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Saturday, 21 July 2012

I'll have the Arabica one (excuse me sir?)

How many varieties of Arabica are there? I am not sure but here is where I log the ones I have sampled and heard of.

Coffee originally comes from a single varietal of Arabica found in the Limu forests of Ethiopia. From there is spread first to the Yemen, where then partially roasted seed became part of the silk trade, and eventually thanks to an Indian Monk Baba Budan ends up in Mysore Indian as a seed, and the Dutch then take it back to Holland, and so began the cross pollination and botanical fiddling, that today gives us over 140 varieties of Arabica.

coffee tree
Arabica Tree?

The original varietal is now call typica and is found in Ethiopia, and parts of what remains of the Yemen plantation, planted between 500 and 600 AD.

So I thought I may list a few that I have and will find in the future, there are in no particular order:
  1. Agaro Kaffa (after the Kaffa region in Ethiopia)
  2. Agro Gimma Kaffa
  3. Anomala
  4. Anormalis
  5. Arabusta Alemania (guess which plant was used there ;))
  6. Augustigolia
  7. Barbuck Sudan
  8. C. Liberica
  9. C. rasmosa
  10. canephora
  11. Castillo
  12. Caturra X Geisha
  13. Caturra
  14. Colombia
  15. costa ricva 95
  16. Erecta
  17. Garnica
  18. Geisha
  19. Ihcafé 90
  20. K.7
  21. Laurina
  22. Maragogype
  23. Moca
  24. Mundo nuvo
  25. Nana
  26. Polisperma
  27. Purpurascens
  28. red boubon (from the island)
  29. red Cataui
  30. resistant borbon
  31. RuiRu
  32. San Bernardo
  33. Semperflorens
  34. SL 28
  35. Tabi
  36. Timot Hybrid (there are a number)
  37. verigado
  38. Villalosbos
  39. Wash Wash
  40. yellow borbon
  41. yellow Cataui
  42. Zeguie
I will try and add others as I find them.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Quality as a driver in coffee

During the great depression many of the coffee brands thought they should cut corners and produce a lower quality coffee, since money was tight. One company, Maxwell house, decided to rather produce a higher quality coffee. Dropping low quality coffees from their blends even Santos which had become the nations go to coffee for low quality blending.

And guess what. They became the number one coffee in the US. Their price did not drop their quality went up.

This to me is a mantra I will always sing. Quality must be a real driver behind coffee, not an advertising promise bit a reality.

Unfortunately in the 60s when profit was king Maxwell house became one of the sheep and produced instant and added Robusta to there blends.

The result was the regeneration of coffee in the states. Peets, Sivets and Diedrich became drivers of the quality product attracting large numbers of follows. From Peets came Other companies that slowly took over the world. The four that started Starbucks had vac jobs at Petes.

So in the end Quality shines through. And even more so today. There will always be those that chase a profit wagon, using money to market their product rather than spend that money on improving quality in their product.

Over the next year Quaffee hope to push the quality bar further. We would like to see Dom pepe in our roaster. Even at R2,500.00 a kg it gives us a sky to aim for. I believe quality is the most marketing tool in Quaffee's arsenal.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Arabica Futures Jan-Jun 2012

Coffee Futures from Jan to End June 2012

Recovery Year

After last years massive jump in prices it was expected that the coffee futures prices would start to settle down, and to a large extent they have. Even though Brazil and Columbia have held on to 2011 stock to try and prevent this slide, other market players have not kept stock.

This trend will probably continue, with a small correction due to some of the coffee country boards showing concern over the 2012 crop. The Indonesian area specifically has not recovered from the 2011 shortfall, and their weather has not helped this year.

The retail prices of green bean lag by about a quarter, and we are hoping that in the later end of the year we can reflect this decrease in a small enough manner, so that our clients can benefit. This even though most of the coffees we sell are bought a a premium above the indicative futures price.