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WET MILLING WITHOUT WATER?

June 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Carlos Brando – P&A Marketing International

For well over a century, the wet milling of coffee was a water intensive process, as the name indicates, and there was little concern for water consumption and contamination. In the conventional technology then prevailing and still used in many areas today, water is used in flotation, to separate over-ripe and dry cherries from the ripe ones, in pulping, to remove the pulp, in mucilage removal, carried out by natural fermentation or friction in machines, and in the transport of coffee and by-products (e. g.: pulp).

The growing concern for the environment in the last quarter of the twentieth century led to the questioning of the use and contamination of so much water – often 10 m³ per ton of green coffee – in the wet processing of coffee. The technological reactions to environmental concerns came in different ways.

Water Recycling – The first and more obvious reaction was to recycle waste water after some sort of “treatment”, primarily settling and/or filtering to remove solid matter that could otherwise clog the system.

Dry Transport – Another obvious reaction was to move away from transporting coffee with the help of water. The solution was to use gravity wherever possible (e.g.: dry reception hoppers) and, most importantly, to avoid the transport of coffee with water in channels and pipes using instead mechanized options, like conveyors and elevators.

Semi-dry and Dry Pulping – Next came the drastic reduction and even the elimination of water in pulping; since the pulp is rich in water, it was found that the friction or tearing process that removes the pulp from around the coffee bean could take place with the addition of little or no water. The low-water-consumption and dry pulpers used today are not very different from the conventional “wet” ones. The technical changes, started in the late 1980s, are mostly related to facilitating the flow of coffee and pulp in the absence of “lubricating” water. Several technologies and types of such new pulpers are now available in the market.

Mechanical Removal of Mucilage – The last frontier of water reduction and/or elimination remains in the removal of the mucilage that sticks to the parchment skin that involves the coffee bean. The original technique of breaking down the mucilage layer by means of natural fermentation in tanks with or without water followed by washing was progressively combined with and even replaced by the removal of mucilage by friction in several types of machines that were also water intensive in the past but are quite water efficient now. Although mucilage removers have been around for over a century, it was only in the last 2 or 3 decades that low water consumption models became available, with emphasis not only on water savings but also on full removal of mucilage and minimum damage to coffee.

Although there is little debate today about the impacts on coffee quality of water recycling and the reduction of its use in transport, floating and pulping, even though bean damage may increase with dry pulping, the debate is still far from settled in what regards water conservation in mucilage removal. This is the step that by far still consumes and contaminates the most water.

There are expert cuppers who insist that fermentation is the only way to enhance specific cup features, e. g.: acidity, especially in high-grown coffee. They argue that mechanical mucilage removal is yet to produce the same results in these cases although the cup differences may subsidize and even disappear as altitude drops. However, on the other side of the argument, there are studies that show that given the difficulties to control the natural process of fermentation, mechanical removal may, on the average, produce better quality coffee. Yet other studies show that natural fermentation for a few hours followed by mechanical removal, which causes water consumption to fall substantially, may yield the same cup quality in most altitudes. It may become unavoidable that mainstream, high quality and even specialty washed coffee processing will progressively resort on full or partial mechanical removal of mucilage. Natural fermentation is likely to remain the option for less and less coffee whose price will have to eventually reflect the cost of treating the waste water generated by its process.

NEW DYNAMICS IN COFFEE CONSUMPTION AND IMPACTS ON SUPPLY

April 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Maria Fernanda Brando and Carlos H. J. Brando

The International Coffee Organization (ICO) has recently held a seminar on trends in new coffee consuming markets. The event identified relevant issues that will definitely shape the future of coffee consumption and possibly affect supply.

Please find below many surprising and interesting facts about fast expanding markets such as Korea, Russia, Vietnam, China and Colombia shared by professionals* directly involved with the coffee business, and Brazil, added by us, which provide a background for important discussions about the types and qualities of coffees to be demanded in the near future.

Korea
- The Korean coffee market, a US$ 3.7 billion business, is driven by three main trends: instant coffee (39% share), coffee shops (37%) and ready-to-drink coffee preparations (24%).
- Roasted coffee which used to represent only 5% of the total consumption in 2007 already represents 15%.
- Coffee culture is rapidly expanding among youngsters; there are already 16,000 coffee shops in the country, the vast majority owned by local brands and not part of chains or franchises.

