Tea & Coffee Trade Journal

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OCTOBER 2017 www.teaandcoffee.net


Sustaining Central America  New

Methods of Coffee Fermentation  Women in Coffee Take the Lead in Central America  Mechanical Technologies for Detecting Coffee Defects  Origin Highlight: China

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October 2017 CONTENTS

C O N T E N T S October 2017 Vol. 189/No. 9




Editorial Director Sarah McRitchie sarah@bellpublishing.com

23 28

Sustaining Central America By Rachel Northrop The Hidden Power of Coffee Fermentation By Lucia Solis

Specialties Editor Donald N. Schoenholt


Women in Coffee Lead the Way: Agroecology in Times of Crisis By Anika Rice


New Technologies for Detecting Defects in Coffee By Anne-Marie Hardie


Origin Highlight: China By Barbara Dufrêne


Editor Vanessa L. Facenda vanessa@bellpublishing.com


Assistant Group Sales Manager Samantha Bull sam@bellpublishing.com


North American Sales Consultant Scott Rogers Email: s.rogers@teaandcoffee.net Events Manager Megan Freeman megan@bellpublishing.com


Events and Marketing Executive Miranda McRitchie miranda@bellpublishing.com


Accounts Payable Yee Yau (Miss) yee@bellpublishing.com

D E PA RT M E N T S Editor’s Letter


New & Notable

Publishing Director Neil McRitchie neil@bellpublishing.com Taiwan Sales Agent Worldwide Services Co Ltd 11F-B No 540, Wen Hsin Road, Section 1 Taichung 40848, Taiwan Email: wilson@acw.com.tw Tel: +886 4 2325 1784 Fax: +886 4 2325 2967 Web: acw.com.tw

11 Facts, Figures & Findings 15 Calendar of Events 46 Green Coffee Report


48 Company News 50 Straight from the Cup: Gail Gastelu, Owner/Publisher of The Tea House Times

39 Designates a tea story

October 2017

Contributing Writers Barbara Dufrêne Gail Gastelu Anne-Marie Hardie Aubrye McDonagh Leigh Yumi Nakatsugawa Rachel Northrop Anika Rice Alexis Rubinstein Lucia Solis Group Sales Manager Mark Neilson mark@bellpublishing.com

Market Report: Italy By Aubrye McDonagh Leigh


Art Editor Sue Burke prepress@bellpublishing.com

Tea & Coffee Trade Journal Editorial & Sales Office: The Maltings, 57 Bath Street, Gravesend, Kent DA11 0DF, UK Tel: +44 1474 532202 Fax: +44 1474 532203 Web: www.teaandcoffee.net

Designates a coffee story www. teaandcoffee.net | TEA & COFFEE TRADE JOURNAL 3


Share a Cup of Coffee


October is the third annual International Coffee Day (#InternationalCoffeeDay) – how will you celebrate? As I will be coming off a 23-hour flight from Singapore, I plan to drink multiple cups and types of coffee all day to fight my expected jet lag (not a scientifically-proven panacea but it will be a delicious endeavour). The many coffees I imbibe will be good training for the numerous cups I plan to consume later in the month as I will be heading to Italy for Host Milan and then shortly thereafter to Brazil for International Coffee Week. As this issue will be distributed at Host Milan, we have a Market Report on Italy, where coffee consumption in bars – the average Italian bar serves 175 espressos and cappuccinos per day – and cafés remains strong (so much so that Starbucks is entering the Italian marketplace in 2018 with a Reserve Roastery in Milan, and plans to open as many as 200 cafés over the next six years if the Milan test goes well). The October issue will also be distributed at Sintercafé, thus, we have three stories focusing on Central America, a region highly regarded for its specialty coffees. The lead story examines how implementing sustainable practices and tailoring production techniques are crucial for the long-term viability of coffee farms, the majority of which are small-scale. The second article explains microbial demucilagination and how this method, which is being tested in several Central American countries, offers a consistent and predictable coffee fermentation process, reducing the risk of spoilage or defects in the cup. Although male heads of household traditionally make decisions about land management and farming practices, women are integral to their farms’ survival and to the local coffee economies. Our final feature on Central FOR SUBSCRIPTION & CIRCULATION ENQUIRIES CONTACT: subscriptions@bellpublishing.com Subscription Rates UK: £149 (1 year), £255 (2 years) Europe: £163 (1 year), £280 (2 years) Rest of World: $238 (1 year), $407 (2 years) Digital Only (1 year): £142/$188 Published by Bell Publishing Ltd. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Bell Publishing Ltd. Bell Publishing Ltd, Gravesend, Kent, UK produces Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, Dairy Industries International, Confectionery Production, Food & Drink Technology, CanTech International and SweetsandSavourySnacksWorld.com as well as the Ukers’ Global Directory & Buyers’ Guide.

October 2017

America explores how women take charge of farm management when their family members (typically men and young adults) migrate – which increased dramatically following the coffee leaf rust crisis in 2012-13 – and find creative ways to provide for their families. Defects in green beans are another challenge the coffee industry faces, and finding them continues to be a difficult task. However, experiments with new technologies such as hyperspectral imaging and electromagnetic noses, which have been used with other crops, are being conducted. Our feature story investigates whether or not these technologies can be adapted and applied for use with coffee. Admittedly, the editorial in this issue is coffee-heavy, as its distribution is primarily at coffee shows. However, tea has not been forgotten as our Origin Highlight is on China, which with more than 10,000 teas and rebounding production levels, has reclaimed its position as the leader in the global tea market. Straight from the Cup and several New & Notable stories also focus on tea. Back to International Coffee Day... When the day was first launched three years ago, the International Coffee Organization was promoting an Italian tradition called “caffè sospeso,” whereby coffee drinkers buy a second cup of coffee to be given to a person in need (it does not have to be specialty coffee, espresso or cappuccino). I mention this practice every International Coffee Day because it’s a lovely gesture, and what better way to support coffee farmers while sharing the wonderfully complex and diverse beverage that is coffee than by treating someone else to a cup – on 1 October or beyond.

Vanessa L. Facenda

Vanessa L. Facenda Editor vanessa@bellpublishing.com UKERS’ ANNUAL DIRECTORY & BUYERS’ GUIDE Each year, Tea & Coffee Trade Journal publishes the Ukers’ Tea & Coffee Global Directory & Buyers’ Guide, a comprehensive reference guide to the industry and its allied industries. Qualified companies are entitled to a free listing. Visit www.teaandcoffee. net/ukers to complete a listing form or reserve your copy. TEA & COFFEE TRADE JOURNAL (ISSN 0040-0343 print; ISSN 2331-8546 online) is published monthly by Bell Publishing Ltd. © Copyright 2017 by Bell Publishing Ltd. Printed in the UK by Buxton Press. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, 57 Bath Street, Gravesend, Kent DA11 0DF, UK Member: National Coffee Association, Green Coffee Association, Pacific Coast Coffee Association, Coffee Association of Canada, Specialty Coffee Association of America, Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, Specialty Tea Institute, Tea Association of USA, Tea Council of Canada.

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Colombo Tea Convention Celebrates 150 Years of Ceylon Tea

The Sri Lanka tea industry has been celebrating a milestone – 150 years of tea production – throughout 2017. The beginning of the tea industry dates back in 1867 when a Scottish planter, James Taylor, planted the first tea cultivation for a commercial scale in the Loolecondera Estate. The series of commemorative events came to the end with the Colombo International Tea Convention from 8-11 August. The convention drew 167 overseas delegates from 29 countries and regions in addition to 487 Sri Lankans, which exceeded the last biggest tea convention in 2012 that was attended by 166 foreign and 354 domestic participants. The Colombo Tea Traders Association, along with the Sri Lanka Tea Board, have organized international tea conventions since the late 1980s. At this convention, seven business sessions such as heritage, sustainability, and trade/finance, etc, were led by 38 leading speakers from Sri Lanka and overseas. Each presentation was followed by panel discussions including Q&A sessions with attendees. Most of the speakers addressed the latest trends, achievements, changes and challenges. In the sustainability session, Han de Groot, executive director of UTZ, discussed the merger of the Rainforest Al6 TEA & COFFEE TRADE JOURNAL | www. teaandcoffee.net

liance and UTZ by year-end 2017. “Our new sustainable standard will not be just an average, but better initiatives to create more prosperous future for all stakeholders, and will develop the sustainability from niche to norm. The new organization will be named the Rainforest Alliance, and is going to introduce a single global certification standard.” Apart from the concentrated business sessions, some social functions such as welcome cocktail, gala dinner, beach party and tea breaks provided opportunities for multinational delegates to become acquainted with each other. A delegate from Japan, Nobuyasu Miura, tea technical adviser purchasing division of Mitsui Norin Co, Ltd, participated in the convention for the third time, and was invited as a speaker in 2012. “The 150-year celebration convention was held on a larger scale. I noticed the in-

creasing influence of China in the Sri Lanka tea industry. Also, the presenters from the US showed their vigorous trend in the tea market. Overall, I learned a lot from the sessions”, he commented. According to the speakers from China and the US, tea consumption in both countries is demonstrating the upward tendency and seems to have further potential. Michael de Zoysa, the chairman of the Colombo Convention Committee, summed up the convention, noting, “The convention highlighted great opportunities for the tea trade and to focus the enormous challenges ahead. For example, global warming is affecting the tea industry and immediate measures need to be taken to avoid the decline of tea production. It is necessary to plan out a course of action which could then be implemented.” Yumi Nakatsugawa

October 2017


Sustainability and Transparency are Focal Points at the 8th NATC

October 2017

be transparent because consumers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, expect it. Per a recent Edelman study, 57 percent of consumers buy or boycott a brand based on its position— political or social. Donnelly noted that highlighting sustainable initiatives is critical. “Companies need to talk about sustainable initiatives. If you don’t have them, start; if you do, promote them because neutral is not a place you want to be.” Katharine Burnett, a professor at the University of California, Davis, which is ranked first in the world for the study of agriculture, announced the university’s new Global Tea Initiative for the Study of Tea Culture & Science, of which she is a founding director. “There is no single research institute to comprehensively help shape the growing tea industry or train students in science and health,” said Burnett, noting that this new program offers academic training in tea culture and science. In terms of research, UC Davis is currently conducting a study on tea and cardiovascular health and has proposed a study on tea and flavanols. Gary Hemphill, managing director of research, Beverage Marketing Corporation, told participants that two formats primarily dominate the US tea market: RTD tea and tea bags. Combined, both account for about 90 percent of the tea market. He said that RTD has benefitted from its healthy positioning and innovation. All three formats of RTD — shelf stable, chilled and fountain — experienced modest growth over the last year and a half, although RTD tea’s volume growth slowed slightly in the first half of 2017. Louise Pollock, president, Pollock Communications, reporting findings from a recent consumer food

and beverage study, said Americans drink tea for the health advantages, noting 43 percent of Americans appreciate tea because it does something good for their body. She said that traditional purchasing drivers — taste, price and healthfulness — are no longer sole drivers. “Consumers want food that is healthy, natural, with few additives, organic, safe, minimally processed, low in sugar, and non-GMO. Food production values impact purchases,” said Pollock, adding that one-third of those surveyed say it is highly important to know that a company shares their values. Sustainability is important for half of consumers — pesticide use and conserving natural habitat are top concerns related to sustainability, she said. The 2nd Annual Sustainability Awards and Gold Medal Tea Winners were also presented during the NATC (award winners to be announced later). Peter Goggi, president of the Tea Association of the USA, honoured Louise Roberge, president of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, during the Chairman’s Dinner. Roberge, who has been with the Canadian Association, for more than 15 years, is retiring in June 2018. The 2018 NATC, organized by the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, will be held 25-27 September in Niagara Falls, Canada. Vanessa L Facenda

