Coffee and Tea Reports
from the Front Lines
Coffee Growers Holding Back
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
- As coffee prices drop further, the ACPC is considering adopting a retention scheme, although non-member participation is crucial, says Paul Solman, as reported London’s The Financial Times recently.
Coffee producers are set to hold back supplies from the world market. The Association of Coffee Producing Countries is studying a number of options to encourage a price recovery. However, insiders say a retention scheme is the only strategy being seriously considered.
“If a retention scheme is approved by members, it could start as, early as April or May,” Robérto Silva, ACPC secretary-general, said.
Coffee prices have fallen sharply in the past two years with Arabica which accounts for about two-thirds of consumption, reaching a five-year low last year.
While Arabica has recovered slightly in the past few months on the back of a drought in Brazil, prices of Robusta have continued to fall. Robusta production has risen sharply, with both Vietnam and Ivory Coast harvesting record crops, and the market is expected to be over-supplied this year.
London-traded Robusta futures slipped to their lowest for almost eight years in February.
Filter Coffee Cleans Up Drinking Water
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
- A high intake level of strong coffee may reduce the risk of heavy-metal poisoning in cities where drinking water contains high levels of these contaminants, reported New Scientist recently.
An international team of scientists has found that while coffee is filtering, the coffee grounds mop up as much as 90% of the copper and lead dissolved in the water.
Many cities in the developing world have high levels of toxic metals as soluble metal ions in their drinking water. Copper and lead enter the water as it runs through pipes and storage tanks or makes contact with lead solder.
Mike McLaughlin of CSIRO Land and Water in Adelaide wondered if ground coffee might remove heavy metals. Because dissolved heavy metal ions are positively charged, and coffee contains uncharged and negatively charged molecules, the metal ions might be taken out of solution by binding to negatively charged molecules in the coffee grounds.
To test this idea, McLaughlin and his colleagues used water spiked with different levels of copper and lead to brew coffee by the water-drip method. When they measured the concentrations of metal ions in the resulting coffee they found that between 78 - 90% of the copper and lead had been removed. "The deeper the bed of coffee in the drip-maker, the more effective the removal of heavy metals," says McLaughlin.
He adds that the process probably also removes other heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and zinc, though this hasn't been tested. "It is also possible teabags and tea leaves may work in the same way," he suggests.
The findings could mean that the risk of lead and copper poisoning in cities where people drink a lot of coffee is lower than expected.
Tea & Coffee - April 2000
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