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!Originally Posted by 776E787A1B0 link=1192703585/269#269 date=1234581021
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!Originally Posted by 776E787A1B0 link=1192703585/269#269 date=1234581021
Too right Michelle.... >:(Originally Posted by 342E382D2D590 link=1234599207/1#1 date=1234651875
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..
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.
Its entirely possible Im reading that the wrong way, Luca, but slap on the wrist duly noted.Originally Posted by 0D140200610 link=1234599207/3#3 date=1234782861
...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.Originally Posted by 4F62666A670B0 link=1234599207/0#0 date=1234599207
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.
this is brutal..... I think im gonna play the ostrich, stick my head in the ground and pretend its not happening.
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.Originally Posted by 2A30263333470 link=1234599207/4#4 date=1234785901
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=1234790070I would very gladly get you started on this topic, Andy!Originally Posted by 0629233E470 link=1234599207/5#5 date=1234788138
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.Originally Posted by 0629233E470 link=1234599207/5#5 date=1234788138
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.
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.Originally Posted by 3E22223D26470 link=1234599207/6#6 date=1234790070
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 ;DOriginally Posted by 554C5A58390 link=1234599207/7#7 date=1234866848
And actually I did have a particularly tasty Sidamo at Mecca on Saturday; though again, I am hopeless at paying attention to names. ::)
...because Im a pig?Originally Posted by 6B726466070 link=1234599207/7#7 date=1234866848
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.
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. *
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 4D6268750C0 link=1234599207/9#9 date=1234877399
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?Originally Posted by 60796F6D0C0 link=1234599207/7#7 date=1234866848
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? :D
Originally Posted by 2F263D242F222A470 link=1234599207/10#10 date=1234897329
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.
Yeah, like everything else moved around the planet, US$ is king.Originally Posted by 222B3029222F274A0 link=1234599207/10#10 date=1234897329
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?
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 :o 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 :D
time to start stockpiling ethiopian greens, then vacuum packing and freezing them
Ive only got 2.5kg.Originally Posted by 5E7972434F1C0 link=1234599207/14#14 date=1234934275
Not enough to put a dent in Andys graph.
Geoff Watts, Intelligentsias superstar green coffee buyer, recently posted this on another web page:
Geoff also went on to say that he thought that there will be some sort of compromise eventually, whereby some direct trade relationships will be exempted, but that it wasnt certain whether or not this would come through in time.I was just in Kigali attending the EAFCA conference and spent quite a bit of time discussing this issue with the Ethiopian coffee industry folks that were there. Discussions are on-going about modifying the legislation to include some sort of second window or Direct Export exceptions. The exporters are vigorously trying to get this process rolling, but apparently the Ethiopian Government and Ministry of Agriculture are not really listening...theyve implemented their new scheme and want to roll with it.
All of the exporters I talked to in Kigali expressed a ton of frustration over all this, and there is legit concern that the govt. is not going to listen to reason, despite a strong amount of solidarity within the private industry on the issue. It amounts to a big middle finger being held up to business people, and a total disregard for the Specialty industry. There is no doubt that this scheme is a major set-back for Specialty.
From an Australian perspective, this almost certainly means that we wont be seeing any super-duper awesome ethiopian coffees until something changes.
I feel somewhat ill.
ok I think I just felt my head sinking deeper underground....
Do I hear the word boycott echoing around the room.....
But NO!, Sidamos are SO HOT right now, dont they know that!?!!
Back underground now. >:( :( :( :( :(
Lost for words *:(
Trying to understand the why and just not getting it? Luca? Anyone?
Moving briefly back to my digression on how anyone can claim that their coffee is awesome or whatever the latest word is, the ad for starbucks new instant coffee features this line:
Now, to be fair, it would not at all be surprising if starbucks did actually have some pretty amazing quality green beans; they have the buying power and the interest in it - recall that starbuck bought blue batak and drove up the price a while back. That said, its hard to believe that their instant would actually taste good compared with freshly ground and brewed coffee, so I think that its a fair bet that this is a pretty stunning example of abuse of the English language. This seems to be the default way in which roasters (and baristi) "describe" (advertise) their coffee in Australia. A friend of mine has a great word to describe this practice - he calls it lying.We carefully roast 100% starbucks super premium coffee beans ...
