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Judy Ganes President, J Ganes Consulting, LLC

How High is High? Judy Ganes' latest comprehensive report–

“Understanding ENSO and the Real Effect on Tropical Commodities” - is available for purchase. Visit for more information


The coffee market had accelerated to the upside and punched through $3.00 per pound for the first time since May 1997 but has since backed off the recent highs. As much as the fundamentals hold promise to become even tighter in 2011-12, the off year for the Brazilian crop, at some point it becomes time to recognize that all the bullish fundamentals are already reflected in the price and look beyond to what will happen next. Bull markets generally die fast and usually sooner than many care to recognize. One need only look at the other soft commodities (sugar, cotton, and cocoa) to see how quickly markets can turn and go from raging bull to bearish in a flash. There are some seasonal factors that suggest the bull’s life expectancy is running short as well as some other telltale signals. The trouble is that that the Brazilian winter is just ahead, where there is always a risk that the world’s largest supplier may have a cold front push north from Argentina and cause frost damage to the more southerly coffee regions of Brazil. The last severe frost was in 1994. The earliest recorded frost was on May 30th, back in 1979. The likelihood of a frost is rather slim. Much of the traditional cold pockets in Parana State no longer even grow coffee. Immediately following the Brazilian winter is when the market will watch for timely rains that will promote the blossoming of the 2012-13 crop. While the upcoming harvest is the off year and will not be sufficient to meet domestic needs as well as international demand for Brazilian coffee, the following crop could be a “monster” and the market will be faced with the potential threat of turning from one of shortage to surplus. This could take some of the steam out of the bull market. As the market has risen it has become more difficult for producers to actually sell their coffee because the trade is reluctant to take on new commitments with the possibility of explosive action and the burden this would place on their finances to meet margin calls on the short hedged position. Roasters are reluctant to add coverage at these higher levels and that is making trading conditions thinner and potentially more volatile. In most bull markets, a signal that the end is near, is when the open interest or the number of outstanding positions starts to drop but prices rise on short covering, usually panic type buying. Most explosive bull markets have very little to do with speculators running amuck and creating the wild trading behavior that drives prices sharply higher. There are other signals to watch as well for signs the bull move may be ending. Certified stocks had been fiercely dropping when supplies were tight and roasters were forced to turn to the coffee that has been graded for delivery against the New York “C” contract, but of late, there has been a steady influx of coffee being graded and certified. It shows that for right now, the spot market demand is being satisfied and the Board is perhaps becoming an attractive buyer of coffee once again, because it is becoming difficult to place the coffee elsewhere. The tightness could easily reassert itself though if the Brazilian harvest is disappointing or Colombia continues to have weather related difficulties. USA Coffee Stocks Starting to Creep Up Again


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Ballenger, who distributes all the major brands, says that choosing the right equipment is critical... but only after you have scouted the site for water and electricity. In most instances one or both are lacking, he says.

The Lance Armstrong cancer prevention ride is more than an hour away. Beall prides himself in the superior coffee he donates to fuel the volunteers so vital to the event.

“Power is one of the biggest considerations,” he says, “Serving that large a crowd comes down to heating lots of water very quickly.” Lining up 10 half-gallon coffee makers in a church hall is sure to blow a fuse. A 100-cup percolator takes an hour to warm up and brew.

Hotels and local convention centers generally invest in their own equipment but retailers should consider pursuing concessions during college or high school football half-time rush or the lines forming for the seventh inning stretch on a fine October afternoon at the four diamond adult league ballpark.

“Some of the bigger equipment takes 440 volts. The 220-volt units are common,” he says. High-volume brewers that produce 4- to up to 45-gallons an hour are typical (the BUNN Titan series makes 22 gallons an hour, enough to make 352 8-oz. cups). Prices range from $2,000 to $12,000.

Cowboy Days hosted by the City of Austin draws a crowd large enough to consume 4,000 cups in two and a half hours. “They have eight real cowboy chuck wagon cooks making cowboy coffee in big enamel kettles,” says Beall, but that is not nearly enough. “We have 250 gallons ready to go by 5 a.m. in 5-gallon thermos, and even then we have to re-brew.”

A stainless steel three gallon electric coffee urn with a 10-gallon reservoir that can brew half batches costs under $2,500 new and 1.5 gallon portable servers are $175 each. “Another thing – remember to limit the cup size to 8 oz.,” says Beall. Using a 12-oz. cup greatly increases your cost and the coffee gets cold while people are talking, leading to unnecessary waste. They can always come back for a second cup, he says. Beall’s crew can make 250 gallons at a time, occasionally returning to re-brew and refill each 5-gallon thermos with hot coffee.


Labor is a big consideration. Pre-heating water using boilers late in the evening means you can arrive at 2 a.m. and immediately begin brewing. Quality thermals keep coffee hot for four hours. May 2011

May 2011  

May Top Stories: * Water Matters * Slammed! Big Brewing * Judy Ganes-Chase * Metropolis Coffee - Chicago * Rocky Rhodes INFORMATION IS POWER...

May 2011  

May Top Stories: * Water Matters * Slammed! Big Brewing * Judy Ganes-Chase * Metropolis Coffee - Chicago * Rocky Rhodes INFORMATION IS POWER...