The 8th Annual North American Tea Conference, “ThirsTea in the Desert,” took place in Scottsdale, Arizona, 1214 September. Organized by the Tea Association of the USA, the event blended business — educational sessions, tea competition and board meetings — with social activities, which provided ample networking opportunities. The first speaker, Ian Gibbs, chairman of the International Tea Committee, told the audience that world tea production has more than doubled in the last 20 years (19962016), but consumption still trails production. Reporting figures from this year’s ITC Annual Bulletin of Statistics, Gibbs said huge growth is coming from China, and India has also shown steady growth, but production in Kenya has nearly doubled during this period. Growth in hectares has been the main cause of growth in China and Kenya. Kenya is also largest exporter of tea (27 percent) followed by China (19 percent), Sri Lanka (16 percent), India (12 percent) and Vietnam (7 percent). China consumes most of the tea it produces. In terms of importers, Pakistan ranks first followed by Russia. The USA, which has been growing steadily in imports over the last 20 years, is now the third largest importer followed by the UK, where imports have declined slightly. Regarding consumption of tea per head, Gibbs said that Turkey remains the leader followed by the UK and Ireland. Laura Donnelly, senior associate, market transformation, Rainforest Alliance, told attendees that although increased transparency means more reputational risk (with 24/7 news and social media, things go viral instantly), companies must

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Coffee Comes Out in Full Force at the 2017 Host Milan

Roaming the halls at Host Milan in October 2015, it was clear that coffee was no longer viewed as a mere commodity but a product attracting an increasingly well-informed and discriminating clientele to discover single-origin coffees and prestigious specialty blends. Coffee has made its home at Host Milan, at SIC – the International Coffee Exhibition – which has been welcoming the entire coffee supply chain and its satellite industries for 24 editions. The 40th edition of Host Milan takes place 20-24 October in Milan, Italy at Fieramilano. The event is organised in the following three macro-areas: foodservice equipment, with bread, pizza, pasta; coffee and tea with bars, coffee and vending machines, gelato and pastry; and furniture and tableware. SIC offers visitors a unique coffee overview, which, in the next edition, will boast more than 480 companies from 37 countries, operating in the coffee, bars and coffee and vending machines sectors.

From Italian espresso to single-origin specialities, coffee will be well represented at Host Milan, in all its facets, in demos, tastings and lectures attended by the main industry players and the leading baristas. World Coffee Events and the SCA will provide global coffee samples and demonstrations. In partnership with Mumac, the two associations will première Café Chronology, an event that brings to life three different coffee eras: the early 20th century, the mid 20th century and the present day. Altoga, the Lombard Association of Coffee Roasters and Importers and Food Wholesalers, and Fipe, the Italian Federation of Retail and Catering Businesses, will collaborate on an event that focuses on coffee from the green bean to its roasting and grinding, and through to the final tasting. The 5th Gran Premio della Caffetteria Italiana (Italian Coffeehouse Grand Prix) – organized by AICAF (the Italian Academy of Coffee Masters) and supported during the

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finals by Altoga to promote Italian professionalism and Italian products — will be held on 21-22 October. A panel of sensory judges will select the best bartender, whose recipe must include at least one typical Italian ingredient. Hub Coffee Science, an extension of the International Hub for Coffee Research and Innovation, represents a centre for scientific research, where visitors will be able to interact with researchers and use lab instruments to explore the secrets of coffee from an unusual perspective. There are two experiential routes designed to teach visitors about coffee’s scientific secrets. The first concerns the production process, from bean to brew, while the second addresses the impact of water on the final product, analysing different types and sampling a single type of coffee bean brewed with different waters.

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October 2017

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Soluble Remains Sizable

For all that global coffee is premiumising, the most commodified form of coffee – soluble coffee granules – remains a hugely important segment, especially in emerging markets. dried instant coffee granules for a superior taste. Micro-ground innovations as a whole continue to rise, accounting for 9 percent of all global instant (excluding mix) coffee innovation in 2016, up from 6 percent in 2014. The UK is the leading market for micro-ground sales, led by Nescafé Azera, which grew its retail sales 27 percent to £43 million (€51.3 million) for the year ending 26 March 2016, according to Mintel’s Coffee – UK, August 2016 Report. Nescafé Azera launched a “to go” brand extension into the UK and Ireland’s retail market in early 2016. The product comprises cups with micro-ground coffee and closable non-spill lids that just need the addition of hot water to prepare for drinking on-the-go. Azera To Go is expensive relative to other micro-ground products at £2.29 (€3.12) for four sachets/ cups, but aims to provide a cheaper alternative to coffee shop take-out coffee. However, the product was dropped by one of the UK’s big four supermarkets, Morrison’s, during 2016 due to a consumer backlash that the product could not be 100 percent recycled.

Micro-Ground Fuels Sales Mintel’s UK data shows that microground is helping to re-generate

instant coffee sales among younger consumers who have been migrating towards freshly brewed coffee, ie pods, ground or coffee-shop coffee. For example, nearly half of UK 16-34 year-olds now drink microground, a much higher proportion than of 45+ adults in particular. The vast majority of the UK’s 45+ age group are more set in their habits, and still prefer “standard” instant coffee (ie Nescafé Gold).

More than half the retail launches in Middle East and Africa were either instant coffee or coffee mixes, according to the Mintel Group/NPD, followed in importance by Asia Pacific. Both regions have seen a growth in the share of soluble coffee in retail innovations since 2012. In contrast, Mintel revealed that soluble coffee now accounts for just a fifth of European coffee retail innovation, well below coffee pods/ capsules and part of a downward trend as consumers in key markets such as the UK, Ireland and Russia trade up. Soluble coffee has never taken off in North America and in 2016 accounted for just 6 percent of retail innovation in that region. However, Starbucks continued to push its VIA sachets in-store in the US during 2016, including a VIA Pumpkin Spice Latte. Two American start-ups, Voilà and Sudden, are also attempting to re-brand instant coffee for the American consumer by improving the taste. Both companies source their beans carefully and use freeze-drying instead of air-drying, claiming that much more of the coffee beans’ flavour survives. Starbucks VIA was the first high profile launch of micro-ground coffee, an upgraded instant coffee style that combines finely ground fresh ground coffee with freeze-

Share of All Coffee Innovation (incl. RTD) That is Soluble/Mix, by Region, Jan 2012 – Mid-Dec 2016

Source: Mintel GNPD

October 2017

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Share of All Coffee Launches That Were “x-in-1” Mixes, Asia, Jan 2011 – Mid-Dec 2016 Micro-ground is also increasingly coffee from foodservice being used in Asian markets, in channels/coffeehouses both instant coffee products as well and 6 percent for singleas in coffee mixes. Coffee mixes serve coffee, according remain a huge part of the Asian to Mintel’s Coffee retail coffee landscape, providing – China, September consumers with a cheap, convenient 2016 Report. However, and heavily flavoured in-home coffee drinking at coffee option, and making fridge home is changing ownership redundant. slowly but surely, led So far in 2016, “x-in-1” (ie, 2-in- by the “Mintropolitans,” 1 or 3-in-1 or 4-in-1) mixes have Chinese consumers accounted for 16 percent of all retail who live in Tier One coffee launches in Asia, up from 12 cities, who are highly percent in 2014, per Mintel. Nescafé educated, big consumer recently launched Espresso Roast spenders and “culturally with micro-ground roasted coffee, sophisticated.” while OWL in Taiwan Consumption of Different Types of Instant Coffee Made at Home, has launched a microby Age, UK, July 2016 ground-filled “coffee mixture bags.” In coffee’s highest potential market, China, instant coffee still dominates usage, with 30 percent drinking instant coffee once a day versus just 10 percent for freshly made

Base: 2,000 internet users aged 16+ Source: Lightspeed/Mintel

Consumption of Coffee, by Type, Over the Past Three Months, China, June 2016

Base: 3,000 internet users aged 20-49 Source: QQSurvey/Mintel

October 2017

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Bali Int’l Tea Conference PM – Page 18 20 24 Bali, Indonesia Web: www.gamboeng.com

Global Coffee Sustainability Host Milan Conference 4 – 5 calendar of events 20 – 24 Milan, Italy Geneva, Switzerland Web: host.fieromilano.it Web: www.gcsc17.org June 15 May 13 – 14

SCAE Symposium Caffe Culture Show Festival Kafe Timor 8th SCTALondon, Gala Dinner & Forum Gothenburg, Sweden UK 5 – 6 Web: www.caffecultureshow.com 21 – 28 Web: www.scae.com Sili, Timor-Leste Geneva, Switzerland June 16 – 18 May 15 – 17 Web: www.festivalkafetimor.com Web: www.sc-ta.ch SCAE World of Coffee The Amsterdam Coffee Festival

5th World Tea Coffee Expo 16 – 18 Mumbai, India Web: www.worldteacoffeeexpo.com

DECEMBER 2017 GCA Annual Holiday Party 8 October 1 – 2 The Downtown Association ICO Global Coffee Forum & Web: www.greencoffeeassociaInt’l Coffee Day at EXPO Milano tion.com Milan, Italy Web: www.expo2015.org/en/explore/

F E B R Uclusters/coffee A RY 2 0 1 8

Gothenburg, Sweden

Amsterdam, The Netherlands Brazil Int’l Coffee Week AFCA Conference Anuga Web: www.amsterdamcoffeefestival.com October 15 – 17 Web: www.scae.com 25 – 27 Tea Fair Xiaman 14 – 16 7 – 11 June 22 Brazil – 24 Xiaman, China May 16 – 19 Belo Horizonte, Kampala, Uganda Cologne, Germany CoCoTea 2015 Web: teafair.com.cn NRA Show Web: www.internationalcoffeeWeb: afca.coffee/conference Aveiro, Portugal Web: www.anuga.com Chicago, Ill. week.comWeb: www.cocotea2015.com Web: www.restaurant.org/show Gulfood October 15 – 18 Xiamen Int’l Tea Industry Fair Expo Especiales 28 – 30 18 – 22 Bogotá, Colombia 12 – 16May 19 – 20 N OV EJune M B E R 2 0 1 7 Fancy Food Show PLMA International Dubai, United Arab Emirates Fujian Province, China Web: www.womenincoffee.org New Int’l Coffee &York, Tea N.Y. Festival Amsterdam, The Netherlands Web: www.specialtyfood.com Web: www.gulfood.com Web: www.teafair.com.cn Web: www.plmainternational.com1 – 3 October 16 – 18 September 15 – 18 Coffee, TeaIWCA & Cocoa EPPS Coffee Fest Portland Dubai, United Arab Emirates Conference May 28 Process Expo Bogotá, Colombia 21 – 23 13 – 15Cecafe Dinner Web: www.coffeeteafest.com Chicago, Ill. Web: www.expoespeciales.com São Paulo, BR Portland, Oregon Web: www.myprocessexpo.comChicago, Illinois NAMA Coffee, Tea & Water Web: www.cecafe.com.br Web: ecrm.marketgate.com/ Web: www.coffeefest.com October 23 – 27 6–8 September 22 – 24 events Host Milan June 5 – 7 North American Tea Conference New York Coffee Festival Grapevine, Texas Coffee Fest Chicago Milan, Italy Westin Riverwalk 13 – 15Chicago, Ill. Web: www.coffeeteawater.org S E P T E Web: M Bwww.host.fieramilano.it/en ER 2018 San Antonio, Texas Web: www.coffeefest.com New York, New York Web: www.teausa.org Andina Pack Tea & Coffee World Cup November 3 – 6 Web: www.newyorkcoffeefestiJune 7 7 – 11 September 24 – 26 3 –5 Andina-Pack val.comTea Course Fast Track at Coffee Fest Coffeena Bogotá, Colombia Bogotá, Colombia Birmingham, England Chicago, Ill. Cologne, Germany NACS Show Web: www.andinapack.com Web: www.teacoursefasttrack.comWeb: www.andinapack.com Web: www.euvend-coffeena.de/Web: www.tcworldcup.com 17 – 20 EuVend_coffeena Sintercafé November 11 – 13 10 – 12 Chicago,June Illinois International Coffee & Tea Festival Tea & Coffee World Cup Asia 9 – 12 September 28 – 30 Web: www.nacsonline.com/ Dubai, United Arab Emirates Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam ExpoMarriott, Hotel LosPack Suenos nacsshow Web: www.coffeeteafest.com Web: www.tcworldcup.com Las Vegas,Costa Nev. Rica Playa Herradura, Web: www.packexpo.com Cafés de Colombia Expo 2017 Web: www.sintercafe.com November 12 – 15 18 – 21 Sintercafe September 28 – October 2 PLMA Show Bogotá, Colombia Marriott Los Suenos, Ocean & Golf ICO Meeting 12 – 14 Milan, Italy Resort, Playa Herradura, Costa Rica Web: Web: www.ico.org/ico_meetings.asp Chicago, Illinois Web: www.sintercafe.com www.cafesdecolombiaexpo.com Web: www.plma.com

