t hasn't been a good year for coffee - oversupply of the commodity is bringing prices down and keeping them there. Industry sources are stating prices will continue to stay depressed for the next two years. Everyone owes everyone else money and foreclosures are looming in front of too many companies and families.
Back at Sintercafe, our editors noticed a dark shadow hung over the coffee producers. Their arduous struggle to cultivate the crop, support a family and try to make a profit was omnipresent throughout the symposium. Retention schemes are being imposed and abandoned almost as soon as they are set in place. Now El Salvador must face recovering from their recent earthquake, which devastated prime coffee growing areas.
Coffee is a cyclical agricultural product; it has been battered in the past too many times. Both the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe as well as the Specialty Coffee Association of America are imploring producing nations to get rid of their old and inferior coffee. Several coffee associations are already urging their members to consider alternate crops. We might think that this is the answer to overproduction, but we can't afford the risk of losing quality coffee forever. We implore all roasters to pay premiums for superior coffees. Consider the long-term effects for that special coffee origin - you do want it still available to you a decade from now, don't you?
On the consuming front, consolidation continues among coffee companies. As coffee companies are entering IPOs, others are being delisted. One survivor of the "Stock Wars" is Vermont-based Green Mt. Coffees, which brilliantly sprung back to profitable numbers after a roller coaster stock ride. Green Mt. Coffees continues to grow in its distribution base. Also growing are the coffee bars. Starbucks leads the way again in Japan and Asia - and is now making their move onto the European continent. Meanwhile, new chains are opening up in the U.K. Will this trend diminish? Absolutely not ... I've seen it grow continually for the last 20 years: it just keeps getting better.
In this issue, we focus on the upcoming Tea & Coffee World Cup in Amsterdam, June 26 - 28. We have over 165 companies already exhibiting, exceeding our numbers from the last World Cup, with space for more (though time is running out). Our symposium will touch on the many hard-hitting issues faced by both the tea and coffee industries.
Editor & Co-Publisher