Specialty Coffee Industry Looks at Sustainability Issues

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the world’s largest coffee trade association, is taking an in-depth look at sustainability topics in the specialty coffee industry. At its upcoming 20th Annual Conference & Exhibition, May 2 5 in Minneapolis, Minn., the association and a high-profile panel of coffee industry experts will present on key issues, such as the business challenges of greening a business; the effect of global warming on coffee growing in Central America; how a coffee business can become more carbon neutral; sustainable trade; and the impact of certifications on the farmer and the environment. “As the specialty coffee industrys premier association, our mission is to educate members and the industry at large on best practices in the coffee sector while assisting farmers in implementing sustainable business practices and increasing yields in an environmentally sensitive manner,” said Ric Rhinehart, SCAA executive director.

The Sustainability Track at SCAAs conference and exhibition features a wide-range of educational topics, such as:

  • Greening Your Business: Roasters and Retailers
  • Certification Highlights and Successes at Origin
  • Millennium Development Goals: Overview and Implementation
  • Global Warming: The Impact of Global Coffee
  • Taking Your Business to the Next Step in Sustainability: Become Carbon Neutral
  • Roots and Relationships: Case Studies in Pros & Cons of Direct Relationship Models
  • The Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade: Building Businesses and Livelihoods
  • Specialty Coffee, Water and Small Holder Prosperity
  • Grower Perspective: California Sustainable Wine Growing Experience
  • Gender, Equality and Sustainability: The Role Women Play In the Future of the Coffee Industry
  • Processor Perspective – The California Sustainable Winegrowing Experience

Presenters in SCAAs Sustainability Track represent many well-known coffee organizations and others that are working to promote sustainability in the industry, including Anacafé, Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters, CABI Commodities, Café Imports, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, CATIE, Coffee Quality Institute, Deans Beans, Finca Selva Negra, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Grounds for Health, Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea; International Institute for Sustainable Development, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Markets and Responsible Trade, International, Womens Coffee Alliance, Peace Coffee, Rabobank; Rainforest Alliance, Root Capital, Signature Coffee, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, SOPPEXCA (Union of Agricultural Cooperatives), Sustainable Harvest at Origin, Taylor Maid Farms, Thanksgiving Coffee Company, TransFair USA, Trees for the Future, Utz Certified North America and ViewCraft.

The Sustainability Track is just one of the many educational highlights at SCAAs 20th Annual Conference & Exhibition. As the industrys premier coffee event, the conference features in-depth educational sessions covering a variety of specialty coffee topics, hundreds of exhibit booths, a keynote presentation from Michael Shuman, author of The Small-Mart Revolution, the United States Barista Championship and the Coffee of the Year Competition.

In accord with SCAAs mission of promoting sustainability in the specialty coffee industry, the association has created a carbon neutrality program to help offset emissions related to conference travel, lodging and energy consumption. All conference attendees are required to participate in the program. The funds collected will be donated to non-profit organization, Trees for the Future for the purchasing and planting of new trees.

Complete details for SCAAs 20th Annual Conference & Exhibition are available at http://conference.scaa.org/. For a copy of the conference brochure, call 562-624-4100 or e-mail coffee@scaa.org.

About the SCAA

Celebrating 26 years of success, SCAA is the world’s largest coffee trade association. SCAA members are located in more than 40 countries and represent every segment of the specialty coffee industry, from coffee growers to coffee roasters and retailers. The SCAA’s mission is to be the recognized authority on specialty coffee, providing a common forum for the development and promotion of coffee excellence and sustainability.

The SCAA’s dedication to excellence in coffee is realized through the setting of quality standards for the industry; conducting research on coffee, equipment and perfection of craft; and providing education, training, resources and business services for members. The SCAA’s annual conference is held in a different U.S. city each year and is the coffee industry’s largest gathering and exhibition.

Note to Editor: Interviews with Sustainability Track session instructors before, during and after SCAAs 2008 Conference & Exhibition are available upon request. Press registration is online at: http://conference.scaa.org/.