Why is Starbucks able to charge premium prices for a consistently crap product? *Because of brand recognition. *Dont get me wrong, I love excellent quality coffee, but if I owned every single one of the best coffee roasteries in Australia, Id trade them all for the Starbucks trade mark. *Presumably the Ethiopian government has decided that if Harrar, Sidamo and Yirgacheffe are valuable enough for Starbucks to try and trade mark them, its worthwhile for Ethiopia to make a better effort towards harnessing the value of those geographical indicators. *And good on them, to some extent - after all, Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries on earth.Originally Posted by 766C7A6F6F1B0 link=1234599207/18#18 date=1235047250
Centralised control over the brand strikes me as pretty useful in coming up with a brand strategy and, frankly, I can kind of see this resulting in the average Ethiopian coffee commanding a higher price. *After all, the New York C market has a separate listing for Colombian milds, which trade at a premium, and it wouldnt be surprising if that was influenced by Colombias investment in developing consumer recognition of its coffee through its "Juan Valdez" advertising campaigns in the USA in the late 80s (from memory). *I think that it is very clear that simple messages are what sells coffee, not flavour: *Starbucks = consistent/gourmet. *Fair trade = better deal for third world farmers. *Italian = authentic. *Fresher = better. *Never mind what the coffee actually tastes like or even whether or not the message is correct.
Im not especially clear on why the super-duper coffee that is not traded in the open market is being subjected to this treatment. *Maybe the government feels that blending all of this coffee in with the poorer quality lots will raise the overall quality a bit. *I cant imagine that the very high end specialty coffees represent much volume or hold particularly much sway with the Ethiopian government. *Or maybe they feel that allowing coffee to be traded under different marks will dilute their brand image.
To tell you the truth, I have been buying less and less ethiopian coffee in recent years, to the point where Im practically boycotting it anyway. *Life is too short to have to make four cups of harrar for every one that you can actually stomach ... although I must admit that I bought some of the most recent CS harrar to try out a new sorting method. Anyway, if all that we are getting is generic, blended lots, Ill most probably be steering clear, but it wont be a boycott - Im sure that the Ethiopian government couldnt care less - it will just be me doing what I always do; shopping for quality. If they sell unblended lots under generic names, it may be that there is still some scope for amazingness, but that buyers will have to go to the absurdly wasteful exercise of cupping through everything thats on offer in order to identify the lot that they already knew they wanted to buy anyway!Do I hear the word boycott echoing around the room.....
The bad news just keeps on coming, Im afraid. George Howell wrote a great article in February 20 newsletter. For those of you who dont subscribe, in brief:
*this is all part of the strategy of trademarking the region names in the USA;
*the ethiopian government specifically rejected the idea of going for a geographic indicator (eg. like DOCG italian wines) that offers specific guarantees of quality and location in favour of trademark, which is cheaper and doesnt necessarily offer such guarantees;
*the ethiopian government has told specialty coffee exporters that they are irrelevant because they account for less than 1% of the market;
*an exporter who finally convinced a cooperative to allow him to mill their coffee using a gravity sorting machine was told that the coffee must be milled at the central plant at addis (where the poor quality low density beans cannot be sorted out); and
*whilst cooperatives may operate independently, mills may not, even if they pay farmers substantially more for cherries.
As George Howell puts it:
The only window of hope that I can see is if specialty exporters can start working with cooperatives.This is commodity thinking at its worst, the very way to guarantee there are no "Ah-hah!" moments that really determine why certain regions become stars commanding higher prices.
You know, I think if this was happening in any country other than Ethiopia, Id think it was terrible, but it seems just so much more of a shame, given that Ethiopia is the birth-place of coffee.
Fingers crossed, eh?Originally Posted by 233A2C2E4F0 link=1234599207/21#21 date=1235306632
From everything I see and hear it is transportation costs that are driving up the cost of coffee. While oil prices are currently very low everyone I know in the transportation industry sees this as a very temporary thing. They are all expecting to see the price of oil at least double before the end of the year and are building this into their pricing structure.
Warnings that the price of beans will increase dramatically have been around for a year now. The global recession and the associated drop in oil prices 6 months ago helped to push this price increase off for a few months but it is finally happening.
