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.”

P&G sees earnings goal hit even without coffee business

Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N: Quote, Profile, Research) expects core earnings per share to grow in double digits on a percentage basis, in line with the company’s long-term goals, despite expected dilution from divesting its Folgers coffee business, company executives said on Thursday. The company announced plans to divest its coffee business to shareholders on Jan. 31. Chief Financial Officer Clayton Daley confirmed on Thursday the divestiture would likely be accomplished in a transaction that would cut P&G earnings by 3 cents to 5 cents a share annually, starting in fiscal year 2009, which begins in July.

“Our goal is to deliver double-digit core earnings-per- share growth even without the coffee business,” Daley said.

The world’s largest household and personal-care products maker also said it has not seen signs of consumers leaving its brands — which include Tide laundry detergent, Pampers diapers and Gillette razors — for lower-cost alternatives, despite the sluggish U.S. economy.

“We have not seen trade down to private label or lower- priced products,” Daley, P&G’s chief financial officer, said during a presentation to the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference, held in Florida.

“The products we sell are simply not seen by consumers as discretionary,” Daley said.

Private-label products are either seeing flat or shrinking market share in P&G’s top 10 categories, while P&G is gaining market share in two-thirds or its business, Daley and Chief Executive A.G. Lafley said.

Like most consumer products companies, P&G has been raising prices across a host of products to help offset rising costs for oil and other commodities.

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UK Coffee Roaster Shows Support for Ethiopian Coffee Farmers

Since commencing a program of trademarking Ethiopia’s fine coffee designations in 2004, support for the Ethiopian sector has continued to grow worldwide. Building on its unique coffee heritage and established reputation for producing some of the finest coffee in the world Ethiopia continues to welcome new coffee roasters to its network of licensed distributors.

This month sees the addition to the network of UK based roaster Shropshire Coffee. Established in 1958, Shropshire Coffee prides itself on its record of active support for initiatives that recognize the need to fairly reward coffee growers. Their policies of supporting fairly traded coffee, community coffee farming projects and Rainforest Alliance sources have built a reputation of which owner Guiseppe D’Anna is rightfully proud.

“We have a strong belief in continuing a sustainable, just and ethical way of trading, coupled with giving our customers the best coffee the world has to offer. The Ethiopian Fine Coffee designations trademarking and licensing initiative gives us an excellent opportunity to continue with this policy whilst helping Ethiopia to protect and further develop its exceptional coffees. We at Shropshire Coffee are extremely pleased to be joining the network of licensed distributors.”

Getachew Mengistie, Director General of the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office which is spearheading the effort in Ethiopia commented, “We warmly welcome Shropshire Coffee to our network. As our latest partners in the UK we look forward to working with the company to further develop awareness and appreciation of the most valuable Ethiopian Fine Coffee and satisfy the needs of its customers”.

Shropshire Coffee joins nine companies in the United Kingdom who currently partner Ethiopia in their network of licensed distributors. Worldwide there are now about seventy licensed distributors of Ethiopia’s Fine coffees. Ethiopia’s aim to reach out to 150-200 companies involved in the specialty coffee sector looks set to take a further great step forward in May 2008, when Ethiopia will be the portrait country at the Specialty Coffee Association of America annual conference.

Contact Details:

Shropshire Coffee: Guiseppe D’Anna +44 1902 787333 www.shropshirecoffee.com
EIPO: Getachew Mengistie, Director General, EIPO +251 1 155534969, e-mail: eipo_dg@ethionet.et.
Ethiopian Embassy London: Gail Warden +44 (20) 7589-7212
For more information on Ethiopia’s Trademarking and Licensing Initiative see the dedicated website: www.ethiopiancoffeenetwork.com

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.”

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.