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    The impact global coffee prices are having on farmers.

    The impact global coffee prices are having on farmers.

    In 2018 the price of coffee dropped to a 12 year low of USD $1.00/lb. By the end of the year coffee prices were, for the most part, below the cost of production. This begs the question; how can coffee farmers be expected to produce high-quality coffee when they can’t afford basic necessities, such as feeding their families?

    Low coffee prices are affecting the amount of work that coffee farmers are getting. Producers cannot afford to pay people to farm the beans and so, both the producer and farmer lose out.

    It is important to note that the effects of low coffee prices do not end at the producer or farmer, they also affect the consumer. When coffee prices are down, producers cannot afford to hire enough farmers to pick coffee beans. Therefore, due to time constraints, instead of conducting a selective harvest and picking only the best beans, farmers strip the plants of all their beans, good and bad. This means that the coffee that is produced and sold is variable and poor quality which ultimately leads to the consumer drinking a poorer quality coffee.

    Unfortunately, this is not where the negativity ends as it will likely cycle back around and add to the producers and farmers woes. Consumers may decide not to buy this brand of coffee again, aligning it with poor-quality, which adversely affects the producer and farmers, as there is less demand for their product.

    Sustainable Harvest’s Relationship Coffee Model helps to ensures transparency, collaboration and shared success between farmer and retailer. It suggests that all components of the model work together and people think about everyone else in the chain as a whole, from grower, miller, exporter, importer, roaster and retailer. This means that everyone is working together in the best interests of everyone in the chain and is a step for farmers at combating low coffee prices.

    Another important step for producers and farmers to mitigate low prices is to form a supportive and committed long-term relationship with a roaster. If a producer has a great relationship with their roaster and both parties are committed to each other’s success, both parties are more likely to get the most out of the coffee. Roasters are more likely to try and help their producer and push for higher prices.

    It is important for you as the consumers to understand the effects that low costs have on farmers and to think twice about how much you are willing to spend on your cup of coffee.

     

    References:

    Olson, K 2018, ‘C-Market Stories: Fatima Ismael, Soppexcca, Nicaragua’, Barista Magazine Online, December 7th, https://www.baristamagazine.com/c-market-stories-fatima-ismael-soppexcca-nicaragua/

    Olson, K 2018, ‘C-Market Stories: Felix Camposeco, Acodihue, Guatemala’, Barista Magazine Online, December 13th, https://www.baristamagazine.com/c-market-stories-felix-camposeco-acodihue-guatemala/

    Brody, L 2019, ‘What low prices mean to our producer partners’, Sustainable Harvest, January 3rd , https://www.sustainableharvest.com/blog/what-low-prices-mean-to-our-producer-partners

    Welcome to the brand new, St Remio funded, Cupping Lab in Rwanda!

    Welcome to the brand new, St Remio funded, Cupping Lab in Rwanda!

    This year at St Remio we have committed to fully fund the construction of a Cupping Lab for the female farmers of Twongere Umusaruro and we are super excited to see it taking shape! Sustainable Harvest has been our eyes on the ground, overseeing the construction of the lab which started in late December 2018 and is set to be finished within the next few days.

    So, what’s a cupping lab you may ask? Coffee cupping is the professional practice of observing both the tastes and the aromas of brewed coffee. By being able to roast and taste the coffee they grow onsite, it will allow them to understand the full process of the crop they harvest (as many don’t know how coffee is consumed), understand the flavour profile and grow a more consistent crop which will allow them to sell for a higher price to the international market.

    Later this month the new Cupping Lab will gain some great exposure when organisers of The African Fine Coffee Association (AFCA) conference will take attendees to tour the new facility. This is a wonderful opportunity that we ­hope will strengthen the coffee farming community of Twongere Umusaruro and give them greater visibility in the international market.

    We will continue to update you on the build of the facility that you, our customers, have funded! We will officially open the facility in June this year but until then, we will keep you updated via social media and our blog on the development.

    Thank you again for believing in St Remio and most importantly, being part of the change.

     

    Trent Knox
    Founder, St Remio

    Coffee + Alcohol = Perfect Match!

    Coffee + Alcohol = Perfect Match!

    Does anything excite the taste buds more than the words “coffee cocktail?” I think not.

