Coffee drought in jamaica rasta!

Coffee shortage continues to affect the availability of Jamaica Blue Mountain JBM beans. Its based on a confluence of factors now led by drought.
Less beans resulted in price increases of roughly 40% in real terms to consumers. Interestingly small farmers benefit with box prices of coffee cherries inching past J$8,000 (U$70).
” I hear they paying up to J$9,500 a box,” a source indicated.
To consumers it resulted in a shortage of favourite brands.
For instance, the beans of large supplier Jablum remain out of stock–going three months now or since November. “We won’t have brand before April,” another source said this week.

Twymans –started restricting sales.

Amber–only has ground available but peaberry beans are still available in its ‘Supreme’ brand

Island Blue –beans are once again available in limited supplies

Wallenford Estate–has beans

Cafe Blue —beans available

Coffee Traders–beans available

CRJ –beans and kcups available.

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Salada brewing new products

Salada Foods, a large coffee maker in Jamaica plans to launch new coffee products this year, according to its annual report.

The move comes within the context of increased rival coffee competition in both the instant and brewed segments.

“We strongly believe that creating new value for our customers is imperative to the success of the company, and with this in mind, in the upcoming year Salada will re-energise and revitalise our coffee category, providing our customers with new and improved products in the market space during the year,” stated the then Acting Managing Director Keshia Nelson-Brown in a statement accompanying the annual report 2014.

The annual report avoided disclosing additional information on the products. In late December, Salada advised that Jerome Miles would “replace” Nelson-Brown and commence work on January 5, 2015 as general manager.

Salada Foods, a large coffee maker in Jamaica plans to launch new coffee products this year, according to its annual report.

The move comes within the context of increased rival coffee competition in both the instant and brewed segments.

“We strongly believe that creating new value for our customers is imperative to the success of the company, and with this in mind, in the upcoming year Salada will re-energise and revitalise our coffee category, providing our customers with new and improved products in the market space during the year,” stated the then Acting Managing Director Keshia Nelson-Brown in a statement accompanying the annual report 2014.

The annual report avoided disclosing additional information on the products. In late December, Salada advised that Jerome Miles would “replace” Nelson-Brown and commence work on January 5, 2015 as general manager.

Marley Coffee Laments coffee price hike

The price of Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) coffee jumped 40 per cent in real terms in a year based which worries Marley Coffee.

Coffee remains scarce based on a confluence of factors now led by summer drought which killed beans.

“We are committed to ensuring our supply chain and providing our customers JBM. We are diligently working to secure more JBM as the market we created for it continues to expand. There still is a high demand for JBM in North America, but limited supply and rising costs may hurt sales,” stated Marley Coffee to its investors this month in filings to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. 

The sale of JBM beans largely gives the brand prestige, as the majority of Marley Coffee sales are from cheaper coffee growing regions outside of Jamaica.The company bought US$290,000 worth of JBM over nine-months ending October or two-thirds less than a year ago, financials state.

We are currently working to address the supply issues and while we believe we will be in a far better position in Fiscal 2015 with respect to JBM availability,” noted the company.

Over nine-months the company recorded a US$7.8 million net loss from US$6.7 million in coffee sales or three times higher losses than a year earlier. Part of the losses are the result of payments to executives at Marley Coffee which surpassed US$1 million over three-months.

Marley Coffee based in Denver, USA, recently gained distribution in over 5,000 stores in North America, with plans to enter 10,000 stores.

Haitian coffee vs Jamaican coffee

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Selecto brand from Haiti provides a dark roasted brew. Its nutty with a cigar masculinity but with a clean aftertaste.
It is definitely a brand we will sell in addition to Jamaica Blue Mountain.
Only caveat is that the dark roast kills the fruitiness of the beans. But despite that the quality still brews true.

Jamaica Blue Mountain Stout

US based AleSmith Brewing Company and Mostra Coffee launched
‘Jamaica Blue Mountain Speedway Stout’ since March.

Since its launch online fans have been mostly supportive but some question the use of high quality coffee as a “quirk”.

The team will source beans from Mavis Bank Coffee Factory in Jamaica makers or JABLUM.

The company says that US based coffee roaster, Mostra Coffee carefully roasted and cold brewed Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee beans to complement its award winning Speedway Stout.