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Central America’s coffee growing regions consistently garner attention for exceptional cup quality and unique flavours. While responses to climate change are inherently location-specific, as adaptations must address the immediate conditions of each farm, the six nations of Central America are demonstrating how the collaborative development of customizable tools empowers everyone to adjust production techniques for the long term. By Rachel Northrop

Sustaining Central America Photo courtesy of World Coffee Research

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October 2017



Photo courtesy of Coffee & Climate

entral America’s mountainous coffee lands are characterized by smallholder production, where activities like composting coffee cherry pulp to protect freshwater sources remain crucial to the sustainability of individual farms. Additionally, new institutional momentum is generating a critical mass of research to implement sustainable practices starting with the seeds and soil.

Breeding Strategic Seeds

October 2017

Honduras Starbucks’ Hacienda Alsacia research farm in Coffee & Poas de Alajuela, Costa Rica, and Hacienda Climate farmers Aquiarres in Turrialba, Costa Rica. The topcollect data. performing F1 hybrid varieties will be released for farmers in the region by 2023. To ensure that farmers can access healthy and genetically pure plants, WCR has also launched the first global standard for seed/plant quality, called WCR Verified. “There were three nurseries verified in a 2016 pilot study in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. The program verifies nursery standards for healthy, disease-free plants, genetic purity determined by DNA fingerprinting, education regarding agronomic performance of the plants, and breeder’s rights,” Neuschwander said. A thirdparty certifying group, NSF, verifies the seed stock first, followed by the nursery. The program officially launched in September 2017. Benoit Bertrand, researcher with WCR, championed the transition from conventional breeding to molecular breeding in his presentation at the World Coffee Science Summit in San Salvador, El Salvador in May. Conventional breeding uses phenotypic selection, based on observable traits in the plants, and has historically prioritized yield, compact plant size, and pest and plague resistance. More recently, breeders have begun to also select based on drought and heat tolerance, and cup quality. Molecular breeding speeds up the breeding process by identifying the specific genes or molecular markers responsible for those traits and selecting new varieties based on that. Molecular advancements in coffee breeding are essential to “developing and growing a combination of varieties that can help the farming system to be more resilient to pests and diseases, more productive and more profitable,” wrote Bertrand.

Since its founding in 2012, World Coffee Research has been leading the effort to correct the paucity of genetic research in coffee by studying the performance of different varietals grown in different climates and implementing an intensive breeding program to enrich coffee’s dangerously narrow genetic diversity. Their first project was the Catalog of Coffee Varieties of Mesoamerica and the Caribbean, outlining the basic phenotypic characteristics and agronomic needs of each variety. Hanna Neuschwander, communications director for College Station, Texas-based World Coffee Research, explained that the catalog “puts information into hands of producers to allow them to make informed, professional decisions.” Four additional projects build on the data presented in the catalogue to diversify and improve coffee seed stock and farming practices through the Core Collection, the Central America Breeding Hub, the Seed Verification Program, and molecular breeding. The Core Collection is a set of one hundred varieties selected by World Coffee Research from nearly 1,000 Arabicas housed at CATIE (Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Centre, Turrialba, Costa Rica) because of their genetic diversity. Plants from the Core Collection will be used in breeding new varieties, and are especially useful for creating new F1 hybrid varieties, which benefit from maximum genetic distance between parent plants. Seedlings from the collection are available for distribution to national coffee institutes. In Central America, WCR has also set up a breeding hub, collaborating with national coffee organizations on a high-tech breeding program for the region. The hub’s first success is the creation of 46 F1 hybrids (created by crossing eight mother plants from the genetically diverse Core Collection with five established varieties, including Geisha, Marsellesa and Obata), which are now being evaluated at the WCR farm Flor Amarilla in Santa Ana, El Salvador,

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desirable outcome of sustainability projects, one where systems, such as agroforestry, regulate themselves and require less use of expensive, contaminating products.

Mobile phonebased data sharing network

Photo courtesy of CAFENICA

Compiling Climate Data

Cultivating Resilient Soil

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Seeds represent technology that must be developed before farming begins, and soil preparation is another crucial step to ensuring that coffee production can be sustained over time, in a changing climate. Dr Oliver Roupsard, researcher with CIRAD (Centre for International Research and Development, Paris) and CATIE outlined the potential for improved soil at his presentation at the World Coffee Science Summit. He reported that volcanic mountain soils (Andisuelos) can last up to five years without fertilization, without any effect on yield, due to important stores of inorganic nitrogen. Reduction in fertilizer use saves producers money, therefore contributing to financial sustainability, and reduces nitrous oxide emissions. Roupsard suggested that fertilizations can be optimized given the type of soil to limit environmental impact and strategically invest resources. Sustainable production starts with a full assessment of available conditions and selection of available tools, like tailored inputs and seed varieties. Conditions must be analysed over time. ECOM Sustainable Management Systems in Sebaco, Nicaragua tracks soil acidity in farms before and after they are converted to agroforestry. Per data presented by Dr Edgardo Alpizar of ECOM SMS, many farms planted with agroforestry systems have soils with optimum pH. This is a

Sustaining the future of coffee production happens locally, as every region experiences different realities and needs. Coffee’s global network of supply chain actors is investing their collective resources to create tools that local organizations can then apply. Coffee & Climate is a global development partnership of coffee companies and development organizations, initiated in 2010 and implemented by Hamburg-Germany based Hanns R Neumann Stiftung (HRNS). One of the research hubs is El Trifinio, at the border of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Flemming Kohn, HRNS communications, explained, “We start by collecting data to understand how climate change has impacted coffee production and smallholders. We start to understand from farmers that they don’t face one problem; they face many. There are microclimatic conditions in Trifinio that create climatic hazards: drought, high temperatures, erratic rainfall distribution and others. With that information, we identify with them what impacts are created by the climate hazards and to identify promising adaptation practices that are tested together.” Measuring the impact of projects at the local level, such as planting temporary shade trees to shield seedlings from drought, generates recommendations for scaling up initiatives to the local or national level. Cristian LeSage, general manager of exporter Boncafe in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, sees connections between monitoring, research, and eventual investment. “Productivity and quality are the areas that require investment and planning. The most evident risks are climate change and water sources. An important new tool is the development of a roya leaf rust monitoring early warning system that has produced early and continuous reports of the status of roya during a given crop.” Even more meaningful than data is the ability to share it in real time. Jose Aquiles Espinoza Fortin is a producer in Madriz, Nicaragua and participant in a climate resiliency project organized by CAFENICA, a non-profit based in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. “The project, Coffee Sector Resiliency in the Face of Climate Change is implemented by CAFENICA, Centro

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Humboldt, CIEETS, and financed by Lutheran World Relief,” he outlined. “A network of extensionists and producers record climate phenomenon on their farms using a climate monitoring station to develop practical, useful attention to problems.” The climate monitoring stations record 14 data points, including rainfall, soil humidity, air temperature, soil temperature and level of sunlight. “This information allows us to analyse and implement forecasts of climate threats, like rain events and droughts, and phytosanitary risks, like increased chance of disease and plagues. This way we can outline the most opportune action for producers to take,” said Martha Estela Gutierrez, executive director of CAFENICA. “Our network shares data using the CAFENICA platform through mobile applications, WhatsApp and SMS messages.”

Implementing Agroforestry Systems

Data collection is essential for recording sudden climate events, but preventative measures move from responsive adaptation towards farms designed for mitigation. Agroforestry systems have proven to be one of the most sustainable models for coffee production, as they synthesize all strategies previously described. Costa Rica’s ICAFE (Institute for Costa Rican Coffee, San Jose) is leading the country’s NAMA-Café initiative. “The Nationally Appropriated Mitigation Action (NAMA) is part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and NAMACafé is the first agricultural NAMA in the world. This project aims on reducing greenhouse emissions and providing adequate mitigation and adaptation,” Maria Paz Lobo, projects director with ICAFE, told T&CTJ. By assuring the incorporation of different types of trees in the coffee farms, the agroforestry systems fix CO2 as secondary forests and limit fertilizer use due to the incorporation organic soil matter and creation of humus, reducing nitrous oxide emissions. Agroforestry systems reduce temperature, soil heavy in organic matter helps water to infiltrate rather than generate runoff causing erosion, which leads to a loss of nutrients and fertilizers, and the humus reduces evaporation, increases soil stability, and regulates the internal cycles of the coffee trees. WCR researcher Bertrand focuses on the intersection between advanced breeding and agroforestry, specifically selecting and developing varietals that are optimized to 20 TEA & COFFEE TRADE JOURNAL | www. teaandcoffee.net

Photo courtesy of CAFENICA


perform best in agroforestry systems, which Data colprovide the previously mentioned mitigation lected from producers and adaptation services to coffee farms and with climate producers. The new BREEDCafs (BREEDing monitoring stations. Coffee for AgroForestry Systems) program, a partnership between CIRAD, WCR, members of the European coffee industry, and academic institutions, aims to produce and commercialize varieties adapted to agroforestry. “The idea is to determine the molecular mechanisms of adaptation to agroforestry and pinpoint candidate genes for breeding highly productive varieties suited to agroforestry,” Bertrand stated in the project’s April press release. ECOM SMS’s Marsellesa project is an example of resilient design, scaling up the production of coffee and timber in Nicaragua to produce a consistent cup profile that is fully traceable and sustainable. Marsellesa is a hybrid of a Timor Hybrid 832 and Villa Sarchi. Grafting Marsellesa into rootstock provides local employment, as does the preparation of coffee and timber species nurseries. Locally developed technological innovation creates resilient land, a valuable product for market, and the mitigation and adaptation benefits the integration of coffee and hardwoods, all making Nicaragua’s coffee sector more sustainable. In Panama, where research organizations are much less present, individual producers are pursuing similar goals at the level of individual farms. In Santa Clara, Joseph Brodsky owns Ninety Plus Gesha Estates. “We started with a 182-hectare property that was 30 percent forested and 70 percent cattle pasture with invasive grasses and no forest in 2009. While integrating the shade-loving Ethiopia Gesha variety in the under-story at low density, we have converted over 90 percent of the former pasture areas into primary forest. Some local tree species have continuous leaf fall, enhancing topsoil and fertilizing the coffee trees below. Panama, like Ethiopia, has coffee growing areas that are nearly contiguous with protected forests. Our objective is to October 2017


re-establish forest and human communities that reconnect to protected lands, by planting and working low-density coffee in the under-story.”