    Combine good quality spirits and liqueur with single origin coffee, and you have coffee lovers waiting at your doorstep. Here are two of the two favourites among alcoholic caffeine addicted individuals.


    Espresso Martini

    Invented in 1984, by a model in London who requested a drink that would ‘wake her up’, this cocktail has become one of the bar favourites for the classy.

    1. Combine ice, a single shot of espresso and a shot of coffee liqueur, adding a splash of sweetener if needed.
    2. Shake that shaker to create the crema like foam on the surface
    3. Pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish with some espresso beans

     

    Irish Coffee

    It’s hard to go wrong when you combine coffee, cream and whiskey. This indulgent, comforting, and somewhat rich drink is made using Brazilian or Colombian beans to create the perfect balance of whiskey potency

    1. Brew a hot long black coffee
    2. Combine coffee and smooth whisky evenly, depending on the size of your mug/glass
    3. Add sugar (preferably brown) to taste and stir
    4. Aerate thickened cream by lightly shaking, and pour gently over the back of a spoon to create a perfect, even layer on top of the coffee

    Ditch the latte on your Friday afternoon and get the weekend started with one of these creations, courtesy of your two favourites- caffeine and alcohol.

     

     

    One Espresso please

    One Espresso please

    If you needed a definition of ‘real’ coffee, it would sound a lot like Espresso. Virtually owned by Italy after La Pavoni Spa made the first steam-powered espresso machine in 1902, it then was brought to Australia post war. Every bar was filled with people coming together over little cups of coffee and a cigarette in hand. In 1990, the espresso was infiltrated into almost every café, becoming a craze everyone was talking about.

    Brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans, an espresso is considered an oily and full-flavoured coffee with slight crema on the surface. This 30 ml shot is now more commonly used for the base of almost all coffees: just add milk for a latte, cappuccino, and flat white.

    Amongst many people’s horror and surprise, Italians still haven’t quite understood the term “latte” or “flat white”. Order one of these and you will be given a cup of plain milk along with a confused stare. Tip for your next Italian voyage: Avoid the milky coffee after midday as it is considered an unwritten Italian law, that you must drink your afternoon coffee black.

     

    Espresso Coffee Styles
    Short Black/Espresso: A single espresso shot served in a small ceramic cup.

    Ristretto: 45ml shot, considered slightly shorter than a short black

    Long Black: A cup, two thirds filled with hot water, one third filled with a double espresso shot straight on top.

    Latte: The milkiest of coffees, a latte is served in a glass with textured milk, 1-2 centimetres of foam on top, and one shot of coffee.

    Flat White: Much like a latte, however in most cases is slightly strong and forms less foam on surface.

    Cappuccino: One third coffee, one third milk, and one third foam. This style is served in a cup and is commonly dusted with chocolate.

    Lost in Translation: How to talk coffee

    Lost in Translation: How to talk coffee

    We have all been there. Hearing your local roaster or barista talking in another language, or so it seems.  So here are a few of the terms to start practising before your next trip to the coffee shop.

    Acidity: A cupping term that describes either the high notes (bright, clean of coffee or unpleasant qualities (sour)

    Aged Coffee: Also considered ‘vintage Coffee’ this has been stored in warehouses for years to reduce acidity and increase body

    Aroma: The smell of freshly brewed coffee

    Balance: When a coffee has no single characteristic that stands above the others

    Body: The weight of the coffee: How it feels in your mouth, whether it’s watery, oily or grainy.

    Clean: A coffee free of flavour defects

    Crema:  The honey coloured surface layer of an espresso, formed by gas trapped bubbles of oil.

    Cupping: Method used to judge the quality and characteristics of coffee beans

    Density: Beans are sorted according to density before being exported. The denser the bean, the higher the quality.

    Filter: Coffee brewed through the method of coffee beans steeped in water and passed through a filter.

    Finish: The taste and texture of coffee before being swallowed.

    Fragrance: The smell of freshly ground coffee

    Hard: Low quality coffee

    Pull: Before machines were lever operated, espresso shots were ‘pulled’

    Richness: A full satisfying flavour of coffee

    Single Origin: A term for coffee where all beans have come from the one ‘single’ origin whether that is a single farm or a broader region. Flavours will usually be identified through a generalisation of regions