Russia
- Coffee consumption in Russia grew 11% in the last 8 years.
- Consumption totals 3.6 million bags; per capita consumption is estimated to be 800 grams per year, with a lot of growth potential.
- Soluble coffee corresponds to 70% of the market, with massive preference for freeze dried products and “3 in 1” coffee mixes.
- Roast & ground coffee is still perceived as a gourmet product, and expensive for the majority of the Russian population.

China
- Consumption grows fast driven by soluble coffee and coffee shops.
- Soluble coffee responds for almost all coffee consumption at home.
- In 2000 there were roughly 2,000 coffee outlets in China; today there are approximately 15,000 shops, between domestic and international chains.

Vietnam
- Economic development, an expanding middle class and a young population contribute to coffee consumption growth, specially of “3 in 1” instant coffee mixes.
- Although established local coffee chains like Trung Nguyen have strong presence, international chains opened many stores in Vietnam in recent years, including Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Gloria Jean’s and Starbucks (the latter opened its very first outlet in Ho Chi Minh City in February).

Colombia
- Domestic coffee consumption, which declined since 2000, resumed growth since 2010 greatly due to the efforts of Toma Café, a promotional program being implemented by a coalition of companies (based on strategic guidelines designed with the assistance of P&A).
- Consumption is consistently growing 1% per year.
- Although R&G is the choice for the majority of Colombians, soluble coffee continues to gain share.

Brazil
- Today the world’s second largest consuming country (over 20 million bags) and not a new market but consumption expands at emerging market rates of 3% per year.
- The market is vastly dominated by R&G and there is rapid growth of out-of-home consumption.
- Espresso is the fastest growing beverage due to its ubiquitous presence in neighborhood bakeries, coffee shops and offices.
- Single dose machines are aggressively entering the market and being adopted by the middle and upper classes.

The trends above – greater consumption of Robustas in soluble than Arabicas in coffee shops – show that there are fertile grounds for the expansion of the Robusta supply in the near future. However, a word of caution, these emerging markets still respond for a relatively small portion of global coffee demand and soluble coffee accounts for less than one sixth of world consumption. Nevertheless the tendency to consume more Robusta is compounded by its increasing participation in R&G blends in order to not increase coffee prices, especially in countries still affected by the economic crisis like the traditional markets of the US, EU and Japan. The growth of Brazilian consumption, today equally divided between Arabica and Robusta, also contributes to push the demand for Robusta coffee up.

A bright prospect for Robustas does not necessarily mean a bleak prospect for Arabicas. World consumption is expected to continue to grow at a solid rate of 2% per year or more and although Robusta demand may grow faster, the smaller growth of Arabicas will be on a larger base. Since Robustas replace primarily lower quality Arabicas, the supply scenario is set for now and the immediate future: a permanent search for quality in Arabicas and Robustas, in the former to guarantee its space and to conquer new consumers and in the latter to ensure that substitution can continue even after soluble consumers eventually migrate to R&G.

* ICO Seminar speakers: Ross Colbert, Rabobank Intl / Lee Yunson, Terarosa Coffee / Ramaz Chanturiya, “Rusteacoffee” Association / Marcela Jaramillo, FNC

Swedish coffee beats Starbucks in US test

April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Published: 30 Mar 13 17:19 CET | Print version

US coffee drinkers prefer to drink Swedish brand Gevalia House Blend ahead of Seattle chain Starbucks‘ equivalent, according to a recent survey featured in a new advertising campaign.

Gevalia is marketed by Kraft Foods in the US and the firm forwards the claim in its new advertising campaign that a blind third party test showed that almost 60 percent of coffee drinkers prefer their brew over Starbucks House Blend.

Kraft Foods further claim that the survey indicated that only 34 percent favoured the latter, according to the brandchannel.com website.

The claims are made in a television advert featuring a Swede named Johan, played by an American actor with a curiously Germanic/Dutch accent.

The advert features a lanky-haired Johan on one knee in the aisle of a supermarket, casually informing a customer that Gevalia is the preferred choice of coffee drinkers.

Having tasted a steaming cup of Gevalia House Blend, the customer is persuaded to discard the Starbucks House Blend that she was set to buy.

“That makes me very happy,” Johan responds.

Kraft Foods was once a staunch ally of Starbucks in the US, helping the firm to build a $500 million per annum retail business.

The advert, released last Monday, is the first time the firms’ advertising goes head to head in what US media are calling the coffee wars.

