[Homeroast] Tom, Outlook for Ethiopian and Kenyan coffees this year?

Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee sweetmarias at sweetmarias.com
Thu Feb 3 18:52:11 CST 2011

The Quest performed great, especially because it was a 220v 60 hertz 
running on 220v 50 hertz. Drum turned well though, not too slow. I 
had an email from them after I left it there and they were pretty 
excited. I mean, they were trying to use the Gene Cafe for these 
remote cupping labs. It's a great roaster for demo'ing the process - 
perhaps the best for that. But not for sample roasting!

Ethiopia is very exciting; in the face of some of the biggest 
problems (corrupt Unions - yes, FT is largely corrupt in Ethiopia!) 
and the horrors of the ECX that anonymizes all coffee, we have found 
a way to buy coffee direct, in a transparent way, with guarantees the 
farmer is paid fairly, and the qualities are great. Can't talk too 
much about it, but very happy. The one problem is these are all great 
wet-process coffees. Since dry process coffees are linked to the old 
commodity system, most have to go to the ECX. Was trying to get 
direct samples from Nigusie Lema, who basically farms so deep in the 
forest he rarely comes out (!), but the samples all had a musty 
taste, too bad. Maybe later lots will be better.

Kenya, amazing quality, and prices nearly double of last year! The 
competition for top lots is fierce, the crop is small. I paid a lot 
for the coffees, but think we have some amazing lots.... to me the 
crazy thing is the mediocre lots are also very expensive. C grade 
coffees, which are like broken beans and underweight, averaged $440 
per 50KG in the auction last I saw, whereas we paid $660 average (up 
to $790) for pretty amazing lots. Good thing is, even with the 
marketing fees and such (and of course possible corruption by coop 
leaders), the farmers are going to make some good money. Kenya system 
basically works, as well as anything in Africa works!

So the outlook is good quality, but high prices. You will see it 
everywhere. Every roaster will raise prices. In these cases I am 
seeing good quality coffees. The sad thing is that high C market 
prices might actually be BAD for quality in other origins, as farmers 
might lack incentive to be careful in harvest since ALL coffee will 
sell for a lot, and they might want to hold onto lots past optimal 
storage times to wait for highest prices. I don't think its an issue 
for us, because we have established direct relationships with a lot 
of the coffees we buy, but it will be an issue overall for many 
roasters... Just some general thoughts!


>What did you see on your recent trip? And did you get to showoff the Quest?
>Ed Bourgeois aka farmroast
>Amherst MA.
>Homeroast mailing list
>Homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com
>Homeroast community pictures -upload yours!) : 


"Great coffee comes from little roasters" - Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting
               Thompson & Maria - http://www.sweetmarias.com
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - info_at_sweetmarias.com

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