Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Pondering Quality Coffee in South Africa
Being South African based and promoting a niche product as we at Quaffee do: namely specialty grade coffee that is highland and shade grown, presents some interesting challenges. The one that has been taking up some of our time over the last month; is what to do about the slowly decreasing supply of the higher grade of coffees we have come to know and love.
There are a handful of importers of green bean (3 from our count, perhaps 4 if you include a facilitator) that even consider importing the higher graded specialty coffees and our most reliable source has over the last 6 months shut down for religious reasons.
This has led us to investigate importing ourselves and adding our hat to the already befuddled green bean import markets in South Africa.
And what we have found is that price is in fact a major consideration when considering the choice of green bean available out there.
The coffee producer we have grown to enjoy coffees from can only offer us a small amount of high quality coffees, and then only at prices that are nearly triple we paid for them about a year ago.
And that price is double what we pay for the traditional specialty coffees we currently have access to from the 2 big importers.
So what to do. Will our discerning clients (about 45% of our currently active clients) pay almost double for coffees they could purchase only months before at half the price we will need to sell them for?
This is a quandary that we face, and need to make a decision on in the next 2 months before the crop is harvested?
A solution is to ask our existing clients if they would help is with this choice.
Watch this space and we will tell you what happens...