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Coffee and Tea Reports from the Front Lines

Exceptional Guatemalan Coffees Named

Guatemala - Christian Rasch, vice president of the Guatemalan National Coffee Association, Anacafé, announced in the closing ceremony of the International Competition “The Exceptional Cup 2004” the names of the 23 coffee lots that will be sold through the Internet on June 15. Topping the list were Huehuetenango in the first, second, fifth and ninth place; Jalapa in the third and seventh position, followed by Chimaltenango, Sacatepéquez (where the famous Antigua region is located) and Alta Verapaz (where Cobán is from). For the first time, a cooperative ranked as high as to be in the top five.

1. Miralvalle, Huehuetenango
2. El Injerto I, Huehuetenango
3. Vizcaya, Jalapa
4. La Merced, Chimaltenango
5. Coop. Hoja Blanca, Huehuetenango
6. Buena Vista y Anexos; Sacatepéquez
7. El Morito, Jalapa
8. La Aurora, Alta Verapaz
9. La Bolsa, Huehuetenango
10. Danilandia y Anexo, Santa Rosa
11. La Esperancita y Anexo, Huehuetenango
12. Vista Hermosa, Huehuetenango
13. El Granadillo, Huehuetenango
14. Puerta Verde, Sacatepéquez
15. Pachujul, Sololá
16. El Desoriente, Guatemala
17. Las Nubes, Suchitepéquez
18. La Burbuja y Anexos, Huehuetenango
19. El Porvenir, Guatemala
20. Granja El Tempisque, Sacatepéquez
21. Linda Vista, Santa Rosa
22. Huitz Matig, Huehuetenango
23. La Tacita, Sacatepéquez

For more information, visit portal.anacafe.org.

Brazil Releases Official Estimate of 2004/05 Crop

Brazil - Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture has announced their second estimate of the 2004/05 coffee crop with an increase of 8% over the first estimate released in December last year.

The estimates were made by CONAB, the National Supply Company after a survey by agronomists during the period March 12th to April 15th and covering all the principal coffee growing regions of the producing States.

The second estimate of the 2004/05 crop predicts a minimum maximum range between 36.10 and 40.46 million bags for an average of 38.28 million bags. This is compared with a minimum maximum range of 34.11 and 37.47 million bags estimated in their December survey.

The official estimate is lower than the estimates of most trade sources, which range on average between 40.0 to 44.0 million bags.

The second estimate for the 2004/05 crop per producing State was released as follows:

Second Estimate (maximum) 2004/05 Crop
(millions of bags of 60 Kilos)
Minas Gerais 19.400 30 19.430
Espírito Santo 2.300 5.000 7.300
São Paulo 5.200 -- 5.200
Paraná 2.550 -- 2.550
Bahia 2.000 490 2.490
Rondônia -- 2.000 2.000
Mato Grosso 60 480 540
Pará -- 300 300
Rio de Janeiro 250 15 265
Others 150 240 390
BRAZIL TOTAL 31.910 8.555 40.465

In comparison, with the first estimate made in December, the survey predicted an increase in Arabica production of 2.770 million bags mainly in the States of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Bahia. Conillon/Robusta production was practically unchanged except for a small increase in the estimate for Espírito Santo.

This second CONAB survey reports little change in the planted area at 2.204.000 hectares and no change in the estimated coffee park at 4.957.500 thousand trees. This latest estimate calculates a yield per hectare at 18.35 bags of 60 kilos up from 17.01 bags according to their December survey.

The CONAB report noted that the production increase was due to the recuperation of Arabica plantings, which received more favorable climatic conditions in the principal growing regions in comparison with Conillon/Robusta areas.

It was also noted that the 2004/05 crop year is an one-year production cycle for Brazil coffee harvests and the trees, especially Arabicas, did not develop their true production potential due to lack of proper treatment. The low coffee prices during 2003 de-capitalized growers and restricted the necessary investments in fertilizers and other crop treatments. -Harry C. Jones

Indian Tea Exports Fall

India - Indian tea exports registered a 14% fall in 2003, reports The Hindu. According to the revised estimates by the Tea Board of India, shipments were 173.1 million kg in 2003 against 201 million kg in 2002. In value terms, these dropped to Rd. 1.550 crores from Rd. 1,753 crores.

Imports dropped to 6.78 million kg from 22 million kg. Prices of imported teas, however, registered a marked increase to Rs. 63/kg. From Rs. 46.

Interestingly, India’s loss led to major gains by Sri Lanka (11.3 million kg.) and China (8.3 million kg.). China, with a large domestic consumption base, proved to be the third largest exporter (237.5 million kg). Sri Lanka topped the list with a total of 298.3 million kg. Followed by Kenya (268 million kg). Overall, the total world tea trade was down by 8.4 million kg.

Exports to Iraq dropped by 31.48 million kg to 12.69 million kg. that too are at a lower price average. Exports to Russia, though declined by 5.54 million kg. To 42.76 million kg., were more or less at last year’s level of Rs. 64 a kg.

Starbucks... Number Two?

United States - After a decade in the New England market, Starbucks’ 203 stores remain a distant second to Dunkin’ Donuts’ 1,644 locations and just ahead of Honey Dew Donuts’ 151 shops, reports the Boston Globe.

Starbucks currently has about 5,600 locations in the U.S. today compared to Dunkin’ Donuts’ 4,200. And Starbucks accounts for nearly one-third of all of the country’s coffeehouses and nearly half of all sales in the rapidly growing $7 billion industry, according to Chicago research firm Mintel. But in New England, the tables are turned. For every Starbucks here, there are eight Dunkin’ stores.