Converting Waste into Resources

At Ninety Plus, the goal is to be off the power grid entirely by 2020. Brodsky has started the process by generating solar power, using organic fertilizers like chicken manure, and recycling filtered water post-processing to minimize usage and prevent contamination. Costa Rica’s NAMA-Café also includes parameters for converting waste into resources. Post-processing water contaminated with mucilage is sprayed on star grass, which can be used as cattle feed, and dried coffee cherry pulp fuels the dryers in the mills. In La Labour Octotepeque, Honduras, Cooperative Cocafelol turns waste water into a tool for combating leaf rust. “We built the bioethanol plant with the goal of reducing environmental effects of water coming out of the mill, but today it has been converted into our source of foliar fertilizers that we use to prevent la roya,” said Delmy Regalado, Cocafelol administration.

Researching and Developing

Nothing stagnant is sustainable, and there is ample trial, error, and observation needed to find solutions that will tackle diverse climate

challenges where they arise in coffee production. Cocafelol provides training to its members in organic production methods, application of the fertilizers the bioethanol plant produces, and leaf rust rehabilitation. LeSage of Boncafe sees another opportunity for Honduras to replace most mechanical drying with tunnel and patio drying. “Although this is not simple due to rainy climate during the harvest, it will reduce energy consumption and logistical costs.” Sustainable coffee production must be profitable, producing sufficient yields that deliver necessary quality. Like other tropical crops, Arabica coffee is especially vulnerable to changes in climate. However, this susceptibility is also its strength. Because the coffee industry, from seed breeders to retailers, has realized that research and collaboration are necessary to develop resiliency, resulting technology and tools in both nascent and usable stages exist to sustain coffee through changing climate conditions. Coffee can continue to be a leader in designing farming systems that both adapt to and mitigate environmental challenges while sustaining production for generations to come. Rachel Northrop has been covering coffee for T&CTJ since 2012, while she lived in Latin America’s coffee lands writing When Coffee Speaks. She is based in Brooklyn, NY. She may be reached at rachel.northrop@gmail.com.

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Adding yeast during fermentation in Peru.

The Hidden Power of Coffee Fermentation F

October 2017

Fermentation – the time that pulped coffee spends in a tank before it is dried – is also an opportunity to impact flavour. Microbiologist Lucia Solis, who specializes in microbial demucilagination, explains how this method offers a consistent and predictable coffee fermentation process, reducing the risk of spoilage or defects in the cup. By Lucia Solis All photos courtesy of Lucia Solis

demucilagination, leaving the coffee vulnerable to spoilage. That is, the traditional paradigm suggests that fermentation offers no opportunity for flavours enhancement, only risk. Michael Sivetz, whose work influenced coffee from processing through to roasting, wrote: “It has been well established that coffee does not improve as processing time increases especially while the coffee contains large amounts of moisture.” This places producers in a posture of riskaversion: processing is a step where the hard work done in the field can be ruined, so we should reduce the total processing time in order to maintain quality. This was really good advice when Sivetz wrote Coffee Processing Technology, but that was nearly 60 years ago and we have learned a lot since then.

More Than a Mechanical Process

Coming from a winemaking background, I am sensitive to comparisons between specialty coffee

or the last three years, I’ve worked in beneficios – coffee mills – across Central and South America attempting to shift the paradigm of how coffee is processed. I’ve leveraged my training as a winemaker in Napa Valley, California, as one tool to empower producers who are often very disconnected from the other end of the supply chain — roasters and cafés around the world. My work as a winemaker, and now as a coffee fermentation designer, hinges on one simple truth: fermentation creates chemical compounds with sensory characteristics. Though we can’t see microbes with the naked eye, we know they influence taste and aroma because we notice their impact when the fermentation goes wrong: we taste this in the form of cup defects, what is often (and erroneously) referred to as “ferment” or “over fermentation.” Much of my work includes processing practices, focusing on the traditionally neglected step of fermentation to enhance the quality of coffee. Historically, “fermentation” is described as the time that pulped coffee spends in a tank before it is dried. The goal of this step is to remove the mucilage and liberate the seed so that it can be dried, milled and roasted. Traditionally, “fermentation” is viewed as a process that, if done poorly, could damage and lower the quality of the coffee, and at its very best, merely maintains the inherent quality of the seed. The skin, which serves as a protective boundary for the seed, is removed prior to microbial

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Checking the pH and wine. The more I learn about coffee, the and temperature more differences I see. To me, coffee is not like in Mexico.

wine: but it can learn from winemaking and apply principles from the winery to the beneficio. Both winemaking and coffee processing begin with a fruit that is transformed into beloved beverages. In wine, the skin and pulp become the final beverage. Much care is taken to exclude the seeds as much as possible as they can produce harsh or astringent flavours. Conversely in coffee, the fermentation step is used to remove the fruit pulp and keep the seed. Wine could not exist without fermentation; coffee can. This step is not necessary to produce coffee; it’s just one way to remove the mucilage, a step that can be completely bypassed by mechanically removing the mucilage using water and friction. Mechanical demucilagination, its proponents note, allows for a consistent and predictable process, reducing the risk of spoilage or defects in the cup. I believe that “fermentation” is more than a mechanical process. I consider the fermentation step to be the entire period between the cherry being plucked from the tree and dried on a patio or mechanical drier. “Fermentation” is a biological process, a metabolism by which microbes like

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yeast and bacteria derive energy. As soon as the cherry is harvested, there is opportunity for microbes in the environment to begin to act upon the fruit — they don’t wait until the coffee reaches the tank (there is microbial fermentation activity in honey process and dry process/natural coffees as well!). Wild yeasts, bacteria and fungi present in the environment – on the cherry skin, in the tank, in the water, and virtually every surface of the mill – break down the sugar and pectin-rich mucilage layer thereby “cleaning” the seed and preparing it for the drying process. This process happens without human intervention. The time it takes the microbes to break down the mucilage varies drastically in time depending on ambient temperature, water temperature and quality, the ripeness of the fruit, cultivar, and whether it is the start or end of the harvest season. Many producers are familiar with these variations but few think about another important variation: the identity of the microbes present at the site. How a producer chooses to remove the mucilage from the seed can determine whether the flavours produced are desirable or undesirable and influence the resulting coffee. The fermentation step is a powerful opportunity to create flavours. Given enough time, the seed can absorb by-products from the fermentation happening around it. Any flavours produced in the tank could impact the cup. Therefore, I would like to propose a revision to Michael Sivetz’s statement: “It has been well established that coffee quality will change as processing time increases especially while the coffee contains large amounts of moisture.” Controlling fermentation is key to unlocking the power of this metabolism and harnessing it to create positive attributes. Fermentation is an opportunity to impact flavours, and all the steps from the farm to the patio can impact the quality (including consistency) of the coffee.

The Benefits of Yeast Inoculation

Farmers deal with many inconsistent, often uncontrollable variables such as rainfall; ambient temperatures; the cost of fertilizer, labour and pesticides; pest and disease pressures; and market prices. One less-obvious variable impacting quality is the microbial population of farms and beneficios. Instead of relying on the climate and chance to dictate results, producers can actively select the microbes in the tank. This selection empowers producers to participate in the quality of the resulting coffee. The results are predictable and consistent. Active selection of microbes can October 2017


combine the complexity of flavours and acidity of traditionally washed coffees with the clean consistency of a mechanically washed process. There does not need to be a compromise. Selecting the microbe population for the coffee fermentation no longer has to be a conversation about mitigating risk or reducing defects — it satisfies these concerns and can turn the focus to increasing value and quality. Industries like wine, beer, distilled spirits, cheese, yogurt have been selecting their microbes to add complexity to their raw material and maintain or enhance quality while reducing risk. Active selection of microbes empowers coffee producers to utilize the same tools that have been available to other industries for decades. While coffee processing technology provides a great foundation for processing, science and our understanding of processing continues to advance. This level of risk aversion is at odds with the changing market as consumer demand increases for traceable, higher-quality coffees. Many in the supply chain will be left behind if certain processing practices are not critically reviewed and updated. You can’t keep up with today’s market using last century’s techniques.

Test lots drying in El Salvador.

Microbiologist Lucia Solis, specializes in microbial demucilagination, or the use of microbes to process coffee following pulping. Born in Guatemala and raised in San Francisco, Lucia studied Viticulture and Enology at UC, Davis prior to working in the wine industry in Napa Valley. In 2014, she started at Scott Laboratories and travelled to Central America applying commercial yeast strains at coffee mills to modulate flavours coming from the tank. Today, she is an independent consultant working directly with coffee producers in origin countries to improve processing practices to increase quality.

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A Mayan woman in Jacaltenango, Huehuetenango, Guatemala, harvests hibiscus in November 2016.

Women in Coffee Lead the Way: Agroecology in Times of Crisis


lthough many coffee consumers wouldn’t recognize the term “coffee leaf rust,” the international coffee industry has been grappling with the effects of the fungus for years. The disease has affected coffee cyclically for decades, but in 2012-13 Central America experienced a coffee leaf rust (CLR) crisis, causing yields and producer incomes to plummet. Caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix, the disease defoliates plants and impedes berry formation. A 2016-17 study conducted by National Geographic Young Explorers examined women’s agroecological strategies in dealing with the CLR crisis, as well as the out-migration of (mainly) men from coffee communities because of the disease’s impact on local economies. The study surveyed 129 women producers from ten cooperatives: six in Guatemala and four in Nicaragua. The participants cultivate 4.4 hectares of coffee on average, which classifies them as poor peasant farmers – campesinos – a highly at-risk group in any crisis that threatens their harvest.

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Although male heads of household traditionally make decisions about land management and farming practices, women are key to the local coffee economies of Central America. Women have taken over farm management when their family members migrate, and they find innovative ways to make ends meet. By Anika Rice All photos and maps courtesy of Anika Rice

Resilience Strategies and Migration In Central America, more than two million people depend on coffee for their livelihoods, and CLR largely affects the migrant workers and smallholders who own less than 7 hectares of land. This raises questions about food security, which, according to Dr Jacques Avelino of October 2017


CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre), based in Turrialba, Costa Rica, was a concern for Western Guatemala and other parts of Central America in 2014-15. For the 64 Guatemalan women, CLR peaked in 2013 and 2014, while the Nicaraguan women saw CLR worsen in 2012. These farmers lost an average of 58 percent and 67 percent of pre-CLR harvest levels during the year of onset in Guatemala and Nicaragua, respectively. When asked what impact CLR had on their lives in general, women relayed the economic, social and emotional hardship that the coffee disease generated. In the face of the crisis, planting new coffee seedlings (renovation) and diversification of agricultural activities rank as two main adaptive strategies among this group. Outmigration from rural areas is common among the producers who were interviewed. Research by Santa Clara University’s Dr Christopher Bacon pinpoints migration as an adaptive mechanism that small-scale farm families have taken in the 21st century, due in part to the general downward trend in coffee commodity prices, which hit a low in 2001. Migration away from agricultural communities continues, and this study documents the experiences of women producers who are often left behind by the men and youth who leave in search of work. Although migration has been common in these communities for some time, the 2012-13 CLR crisis is another reason among a legion of economic pushfactors causing rural Central Americans to leave their coffee and their families.

