Weekly Coffee News
February 10, 2016
Long recovery ahead for West Coast ports in aftermath of settlement
An update from the CBFANC Ocean Committee regarding Ports America Outer Harbor Terminal.
The January 19, 2016 announcement from Ports America terminal terminating operations in 30 days at Port Oakland gave short notice to Port of Oakland who in turn gave their own press release mid-afternoon. News that Ports America was pulling out 6 years into the 50 years lease surprised many port stakeholders. After all it was the 50 years lease and nice accommodations Ports America received that prompted a lawsuit by SSA Terminals and settled in 2013 for its own “mega-terminal”. Ports America cited their reason for leaving Oakland was due to their “four-corners” gateways and investing instead for their terminals in Seattle-Tacoma and Vancouver, LA/LB, Newark, Baltimore, and Miami.
Port of Oakland are reassuring port stakeholders that 90% of the ocean carriers currently handled at Ports America terminals will transition smoothly to the remaining terminals at the Port. However to date, only one carrier, MSC, has announced transfer of operations to Oakland International Container Terminal/SSA. While Maersk and CMA would likely also decide on SSA, there remains several carriers who have not publicized whether they will operate out of SSA or Trapac. Under negotiations since latter part of 2015, Trapac indicated interest to take over two additional berths (from PAOH area), would likely take on K-Line and maybe one to two other lines. Ben E. Nutter Terminal which was previously managed under Seaside Transportation Service (a joint venture between Ports America and Evergreen) is now managed solely by Evergreen. Since re-opening early January, Everport is still undergoing migration to new system and unlikely to take on any additional carriers.
On February 1, 2016, Outer Harbor Terminal, the entity name for the joint venture between Ports America and Terminal Investment Ltd. filed Chapter 11. The only statement made by Ports America was that “the filing will allow the joint-venture partners to continue offering terminal customers the services they require until Outer Harbor Terminal ceases operations on March 31“. Oakland Port Executive Director Chris Lytle stated his disappointment but assured the Port will do everything for smooth transitions of cargo operations including port funding for extended gates services to handle the increase at the remaining terminals.
Complicating that message though was the long lines January 25th through most of the week resulted possibly from short labor or rumored longshore reactions to the loss of ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) jobs at the port. Also, Ports America disallowing return of empties and with carriers not yet nominating new terminal, per diem is a huge concern and yet another setback for port truckers already stressed from last years’ port disruptions. Beginning of 2016, some truckers were reducing or omitting their congestion fees. Unfortunately, congestion fees will remain or be reinstated. Still, citing recent Port Efficiency Task Force benchmarks including 90 minute dual transaction turn times, Bluetooth measured metrics and enhanced appointment systems, the Port is committed to keeping Oakland as viable West Coast gateway.
Additionally, note the following information for upcoming President’s weekend:
- Everport announced February 3rd that they will be open for Friday February 12th (Lincoln’s Birthday) and Monday February 15th(President’s Day)
- Ports America announced closure on Friday February 12th (Lincoln’s Birthday) and Monday February 15th(President’s Day)
- Please check SSA and Trapac website for their holiday schedule updates.
Empty Container Restrictions
OHT is not receiving the following empties:
SUD- ONLY ACCEPTING REEFERS, all others locked out
ANL- All size types
CMA – ONLY ACCEPTING 20′ REEFERS, ALL OTHER SIZE TYPES LOCKED OUT
COS – All size types
CSC – ALL size types
EGS – All size types
HAP – All size types
HAN – All size types
HMM – All size types
MOL – All size types
PIL – All size types
POL – ALL 20′ Containers
UAS – ALL size types
USL – ONLY ACCEPTING 20′ REEFERS, ALL OTHER SIZE TYPES LOCKED OUT
YML- ALL SIZE TYPES
January 21, 2016
Reinventing the (Flavor) Wheel: Industry Collaborates to Identify Coffee Flavor Attributes
December 18, 2015
Jamaica Coffee Gets IFC Help To Reverse Productivity Decline
Jamaica coffee prices are at an all-time high, yet the industry’s earnings are at an all-time low.