Starbucks has hitherto declined to comment on the campaign or the taste survey.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson
Follow Peter on Twitter here.
 

India’s coffee exports decline 10.3% in FY13

April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Bogged down by global slowdown, Indian coffee exports declined 10.3 per cent in FY13. Coffee bean exports from India, the sixth largest exporter in the world, fell to 308,916 tonnes in the just-concluded financial year from 344,356 tonnes in FY12. The main reason is the subdued demand from the European Union and the US.

In value terms, exporters earned Rs 4,715 crore, which is 2.5 per cent lower than the previous year. In 2011-12, exports were valued at Rs 4,837 crore. However, the unit value realisation went up 8.6 per cent to Rs 1,52,623 per tonne during FY13.

“The decline in exports is mainly due to weak demand, particularly from south European nations like Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal as buyers in these countries were looking for cheaper coffees. Though we had expected a decline in exports in the range of five per cent this year, the final figure for the year is much higher,” Ramesh Rajah, president of the Coffee Exporters’ Association of India, told Business Standard.

A sharp drop in the prices of arabica during FY12 also added to the decline in exports as a large number of farmers have withdrawn their sales, he said. Arabica prices have declined as much as 25-26 per cent.

ICE arabica coffee futures prices fell last week as a stronger US dollar discouraged foreign investors from buying amid anticipation of a glut in supply from top producer Brazil. ICE arabica coffee futures for May delivery was settled down 100 points at $1.3660 a pound, according to data available on the Coffee Board website.

India exports coffee mostly to Italy, Germany, Russia, Belgium and Spain. The robusta variety of coffee is mainly used in preparation of instant drinks and espressos worldwide.

According to Rajah, arabica prices are currently ruling at much lower than the cost of production for growers. The rise in the prices of inputs such as fertilisers, diesel and labour costs have gone up adding to the rise in cost of production.

“The exports during FY13 would have been much lower, but for the pick up in demand during February and March. The robusta variety saw higher shipments during the last two months of the fiscal, while arabica has seen a declining trend as Brazil and Indonesia have pumped up volumes,” Rajah added.

During January-March 2013, coffee bean exports have gone up 4.3 per cent to 100,088 tonnes, from 95,951 tonnes in the same period last year.

The outlook for India’s exports during FY14 is also not very promising. “We expect exports to hover around the 300,000-tonne mark with plus or minus 10,000 tonnes. We will be happy if we can export higher than last fiscal. We will have to see if there is any assistance coming on our way from the new Exim Policy,” said Rajah.

New Retailer Looks to Bring Haiti’s Coffee to the US Market

April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

March 31, 2013 | 5:53 pm |

New Retailer Looks to Bring Haiti’s Coffee to the US Market

Above: a coffee farm in Haiti

By the Caribbean Journal staff

It’s not easy to find Haitian coffee on the shelves of stores in the United States — but Fabien Dodard is trying to change that.

Through his new company, Kafe Pa Nou, Dodard is looking to tap into a million-strong market of Diaspora Haitians in the US — and help introduce one of Haiti’s proudest products to the larger American market.

“There are more than a million Haitians living in the United States today, and many of them are consuming coffee that is not their native coffee,” said Dodard, CEO and Co-Founder of Kafe Pa Nou, in a release. “Haitians have an appreciation for high-quality coffee and we want to bring that quality of coffee to people everywhere, no matter their location. Kafe Pa Nou allows people to do this, without having to buy a plane ticket to Haiti.”

The company, an online retailer and wholesale distributor, will ship its first orders by April 12.

The ultimate goal is to increase demand for Haitian coffee and, subsequently, increase local production in Haiti to meet that demand.

Right now, the Kafe Pa Nou is shipping Haiti’s Rebo and Cafe Selecto.

“By drinking this coffee, people are contributing to a stronger Haitian economy, one cup at a time,” said Dodard, who founded the company with Jean-René Faustin and Jean-Sebastien Dodard.

Pa Nou is the latest of a wave of companies and organizations working to bring Haitian coffee to a wider global market.

Last year, Whole Foods Market began distributing Haitian coffee at its stores in Florida.

And Saint Thomas University’s Centre for Peace and Justice has, for several years, been helping to import coffee from Haiti’s Cafeiere et Cacouyere du Nord’Ouest Coffee Cooperative.