Uganda: Coffee Exports Fell Due to Kenya Crisis

COFFEE exports for last month sagged to earn the country a paltry Shs63 billion Shs3.8 billion less than the January earnings.

A February report from Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) indicates that coffee export volumes also fell by 11.7 per cent although it was 43 per cent higher than the same period last year.


The report attributes the slump to the post-election violence in neighbouring Kenya that cut off the export route through the port of Mombasa and led to the shortage of export containers.

Only 318, 346 bags of coffee were exported in February compared to 360,785 exported in January. The report cites renewed optimism with the improved transport flow across the Uganda and Kenya borders and the rains that have stimulated internal marketing resulting into a rise in farm-gate prices.

“This has led to improved agronomic practices to increase production and the rains have also induced flowering in most parts of the country,” the report says in part.

Harvests this month are therefore expected to be better with the situation in Kenya having improved and the availability of fuel and containers.

Coffee is the major foreign exchange earner for Uganda and earned $257 million in exports last year from 2 million bags exported.

In February, coffee farm-gate prices for Robusta Kiboko averaged Shs1,500 per kilo and FAQ parchment prices ranged between Shs2,900 to Shs3,100 per kilo a Shs200 increase on the January price.

According to the report, Arabica coffee exports performed best totalling 36,430 bags worth over Shs8.5 billion ($5.4 million). This represents an increase in both volume and value of 5.9 per cent and 8 per cent from 34,409 bags over Shs6.8 billion (about $ 4.99 million), respectively over the previous month.

UCDA projects March exports to go up to a hefty 210,000 bags basing on the seasonality of the crop and and the easy flow of goods across the borders of the country.


A taste of Italy’s coffee culture

Just as tourists and locals can catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower without stamping their passports, authentic Italian coffee culture can be found nestled deep within the newest Strip resort.

The Shoppes at Palazzo house the U.S. debut of espressamente illy, a coffee bar experience first launched in 2003 by the internationally renowned illy brand. Featuring high-quality Arabica coffee, paninis, soups and salads, espressamente illy also offers 54 flavors of Italian gelato, chocolates and pastries.

“We are trying to offer an experience more than just traditional coffee as we know it,” said Stefano Ripamonti, the café’s owner and operator.

more at

Supporting the coffee farmers

MIDDLESBROUGH mother and son Baristas Necita and Chris Pounder marked the start of Fairtrade fortnight by helping boost donations to the charity Coffee Kids.

As part of the expanding franchise of Esquires Coffee Houses, a proportion of takings from their two town centre bars will support projects that help coffee farmers and their communities.

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New Beduins milking coffee shop revolution

Where are you reading this? In the office? On your Blackberry? Or, most likely, in a coffee shop?

If you are currently enjoying a latte whilst going about your daily business then you’re far from alone – in fact you’re now officially known as a “new Beduin”, a phrase first coined by the US media to describe the growing band of nomadic workers for whom coffee shops, wherever they may be, are their chosen place of work.

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Coffee hits 10-year high

Arabica coffee trading on ICE Futures U.S. tapped a fresh 10-year high as funds continued to buy the market, while cocoa flirted with a 24-year high in quiet dealings, traders said.

“There’s general commodities buying these days,” one coffee trader said about the continued fund interest.

On the screen, ICE’s key May coffee contract was up 0.70 cent at $1.631 at 9:21 am, trading from $1.616 to $1.6635, a high dating back to February 1998 for the second month. The rest ranged from 0.50 to 2.15 cents stronger.

Bean counters raise coffee price

MELBOURNE’S coffee connoisseurs should brace themselves for a $4 cuppa as world bean prices soar.

Cafe owners warn that rising coffee prices coupled with higher overheads will force them to charge more.

Melburnians pay between $2.80 and $3.50 for their coffee fix, but not for much longer, industry experts say.

Even the instant version will cost more at the supermarket.

The global price of arabica beans, used in most espresso coffee shops, has jumped to the highest point in a decade.

