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Coffee and Tea Reports from the Front Lines

Vietnam Coffee Growers Hit by Fall in Prices

VIETNAM - Coffee growers in Vietnam’s Central Highlands lost 2,600bn dong (US$172m) from their 2000/01 coffee crop because of plummeting world prices, reported the Financial Times.

The Central Highlands, the country’s main coffee region, produced 650,000 tons of coffee beans during the season, which ended in September. Growers are selling their coffee beans at 4,000 dong a kilogram while it costs them 8,000 dong to produce that amount.

Excess world coffee supplies, due in part to a rapid increase in production by Vietnam in recent years, have pushed coffee prices to record lows.

The Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association said the entire country produced 900,000 tons of coffee, mostly lower-grade robusta, in this crop.

Vietnam, which exports most of its coffee is the world’s largest robusta exporter and the second largest coffee exporter overall after Brazil. It has 550,000 hectares (1,359,050 acres) of coffee plantations.

In October, Vietnam’s central bank ordered credit institutions to halt the collection of loans from coffee growers for the next three years. Many growers have been unable to repay loans because of the sharp fall in prices.

Darjeeling to Become Tea Trademark
INDIA - The Indian government has said that Darjeeling will be able to be used as a trademark in India, reported the Economic Times.

Basudev Banerjee, deputy chairman of the Tea Board, told members of the Darjeeling Planters’ Association (DPA) that by April 2002, “Darjeeling” can be registered as a trademark (CTM). Darjeeling and Assam logos have already been registered in some parts of Europe, and recently in the UK and France.

It is expected that the CTM plan will protect Indian producers against the incorrect use of the name Darjeeling in other countries, where sometimes the word Darjeeling is even used for non-tea products.

Banerjee admitted that the plan had been rushed through earlier, causing profound surprise and dissatisfaction among those in the tea industry such as the tea buying fraternity, which was directed to furnish details about the teas produced or bought which were considered Darjeeling, without making available the necessary protection overseas.

Brazil Cup of Excellence Coffee Auction a Success
BRAZIL - Bidding at Brazil’s third Cup of Excellence auction started out early and did not let up for over 5 hours as the 18 Cup of Excellence award-winning coffees were sold to the highest bidder.

The top-priced coffee and the competition first place winner from the Santa Terezinha farm sold to the Japanese company of UCC Ueshima for $5.56lb. Japanese bidders purchased ten of the 18 lots. Japanese companies have bid very heavily in all of the previous Cup of Excellence auctions even though it means staying on line at night and well into the early morning hours.” Four United States companies bought five of the Cup of Excellence lots. Two importers, Knutsen Coffees, San Francisco and Atlantic Coffee, New York as well as Coffee Tree Roasters, Pittsburgh and Diedrich Coffee, Irvine, CA. were the fortunate highest bidders.

From Norway, Solberg and Hansen bought 2 lots and a new bidder to the Cup of Excellence auction, Mokka Kafekoptiao, Greece won the right to own this coffee. Both Solberg and Hansen and Diedrich Coffee have purchased coffee in every Cup of Excellence auction.

This auction had record number of registered importers. Bidders represented numerous European, US and and Japanese companies. Over 1100 bids were logged in during active bidding. Ten coffee lots were sold for well over $3.00 lb. Only one of the lots sold for less than $2.00 lb. The lot sizes ranged from 19-149 bags giving both the larger importer and a smaller roaster something to add to their product mix. Log on to www.bsca.com.br for a full summary.

This competition and auction, facilitated by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) was originated by the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association in 1999,(BSCA) as part of the International Coffee Organization’s Gourmet Project.

Tea & Coffee - January/February 2002

Theta Ridge Coffee

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