (or so I thought - still cant remember what it was actually called) to a coffee Dan and I had at The Source on Saturday. The point is well made, however. Perhaps one day soon Ill manage get my palate and cupping spoon to Melbourne and I can see how my yardstick measures up ;D

                  And actually I did have a particularly tasty Sidamo at Mecca on Saturday; though again, I am hopeless at paying attention to names. :

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

                    Originally posted by 6B726466070 link=1234599207/7#7 date=1234866848
                    there are a few bags of really good coffee that the roaster keeps aside for themselves and would never sell because...
                    ...because Im a pig?
                    8-)
                    You should see my Yemen collection at the Snobbery!

                    1 x Yemen Sanani (pretty nice "think Yemen light")
                    2 x Yemen Mattari (from different mills, both pretty good)
                    1 x Yemen Bani Ismail (the ducks)

                    ...at least I share the best of em with other CSrs.
                    ;D

                    Seriously though, we often take a risk on exceptional coffee and it makes little financial sense to do so... we can only do it if we plan on drinking the coffee ourselves.

                    Even premium beans at $25/kg green we struggle to sell and at $50-$100 for green we have little hope of selling a single bag.  
                    Smaller roasters would struggle even more to justify a bag.

                    Speaking of bean prices... they are really going to hike-up in the coming months.  Nearly every broker that I have spoken to this year are looking at price rises of 10% - 25% depending on their forward contracts and we have already seen 5% price rises this month.  The dropping AU$ is most of the "excuse" but with a similar drop in the ICE and NYC index I dont understand why the US$ has such a big impact.  

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

                      Originally posted by 4D6268750C0 link=1234599207/9#9 date=1234877399
                      The dropping AU$ is most of the "excuse" but with a similar drop in the ICE and NYC index I dont understand why the US$ has such a big impact.
                      I dont know anything at all about how coffee is traded, but is it all in US dollars from the source? I can only apply what I know about the effects of forex market fluctuations on electronics, and it is often the multiple currency conversions that can impact on price. I wouldnt be surprised to see prices on any imported product go up by at least a third.

                      Originally posted by 60796F6D0C0 link=1234599207/7#7 date=1234866848
                      FWIW, if you had any of the IMV or the Beloya that Mecca imported recently, thats probably in the outstanding/exceptional/super duper league.
                      In light of what youve said about the potential changes to how Ethiopian coffee is going to be marketed, I think i need to make a bigger effort to get down to Mecca on a Saturday! Not always an Ethiopian on offer of course, but how will I know unless Im going there more often?

                      In general, I think the homogenisation of any food product to make it easier to control and market is a mistake. As the world has shrunk, thanks to better comms like teh interwebs, the potential for niche and speciality markets to develop has vastly increased, especially when it comes to products that consumers can get very passionate about. A passionate, although admittedly smaller market will surely pay well over the market average for a product if enough is known about its production and what makes it so special.

                      Of course, for a govt, I imagine it requires much more administration to both market and tax products from niche producers, while grouping them all into a small number of regions and slapping a brand on the product regardless of the actual region that produced it is much easier to deal with. In areas that have a history of unstable govts I can see how this would be attractive and a quicker way to generate revenue.

                      Its interesting that the wine industry, and many of its consumers understand and accept the concept of terroir but for the wider coffee market, this isnt very well understood it seems. I wonder if it has anything to do with what I see as reverse marketing needs in the coffee and wine industries. Wine had to find a way to become a mass market product, especially here in Australia and so more specialised products were already well accepted and entrenched once the wider commodity wine market got going. In coffee, I personally see the reverse; mass market, commodity coffee is well entrenched in the mass market already, and its the specialty coffee market that is developing.

                      hmm. also, why am I thinking like this at 5:30am?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

                        Originally posted by 2F263D242F222A470 link=1234599207/10#10 date=1234897329
                        Its interesting that the wine industry, and many of its consumers understand and accept the concept of terroir but for the wider coffee market, this isnt very well understood it seems.

                        Part of this could be attributed to the fact that wine as a fine product has been around for much longer.

                        I think another reason for the discrepancy, and probably the harder one to change is the fact that many of the worlds coffee producing nations come from the tropical belt which typically are developing nations. They see coffee as a commodity where pure numbers is what matters. As long as they can keep producing and moving large quantities of this commodity, then it doesnt matter too much.

                        Wine on the other hand is produced in cooler climates, many wine producing countries that have a long history of gastronomy (think France), with Governments that understand the quality of the product and importance of marketing as such.

                        Until developing nations governments can grasp the importance of investing in their product, theyll keep going the quick cash route.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

                          Originally posted by 222B3029222F274A0 link=1234599207/10#10 date=1234897329
                          I dont know anything at all about how coffee is traded, but is it all in US dollars from the source?
                          Yeah, like everything else moved around the planet, US$ is king.

                          In a nutshell... coffee is a commodity, it is bought and sold like gold, oil, shares and most it traded well before its grown (under forward contracts).

                          The first picture below shows the trading price which currently sits at US$1.10/lb and it was at US$1.60/lb 12 months ago.

                          When it hit US$1.60 all the local brokers put their prices up because "the NY-C hit record levels", obviously when it then fell the price didnt come down but they pointed to the US$ and said "its dropped, we cannot sustain the current pricing".

                          The coffee index fell at the same rate as the US$ (see 2nd pic below) so it SHOULD have cancelled each other out.

                          Feels like petrol to me! The world price per barrel and the US$ has little to do with what gets charged, supply and demand is a far more powerful factor.

                          I should also say that "specialty coffee" is not traded on the index (that is for the instant coffee type market and floorsweeping grades) but specialty coffee prices do follow the index.

                          Did any of that make sense?
                          ;D



                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

                            Seems that swill coffee is cyclical, I still have a memory of a major price spike in the late 70s on all coffees and it being news and back pocket worthy back then. Cant remember the reason (old age).

                            True speciality coffee will still find a price point that it will bear and people willing to buy it in the long run. To some degree group marketing will help some average farmers but hamper the best of them. Hope the goverment of Etheopia is running an incentive scheme to help out the masses while leaving the speciality ones alone to do their own thing with out assistance. If it is an export control thing then we are in for trouble and we might start to see black market cross border shipping of beans Even to this end if their is pressure over time from importers and brokers to allow individual lots at a premium you would think a goverment would be mad to pass up any tax take on increased value.

                            We have been marketing our wines as Australian overseas but it hasnt really changed the individual speciality wineries. We may all like to think we desire Grange because it has been hyped to within an inch of its life but Henshke is more affordable and very very good but most still finishup drinking sub $20/bottle really decent ones then there are shateu cardboard / wine cooler drinkers as well :P

                            Roll on the best beans from beanbay that I choose to afford No Kopi Luwak for me

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                            • #15
                              Re: The future of High Grade Ethiopian Coffee...

                              time to start stockpiling ethiopian greens, then vacuum packing and freezing them

                              ;D

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