Tolly Avgerinos, owner of Atomica cafe in Fitzroy, said that the bean cost was just part of the retail price of a flat white or cafe latte.

Cafe owners and operators said the coffee increase followed rises in the cost of rent, milk and staff.

Mr Avgerinos said customers also were becoming more coffee-savvy and wanted a premium brew, which cost more.

“People are starting to understand what goes into a good coffee,” he said. “And sometimes you have to pay for it, like you would do for good wine.”

Angelo Augello, managing director of the Bean Alliance roasting company in Reservoir, said investment speculators in world commodity markets had driven prices to an 11-year high.

Mr Augello, who is also on the Australian Coffee Traders Association, said arabica bean prices had jumped by up to 30 per cent in the past four months.

“We might be able to hold prices for a couple of weeks,” he said.

But he said coffee was a relatively small part of the cost of a cup and talk of a $1 rise was exaggerated.

Consumers had become more demanding and expected a quality product properly prepared by trained professionals.

Fresh brewed coffee makes up about 20 per cent of Australia’s $1 billion-a-year market.

Newly harvested coffee beans attracting attentions

Just like shimmai (newly harvested rice) or Beaujolais Nouveau, new coffee beans are beginning to enjoy high popularity in Japan. They seem to be attracting attention thanks to their fresh taste and people’s strong preference for the first batch of beans.

Kofi Raifu Zeitaku Kurabu, a Web site run by Doi Coffee, based in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, put on sale a set containing three kinds of new coffee beans in January. It immediately sold out.

The set contained three 200-gram packs of beans grown on farms in Brazil, Honduras and Panama that were harvested in September and October before being roasted.

Coffee beans can cost as little as 1 yen per gram, but this three-pack set cost 3,900 yen.

New coffee beans are those from the current or most recently available harvest. The sources said the time spent between the harvesting and sale of these new beans has become shorter.

Doi Coffee’s Yosuke Doi said coffee beans offer especially good flavor and aroma for a year after harvesting because “the large amount of water they contain makes them juicy.”

“People in Japan tend to favor the first supply of produce as they like newly harvested green tea and rice. This may be why new coffee beans have attracted attention, too,” Doi said, as there are also many consumers who place importance on the freshness of food.

Key Coffee Inc. sells the first harvest of its Toarco Toraja Coffee beans from its farm in Indonesia for a limited period once a year. The Tokyo-based company delivers beans harvested around April to consumers around July.

The new beans can be expensive–as was the case for the 2007 crop, when four packs of 200-gram beans cost 8,400 yen. It is more than double the price of usual beans, but Key Coffee said they are often flooded with orders when they begin accepting orders over the Internet in early May.

There also are companies selling canned coffee using newly harvested or the first supply of beans, helping to establish the notion of new coffee beans.

Satoru Kakutani, head of the Japan arm of major Swiss coffee company Volcafe, said businesses and consumers began to pay attention to new coffee beans about 10 years go. However, he warns the beans should be considered an Internet product as it is difficult to maintain both the amount and quality.

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Leave coffee behind, tea is hip

Will rooibos, oolong and yerba mate replace espresso, cappuccino and latte as the beverages du jour?

Teashops are becoming more common, with several springing up around the Southeast Valley in the past few months. One major reason for the growth, according to the Tea Association of the United States, is that consumers are more health-conscious.

With blended, flavored coffee drinks pushing 300 and 400 calories, switching to tea sometimes or all the time can be a way to watch the waistline. Also, herbal teas – though not technically made from the tea plant – do not contain caffeine.

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And many studies have linked some teas to health benefits, including lowering the risk for cancer. The Food and Drug Administration, however, has rejected claims that it helps reduce heart disease.

Elaine Kerns of Sun Lakes drinks tea because she believes it’s more healthful, though that’s just part of it. Her new “home away from home” has become Urban Tea Loft in Chandler, a chic tea salon/bar/restaurant.

“I think it’s fabulous,” she said. “Every time I go, I pick a different flavor.”