Coffee prices rise on output jitters

The price of robusta coffee beans reached a 11-year high of 33,200 VND per kg last week in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak, the country’s coffee hub.

Van Thanh Huy, chairman of the Viet Nam Cocoa and Coffee Association (Vicofa), said the price hike was caused by a sharper-than-expected fall in output in Viet Nam , the world’s biggest producer of robusta. Bad weather has been blamed for the low output.

The forecast had been for a harvest of 1-1.1 million tonnes but the actual yield was only 850,000 tonnes, he said. “Dak Lak’s output fell from 435,000 tonnes to 350,000 tonnes.”

Industry experts in the province also predicted that the price would continue to rise beyond 35,000 VND.

Globally, there is likely to be a shortage of 80,000-112,000 tonnes of robusta beans. Huy said as a result the price of robusta coffee on the London market had risen to 2,250 USD per tonne in the last few days, and to between 2,150 and 2,200 USD in HCM City.

Le Duc Thong, director of the Dak Lak-based 2/9 Import and Export Company, pointed out another reason for the price hike.

Many coffee growers wanted to hoard their harvest in the hope of realising even higher prices later, he said.

This had partly contributed to the short supply on the domestic and world markets, he said, adding, “My company has only managed to buy 70 percent of the volume of coffee it had bought by the same time last year.”

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Mobile phones, coffee found unlikely to cause cancer

Drinking coffee, using mobile phones or having breast implants is unlikely to cause cancer, according to a risk ranking system devised by an Australian cancer specialist to debunk popular myths.The cancer risk assessment reaffirms smoking, alcohol and exposure to sunlight as leading risk factors, but allays concerns about coffee, mobile phones, deodorants, breast implants and water with added fluoride.

The five-point system created by University of New South Wales Professor Bernard Stewart lists the risk of cancer from proven and likely, to inferred, unknown or unlikely.

“Our tool will help establish if the level of risk is high, say on a par with smoking, or unlikely such as using deodorants, artificial sweeteners, drinking coffee,” Stewart said.

He found active smokers and ex-smokers to be the most at risk, although the risk is reduced for people who quit smoking.

Drinking alcohol was also a high risk factor, particularly for people who also smoke, although Stewart said no specific type of alcoholic drink was most strongly to blame.

Drinking chlorinated water and using a mobile phone was far less likely to cause cancer, Stewart said, although the risks associated with the long-term use of mobile phones had not been fully established.

He said there little risk from drinking coffee, using deodorants, drinking fluoridated water and having breast implants or dental fillings.

Stewart’s research was published in the latest edition of the Mutation Research Reviews journal to mark world cancer day on Monday.

Atkinson’s coffee wins top award

ATKINSON’S coffee shop in Lancaster has been awarded a gold medal for their El Salvador Santa Barbara coffee at the North West Fine Foods Awards.

The coffee came out on top in a blind tasting and was chosen by a panel of 24 food industry experts.

Ian Steel, Master Roaster at Atkinson’s in China Street said: “The particularly pleasing thing about this award is that it has been given to a coffee that I personally selected from my first trip to origin. When I went to meet the growers of my favourite coffee Las Delicias in El Salvador last year I attended many ‘cuppings’ (Industry jargon for a coffee tasting) on various farms and this coffee stood out as a real gem. I am so pleased for everyone involved in its production that a top gourmet quality product has been rewarded.”

* Atkinson’s has also just been shortlisted as one of only four finalists for the BIBAs’ prestigious Independent Retailer of the Year award. The winner will be announced on March 7.