This apparent contradiction led the IFC, the financing arm of the World Bank, to embark on a technical support project worth over US$560,000 ($67 million) to improve the productivity of the globally respected crop.
The project, revealed this week, seeks to work with coffee-processing and/or exporting firms to implement a proposed action plan to “reverse” the declining trend of farm productivity and preserve Jamaica’s reputation for premium coffee, according to the IFC.
“The overall goal of the project is to contribute to establishing the conditions to preserve the Jamaican coffee brand and protect smallholder coffee farmers’ livelihood by maintaining the quality and increasing the quantity of coffee produced,” the IFC said.
The project also aims to facilitate Jamaican coffee-processing firms by providing “high quality” technical support to coffee farmers.
“We have been in discussions at various levels with IFC and they have been accommodating and offering to assist with research,” said Jason Sharp, director of Coffee Traders Limited and chairman of Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA), on Monday.
Although the IFC disclosed the project this week, work actually began in January 2015 and aims to end in December 2016.
Coffee Traders represents one of the largest exporters of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee. It also sells a number of roasted brands and operates CafÈ Blue coffee shops across the island. Sharp indicated that the umbrella grouping of processors, Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association, wants assistance to create a registry of the six-to-seven thousand coffee farmers. It is aimed at collecting technical and productivity data of each farmer, reducing crop theft and facilitating the restart of crop insurance.
In 2013, the World Bank publicly released a study done in 2011 on the feasibility of weather insurance for the coffee sector in Jamaica. That study was reportedly read by the coffee sector regulator, the Coffee Industry Board. Talk of crop insurance, however, is still ongoing.
The industry was previously insured through the defunct Dyoll Insurance as the local broker. That scheme ended with the demise of Dyoll in the mid-2000s. Sharp indicated that insurers now require more sophisticated data from farmers and farming zones in order to compute the output per farm and risk associated with growing zones hit by fires or hurricanes.
“They are working with the JCEA to assist the association in its drive to modernise the industry in farmer registration and access to micro-financing,” Sharp said of the IFC. “We have been working together but nothing is formalised as yet from a JCEA perspective. But I know IFC has been working with various other entities, including assisting with a seedling programme.”
The seedling programme should allow farmers to replant and increase productivity, all things being equal. Experts agree that many of Jamaica’s farms produce yields of 30 to 50 boxes per acre, while 75 to 100 boxes remains the target.
“There is a great need for coffee seedlings, especially since the fires earlier this year,” said one respected farmer, who requested anonymity as he is not directly involved in the seedling programme. “Farmers are getting record prices now, but it’s coming from two years of drought and rust disease, so productivity is low. This IFC programme is a good thing if it can increase productivity.”
Jamaica exported US$33.8 million ($3.03 billion) worth of coffee in 2009 but that dropped to US$13.4 million ($1.5 billion) in 2014 one of the lowest in decades. Over the same period, coffee farmers’ earnings for a box of cherry coffee fluctuated slightly at around $2,500. However, the price rocketed to $5,000 in early 2014 with steady increases to its current level of $11,000 a box.
The shortage of coffee, along with its increased demand in Asia, catapulted the prices. It resulted in disheartened farmers returning to the industry, some of whom went right back to old practices and methods.
Original Article Found HERE
December 01, 2015
ECOM Coffee Partners in the Sustainable Coffee Challenge
Paris/Arlington, Va. USA (December 1, 2015) – Today, at the U.N. climate negotiations, Conservation International (CI) announced the launch of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge — a call to action to make coffee the first sustainable agricultural product in the world. The announcement comes as ministers gather to write a new climate agreement and as momentum builds for businesses to take direct action to combat climate change.
The Sustainable Coffee Challenge aims to transform coffee production, moving specialty and mainstream producers toward sustainability. It will convene industry, conservation and agricultural development partners to develop a common framework for sustainability in the coffee sector. Over the next 100 days, CI will formalize engagement with partners for the Challenge, while developing a plan to drive the industry toward total sustainability. The initial plan of action will be unveiled to coincide with the 4th World Coffee Conference next March in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Currently, nearly half of the world’s coffee is being produced according to a sustainability standard, a figure that does not yet account for a number of recent significant investments made by the sector to support farmers in their transition to more sustainable practices. Yet only 12% was sold as sustainable coffee in the market. The Sustainable Coffee Challenge will work to strengthen demand for sustainably produced coffee and better account for progress made within the sector.