The competitors have recently sought to ape each other’s strengths. Last year, Dunkin’ added a line of Starbucks-like espresso drinks, and Starbucks is building drive-thrus and is experimenting with hot breakfast sandwiches.

Starbucks arrived in Boston a decade ago when it acquired the Coffee Connection, a local chain of about 20 stores. Since then, Starbucks has grown to 30 stores in Boston, 111 stores in Massachusetts, and 203 in New England. Those numbers are small beans in comparison to Dunkin’ Donuts. Founded in Quincy in 1950, Dunkin’ has 94 stores in Boston, 876 in Massachusetts, and 1,644 in New England.

Even Honey Dew Donuts, a smaller regional player founded in Mansfield more than 30 years ago, gives Starbucks a run for its money in New England. Though it only has four stores in Boston, Honey Dew has 106 locations in Massachusetts and 151 in New England. And it aims to add 1,000 stores to the region in coming years.

Oxfam to Launch Fair Trade Coffee Chain

United Kingdom - Oxfam and the UK coffee roaster Matthew Algie have announced plans to launch a chain of fair trade coffee shops, in partnership with coffee grower co-operatives.

Called Progreso, the project aims to showcase the quality of fairly traded coffees and close the gap between coffee growers in the developing world and coffee lovers on the high street. The new chain’s espresso will be a premium quality fair trade blend of coffee beans from three co-operatives in Honduras, Ethiopia and Indonesia, who will have partial ownership of the venture.

“Coffee growers will win three times with Progreso. They’ll be selling their coffee at a fair trade price; they’ll share directly in the profits and will also showcase their coffee to the UK,” said Chris Coe, Oxfam’s trading director and one of the originators of the Progreso concept.

The producer co-operatives will own 25% of the firm’s shares and 25% are being held in trust for projects in the wider grower community. Oxfam will own the remaining 50% of Progreso, which will be a standalone operation.

Progreso hopes to launch three outlets by the end of 2004 and have a chain of 20 within the next three years. Sites in Scotland and the southeast are being investigated and concession partners able to provide suitable locations within existing retail operations, such as large bookstores, are being sought.

Fair trade coffee is the fastest growing sector of the UK coffee market. In 2003, consumers purchased 2083 tons of fair trade coffee from shops and supermarkets - an increase of 42% from 2002. Coffee shops sold 385 tons of fair trade coffee during the same period - an annual increase of 67%.

Oxfam was one of the joint founders of Cafédirect - a UK fair trade hot drinks company - in 1991 and the charity currently sells fair trade coffee and many other ethically-sourced products in its shops in the UK. It is a Fair Trade Foundation member.

Matthew Algie -- the UK’s largest supplier of fair trade coffee to the foodservice industry with an 18% market share -- is also a member of the Fair Trade Foundation. Matthew Algie expects to quadruple its supply of fair trade coffee in the next 12 months.

The fair trade café concept originated from discussions between Oxfam and La Central in Honduras, one of the three co-operatives that will supply the cafes. La Central and the second supplier, Oromia from Ethiopia, are members of Progreso - a group of 11 coffee co-operatives in seven countries working together to develop sales. The other coffee supplier will be KPTO in Indonesia.

“This is a bona fide commercial venture,” said Wyndham James, managing director of Progreso. “We will be launching smart, contemporary outlets that provide consumers with fantastic coffee and help growers through ready-made retail outlets. Progreso will have a strong brand identity and its high quality coffee will be the cornerstone of its offering.”

“Oxfam pioneered fair trade in the 1960s and 1970s and helped to launch Cafédirect. We want Progreso to have the same sort of impact. Oxfam sells fair trade products through its stores and campaigns for changes that help coffee growers overcome poverty. This is another logical move considering such heritage and commitment. We are simply providing a direct outlet for their product and, frankly, their beans are superb,” James added.

Progreso is currently investigating sites between 800 and 1800 square feet. Fair trade food, such as cakes and biscuits, will also be sold.

Uganda to Export Processed Coffee

Uganda - Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has said Uganda would soon start exporting processed coffee to European markets, stated the New Vision. Museveni was addressing a public rally at Sironko district headquarters where he formally opened the new sh200m administration block. He said the government was in the process of establishing factories to roast and grind coffee. “We want our coffee to go to the outside market when it is ready to be placed in the cups and taken,” he said.

Museveni said the country had lost millions due to exporting unprocessed coffee. Developed consuming countries got more money and jobs from processing the coffee, he said, and the government is opposed to this “donation” to the rest of the world.

36 Coffee Unions Set to Merge in Kenya

Kenya - Farmers from at least 36 splinter coffee cooperative societies in Central Province in Kenya have agreed to merge and form economically viable units, states the East African Standard.

Central Provincial Cooperative officer Joseph Karaku said another 30 primary units that broke up from their mother unions have also began the merger process.

Karaku said the 19 primary units that broke up from the 18,000-member giant Tetu Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union have merged to form two unions. He said the two unions that have already been registered are Mutheke, which brings together 10 primary unions and Agutho with nine.

Karaky said the merging of the units into two will greatly improve efficiency and cut operation cost which will lead to improved earnings for the farmer. In Mukurweini Karaku said the 13 societies that broke up from their mother union have merged into four units which have already registered.

Tea & Coffee - June/July, 2004


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