Can Blockchain improve Jamaica coffee, after all Starbucks wants to use it.

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Fake luxury coffee hurts everyone in the supply chain. So knowing whether your beans are actually from a farm in the hills of Jamaica Blue Mountains is meaningful. Nowadays avoiding fakes requires buying brands you trust. And overtime one gets familiar with the origin taste profiles.  But that’s knowledge built from experience. What about someone buying Jamaica coffee for the first time and concerned about getting ripped off with fake JBM costing upwards of US$50 per pound.

One solution is to buy through curated platforms like Etsy or brokers like us which micro tests batches monthly to ensure customers get quality.

Soon there will be another way.

Last year Starbucks announced plans to use Blockchain with the aim of allowing consumers to in real time trace the origin of the bean. Ultimately as a method of  improving pricing throughout the supply chain. This method however more work but the outcome will definitely be replicated throughout the luxury coffee market.

Blockchain creates an immutable ledger of all transactions sort of like an email thread. You can quickly go back to the origin of a concept by searching the tread.  Blockchain is increasingly being implemented in many back-office processes at industries from traditional banking and insurance, extending its application to even food production and pharmaceutical industries. Walmart in 2018, along with the support of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), reportedly adopted a programme that uses blockchain to digitize the food supply chain process with its pork suppliers. Consequently it takes roughly 2 seconds to trace the origin of food which aims to reduce chance of infected food entering the supply chain to customers.

In December 2019, the global blockchain technologies market was valued at about $2.01 billion in 2018, and is expected to grow to $9.97 billion at a rapid annual growth rate of more than 49% through 2022. Companies across various industries are increasingly investing in block chain technology due to its high efficiency in data management.

Blockchain technology is growing strongly in major sectors such as healthcare, banking and finance, digital assets, and also in several government departments. Thus, companies such as VISA, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon are investing in the technology to integrate blockchain with their daily operations at an early stage.

 

The difference between Jablum, Island Blue and Wallenford

 

 

These three brands sell Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) coffee but over the years their stories were somewhat intertwined.

Things to know historically.

Jablum is the most known brand globally of JBM.

Wallenford is the oldest brand and was formerly the regulator of all JBM until Government split its regulatory from marketing functions in about the late 90s.

Island Blue is the newest but owns the largest non-blue mountain coffee lands.

Things to know about current ownership:

Wallenford was acquired by Canadian billionaire Michael Lee-Chin in 2013 and then in 2016 he also acquired Jablum.

IslandBlue was formerly called ‘Wallenford Blue’ but ceased paying royalties for the use of the name when Wallenford was acquired by Lee-Chin. Island Blue is owned by Jamaica Standard Products (JSP) which buys Jamaica Blue Mountain beans and brands it as Island Blue. JSP also separately operates the largest Jamaica High Mountain factory in the island. High Mountain coffee is farmed outside the Jamaica Blue Mountain region. Its High Mountain products are not branded as Island Blue.

Things to know about taste profile.

Wallenford and Jablum are both large JBM producers and now owned by a common company. Both brands share space and facilities now. It is not immediately clear whether all buying and roasting operations are amalgamated.  A general tip however is that Wallenford offers a chocolatey nutty and lemon almost wine taste profile while Jablum is light cocoa and at times hazelnut to vanilla.

Island Blue is more chocolatey with spice tones.

What does Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee taste like

Tones of chocolate, nut and spice without bitterness. That’s the classic taste profile of Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM).  In other words three distinct layers of tastes. The profile can vacillate slightly with more curated brands offering a transition between chocolate, spice and fruit. 

The complexity and smoothness gained a reputation since the 1960s as a coffee that stood world’s apart from your typical cup. Context is important. The 60s was an era before Starbucks, when instant coffee was largely prevalent. Additionally, the average coffee drinker opened a can of dark roasted ground beans. The industry at the time was set on delivering the cheapest cup. That often meant dark very bitter brew. Besides if people had an issue they just added sugar and milk.

Within this era of mass bitter coffee was a beverage from Jamaica that could be consumed black! A brew that allowed the subtle layers of tones to cover the palette of its drinker. No doubt this resulted in it being a delicacy which fetched a premium price.

Then came Starbuck cafes. Its entry largely killed the canned bitter coffee market and resulted in shifting the value chain from cheap to tasty beans. It resulted in the world adopting farming, harvesting, producing and brewing practices that were standard in places like Jamaica and other high end quality coffee nations. The result commodity beans are more flavourful.