If you can afford to it would pay to stock up on beans before the big increases hit. They are indeed coming and most likely they wont be a short term temporary measure. :(
Java "Stocked up!" phile
Im down to 90kg, how much do suggest I buy?Originally Posted by 547F687F6E7677727B1E0 link=1234599207/23#23 date=1235514177
I met Paul (i think thats his name) at Mecca espresso Sydney yesterday and he told me a bit about this. I didnt know anything about this until yesterday. Interesting stuff...
Thanks for the info Luca!
hehe, I was there today having the same chat. Pauls got some beans locked up there at the moment that hes trying to get released.Originally Posted by 36242B262D450 link=1234599207/25#25 date=1235530467
So whos gonna go over and sort out some sort of black market Ethiopian bean racket?
As much as youll use in 2-3 years? :-? :)Originally Posted by 437F6279737265707873170 link=1234599207/24#24 date=1235521971
Ive taken my own advice to heart and stocked up here last year. I currently have almost 400kg socked away here. ::) ;D :D
Java "All stocked up" phile
Hahaha, we can do the opposite of the Colombian cartels: hide the beans in cocaine ;)Originally Posted by 3B27273823420 link=1234599207/26#26 date=1235541711
Werent we stockpiling Yemen a while back, cause Maccas had bought their supply for the next 5 years, but we still have high quality Yemen available.
May this be a ploy to drive up the price of high quality coffee so only the well to do can afford it?
A shame for sure if this affects the quality. Weve been playing with some Dima that is just amazingly incredible.
Umm ... pretty sure that was Andys idea of April Fools ... ;DOriginally Posted by 3C302325283334303F510 link=1234599207/29#29 date=1235546039
Javaphile, you can never have enough ;) Thats alot of starter packs :POriginally Posted by 476C7B6C7D656461680D0 link=1234599207/27#27 date=1235545116
My son told me a few weeks ago that a popular online T-shirt selling site was closing down.Originally Posted by 727E6D6B667D7A7E711F0 link=1234599207/29#29 date=1235546039
So he bought 6 T-shirts.
A while later he found out it was all a marketing ploy and they went from selling 3000 T-shirts a week to 100,000 in 3 weeks.
Pretty sure that was posted on April 1st.Originally Posted by 575B484E43585F5B543A0 link=1234599207/29#29 date=1235546039
If it was, Im a sucker
I have a comment to make but really gotta go and find my local Maccas before they shut..Originally Posted by 634C465B220 link=1234599207/34#34 date=1235550335
Back now and got myself 5 kg through the drive thru and the upgrade, free Pullman tamper. Nice
Even if true, Id never give them my last coin amongst millions of notes.
This years April fool looking good.
All in good fun.
It would be a shame if this sort of legaslation got approved.
Originally Posted by 6F766062030 link=1234599207/7#7 date=1234866848
Had the Yirg IMV today on a crawl at White Horse Coffee. Yes it is in the super-duper league.
Makes me want to bury my head further in the sand.
I think I had some this morning at Mecca as well.Originally Posted by 4B57574853320 link=1234599207/39#39 date=1235629209
When I placed my order, I was given the choice between a Guatamalan and the Yirg. When I made my choice, I commented that "im trying to drink these sorts of ethiopians while I still can", one of the Mecca boys responded that theyll still be able to get them, so dont worry ....
Yeah Aaron, theyre the ones. I had the Yirg and the Guat yesterday too.
(IMV= Idido Misty Valley, by the way)
Me too, me too!Originally Posted by 3824243B20410 link=1234599207/41#41 date=1235698929
I heard that Bagersh has obtained an exemption from the Ethiopian government to sell some of the lots that he has already prepared, but that this might be a once-off thing. Fingers crossed, its not.Originally Posted by 4F465D444F424A270 link=1234599207/40#40 date=1235698735
As far as I can tell, the legislation isnt actually about blending all of the stuff together - its about labelling it. This means that it might still be possible to cup through a bunch of different lots and pick out the stunning Beloya-esque lots. In that sense, it doesnt make getting great lots literally impossible, but it means that the super duper coffees are probably less likely to command such high prices at origin because fewer buyers will be aware of them - fewer people will have cuppers in Addis and they might not be cupping on the particular days when those lots come up, so there will be less competition for them. This means less cash will be available for re-investment in coffee production. It will also pretty much cut off the flow of feedback and investment to the relevant farmer/coop/exporter. So the odd awesome lot will still be available, but there will be a lot less certainty and a lot less of a likelihood of more awesome stuff being produced.