Effects of the CLR Crisis

October 2017

loss by decreasing expenditures on food, buying Out-migration is common among fewer household items, and/or taking on other producers but inwork. In response to CLR, 74 percent of women creased exponenbought less food for their families. For most tially during the 2012-13 coffee households, this meant eating less meat, cheese leaf rust crisis. or eggs. Many reported not having bought new clothes or shoes in years. Of the 129 women surveyed, 71 percent bought fewer household items, including school supplies for their children, furniture, bedding and personal hygiene supplies. A Nicaraguan participant of the study told of her inability to do basic home repairs, “My house doesn’t have windows and I can’t pay to fix them.” To make up for lost income, women piece together odd jobs to provide the absolute minimum for their dependents. When asked whether there was more work in their lives since CLR onset, 79 percent answered yes, citing both more work with their coffee crops as well as additional activities. They had to be more vigilant of the coffee, take more time to sort damaged beans, and fertilize or spray

• Income Loss: On average, the women coffee producers in this study depended on coffee for 78 percent of their income before the CLR onset. This fell to 56 percent after CLR appeared. When a farm is entirely or partially affected by CLR, most producers decide to renovate the farm, providing they have access to the resources for renovation. Income is severely affected by both renovation and the CLR harvest loss, because the new plants need

two to three years before bearing fruit for a harvest. Thus, small rural producers experience an excruciating lag in recuperating their preCLR income levels, and the economy of the home is affected for several years afterwards. • Household Changes: “I can’t sleep at night because I worry about money. I didn’t have the resources, so it was hard to motivate myself to fix my farm,” said a 54-year-old producer in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Coffee-producing families adapt to income

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plants with fungicide more often. Others began working as day labourers on neighbouring farms or washing clothes. Overall, women’s work in the fields and the home increased because of the CLR crisis.

Strategies for Resilience

October 2017

Farmers in the while ago,” said a 41-year-old producer in north of HueNicaragua’s Miraflor Natural Reserve. huetenango are • Agroecological Diversification: Many raising tilapia in ponds on their smallholder farmers in this study diversified coffee farms. their agricultural activities for subsistence or commercialization. In Guatemala’s northwestern department of Huehuetenango, two women attribute bee-keeping to their family’s economic survival. “Selling bee pollen

• Renovation of Coffee Crops: Since 20122013, a myriad of campaigns for coffee crop renovation has emerged in Central America at the level of cooperatives, national coffee associations and non-governmental organizations. Initiatives tend to focus on resistant varieties as the solution for CLR. In Guatemala, 83 percent of women renovated their coffee either entirely or partially. Ninetytwo percent of their Nicaraguan counterparts did complete or partial renovations. After harvest loss and income loss, however, farmers find it difficult to invest in renovation. Without income from the previous year’s harvest, they have less money in savings and less access to credit from their cooperatives. Many farmers are going deeper into debt as a result. “If CLR hadn’t come around we would have paid off our debts for the land a

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helped us survive in 2015,” said a motherdaughter pair. Across both countries, 81 percent of women grow something other than coffee. In Guatemala, these ranged from medicinal herbs and vegetables in home gardens to hibiscus, peanuts, fruiting shade trees, honey and basic grains. In Nicaragua, most women were producing basic grains and fruits (citrus, banana, avocado) for subsistence, although some also tend livestock and gardens. Research by groups like the Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative at University of Vermont and the Community Agroecology Network show the importance of basic grains for food security, and the opportunities for producing them agroecologically. In Guatemala, women grow more diverse crops overall than Nicaraguan women. Although all the women in the study can be considered agricultural workers living in poverty, the Guatemalans seemed to be less economically constrained and better able to adapt to the CLR crisis with both crop and income diversification. More research is needed to address the social, political, geographical and institutional dynamics at play. This study does not illustrate the magnitude of diversification that each woman took. Some were producing one- to two-hectare plots of peanuts or hibiscus for local markets, while It is often men and young adults others were adding edibles to their home who leave the gardens. From an agroecological perspective, farm in search of service-industry various levels of diversification on farms can jobs. lead to more resilience — whether producers

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are becoming more economically resilient by selling in diverse markets, or providing ecosystem services to their farms by keeping bees that will pollinate existing crops. • Out-Migration: As mentioned, the downturn in coffee profitability has caused people to migrate as a way to support their families. It is often men and young adults who leave the community in search of service-industry jobs. Women are left behind while the migrants leave indefinitely, for an extended period of time or seasonally. The women in this study have sent off their husbands, children, siblings and grandchildren with what is described as a mixture of hope, uncertainty and pain. “My husband sent us money for the farm and the family for five years, but then the money stopped coming. I have taken care of things with my kids ever since,” said a Guatemalan producer in Huehuetenango. Out of 129 respondents, 84 of them had at least one family member migrate, testimony to migration’s draw – whether international or in-country. Although in-country migrations are less risky and expensive, nonetheless, they represent a break from rural agricultural lifestyles and an urbanization of those from the coffee-producing populations. The high number of people leaving makes out-migration feel commonplace in small communities. The reasons people leave are varied, ranging from weakened economies outside of the coffee industry to organized crime, government corruption, and other forms of violence. The CLR crisis is an additional push-factor that causes people to leave, compounding the otherwise difficult dynamics of survival for peasant farmers. On the whole, 27 percent of the migrants in both countries left directly because of CLR. The women often reported people leaving because of “general economic necessity,” which is inextricably linked to CLR in these communities, but was not counted towards the 27 percent. Undoubtedly, the migration due to the CLR crisis at these field sites is even higher, when the indirect causes are taken into account. Guatemalans tended to migrate to the US while the Nicaraguans stayed in Central

October 2017


America with destinations like Costa Rica and practices. This research highlights women’s Panama (see migration maps pages 29 and 32). willingness to experiment with things like crop Ninety-five percent of the Guatemalan migrants diversification, organic compost production and went to the US, Canada or Europe, whereas providing greater ecosystem services. five percent stayed in Guatemala or crossed Women have taken over farm management into Mexico. By contrast, only 27 percent of when their family members migrate, and they the Nicaraguan migrants travelled to the US, exhibit creative ways of making ends meet. Canada, or Europe. The majority (73 percent), With climate variability and climate change stayed in the region, crossing into Costa Rica, intensifying in the coffee lands, women coffee El Salvador or Panama. producers are obvious role models for agroecoThese starkly different migration patterns logical innovation and implementation. Women for communities similarly affected by the CLR have the potential to lead the way to resilient crisis and the coffee industry’s prices point to the agroecosystems, in coffee and beyond. deep-seated importance of place in migration dynamics. Anecdotally, residents contend that Notes: This research was funded by a National migration overland from Nicaragua to the US is Geographic Young Explorer grant in 2016-17. more risky, expensive and time-consuming than from northwestern Guatemala. Wages in Costa Rica and Panama are still relatively higher, thus Anika Rice is a National Geographic Young more Nicaraguans from these communities have Explorer, researcher and geographer who is moved there. More research is needed to unpack studying agroecology in Central America and the variables that are outside of the scope of the United States. After earning her underthis study. graduate degree from UC Berkeley in 2014, she Women are central to the local coffee worked on an organic herbal medicine farm, economies of Central America even though started a feminist agroecology podcast, and male heads of household traditionally make travelled in Latin America interviewing farmers. TOMLINSON_BW_TC SEP 05and8/9/05 decisions about land management farming 1:36 PM

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New Technologies for Detecting Defects in Coffee

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By Anne-Marie Hardie

Photo courtesy of Imec


he identification and isolation of defects in the green bean is an issue that continues to challenge the speciality coffee industry. If left alone, defects, like black beans, potato defect, and dehydrated beans, can negatively impact the quality of the cup. Well-trained roasters can manually isolate the defective beans, however, this process requires a significant time investment, and is not a viable solution for mass-market production. This has led to some roasters choosing not to purchase beans from particular regions for fear of a tainted crop. Meanwhile other roasters are actively looking towards new research and advanced technology, such as hyperspectral imaging and electromagnetic noses to see if they could be viable solutions. Potato defect is exactly this type of issue resulting in some roasters dismissing coffee from Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Western Uganda, fearing that their batch could potentially have this defect. “If buyers approve a coffee based on a small set of data with the expectation that this coffee will be defect-free, they will be let down later with that high expectation,” said Chelsea Thoumsin, coffee quality specialist, Counter Culture Coffee, Durham, North Carolina. “On the flip side, if a cupper encounters potato defect in a cupping of 20 cups, the likelihood of them finding another in the next 50+ cups is very low.” Concerned about potato defect and how it may affect the speciality coffee in this region, Counter Culture is invested in conducting research and collecting data to better understand what makes this defect come to the surface and to find efficient tools to isolate the defect. “How buyers and roasters purchase (or not purchase) coffees due to this has a direct impact on the specialty coffee industry in these areas,” said Thoumsin. For the past ten years, Counter Culture has been manually cataloguing and analysing green beans for potato defect. To date, they’ve catalogued approximately 140 coffees, with 99 percent of the beans from these African regions displaying some extent of the defect.

Defects in green beans plague the coffee industry, and finding defects continues to prove challenging. However, new methods to identify defects such as hyperspectral imaging and electromagnetic noses are emerging, but are they viable solutions?

“Our goal is to better understand when this defect displays itself, we are looking at what we can learn from high instance rates and low instance rates,” said Timothy Hill, coffee buyer and quality manager, Counter Culture. “We hope to use this information to efficiently program technology to identify and isolate this defect.” Technology is fast and efficient. If it is effective in isolating defects, it could alleviate buyers’ concerns of purchasing coffee in these regions.

If new technologies prove effective, buyers’ concerns about purchasing coffee from particular countries could be alleviated.