“We need a common definition of sustainability for the coffee sector,” said Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of Conservation International. “This will require commitments by roasters to support increased demand for sustainability. It will also require improved measurement of how far the sector has come in the sustainability journey — and just how far we have to go.”
CI kicks off this challenge with key partners including Starbucks Coffee Company, Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative, 4C Association, Allegro Coffee Company, Ceres, Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA), Counter Culture Coffee, ECOM Agroindustrial Corp. Ltd., Fairtrade America, Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST), Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries (HIVOS), Keurig Green Mountain Inc., Lutheran World Relief, Pelican Rouge Coffee Roasters B.V., S&D Coffee & Tea, Solidaridad and SustainAbility.
“The longevity of the coffee industry is directly linked to the social, economic and environmental conditions of coffee communities around the world and at Starbucks we are committed to sourcing all of our coffee in the most ethical way possible that is good for the planet,” said Craig Russell, executive vice president, Starbucks Global Coffee. “We are proud to be a part of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, a call to action for the industry focused on creating meaningful and lasting solutions to ensure farmer and family livelihoods for generations to come.”
“The Specialty Coffee Association of America has maintained a commitment to the support of sustainable coffee production for more than a decade as a core value of its members,” said Ric Rhinehart, Executive Director of the SCAA. “We are pleased to demonstrate that commitment once again, and to drive for coffee to realize its potential as a fully sustainable crop. This challenge can be met when we dedicate our efforts in transparent and collaborative initiatives like the Sustainable Coffee Challenge.”
“IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative and the Sustainable Coffee Program are excited by this partnership in the coffee sector which builds strongly on the broad public private Vision 2020 collaboration agreed earlier this year by ICO (International Coffee Organisation), 4C Association Platform and IDH (Program Management of the Sustainable Coffee Program SCP),” said Ted van der Put, Member of the Executive Board of IDH. “The Sustainable Coffee Challenge will enable greater coordination of efforts and effective use of resources as more coffee sector stakeholders deepen their commitment to long-term sustainable production. It also has a big potential to accelerate the interest of roasters globally to offtake sustainably produced coffee. ”
The Sustainable Coffee Challenge comes at a time when nearly every major coffee-producing region of the world is feeling the impacts of climate change. Even as consumer demand increases — people drink 600 billion cups of coffee every year, and the coffee industry is a US$ 22 billion business — warming temperatures, drought and changing weather patterns are affecting coffee production.
Yet the industry has a part to play in reversing climate change. Halting deforestation globally, including through fostering sustainable farming practices in coffee production, can provide more than 30% of the carbon sequestration and storage needed to limit global temperature rise to safe levels.
As its plan goes into effect, the Challenge will stimulate economic development across the industry and benefit the lives of 25 million coffee producers, the majority of whom are small-scale farmers. It will also provide environmental benefits, including the conservation of vital forests that help fight climate change by storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and also protect freshwater resources.
November 16, 2015
Ethiopia, ECX Announces New Traceability Platform
Report by AFKinsider
The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) has launched a national traceability system that will make it possible for international buyers to track the footprint of Ethiopian coffee in granular detail.
The new electronic tagging system worth $4.5 million — powered by IBM and Frequenz IRIS technology — encompass over five million smallholder farmers engaged in producing multiple commodities traded at the ECX.
The system is expected to increase exports of high-quality Ethiopian coffee world-wide and enhance market access for specialty coffee from Ethiopia.
“True traceability goes beyond the commodity’s type or origin to tracing where the commodity has been,” CIO East Africa quoted Ermias Eshetu, chief executive ECX, saying.
“We wish to track the footprint of our coffee and where and when it was washed, stored, who sampled and graded it, and when it was shipped. All of these facts will help improve our ability to move commodities traded within the exchange and create premium value for all stakeholders in the value chain.”