Nowadays it is commonplace to source beans from around the world with satisfying taste profiles. But most cannot get the Jamaica Blue Mountain balance of chocolate, spice and fruit. Usually commodity coffees are nutty. Or spicy. Or fruity. It is very rare that they get contrasting tones in one like a quality JBM.

So what does Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee taste like: It tastes like quality.

 

Instant coffee with light roast and layered tones

Los Angeles based Waka Coffee spotted a trend that youngsters just want coffee as fast as their wi-fi. Most coffee companies are either focusing on sourcing bean that cater to the luxury or the thrift. Few new brands aim to satisfy the instant market, after all didn’t Starbucks educate the world on Italian style brewed coffee.

Waka however is a leading newcomers in the instant coffee category. This month, they are announcing the addition of Indian instant coffee to its offerings. The new Indian instant coffee comes in a single-serve and a 3.5 oz bag.

“The new product is a light roast, low acidity coffee, with a pleasant, dry finish and notes of chocolate and hazelnut,”  said Waka.

Unlike traditional instant coffee brands, Waka’s instant coffees are made from 100% Arabica beans, which are commonly used in coffee shops, to provide the best taste, at least they say.

David Kovalevski, the Founder & CEO of Waka Coffee, came up with the idea for the instant coffee company while living in New York City, juggling a hectic schedule as a full-time undergraduate student with a full-time job. David relied on coffee to fuel his daily routine. However, he quickly discovered that frequenting coffee shops and making coffee in a cramped NYC kitchen was complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. “I grew up in Israel, where instant coffee is much more common, and hoped to find a good instant coffee brand that would accommodate my needs. I wanted a simpler, easy-to-make coffee solution that was delicious no matter where I made it,” says David.

Founded in 2018, Waka Coffee is a direct to consumer coffee brand on a mission to bring the instant back.

Jamaica to benefit from Coffee futures

Coffee prices referenced on the commodities market are trading near two year highs.

Prices are up 50 per cent since lows of 2019 on news of an expected drop in production going forward, while at the same time met with increased demand from developed nations for coffee.

“World exports are expected down 4.7 million bags to 115.4 million primarily due to lower shipments from Brazil and Honduras,” stated the Coffee: World Markets and Tradereport published this month by the US Department of Agriculture. “With global consumption forecast at a record 166.4 million bags, ending inventories are expected to slip 400,000 bags to 35.0 million.

The report stated that coffee production for 2019/20 is forecast 5.3 million bags (60 kilogrammes) lower than the previous year to 169.3 million, primarily due to Brazil’s Arabica trees entering the off-year of the biennial production cycle.

Arabica coffee futures are now at US$1.31 from just shy of the US$1.38 52 week high but far from the low of US$0.86. It follows on a series of measures which affected demand and supply.

It matters, as the commodity futures give a guide to the directional flow of pricing of most coffees, even those that do not trade on the exchange like luxury Jamaica Blue Mountain. The entire crop of JBM can fit into less than a day’s production in Colombia, so the island’s crop does not affect demand or supply. Buyers in Japan however which accounts for some 70 per cent of total sales of JBM beans will be less likely to pay a premium for JBM if coffee demand overall is down.

“The Japanese are buying again but the prices are not that great,” said a Spokesman for a large farming brand in the Jamaica Blue Mountains.

The data for this year’s total exports of Jamaica Blue Mountain are not yet disclosed.

China continues to grow its consumption with the growth of Luckin Coffee formed in 2017 and listed this year. It continues to add several stores a day now at some 4,280 up over 200 per cent year on year, at the time of this report. It is now the largest chain in China surpassing Starbucks which operates some 4,100 sores in China.

 

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When is Jamaica Coffee Festival 2020

Ok, So the festival is March 7, 2020. Important to note is that it is free on entry in the Blue Mountains. Any price one sees for the festival on flyers relates to bus transportation but entrance is free ( at least it was in 2019). That means if you drive or walk to the festival there’s no cover.

The festival organisers 8 hours ago (December 10) started calling on exhibitors to apply. They mean business. Maybe they want to match the Rum Festival also held under the Tourism Linkages unit to boost gastronomy. The Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee festival was cool but the rum festival was on fire: Entertaining with comedian bartenders, informative with sugar displays and you got drunk.

The coffee festival can be described in one word. Coffee. And that’s really all you got with various brands setting up stalls. The year was encouraging but next year will/should build on missed opportunities. The biggest missed opp was that festival goers wanted more local innovation from the coffee companies.

They wanted coffee but not just coffee. Everyone served the dark beverage (and it all tasted like your grandfathers brew). They didn’t want fancy Italian name drinks either, they wanted a wow factor. And it was absent.