Testing Hyperspectral Imaging

Researchers at the University of Genoa have been studying the capabilities of NIR (Near-Infrared Reflectance) hyperspectral imaging in isolating defective green beans. This technology can break light into dozens, sometimes even hundreds of narrow bands creating a spectral signature, which could be used to identify the variances within both the green and roasted bean. Their goal was to test a multi-variate pattern recognition to not only see if the defective beans could be identified, but if the equipment could then be used to classify the different defects. October 2017

According to lead researcher, Cristina Malegori, PhD, department of pharmacy, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy, the most challenging of the defects to isolate is identifying beans with an irregular visual appearance. In order for this technology to be an effective tool for the coffee industry, the equipment would need to be able to both isolate and identify the individual types of defects. To test if this theory was possible, Malegori implemented a pattern recognition approach to isolate and classify dehydrated beans, black beans, and dried cherries from the nondefective beans. The results of this research were particularly promising, with the NIR hyperspectral imaging able to isolate each separate defect. However, due to the cost and complexity of hyperspectral equipment it has been rarely used in the manufacturing process. Yet, advances in technology are now paving the way for this technology to be used on a wide spread basis. One example of this is Imec’s RGB-NIR multispectral platform which integrates standard RGB colour filters, NIR-cut filters, NIR narrowbandpass filters, and on chip micro-lenses technology. The benefit is that the filter can be produced using chip process technology making this piece of equipment much more cost effective. Imec’s innovation program manager, Kris Van De Voorde, has also been investigating how hyperspectral imaging can be used to alleviate some of the challenges with identifying variances in roasted coffee. Currently, the most frequently used method to ensure consistency in the roast is manually preparing and measuring frequent samples. Hearing this plight of the roaster, Van De Voorde decided to see if hyperspectral imaging equipment could obtain more accurate results. The results were positive, allowing the roaster to accurately determine the level of roasting

In order to be effective for the coffee industry, hyperspectral imaging needs to both isolate and identify individual types of defects.

on individual beans, eliminating the laborious preparation that was previously used to determine consistent roast levels. “With a hyperspectral camera, you can make things visible that are invisible to our own eyes,” said Van De Voorde. “You can identify materials, such as foreign objects that do not belong in a product, or fungi. You can screen the composition of products to find their content in moisture, sugar, fat or protein. You can also check the quality and composition of surfaces and packaging.” But could this type of equipment be used to detect a defect as complex as the potato defect? “We looked at whether the electromagnetic spectrum of the potato defect could be identified, and then used it to help sort out the defective beans from the healthy ones,” said Hill. Currently, Counter Culture has received two sets of results using hyperspectral imaging to isolate the defect. The first result was positive, with the equipment positively identifying the defect, however, the second set was less promising. “It’s easier when you’re sorting for metal and glass in fruit, but at the moment there are limitations with the system being able to detect the specific chemical compound that is in this defect,” said Hill.

Exploring Other Options

Manually isolating and smelling potato defect.

Detecting the molecule that is responsible for potato defect is extremely challenging as there are several variables that impact how the defect is displayed, Susan Jackels, PhD, professor emerita of chemistry, Seattle University, Seattle, Washington, explained. “One of the key challenges with using technology is that the potato defect is in such small quantities that it is like trying to find one needle in several different haystacks,” said Jackels. “The other complicating factor is that the defect may show in different areas of the bean, sometimes on the surface, and other times within the bean itself.” Counter Culture is continuing to look at how hyperspectral imaging can become a viable

Photo courtesy of Counter Culture Coffee October 2017

Photo courtesy of Imec


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solution for the future. In the meantime, it is also considering whether other forms of technology, primarily an electromagnetic nose, could be used to detect the distinct scent of the chemical compound. The current process of isolating the potato defect at Counter Culture consists of filling small glass jars with one-third water and then placing them on a germination mat, as the defect is easier to identify when the coffee is warmed up. After 6-12 hours, the jars are smelled to see if there is any potential defect. Thoumsin noted that the human nose is extraordinarily sensitive to the compound that is called potato defect – Isopropyl Methoxypyrazine (IPMP: 3-isopropyl 2-methoxypyrazine) – with science supporting that less than one part per billion will tip our noses off to the compound. It is for this reason that Counter Culture developed a protocol for isolating green beans for GCMS readings (Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry) in efforts to build a system which can recognize IPMP on its own. “As you can imagine, sniffing through jars and breaking jars down into smaller jars is very time consuming, and at such a small scale,

October 2017

Photo courtesy of Imec

not the most efficient. But for now, it’s important work so we can build these signatures,” she said. The current limitations with an electronic nose, said Jackels, is that they lack the sensitivity that the human nose has with detecting this defect. By manually establishing these signatures of potato defect, researchers hope to program technology with specific information that will help consistently identify the defect. The goal at Counter Culture is to establish the groundwork, by collecting additional data and single green bean samples, to further understand the defect. “We’re learning a lot about IPMP as a chemical as well as other chemicals that are apparently correlating to IPMP. Mapping the instance rate of potato defect on hundreds of thousands of grams of coffee has, to our knowledge, never been done before,” said Thoumsin.

With a hyperspectral camera, things that are invisible to the naked eye can be made visible.

Anne-Marie Hardie is a freelancer writer, professor and speaker based in Barrie, Ontario. She may be reached at: annemariehardie1@gmail.com.

www. teaandcoffee.net | TEA & COFFEE TRADE JOURNAL 37

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China Regains its Tea Position & Reputation Foundation.


October 2017

After some decades of production decline and tea culture at a standstill, China has recovered the full glory of its 10,000 fine teas, geared up tea output and has become the world’s biggest tea producer, recording a 43 percent share of the global tea volume in 2016. By Barbara Dufrêne All photos courtesy of Barbara Dufrêne After a period of reconstructing, restoring and moving back towards private ownership, the tea industry has gradually recovered. In the early years of the new millennium, the Chinese government launched its new brief to double up production, innovate planting and manufacturing technologies, build strong brands, and promote home consumption as well as exports.

Gearing Up on All Fronts

As today’s leader of the global tea market, China is aware of its responsibility for maintaining a balanced supply/demand status. The Chinese civil servants in

ith accelerated growth since the start of the millennium, China, the home country of tea, has closed the chapter on the 20th century’s political turmoil and has, step by step, picked up and mended all the disrupted threads. Determined to recover its millinery tea traditions and to display its vast heritage of fine teas again widely, China has doubled its tea plantation acreage. Over the past ten years, tea gardens have spread from 1.4 million hectares (ha) in 2006 to 2.8 million ha in 2016, which has made the country the world’s undisputed tea giant. Tea from China is again a flagship product. The ten most famous Chinese teas were listed at the 1915 Panama-Pacific World Exhibition, which celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and the reconstruction of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. This immense Western venue saw the first attendance by the newly born Republic of China, which attracted huge attention and reaped many gold medals for its fine origin teas that continue to compete for the top rankings, but two World Wars and a cultural revolution took a heavy toll on tea production.

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tea-drinking markets like the UK (1.74 kg), Morocco (1.73 kg), Ireland (1.6 kg), and the global champion, Turkey, where people brew more than 3kg per head per year. Acknowledging the strong potential to increase consumption, Yu Lu explained the recent decision taken by the National People’s Congress to introduce promotional operations for increasing the domestic tea consumption, by launching breakfast tea, which is a truly Western habit, and by suggesting that school children drink one cup of tea every day.

Providing New Impetus for Global Tea

By refurbishing its centuries-old product traditions with the many local tea bush varieties, specific terroir conditions and manufacturing techniques, China has established a range of new rules. By the 1980s, Western consumer markets were used to drinking black teas imported from the former colonial territories (mainly under British and Dutch rule), which were more than two-thirds CTC teas in tea bags. After the 1980s and China’s progressive comeback, high quality green teas became available and later, wulong (oolong) teas, then puer teas, and finally some white and yellow teas, a whole set of hitherto unknown tea categories. Almost all teas in China are leaf teas, there is no CTC tradition. On the consumer side, this newly available leaf tea product palette from China has generated a major challenge for the Western retail markets. Tea schools and tea trainings sprang up in order to allow consumers to understand these new teas and create a

A new terraced and ecological tea garden in Sichuan with sprinklers for favourable micro-climates.

charge of the tea industry and its further development, are therefore prepared to share data and technical information during their many regional, national and international tea conventions where the tea-world operators meet every year for updates and crossfertilisation debates. During the International Yibin Tea Convention, held in March 2017 in Sichuan Province, Mrs Yu Lu, third vice president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuff, gave a full update on the Chinese tea market and industry. Concerning China’s tea production since 2007, she underlined that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) amounts to 8.5 percent, reaching an output of 2.43 million metric tonnes (mt) in 2016. Yu Lu reported that exports’ annual growth has averaged 1.2 percent since 2007 with the average kilo price increasing by 6.4 percent to reach USD $4.52 in 2016. In 2016, tea exports were shared out between the various tea categories with green teas representing 82.4 percent, black teas representing 10 percent, wulong (oolong) teas representing 4.9 percent, jasmine and other scented teas with 1.8 percent, and puer teas with 0.9 percent. China’s tea imports have doubled since 2010 to reach 22,000 mt in 2016, mainly black leaf teas from India and Ceylon. In terms of tea consumption, official data show steady growth with a CAGR of 8.7 percent since 2010, reaching a total disappearance volume of 1.8 million mt in 2016, resulting in annual per capita consumption of 1.17kg in 2016. Yu Lu stated however, that this number is far behind the big

www. teaandcoffee.net | TEA & COFFEE TRADE JOURNAL 41


Yu Lu of the China Chamber of Commerce discusses tea trends and prospects at the Yibin Sichuan Tea Convention in March.

craving for them. On the producing countries’ side, the challenge to compete with the new range of tea categories and the Chinese specialty teas also created a real frenzy, with the marketing of spectacular white teas from East Africa and wulong teas from Darjeeling. That effervescence has given considerable momentum to the market, upgrading product profiles and consumer awareness. After a while, however, it seems that it is almost impossible to compete with these specialty teas from China because what is a long-standing tradition there requires costly equipment and full training in other countries, which has resulted in uncompetitive cost levels. But the benefit of this multifaceted product range remains, and thanks to China, there is a redesigned dividing line between commodity teas for the mass market and specialty teas, which are considered as terroir, origin and premium teas. Katrin Rougeventre, a French tea expert and tea scholar has recently issued the first comprehensive Western guide book on teas from China, L’Empire du Thé. The book introduces the incredible wealth of Chinese teas, ranked by origin territories, plant varieties and processing methods. Rougeventre also explains the historical background and the many refined and specific leaf-processing techniques that have been developed and applied for centuries. She studied in China in the early 1980s and witnessed ancestral tea productions in remote places, which have survived the cultural revolution and thus, have contributed to preserve the numerous aspects of tea heritage. In the book, Rougeventre also discusses China’s tea heritage, which is based on a unique set of agricultural and cultural wisdom and practices. A completely different universe compared to the purely commercial tea growing, as it was introduced in the

former colonial estates about 150 years ago, before the recent Chinese comeback reshuffled the playing cards.

The Home Market Continues to Evolve

When private ownership became possible again in the 1980s onwards, some former tea-garden owners returned, new investors arrived, and gradually the 100 percent state-owned tea production and trade switched to an estimated 50/50 share between government and the private sector. Today, there are huge tea companies in every tea province, such as Zhejiang Tea Group, Sichuan Tea Group, Dianhong in Yunnan, and Fujian Chunlun Group. All of them benefit from strong support from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), be it for setting up technology and science parks, tea-training centres, and brand promotion campaigns. Most of the CEOs are also high-ranking CCP members with local political involvement. Hence, the links between the benefits derived from the tea cultivation contributes to sustainable agriculture and poverty alleviation and tea marketing, which generates employment, revenue and visibility are handled in a harmonious manner. The monies invested into research and innovation are impressive, with an upstream focus on more sustainability and an increased share for organic tea growing, and downstream with a major focus on health benefits and cup convenience, in particular for young and urban consumers. Whilst the big companies have their own tea gardens, they also rely on supply from the thousands of smallholders who grow their tea plots in the vicinity. A model becoming increasingly popular in more remote, mountainous and minority areas, is the cooperative structure, which provides platforms for direct market access. There are now also many smaller, privately-owned tea companies, which usually specialise in regional tea varieties and cater to the Chinese tea lovers, but interested in the export potential of Western markets.