The initiative is expected to increase the nation’s coffee exports by allowing buyers to track the commodity’s ‘footprint’ to better ensure its quality and sustainability.
The ECX tagging system will link bags of coffee traded on the platform to one of over 2,500 geo-referenced washing, hulling and cleaning stations located in Ethiopia’s southern, central and western coffee growing regions.
“The traceability system will utilize IBM’s powerful cloud platform, analytics and mobile to provide ECX with continuous real-time data insights that enable the system to learn and predict the quality of Ethiopian coffee based on local growth and processing conditions.” IBM General Manager for East Africa, Nik Nesbitt, said.
“The system will analyze incoming client coffee quality needs and match that with the needs of buyers across the globe.”
Africa, a continent that largely depend on commodities for revenue, only has two commodity exchanges in South Africa and Ethiopia.
According to data from the African Development Bank, there have been plans to create a commodity exchange in at least 28 African countries in the last 25 years, but none of them has moved beyond the concept and studies phase.
Lack of commodity exchanges on the continent has forced many farmers to sell their produce through middlemen at very low prices compared to the true market value. This could be as low as a tenth of the value of the commodity, Mail & Guardian Africa reported.
October 23, 2015
TechMIC Article : Go Cubes
October 12, 2015
Movie Trailer : FILOSOFI KOPI
October 05, 2015
Central America – Record drought, sparse late rains
More than 500,000 families in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have nothing to eat due to a record drought.
On a hot June day, Gerónimo Carrasco makes one of the most difficult decisions of his life. He thought to himself, “the rains won’t come,” so he sold his two cows. “I don’t have water or food to give them. I have to exchange them for food for my family,” said the farmer, who owns a small plot in San Nicolás, Nicaragua.
In Central America the lack of rain is a first-person experience. Like Carrasco, thousands of smallholder farmers have been forced to sell their basic commodities to survive one of the longest droughts in nearly half a century, which has driven 2 million people to the brink of starvation.
Yellow fields, dry leaves and cracked earth. In this desolate landscape, only a miracle could make the beans grow, which is a staple for millions of Central Americans.
More than half a million families are suffering from what experts call “food insecurity,” – in other words, the lack of food – due to agricultural and livestock losses. According to estimates by Central American governments, Oxfam and other international aid agencies, 236,000 families in Guatemala, 120,000 in Honduras, 100,000 in Nicaragua and 96,000 in El Salvador are already facing this situation.
Gerónimo’s story is similar to that of many other families who live in the Dry Corridor, which extends across the four countries. The severe drought resulted from a long period without rain: there were 45 days without precipitation between July and August, the first rainy months of the year.
According to experts, this year’s drought may be associated with El Niño phenomenon. The lack of rain is occurring during the most critical period for corn and bean production, causing significant losses of these crops.
The scenario for the coming months is discouraging. Meteorologists say relief will be delayed since irregular rains are forecast until October.
Guatemala, in the eye of the drought
This devastating situation has had the worst impact on Guatemala, where the drought occurred following two years of poor harvests (2012-2013) and declining employment for day workers resulting from the coffee rust crisis.
The drought has affected 70 percent of the country’s landmass and the poorest 54 percent of the population, a segment that accounts for half of all chronic malnutrition among children under age five, according to SESAN (Guatemala’s Food and Nutritional Security Secretariat).
Diego Arias, WB agricultural economist, says that more than 1 million households in Central America, most located in the Dry Corridor – which extends in over 30 percent of this region – are subsistence farmers. “It is in those households where the drought results in malnutrition and fewer opportunities to escape poverty.”
According to the expert, governments should implement a comprehensive risk management strategy for agriculture. This entails preventive activities such as initiatives for increased access to more resistant seeds, improved agricultural practices and investment in irrigation systems. Additionally, governments must better organize disaster response to provide food and income to the most affected households.
Finally, but no less important, catastrophic risk must be spread out to ensure sufficient resources in years of extreme losses. “Agricultural insurance (a type of insurance against weather phenomena) is needed to protect the most vulnerable in the event of severe droughts,” says Arias. “These mechanisms already exist in countries such as Peru, Mexico and Brazil.”