They will lightly roast the coffee to enhance aromas and well-balanced chocolaty finish and add to the stout.
“Thanks to Mosta’s diligent work, these 100% Blue Mountain beans were sourced from the renowned Mavis Bank Coffee Factory in Jamaica,” added the company.

Speaking about the collaboration, Mike Arquines, Roaster for Mostra Coffee said, “This opportunity is surreal. Prior to this collaboration, AleSmith was one of my all-time favorite breweries! Speedway Stout was my first “gateway” craft beer experience. It blew my mind because I didn’t know that beer could taste like this. My Mostra team and I feel like this has been a match made in craft beer and coffee heaven because it brings together two companies who pride themselves with being able to provide an un-compromised experience and product. Cheers to more amazing collaborations in the future!”

George Allen, General Manager for AleSmith echoed Mike’s sentiments about the collaboration, “AleSmith prides itself on sourcing the highest quality coffees for our single varietal Speedway Stouts. With this in mind, we reached out to local roaster, Mostra Coffee. Mostra shares our commitment to quality and bettering the customer experience. After several cupping sessions we found the perfect match in Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee. “

The beer goes on sale online (via Brown Paper Tickets) on Monday, March 3rd and AleSmith will host a release party at the brewery on Saturday, March 8th.

About AleSmith Brewing Company
AleSmith Brewing Company was founded in August 1995 in San Diego, California. The company currently employs 28 people and is projected to brew 15,000 barrels in 2014.

About Mostra Coffee
Mosta Coffee is a San Diego, California based artisan micro-roasting company that sources, roasts, brews and serves premium, fair-trade specialty coffee.

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Jamaica, Kenya , PNG all recovering coffee relatives

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Coffee seedlings from the Blue Mountain range in Jamaica spawned commercial coffees from Kenya and Papua New Guinea in the 1900s.

Back in the 1700s coffee was introduced to Jamaica from Martinique according to the Coffee Board of Jamaica. At that time, Martinque a small French territory boasted 16 million coffee plants. Today it remains but a shadow of its former caffinated state.

Interestingly the same fate may meet its three descendant coffee territories as each suffers the one of the worst declines in nearly two decades.

However replanting efforts in Jamaica along with new farming practices in Kenya and PNG supported by loans from the World Bank and secondly its private sector lending arm the IFC respectively aim to resuscitate the sector.

For instance Jamaica’s coffee production is set to decline by half for the upcoming crop, experts indicate. Farmers blame rust disease and abandoned farms based on lower prices since the 2008 Western financial crisis. Ironically prices are now at record levels both on the premium coffee market and coffee commodities exchange . Farmers are clamouring back into the sector but it might take the length of an entire crop to rejuvenate coffee farms–thus creating disequilibrium and higher prices to consumers.

PNG coffee production declined by since coffee commodity prices dipped three years ago according to World Bank. Farmers not surprisingly abandoned farms. Prices are down some 23 per cent since the 90s data indicates.The World Bank will pump US$46 million in PNG agriculture in a campaign in part geared at rejuvenating the coffee industry hit with declining yields. The project aims to increase yields and hopefully pricing by replanting aging trees, some as old as 40 years, training in best practises, providing tools and paving farm-to-market roads.

Interestingly, PNG Blue Mountain Gold coffee sells for one-third of Jamaica Blue Mountain the project aims to cut that divide.

Kenya the 20th largest producer of coffee globally has suffered from a 60 per cent drop in production since the 90s (a similar level as Jamaica compared over same period), IFC data indicates.

” Decreased productivity has been in part the result of reductions in government programs that provide technical advice to farmers. Small farmers—responsible for about three-quarters of Kenya’s coffee production—have been most affected by the reduction in government support,” according to the IFC in its 2013 document Rebuilding the Kenyan Coffee Sector,

The IFC project aims to train hundreds of key farmers to in turn train thousands in best practices. Its a serious move that ultimately aims at double farmer annual income

“The project is expected to reach 9,000 farmers and raise their yield per bush to between four and five kilograms of cherry, resulting in an additional 120 kilograms of beans. This productivity gain should help more than double the gross annual income of a typical grower from less than $200 to $475,” stated the IFC in its document.

The African state sells its own Kenya Blue Mountain coffee.

The good news is that coffee from these three nations should recover and provide a decent living for thousands of farmers, whilst providing the perfect cup.

