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Coffee and Tea Reports from the Front Lines

Forecast Made for Brazil’s 2005 Winter

Brazil - ABECAFE, the Association of Brazilian Coffee Exporters, sponsors a meeting each year for their members with weather experts reporting on the latest predictions for conditions over coffee lands during the Brazilian winter season.

This year the meeting was held at facilities offered by the Santos Commercial Association. Dr. Paulo Cesar Etchichury, chief meteorologist of SOMAR, Southern Marine Weather Services Ltda., addressed the meeting with their most recent analysis of the factors that may decide Brazil weather conditions this year. SOMAR presented their predictions based on their analysis and research of the three basic factors: climate, precipitation and temperatures.

Dr. Etchichury demonstrated that the climate over the Brazilian continent depends in a large way on the El Niño and La Niña phenomena. SOMAR predicts that for the first six months of this year temperatures in the Pacific waters will average about 1° C above normal, weakening the conditions for El Niño which brings dry weather in North Brazil and rain in the South. During the second half of the year there will be a cooling of ocean temperatures, increasing the probability of La Niña conditions at the end of the year. He noted that these conditions are very similar to the climate pattern during 1994/95, when a severe frost occurred in Brazil in July 1994.

With respect to precipitation, SOMAR predicts lower than normal rains during the April/May/June quarter and continuing below normal during July/August/September. They believe the autumn and winter Brazil seasons will experience below normal rains with drought conditions that could possibly affect coffee flowerings in September/October.

With respect to temperatures, the SOMAR analysis indicates no high/low extremes during the April/May/June quarter with average temperatures a little higher than normal. The cold fronts that normally occur 2 to 3 times each month during these seasons should not cause any problems. During the July/August/September months normal temperatures are expected with the lowest temperatures and possibility of cold fronts reaching coffee lands predicted for the last 15 days of July. During August temperatures should rise to normal or above normal with continued dry weather.

In summary, the SOMAR weather analysis presented by Dr. Etchichury does not forecast a severe winter or frost this year over coffee country but he warned there is always the possibility of atmospheric jet-stream activity, which meteorologists so far have not been able to perfectly diagnose.

Dr. Etchichury finished his talk with the comment that he believes the greater danger to coffee growers this year is the prediction of drought conditions, which would be good for harvesting but prejudicial for a good flowering.

- By Harry C. Jones

Women in Coffee Tour to Be Held in Peru

Peru - A “Women in Coffee” tour will be held July 22-31, 2005 by Java Ventures. The tour will visit women’s cooperatives, organic coffee farms and community projects that are helping families and communities survive the crisis. Those on the tour will come to share perspectives with fellow industry members and coffee producers to learn more about causes and impacts of the crisis and discuss solutions. Those on the tour will also participate in the annual coffee festival in the town of Quillabamba and visit amazing Cusco and ancient Macchu Picchu, and trek parts of the Inca Trail. An Ethiopia Coffee Tour will be held October 2005.

The Peru tour is filling up quickly. For more information contact: Kimberly Easson at (1)(415) 595-2924 or E-mail: tours@JavaVentures.com.

Minas Gerais Leader Again at Illycaffe Coffee Quality Awards

Brazil - The Italian roaster, Illycaffe announced the winners of the 14th edition of the Illycaffe Espresso Coffee Quality Awards at a ceremony recently held in São Paulo, Brazil The yearly promotion of the Italian roaster began in 1991, as an instrument to insure supplies of the unique high quality Brazilian coffees required as the principal component of their espresso blends.

Previously, Brazil was considered a producer of large volumes of commodity coffees with little concern for quality but Illycaffe president, Ernesto Illy, recognized that Brazil had the potential to produce specialty and idealized the award program to give growers an incentive to improve quality and receive the benefits of higher priced coffees. Illycaffe was a pioneer in Brazil in coffee quality contests and the example has been followed in recent years by various competitions sponsored by State and Cooperative Insitutions.

This year 852 samples were submitted for the event in comparison with 263 participants for the first year of the awards. Samples were received from producers with farms in the prime growing areas of Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Espirito Santo, Goias, Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. Only Arabica coffees are accepted for classification prepared by Natural, Washed or Peeled Cherry (Semi-Washed) methods, grading Type 3 or better with screen size minimum 16 or above.

After a series of tests and classifications by international standards by recognized trade experts, 50 lots were chosen for a final selection of the top 10 qualities. The winners, all 50, received a total of $101,000 distributed according to selection. The prize rules give Illycaffe the right to buy all of the final lots at an agreed premium above the current market prices.

The 1st prize winner was José Lázaro Pelloso, a farmer from Alfenas, Minas Gerais. Nine of the top ten winners were all producers from Minas with farms in the Sul de Minas, Cerrado and Zona da Mata regions of the State. The remaining winner was a farmer from the new growing region of the highlands of West Bahia.

- By Harry C. Jones

First Guatemala Q-Auction Successfully Sold

Guatemala - Seven coffee lots, a total of 1,235 bags of 69K, were sold today during the first Guatemalan Q-Auction 2005 at a weight average of $1.62 per pound. The highest bid was Wataru & Co. Ltd from Japan, who bought Cooperative Peña Roja, located in Huehuetenango, at $1.74 per pound; followed by Kato Coffee, from Japan, who bought Finca El Bosque, located in Guatemala, at $1.72; and Volcafé, USA, who bought Las Crucitas, located in Guatemala, at $1.71.

The farms of the winning lots are located in Huehuetenango (2), Guatemala (2), San Marcos, Chimaltenango and Jalapa. A total of 29 samples were registered to participate in the process, 23 made it to the national grading level and 18 to the international grading level. Fedecocagua, exporter of cooperative coffees, presented 14 of the 29 registered lots.

The opening price was $1.45 per pound, $0.55 above last year's. The auction duration was around 3 hours and 25 minutes. A total of 35 companies registered to participate, 23 from USA, 7 from Japan, 2 from Europe and 3 from other countries. Three Japanese companies and 3 from USA bought one lot. Only Volcafé bought two coffees.

The results can be seen in auction.stoneworks.com. For more information about the Q-Auction program, contact Gerardo León-York, gleonyork@coffeeinstitute.org.



Tea & Coffee - June/July, 2005
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