Don’t get me wrong, the stalls were pretty and the music was fat and the event was well done. But no dealer or coffeefile had a wow factor.

What should the wow factor be this year. That’s really for the suppliers to say. Were I to exhibit I would just set up a cupping stall doing basic coffee 101.

It would start with a quick cupping of rubbish instant coffee. Then transition to dark muddy coffee. Then transition to medium coffee with just chocolate tones. Then transition to fruity coffee with chocolate tones. At the end of the 4th cup you say WOW that’s good coffee. Of course, I can hear people say that’s a boring cupping class. Bear in mind the most popular stall at the rum festival was the cupping to understand good rum from bulk. Why not the same for coffee but done by really cool locals who know the craft.

That will give the festival goers an experience or as I rather say some theatre.

But at the festival in 2019, the evidence was clear, Starbucks avoidance by patrons was palpable. The hype for this brand on the flat in the city did not transition in the cool blue mountains.

Festival goers just kept walking by the green mermaid goblin logo in search of local innovation. My solution for Starbucks for the 2020 festival. It is easy….but you’d have to pay me to consult. It however would involve scaling back and focusing on farmers. I probably said too much already.

Again people want local innovation.

Why Jablum Gold made with Jamaica peaberry coffee beans are rare

Jablum Gold is made of beans from the Jamaica Blue Mountains. These beans are not only handpicked on the farms, they are also curated in the factories to get the fattest beans and best taste. So no boudbr it’s made in low quantities.

Add peaberries which are made from 1 in every 10 beans on average, then add the duration process and you get an exceedingly rare Jablum Gold peaberries.

This coffee plays its part offering theatre from unpacking the beans, inspecting its pea like nature, smelling, then cupping.

Essentially it makes a great cup for the holidays. The tones are traditional chocolate and spice, but the peaberries give it a crisp tealike fruitiness and smoothness.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/515150216/jamaica-blue-mountain-coffee-8-oz-x-1

Cookie coffee cup

So what are people in the real world saying about Twiice edible cups. These cups merge the idea of removing the plastic waste from your brew and replacing it with a biscotti cookie cup. So you just eat your mug after your morning coffee or tea.

Myriad of comments on social platforms likes the idea of reducing waste especially if it tastes great and complements the food.

But some concerns include training servers to hold the cup at the bottom rather than the side which people mainly eat.

Probably the biggest concern is cost. Six cups in a starter kit are selling for us$23. Even 23 New Zealand dollars remains a tall task. For any mass adoption, one needs to have a better product than the standard and also at a cheaper price. The price point therefore makes the product niche, and that’s ok.

It’s sold across New Zealand and also on the national airline. That’s very cool for the family start up.

In 2015, four family members joined creative forces to produce the product and scaled to the company. Jamie and Stephen (son and father), along with wives Simone and Theresa, always had a knack for the artistic and creative projects.

“Call us a family business, or simply a bunch of committed foodies who love getting stuck into a new project together,” they state on their website.

Rum coffee and lime

This cocktail creates a distinct blend of muscular and curved flavours that blend well together. It is great for personal philosophising or at gatherings.

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A shot of dark rum with smokey hints of coffee and zesty lime. But notes can be varied to one’s preference. The more aged the rum is the less coffee and lime required.

Preparation

One shot of rum, preferably aged in order to allow for a smooth finish with natural sophisticated notes. The more aged the rum the less coffee and lime is required.

Four beans per shot of rum. The beans require less than two minutes to begin to release tones in the drink. Preferably coffee from Jamaica to match the culture of the rum.

One slice of lime without squeezing. Place the lime within the drink. The lime will add zest but squeezing will add sourness to the mix.

Enjoy on the rocks or straight.

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Cotton candy coffee

Cafe owner in Toronto decided to make coffee exciting again by serving cotton candy as sugar.

It looks like foam but dissolves. Apparently it’s become a thing at this cafe called LightCafe. In one drink option, you get the cup with cotton candy then add coffee in a small jar to the cup and watch the candy vanish. Add milk if that’s your thing.

Dunkin Donuts ice coffee delimina

Dunkin Donuts in a move to reduce its waste footprint will dissuade customers from what it turns double coupling when asking for iced coffee drinks.

Dunkin serves iced coffee in tall plastic cups. But over the years a practice has developed in which customers also request styrofoam cups to insulate the coldness of the drink.

It’s a weird oddity that actually doubles that customers waste and Dunkin actually launched a YouTube campaign to dissuade customers from the practice.

Check out @DunkinBoston’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/DunkinBoston/status/1195456516469465088