Coffee commodity prices rocket 60% since Ukraine Crisis

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Good coffee costs up to US$8 a cup in Eastern Europe. Among the most expensive globally. So the fact that Russians and Ukrainians flock for bargain  luxury coffee deals online is logical.

Nothing like the chocolatey aroma and lemon hints aroma of a balanced Blue Mountain cup to warm the bitter winter. Even better when a cup effectively costs US$3 because it eliminated the middle-man.

But what becomes illogical is enjoying coffee in conflict.

Putin’s intervention influenced a spike in  global oil prices–the most traded commodity. It increased some 10 per cent February to March to US$104 a barrel (amid fears oil rich Russia would plug gas and oil pipelines running through Ukraine).

However the second most traded commodity–coffee also saw a rise during the same period (February to March) albeit a much higher spike up nearly 2/3rds from  120 to 196.  Its blamed on drought in Brazil among the largest coffee producing nations.

It however is happening amid the heightened Ukraine conflict. It will no doubt result in a more expensive cup of coffee for this region.

Despite this impact–the true tragedy is death and conflict and not the cost of a caffeine fix.

Jamaica coffee lower yields

Jamaica Agriculture minister roger Clarke wants coffee farmers in the jamaica blue mountain and high mountain regions of Jamaica to hike coffee yields amidst a record fall off in production.
“What would u say is the average yield per acre of coffee?” Asked the minister to coffee experts and large farmers in February 2014.
Head of amber estate Dr Lyn which recently supplied Starbucks responded to the agreement of other farmers: ” would say 30-40 boxes per acre.”
Contextually the industry in the past produced multiples.
“I would say a profitable farm would produce 100 boxes an acre,” lynx added.

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Jamaica will import coffee

The coffee nation of Jamaica will hike imports amidst slashing its local production by nearly half to 20-year lows.
Consequently, Government aims to formulate a coffee importation policy.
“Its a troubling situation,” said John Minott, president of the Jamaica Coffee Growers Association, (JCGA) at the Coffee Industry Stakeholders Retreat on the weekend at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.
Rust disease, hurricanes and the abandonment of farms has reduced available trees and therefore production since the onset of the Western financial crisis in 2008.
“It’s not something that the JCGA is trying to promote but the stark reality is that today…we have to import coffee for certain segments of the market.”
Minott argued for an importation window during which replanting should occur.
Coffee imports hit some US$1.78 million in 2012 up some 23 per cent since 2008, according to data from the International Trade Centre (ITC) a joint agency of the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations.
Contrastingly, exports dipped by double-digit levels to some US$17.3 million in 2012, according to the latest Bank of Jamaica data. But the crop traditionally earned about US$25 million annually up to the onset of the financial crisis.

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Jamaica Blue Mountain farmers are rock stars

Demand and supply actually turned coffee farmers into rock stars for the ensuing crop. Last year no one wanted to farm now younger folk are jumping on their grandparents land to til the soil for coffee production.

–“There is a security guard at [large supermarket], I now see him up in the hills at his family farm…I haven’t seen him in years,” said a key coffee source in conversation with Jamaicamocha.

This year experts–literally in the field–predict a 30 per cent dip in coffee production in the luxurious soils of the Blue Mountains. Of course good old economics indicates that whenever supply is reduced and demand remains price will rise.

–“Coffee farmers are getting the best rates ever. But the crop is down to nothing,” said an operations manager at one of the largest processors in the island.

Coffee farmers are getting flocked by processors begging to sell them beans and will pay up front and at inflated prices. We recon at least 20 per cent above market in order to at compensate for local currency depreciation year on year.

Its significant remember that total coffee exports dropped from US$30 million annually before the Western Financial crisis to some US$14 million in 2012 (latest figures indicate). During that period farmers were getting roughly the same per box of cherry at about US25. However inflation and depreciation cut that away to about US$15 a box over five years.

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–“Him beg me to sell him coffee,” said a respected farmer who opted for anonymity in reference to a large processor trying to secure future supply from his crop.

–“You want peaberries. You better take what you get because we not sure if there will be any coffee soon,” a major distributor told me via a purchase.

The coffee farmer has a hoe for a guitar and is flocked by businessmen. Now he finally has the financial incentive to make the best legal drug in the world.