Export Sales Grow in Volume & Value

With its own huge domestic market demand, China’s export grows but the exported tonnage share decreased from 28 percent of the total tea production in 2006, to 16 percent in 2015. The Annual China Tea Expo, in Beijing’s Guo Mao World Trade Centre, was launched in 2004 to attract foreign visitors and foreign tea producers. However, the domestic market has now become so huge, that the search for export markets is considered lower priority by the organizers, who no longer make English translations available any more. The share of organic tea gardens is growing fast and according to USDA, more than half of the organic green teas imported by the US came from 42 TEA & COFFEE TRADE JOURNAL | www. teaandcoffee.net

October 2017


China in 2016. European Union notifications about the rejection of tea imports from China because of pesticide residue levels above EU regulatory limits have gone down dramatically over the past five years, which is the result of applying sustainable agricultural practices. International Statistics report that China possesses 9 percent of the world’s arable lands for feeding 18 percent of the world’s populations. As far as tea is concerned, the supply position is much more balanced, and whilst Chinese businessmen buy lands for cattle and cereals in Australia and Africa, it seems that there is some investment in continental China from Taiwan and Chinese living overseas in the tea sector. Despite the language barrier, more Chinese teas can now be seen in the Western Tea Fairs, where knowledge about premium teas continues to grow, although these are small volumes. The biggest customers for Chinese teas today are Morocco (which imported over 60,000 mt of green gunpowder teas from Zhejiang in 2016), followed by Africa and the Middle East. With all these improvements, innovations and Barbara Dufrêne is the former Secretary General progress, China not only dominates the tea market of the European Tea Committee and editor of La today, but also shares many valuable incentives and is Nouvelle Presse du Thé. She may be reached at: a key player for promoting and enhancing global tea b-dufrêne@orange.fr. HenryPThompson4C_TC_April14 3/24/14 2:57 PM Page 1 consumption.


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Coffee Lives “La Dolce Vita” in Italy


talians’ love for coffee remains strong. The Italian Coffee Committee (CIC) analysis based on data provided by ISTAT indicated that Italy imported green coffee worth over €1.28 billion and exported a quantity equating to €31.6 million in 2016. Italy also imported decaffeinated green coffee worth €8.3 million and exported a quantity equating to approximately €890,000. Coffee sales account for 30 percent of total sales in a café/bar. FIPE, the Italian association representing bars and similar public establishments, calculated that espresso (and cappuccino) sales totalled €6.6 billion in 2016, corresponding to a consumption of 47 million kilograms of blended roasts. The average Italian bar serves 175 espresso coffees and cappuccinos a day, generating €184 in sales. (The mean price per cup in Italy is €0.96, which ranges in average from city to city.)

which appeals to Italian consumers. Penetration is higher among younger consumers, singles and couples without children.

Fresh Ground Coffee Pod Sales Surge

RTD Coffee Remains Weak

Coffee in Italy saw retail volume sales decline by 2 percent but value sales rise by 2 percent in current terms in 2016, according to Euromonitor International. Value growth can be largely attributed to a consumer shift towards more expensive products, such as fresh ground coffee pods. Fresh ground coffee continued to witness a move from standard fresh ground coffee to fresh ground coffee pods. The popularity of pods continued to increase among Italian coffee drinkers, leading to the category registering retail current value growth of 13 percent, albeit down from 21 percent the previous year. This performance fueled the positive value performance of the wider coffee category. IRI reported a decrease in coffee sales of 2.1 percent by volume, but an increase of 1.9 percent in receipts, totalling around €1.2 billion. The volume decreases occurred across the board for all types of coffee. The exception was the singleserve segment, where sales rose by 21.3 percent over 2014 to reach €200 million. This growth came despite the far higher price of capsule-based coffee: €48.6 per kg (+3.2 percent) compared with €10.7 per kg (+4.6 percent) for roasted beans. The higher prices of fresh ground coffee pods are encouraging manufacturers in the category to focus on innovation and new product development in order to maintain or grow their shares in this particularly lucrative category, with this resulting in a wider choice of products and wider availability in retail outlets. The taste of the coffee pods is similar to that in foodservice establishments,

October 2017

Both at home and away, Italians love their coffee. But there is strong growth potential for at-home consumption given the growing popularity of fresh ground coffee pods.

As Italian consumers are used to drinking coffee in bars or at home, RTD coffee continued to suffer from weak demand in 2016, per Euromonitor. Traditionally, the consumption of hot coffee is widespread across the country, and has progressively gained in popularity due to the growing penetration of pod coffee machines and the success of fresh ground coffee pods. Given the category is small, RTD coffee has some growth potential in Italy. Euromonitor reported that total volume and current value sales of RTD coffee increased by 3 percent and 5 percent, respectively, in 2016. Purchased by the urban population, these products benefitted from emerging on-the-go consumption. In addition, RTD products were increasingly available on retailers’ snacking shelves, but in small quantities and limited in variety due to modest demand. The price per unit of RTD coffee is unattractive compared with what consumers pay for coffee in a bar, thus discouraging a change in habits. To stimulate sales, manufacturers and retailers tried to retain low prices as much as possible. Growth opportunities can be found within younger consumers, who are more open to innovation, and by incorporating new trends and habits in terms of coffee consumption. Innovation in terms of packaging, with a focus on convenience and targeting on-the-go consumption, and in terms of flavours, with more sophisticated varieties, will be a key factor to continue the dynamism of the category. – Aubrye McDonagh Leigh

www. teaandcoffee.net | TEA & COFFEE TRADE JOURNAL 45


Photo courtesy of Rachel Northrop

August Green Coffee Report

Mixed Results for Production & Exports

The Arabica gains posted in July were almost totally erased in August, in a volatile month that saw a four-month high on 8 August of around 144.00 cents/lb before tumbling to below 126.00 cents/ lb later in the month. September started with a positive tone, support coming from concerns about Brazilian 2017-18 bean size and from a weakening US dollar. Robusta is facing pressure from ample supply and projections of good Vietnamese output again in 2017-18 (Oct/Sep). Elsewhere, Ugandan production is seeing a revival, and exports from the African nation look set to surpass the record 1996-97 volume of 4.2 million bags. Indian exports are also posting a strong performance. Data released from the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in August showed that world coffee exports amounted to 9.38 million bags in July 2017, up 11 percent compared with 8.45 million in July 2016. Production estimates for crop year 201617 have been revised upward to 153.9 million bags, compared 46 TEA & COFFEE TRADE JOURNAL | www. teaandcoffee.net

with our previous estimate of 151.6 million. Rabobank International revised its global coffee production estimate upward for the 2017-18 coffee year, now at 154.4 million 60-kg bags, up from the previous estimate of 153 million bags. Demand is now forecast at 160.4 million bags, revised up from its previous estimate of 159.8 million bags. Global deficit for the 2017-18 coffee year is at 6.1 million bags, down from the previous estimate of 6.8 million bags. For Brazil, the 2017-18 coffee harvest neared completion in August with focus turning towards the early development of the 2018-19 crop. The market digested reports that a coffee borer beetle infestation caused losses for the old crop and could potentially impact the new. During the month, ECOM revised its estimate for Brazil’s 2017-18 coffee crop to 55 million 60-kg bags, down from the previous estimate of 56 million bags. ECOM now expects 43 million bags of Arabica and 12 million bags of Robusta. It has maintained its Arabica estimate, while Robusta was revised down one million

bags from the previous forecast of 13 million bags. The Ministry of Agriculture also pegged Brazilian coffee production for the 2017-18 at 52 million 60-kg bags, up 8.3 percent from 48 million bags in 2017. The 2018-19 crop is forecast at between 51 and 61 million 60-kg bags, in the most optimistic scenario. By 2026-27, the Ministry forecasts production to be 31.3 percent larger, around 63 million bags. Wide variations in Vietnamese crop figures continue to dog the market. Vietnam’s wet season has been beneficial for the upcoming crop and local sources believe 2017-18 output could rise to 30 million bags from 28 million bags in 2016-17. Some forecasting bodies are putting 2016-17 production down below 25 million bags but Vietnamese coffee exports, which generally provide a good barometer of production, suggest there will not be a massive yearon-year export drop. The Colombian Coffee Federation (FNC) reported that in August, Colombia produced 1.294 million 60-kg bags of coffee, an increase of 9 percent compared with 1.189 million bags produced in August October 2017


2016. Exports were 1.167 million 60-kg bags, 8 percent less compared with 1.273 million bags exported in August 2016. In Honduras, coffee exports for August totalled 456,903 bags, up 93.76 percent from the same month last year. For Costa Rica, exports in August totalled 75,428 bags, down 16.99 percent from the same month last year. In India, 2016-17 (Oct/Sep) coffee year exports totalled 352,462 tonnes in the 1 October to 6 September period, as opposed to 325,094 tonnes in the same period of 2015-16. This is an increase of 8.4 percent on the year. Uganda’s exports in the first 10 months of the 2016-17 coffee season suggest that the country is on track to surpass the record 1996-97 volume of exports of 4.2 million bags. Shipments in October/July this year reached 3.84 million bags, which was 36.6 percent higher than the 2.82 million bags in 2015-16. Exports in Fi Europe 2017 148x216 BELL.pdf



the whole of the 2015-16 season reached 3.31 million bags.

Stocks Remain Solid

Coffee stocks at some European warehouses rose for the fourth consecutive month in May to 706,047 metric tonnes, up 2.52 percent from the previous month. European Coffee Federation data includes stocks from only the warehouses of Antwerp, Hamburg, Genoa, Le Havre and Trieste. Coffee stocks in warehouses in all ports of the United States totalled 7.413 million bags for the month ending 31 July, which is 118,367 bags higher than the previous month and 1.104 million bags higher from July 2016. The five-year average for the month of July is 6.216 million bags.

Japanese warehouse coffee stocks inched up during June 2017, standing at 201,645 tonnes as opposed to 200,902 tonnes end-May. The volume is 5.1 percent lower than the 212,510 tonnes end-June 2016. For more in-depth coffee news, insight and analysis, please sign up for a free two-week Coffee Network trial at coffeenetwork.com/Portal/ Register2.aspx?RegisterXml=subscriptions/global/trialsubscription.xml

This report was compiled by Alexis Rubinstein, senior editor, Coffee Network, a division of New York, New Yorkbased INTL FCStone, a Fortune 500 company focused on diversified financial markets. Alexis may be reached at: Alexis.Rubinstein@intlfcstone.com.