Source: http://www.caribjournal.com/2013/03/31/new-retailer-looks-to-bring-haitis-coffee-to-the-us-market/

Asia’s Taste for Robusta Coffee Transforms Market

March 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

Sarah McFarlane & Lewa Pardomuan | March 04, 2013

Workers roast robusta coffee beans at the Aroma Coffee Factory, in Banceuy, Bandung, West Java, in this file photo. (JG Photo/Rezza Estily)
Workers roast robusta coffee beans at the Aroma Coffee Factory, in Banceuy, Bandung, West Java, in this file photo. (JG Photo/Rezza Estily)

 

London/Singapore. Asia’s thirst for coffee is changing the shape of the market as demand for cheaper robusta beans dramatically outpaces that of arabica, tightening the price difference between the two varieties.

Arabica coffee beans, which dominate gourmet blends, have long traded at substantial premiums to the hardier, more caffeine-rich robusta varieties, which are widely used in soluble or instant coffee.

But surging coffee demand from Asia, the region where most of the world’s robusta is grown, is narrowing this premium. Most arabica coffee is grown in South America.

“In traditional markets consumption is flat, but in emerging markets and exporting countries it’s growing fast,” said Roberio Silva, executive director of the International Coffee Organization (ICO).

“These trends suggest that future demand will generally be stronger for robusta coffee as emerging markets and exporting countries tend to prefer soluble coffee.”

Top robusta producer Vietnam is also one of the world leaders in growth of coffee consumption, which was up 22 percent in 2011 to 1.58 million bags, ICO data showed.

Other Asian countries that also showed strong rates of growth in 2011 included the Philippines, up 9 percent at 2.15 million bags; South Korea up 8 percent to 1.8 million bags; and India up 6 percent to 1.83 million bags.

Traders say robusta demand received an additional boost in 2011/12, when a historically high premium on arabicas drove roasters to switch to using more robustas in their blends.

“Robusta demand growth was already higher than arabica, because a lot of it is coming from places like South East Asia and other developing countries that are mostly robusta consumers, but over the last 18 months this was accelerated, with some extra demand coming into robusta from arabica as a result of the wide price difference between the two markets,” a trader at an international roaster said.

While the trend for roasters to switch into robusta has run its course, the trader said demand growth for robusta would continue to outstrip that for arabica due to rising coffee consumption in Southeast Asia, where he estimated rates of growth were in high single figures.

“Coffee consumption growth is related to economic growth, and as long as the economies of these countries continue to grow, then we don’t necessarily see a slowdown in this demand,” the trader said.

“It’s basically soluble products — either single-serve sticks of instant coffee or sachets with combinations of coffee and milk, or coffee, milk and sugar, which are mostly robusta-based.”

Acquiring a taste

Asian consumption trends have already had a dramatic impact on other commodity markets. In the cocoa market, the most valuable bean product has switched from butter to powder in recent years due to Asian demand for powder-based products.

Dealers estimated that coffee demand would grow by around 1 percent in mature markets including Europe and North America in 2012/13, versus 5 to 10 percent in Asia.

“The demand for robusta at the moment remains strong because of higher consumption in several countries in Asia such as China, South Korea, Indonesia and India and some countries in the Middle East,” said Moelyono Soesilo, purchasing and marketing manager at Taman Delta Indonesia, a Java-based exporting firm.

People like their “kopi tubruk” and Kopiko, a dealer in Singapore said, referring to the Indonesian style of drinking coffee and popular coffee-flavored sweets.

Kopi tubruk literally means “collision coffee.” To make a cup, you add a few teaspoons of ground coffee and sugar, then pour in boiling water. You wait for the grounds to settle at the bottom of the cup before you drink it.

“It’s all robusta-based products,” said the dealer.

Coffee roasters, typically secretive about their blends, stepped up substitution of robustas for arabicas after ICE benchmark arabica coffee futures rose to a 34-year high in May 2011 and the arabica premium over robusta to around $1.90 a lb.

The premium has since narrowed to around 40 cents, its lowest level in four years. While dealers said it could tighten further yet, there may come a point at which some roaster demand switches back into arabicas.

“You tighten more from here and you should start to see switchback,” James Hearn, joint head of agriculture at Marex Spectron said.

The degree of switchback may be limited by Asian tastes, however.

“Asia is still a robusta consumption area. No matter how cheap arabica is, Asians still like robustas,” a Singapore-based dealer said.

— Additional reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York

Reuters