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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Africa’s Largest Coffee Producer Pumping

Ethiopia being the origin of coffee is the largest producer of the purest Arabica typica is one of the most important coffee producing countries worldwide. At Quaffee as celebrated lovers of the highest quality coffees, we follow the Ethiopian trends with passionate interest. Therefore when we get good news around Ethiopia we like to share it and market reports today show that their production and profit are up.

We received this notification in the market report "Ethiopia who work on a unique calendar year and a financial year that corresponds to the period from July 8 to July 7, have reported that coffee exports over their 2010 to 2011 coffee year were 13.95% higher than the previous 2009/2010 financial year, at a total of 3,266,667 bags. Meanwhile with the benefit of the improved international coffee prices over this past coffee year, the countries income from coffee exports for the 2010/2011 financial year was 59.47% higher than the previous financial year at 842 million U.S. dollars."

We hope this news will further inspire Ethiopia's mostly small scale coffee farmers, to preserve and conceivably improve farm husbandry and production levels for the impending new crop and look to continue with these improved export volumes, for their new 2011/2012 financial year.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Summary of Last Week’s Market Reports

The market was shuffling its feet looking a little for direction, probably because of the fact that they are awaiting harvest reports form areas like Columbian, Peru and neighbouring countries

Summary reading the market reports for last week (19– 25 July 2010). Please note that we are only interested in notes about Arabica and Arabica producing countries:

Good news

  • Ivory Coast, has a constraint on coffee export imposed until the official ban was raised in April has seen improved export figures in the last two months.
  • In a reverse of earlier forecasts from the Coffee Board in India the forthcoming October 2011 to September 2012 coffee crop shall not decline to below 5 million bags, instead they have now forecasted that the new crop shall in fact be 6.71% higher than the past crop, to a total of 5,370,833 bags.

To be noted

  • Nicaragua reported that the countries coffee exports in June were 47% lower than the same month last year, at a total 115,119 bags. The countries cumulative exports for the first nine months of this present October 2010 to September 2011 coffee year marginally below that of the same period in the previous coffee year, at a total 1,303,177 bags. With weather conditions conducive through development, the next biennially bearing larger crop that starts harvest in October forecast to be close to 1.65 million bags.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Indonesian Coffees some history…

We have almost always had an Indonesian Coffee for sale. This area is normally most famous for Java and Kopi Luwak. While we sell neither (especially not Kopi Luwak, because of the animal welfare angle), Mandheling from Sumatra has made a regular appearance.

Indonesia (from Wikipedia)

Coffee made it way to Indonesia thanks to the Dutch, who are probably the one nation largely responsible for coffee spreading through the world, thanks to the trade and botanic skills. The Dutch governor of Malabar, India (where we get the Monsoon coffee from), sent a seedling originally smuggled out of the Yemen, to a colleague. The original planting of the seedlings being destroyed in an earthquake and flooding, additional seedlings were requested from Malabar.

The new seedlings were planted in the mountainous areas of West Java, where they grew well. In 1711 the first "Java" exports back to Holland transpired. By 1724 the Amsterdam market was trading over 600 tonnes of Java grown coffee. It was extremely sort after, attracting a very high price, which drove up demand, and resulted in further mountainous areas in Indonesia to be planted with coffee. The Mandheling based coffees we enjoy today, where planted around end of the 18th century.

Even with when the British had a brief stint as the European country that had Indonesia as a colony between 1811 and 1816, coffee we still an important crop for the Indonesian Islands. Initially the local villages were allocated 1,000 coffee trees per village and the Dutch based governments took 40% of the crop as tax. This system stayed in place under British rule, however once Indonesia was restored to Dutch rule, the villages where allocated 650 trees of which 100%, where supposed to go the government of the time. This resulted in great hardship to the local people, who depended on their rice crops and these suffered as a result of this new Cultuurstelel (cultivation system).

By the mid 18 hundreds the government controlled 80% of the coffee crop under this system (sounds like another system that failed in the 1989). However the quality and yield of the privately owned and run plantations was significantly higher than the government enslaved growers.

By the end of the 19th century the private growers produced more coffee than the government run plantations. At this point all the coffee grown in Indonesia was Arabica , this changed with the well documented coffee leaf rust in 1876. When more and more plants where replaced with Robusta (or coffea canephora).

In 1905 the Dutch released their control on the coffee plantations, and slowly but surely the smallholders took over the coffee plants and cultivation. Today 92% of the coffee produced in Indonesia is done by these smallholders. Although 85% of the Indonesian coffee is now Robusta based (including some of the so called "Kopi Luwak") their highland grown Arabica based coffees are what make Indonesian coffees famous. Even though Indonesia is the 3rd biggest producer of coffee, the low number of Arabica produced makes their specialty grade coffee a relatively scarce resource. The Sumatran area we get our Mandheling from, is the largest producer of Arabica in the 17,508 islands that are covered by the Indonesian region, producing almost 60% of the regions Arabica.

There are 20 varieties of Arabica currently grown in the region, the six main categories are:

  1. The original typica, mainly found in Sumatra especially in the higher altitudes
  2. HDT (Hibrido de Timor), or TimTim is a natural cross between Arabica and Robusta available in Timor and Aceh
  3. Linie S, initially developed in India based on Bourbon, the most common are S-288 and S-795
  4. Ethiopian varieties: Rambung and Abyssinia, planted in 1928
  5. Caturra, originally from the Brazilian based mutation of bourbon
  6. Catimor, a cross between Robusta and Arabica not appreciated for its great flavour.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Arabica down in price to a year low

After the last 12 months of continuous price hikes in Arabica coffees on the traded markets, we are finally seeing a reversal in price trend. This is excellent news for coffee lovers, even those of us at quality end of the market. Even though Quaffee only considers coffee that is shade and mountain grown, that is normally bought before the traded market can lay their hands on it, the trading price does affect our prices too.

If you do a year on year comparison prices are only off 5%, but this is a trend that has shown it will continue, since the scare about world crop shortages earlier this year has been unfounded. Yes there have been weather conditions that have not helped, but production is mostly up in the quality production belt.

So, you ask yourself, when will this translate to savings here? Well the reason why this is great news for us is that our most popular coffees are all about to be harvested. So it means that we may be able to get close to last years prices on the coffee we were offering from Columbia and Peru. Also the Ethiopian coffee should be able to sustain their prices, but we will wait to see that.

We look forward to getting news on our old favourites La Piramide and Los Naranjos, since we are out of both from last year's crop.