Alternative for the isthmus
Despite the state of emergency, a variety of efforts have been implemented for several years to counteract the impact of climate change on the lives of Central Americans.
In Honduras, the Dry Corridor Alliance, a government proposal that brings together aid agencies, including the World Bank, seeks to train local farmers to diversify their crops and to engage in subsistence activities other than agriculture.
On the otherr hand, Guatemala has launched projects to help more than 1,000 families in the Dry Corridor improve their agricultural productivity through the use of agroforestry and rainwater irrigation systems. This initiative also provides support in the lower-cost production of environmentally-friendly basic grains.
Finally, El Salvador has implemented a project to assist more than 2,000 smallholder farmers in the eastern part of the country to adapt their practices in an effort to mitigate the effects of the drought and food insecurity caused by the volatility of food prices and agricultural inputs (tools, seeds, fertilizers) and energy (fuel and electricity).
September 23, 2015
Groundbreaking Research in the Science of Flavor
by Caitlin McCarthy-Garcia
The coffee industry was built on exploration and discovery. Continuous innovations in coffee lead to advancements in growing, roasting, evaluating and brewing tastier coffee. The boundaries of quality are constantly being tested and pushed. New research in the field of sensory science, presented at the Specialty Coffee Association’s Symposium, will redefine how we describe quality.
This past April, one of the most interesting discussions at Symposium centered on the science of flavor. Flavor is the fundamental decider of quality in specialty coffee. In order to improve communication regarding quality, the industry requires a true standardization of terms. The sensory scientists at Kansas State University and Texas A&M University, some of the most recognized in the world, have partnered with World Coffee Research to develop a lexicon of terms that describe these flavors. The lexicon will complement tools we coffee professionals already use to evaluate taste, including the Flavor Wheel and Le Nez du Café.
Researchers have discovered a total of 108 distinct flavor attributes found in coffee. They’re developing a manual that describes flavor attributes and a set of corresponding chemical references, with instructions on how to prepare them.
The lexicon will be an evolving document that is updated regularly with input from the industry. Coffee cuppers will have the opportunity to send in samples that contain an attribute that they think should be added to the list. A group of trained sensory advisers will then review the suggestion to check on its validity in coffee.
On a side note, both salt and apricot descriptors are not included in the lexicon- the sensory advisers felt these attributes are not truly present in coffee.
At the Roasters Guild Retreat in August, the coffee lexicon was put to the test. A sensory scientist from Texas A&M University led a group of 40 attendees through the process of becoming familiar with eight references, followed by scoring five samples of coffee. We tasted references of varying strengths of flavor attributes including bitter, sour, burnt, roasted and balanced. Then we scored five brewed coffees on a 0-15 point scale of intensity. At first attempt with the lexicon, references were effective and calibration was a successful learning experience.
One of the greatest challenges for the industry at large is to describe quality and have it translate across the supply chain. The purpose of the coffee flavor lexicon is to have a sensory diagnostic tool that quantifies coffee descriptors. The hope is that by developing a common set of flavor descriptors, we can more easily recognize and reward quality, from farmer to consumer. Researchers will publish the lexicon online by end of year.
August 21, 2015
Central America – Severe Drought effects Coffee Communities
SAN SALVADOR, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Central American and Caribbean governments on Thursday issued an official alert as severe drought in the region damages the crops of some 1.6 million people.
As part of the step, governments from the farming-dependent region pledged to help afflicted families and coordinate international relief efforts to deal with the drought, the cost of which is still being calculated.
“Agreement has been reached to declare an agricultural alert across all of Central America and the Caribbean, not just to … take preventive steps for what follows, but also raise international awareness and seek cooperation,” Orestes Ortez, El Salvador’s Agriculture Minister, told reporters.
Officials from Central American governments and the Dominican Republic took part in a meeting on the drought in El Salvador.
Last week, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said nearly 1 million people in Guatemala alone are struggling to feed themselves due to drought and poor harvests.
Central American coffee farmers have already been hit hard by a deadly fungus known as roya in the past two seasons.