This material should be construed as market commentary, merely observing economic, political and/or market conditions, and not intended to refer to any particular trading strategy, promotional element or quality of service provided by the FCM Division of INTL FCStone Financial Inc. The FCM Division of INTL FCStone Financial Inc. is not responsible for any redistribution of this material by third parties, or any trading decisions taken by persons not intended to view this material. Information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed as to its accuracy. Contact designated personnel from the FCM Division of INTL FCStone Financial Inc. for specific trading advice to meet your trading preferences. The trading of derivatives such as futures and options involves substantial risk of loss and may not be suitable for all investors. These materials represent the opinions and viewpoints of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints and trading strategies employed by the FCM Division of INTL FCStone Financial Inc. 30/08/2017


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FARMER BROTHERS TO ACQUIRE BOYD COFFEE COMPANY Farmer Bros Co is acquiring substantially all the assets of Boyd Coffee Company with a combination of cash and stock. Portland, Oregon-based Boyd’s is a privately-held coffee company in business for over 100 years. Boyd’s is expected to complement Farmer Brothers across customer channels, product portfolios and distribution networks, including a high-touch service model of direct-store delivery. Family-owned Boyd’s generated revenue of approximately USD $95 million and processed and sold about 16 million pounds of green coffee during the previous 12 month period. Boyd’s coffee sales accounted for approximately 65 percent of revenue with the remainder of revenue primarily coming from other beverages and accessories. Farmer Bros expects to improve overall operational efficiency by moving the production volume

associated with the acquired Boyd’s business into its existing production facilities. “We believe the Boyd’s business will be an excellent strategic fit for Farmer Brothers,” said Mike Keown, CEO, Northlake, Texas-based Farmer Brothers. “We expect this acquisition will strengthen our position in the marketplace, expand our distribution footprint, and generate significant synergies.” “We are confident Farmer Brothers is the right company to take the Boyd’s brand to the next level,” said Jeffrey Newman, CEO, Boyd’s. The purchase price consists of nearly USD $42 million in cash and 21,000 shares of a new series of preferred stock, subject to adjustments for working capital and certain hold-backs of cash and stock. As of the signing date, the preliminary estimated value of the preferred stock was USD $16.6 million or $789 per share, and an

Royal Cup Acquires Icebox Coffee Royal Cup, Inc, an importer, roaster and distributor of premium and specialty coffees and teas, is acquiring Richgood Gourmet LLC, a manufacturer and distributor of Icebox Coffee, a line of shelf-stable, cold brew coffees, available in RTD and concentrate forms. Both companies are based in Birmingham, Alabama. Bebe Goodrich, founder and former president of Icebox Coffee, will join Royal Cup as director of liquid product innovation. “Richgood Gourmet complements Royal Cup in its commitment to innovation, product quality and excellent client service,” said Bill Smith, CEO, Royal Cup. “Combining forces to expand our cold-brew offering and improve our RTD product mix is a strategic move. [Bebe’s] industry expertise and entrepreneurial spirit will shape the future of Royal Cup’s liquid-manufacturing processes and SKU development.” Since its inception, Icebox Coffee rapidly grew its customer base through early distribution 48 TEA & COFFEE TRADE JOURNAL | www. teaandcoffee.net

agreements with major retailers, including Whole Foods and Central Market. Today, Icebox Coffee is sold nationwide, and Richgood Gourmet supplies shelfstable, cold brew coffee for retail and food service companies, and for ingredient use to large retail chains for private-label use. “Icebox Coffee has been on a tremendous growth trajectory over the past five years,” said Goodrich. “Now is the perfect time for us to join Royal Cup to achieve even greater success. Royal Cup’s strength, scale and international footprint will ensure that we continue to deliver the best cold brew coffees, teas and other all-natural, ready-to-drink beverages to our valued customers.” In her new role, Goodrich will lead new product-development initiatives for Royal Cup’s liquid manufacturing vertical. All Icebox Coffee operations will relocate from Birmingham’s Innovation Depot to Royal Cup’s headquarters by year-end 2018. Royal Cup intends to retain all Richgood’s full-time employees.

estimated value of the aggregate purchase price of $58.6 million. Boyd’s generated revenues of approximately USD $95 million during the period from 1 August 2016 through 31 July 2017. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of calendar 2017 (the second quarter of fiscal 2018 for Farmer Brothers), subject to certain closing conditions. Farmer Bros previously acquired China Mist Tea and West Coast Coffee.

Flexicon Launches German Language Website

Flexicon Corp has launched a German language website – www. flexicondeutschland.de – to support its factory-direct sales office in Aschaffenburg, Germany. The new site details Flexicon’s bulk handling equipment and systems utilized across industries that fill, discharge, weigh batch or convey bulk solid materials. “Our German-speaking customers and prospects in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and neighbouring regions now have easier access to information on Flexicon equipment and engineered systems online, as well as through [our] factory-direct sales office in Germany,” said David Gill, president, Flexicon. The new website details Flexicon’s mechanical and pneumatic conveyors; bulk bag conditioners, dischargers, and fillers; bag dump stations; drum, box and container dumpers; and weigh batching systems – a total of 90 equipment configurations including integrated plant-wide systems with automated controls available to industrial, food, dairy and pharmaceutical standards. Also listed are 750 materials handled by Flexicon equipment, including free- and non-free-flowing products and blends. The site is also searchable and describes the company’s full-scale test laboratories and Lifetime Performance Guarantee. October 2017


Melitta North America Expands Sustainability Initiatives with Solar Panels Melitta North America has expanded its commitment to sustainability with the installation of solar panels at the brand’s stateof-the-art coffee roasting facility in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The USD $1.3 million project will help increase energy efficiencies at the 100,000 sq ft plant, which roasts all coffee for Melitta’s North American needs. “As a family-owned, eco-minded brand, this new initiative expands our commitment to operating sustainably and protecting the environment in which we live

and work,” said Jeff Bridges, vp, operations. “In addition to producing eco-friendly products like bamboo coffee filters, recyclable single-serve capsules, 100 percent recyclable boxboards used in packaging, and composite coffee cans made from recycled materials, we’ll now be able to generate 563,385 kilowatts of clean energy annually — enough to power 50 homes for an entire year.” The solar panels have an estimated annual environmental benefit equivalent to the planting of 50,942 trees, the conservation of 367,425 gallons of water and the removal of 1.02 million pounds of CO2 from the earth’s atmosphere. The solar panel installation was completed in March and the panels are fully operational, generating electricity for the plant. This is the most recent update made to

further enhance the roasting facility. Over the past several years, significant investments have been made from new equipment being installed for the production of single-serve coffee to plant expansion developments to full modernization modifications. The Cherry Hill location has been in continuous operation since 1964, when Melitta first entered the US coffee market. The plant produces the full range of the brand’s coffee products for major retail chains and specialty stores across the country. Melitta North America is part of the privately held Melitta Group in Minden, Germany, and is headquartered in Clearwater, Florida. Melitta USA – a division of Melitta North America – produces coffee and filters in North America and markets the line in the US.

Ipanema Coffees Exports Record 2M Bags of Specialty Coffees Ipanema Coffees has exported a record two million bags of specialty coffee in 26 years – directly from the farm to clients worldwide. This achievement, after shipment of 2.160m bags (at 132 pounds each) to Germany-based roaster, Tchibo, has special significance, since September 1991 marks a milestone in the history of Ipanema Coffees. It was the day Ipanema, based in São Paulo, Brazil, debuted in the international market, exporting the first 3,000 bags, coincidently, to Tchibo. This is the first time in Brazil that such a volume has been reached, and is noteworthy as these are exports with origin, direct from the farm. Ipanema´s international clients can trace exactly where the coffee comes from as it is labelled according to its origin. Ipanema became an exporter of specialty coffees in 1991, after a change in domestic regulation of coffee trading that opened the international markets to Brazilian producers. Before that the governmental control granted limited export licenses to a small number of exporters. This policy lasted for 30 years and led coffee producers October 2017

to focus just on quantity, since all coffee qualities were paid by the same price and sold under labels as “Santos 4.” After 1990, when more liberal governmental policies were adopted and coffee producers allowed to export directly, Ipanema expanded its activities beyond the country borders and pioneered direct exporting. “This achievement was made possible by the strong relationship with clients, the daily efforts of our employees in the fields, milling and offices, and continuous investment in innovation, research and sustainability,” said Washington Rodrigues, CEO, Ipanema Coffees. Ipanema specialists evaluate plant architectures, vegetative vigor, longevity, maturation characteristics, fruit size and especially productive potential and cup quality. Ipanema aims to increasingly approximate farming to a scientific process, since a test methodology has never been implemented in Brazil. This effort is not limited to Ipanema’s development in the market. “The goal is to be able to help producers in general achieve another level. This means that

when we outline a quality matrix, Ipanema defines a new production concept and is capable of offering consulting services to other producers, increasing learning and sales opportunities in a global market that [increasingly] appreciates specialty coffees,” Rodrigues explained. “This new model, based on high technology, can be transmitted to other producers who wish to achieve this efficiency and quality level of management in their farms.” With 14 million trees planted on three farms in the south of the state of Minas Gerais (Rio Verde, Conquista and Capoeirinha), Ipanema Coffees offers seven labels – Reserve, Bourbon, Ouro Preto, Gourmet, Espresso, Conquista and Dulce – and the ability to provide traceability and unique solutions for each customer such as tailoring products and packaging. www. teaandcoffee.net | TEA & COFFEE TRADE JOURNAL 49


What in the World or Where in the World?


ertainly, the topic of terroir has been written about by coffee and tea professionals alike. The word terroir is French in origin and the meaning of it is most known to people who are sommeliers, specifically wine sommeliers. But the word sommelier, also French in origin, is something that tea professionals are beginning to use with more sincerity, although it takes years and years of practice to achieve the amount of knowledge to call oneself a sommelier. This word and terroir go hand-in-hand where tea appreciation is concerned and in the way that a person, a company, can begin to connect with consumers for better understanding and exploration of the many tastes of tea, Camellia sinensis. As much as I am familiar with the term terroir and understand it, it was not until a recent trip to Sri Lanka that it truly hit me how incredibly different a tea can taste region to region, even plantation to plantation within the same region. We know that terroir translates to sense of place, specifically the environmental conditions, soil, and climate contributing to flavour and aroma. In Sri Lanka, Ceylon tea has seven different growing regions that are further recognized as low grown, mid grown, and high grown. At each elevation, the tea tastes different. The climate varies, the handling of the tea varies. I find myself reaching for a high-grown tea since it tends to be a bit lighter in the cup and self-drinking (just my personal preference). What struck me so incredibly was the revelation that a certain tea plantation in the low-grown region happens to be located directly between the ocean and rainforest. These specific climate conditions are contributing to unique flavour and aroma as compared with other low-grown teas. I had been wondering why the tea from Lumbini Tea Factory, located in Deniyaya, Sri Lanka, is always winning awards. The business is run very well and impressively so, I must say, since I have visited twice and have also taken the

company’s two-day Make Your Own Tea Program. But it was more than just good business practices, there was something greater at play. Thanks to these visits, and to the dedicated staff at Lumbini for very patiently taking time to help me to understand Ceylon tea and its processing. Over many, many conversations and one surprise encounter with a tea broker, a few discussions collided, I connected the dots and realized that special thing about the environment right there where I had enjoyed processing tea with my own hands is exactly the thing that sets Lumbini’s plantation and tea apart from others. So, for anyone who has struggled to understand terroir or why a Chinese green tea tastes vastly different from a Japanese green tea or how a tea from Darjeeling can taste so different from a black tea grown or processed in any other region of India, or any other part of the world for that matter, remember these simple things. The terroir or local environment of the region; climate, soil, weather, country of origin and traditions of that country along with the quality of the tea plant, and the way the tea leaves are processed each contribute to and affect a final tea product. Yes, these factors influence the taste and aroma of your favourite cup of tea. When, where and how a tea is made all play a part and thankfully, there are thousands to explore.

Gail Gastelu is owner/publisher of The Tea House Times, producer of Tea Course and Tea Course Fast Track, co-owner of Tea Etiquette Certified and Culinary Tea Course and a frequent presenter at tea and/or coffee shows nationwide. The publication, news, education, hosted blogs, special features, and resources may be found by visiting TheTeaHouseTimes. com website. Gastelu serves on the Tea Association of the USA’s Specialty Tea Institute Advisory Board and over the years has been an officer or advisory board member to several associations, trade shows, and organizations.

Views expressed in Straight from the Cup (SFTC) are not necessarily those of Tea & Coffee Trade Journal or Bell Publishing Ltd. If interested in authoring an SFTC column, please contact Vanessa L Facenda for full details or questions concerning submissions: vanessa@bellpublishing.com. Articles must discuss or analyse a relevant issue, trend or event within the coffee or tea industry, not promote a company or its products.

50 TEA & COFFEE TRADE JOURNAL | www. teaandcoffee.net

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