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Coffee and Tea Reports from the Front Lines

Italian Espresso Convention Held

Italy - EISday2005, the first convention of the Italian Espresso National Institute (INEI) took place in Italy on May 1. More than 150 people met at the convention to represent the 1750 espresso Italiano specialists, the certified baristas. It was not only a day to meet each other, but a possibility to examine strategies to keep the Italian Espresso National Institute’s certified coffee bars at the top of the category.

EISday2005 was more than just a convention: it was a unique occasion to discuss the future of the coffee bar in Italy and the challenges espresso coffee has to face. Luigi Odello, INEI’s general secretary and professor of sensory analysis, Luigi Bortoluzzi, ACNielsen researcher and Antonio De Bellis, market research & intelligence manager of Wella Italia reported on the theme.

Bortoluzzi gave the audience a very detailed picture of the out-of-home eating in Italy. About 35% of Italians has an out-of-home meal every day, generating a global revenue of 56.6 billions ($ 73.6 billions) for coffee bars and restaurants. In the next two years the business is expected to increase 15-17%.

Odello concentrated his attention on the way baristas can keep their coffee bars competitive. The way the consumer perceives espresso, the coffee bar and the barista plays an important role.

De Bellis effectively pointed out that dissatisfaction experienced in various aspects of life stimulates people to look for pleasant experiences. There are new targets for Italian coffee bars: singles, elders, mothers and immigrants.

EISday2005 was definitely the occasion to point out the centrality of the barista’s importance. That is why the certification carried out by the Italian Espresso National Institute involves the espresso equipment and the espresso coffee blends as well as the barista: getting a good espresso and giving your customer a pleasant experience is far more complex than just hitting a button.

Today the Italian Espresso National Institute is one of the most important associations in the coffee market counting 34 member companies. It groups espresso-equipment producers and roasters which develop overall more than 350M revenues ($455M). The Italian Espresso National Institute safeguards and promotes the original espresso through a product certification (certificate of product conformity Csqa n. 214 - 24 September 1999, DTP 008 Ed.1). Each member company which complies with the certification requirements has the right to use the trademarked “Espresso Italiano Certificato”. To guarantee consumers who choose to drink espresso at coffee bars bearing this mark, a strict technical specification has been issued, requiring the use of a certified coffee blend, certified equipment (machine and grinder-dispenser) and licensed personnel. Nowadays there are more than 650 coffee bars in Italy where one can get a certified Italian espresso. Visit the official website: www.espressoitaliano.org or e-mail Carlo Odello at comunicazione@assaggiatori.com for more information.

First Coffee Festival in Vietnam to be Held

Vietnam - The first- ever coffee festival in Vietnam is going to be held in Buon Ma Thuot City of Dak Lak province from December 2-5, 2005, reports The Moscow Times. There are going to be more than 200 pavilions at the festival.

The festival aims at assisting enterprises operating in the province which produce, process, trade, and export coffee products in improving quality and approach to futures trade.

This will be also a chance for domestic coffee producers and traders to exchange experience, promote their brand names, and seek for business partnership.

The Buon Ma Thuot coffee market will be the wholesale market where every subject from coffee growers to entrepreneurs, scientists can carry out market survey and sign business contracts.

The market is also the coffee exchange center of Vietnam with modern centralized trade and decentralized trade.

Nicaragua Farmers Celebrate Cup of Excellence Winners

Nicaragua - Thirty Five Nicaraguan coffees scored high enough to be awarded the coveted Cup of Excellence prize in Managua. This was the fourth year that the Cup of Excellence has been held in Nicaragua. Celebrating the diversity of the flavors profiles found during cupping was stressed. “There is a huge opportunity to capitalize on the coffees that were awarded and to celebrate a diversity of flavors not normally thought of as typically Nicaraguan,” indicated Susie Spindler of The Alliance for Coffee Excellence, Inc. “ Many of the international cuppers were surprised by the cup profiles they were tasting during the week, and feel that Nicaragua has great potential to expand the marketplace for these kinds of coffees”.

The first place coffee was submitted by a group of farmers from the La Union cooperative in Dipilto. Salatiel Zavala, Vicente Colindres, Misael Sauceda and Rosa Ines Rubio took the trophy with a caturra variety. Second place was given to Reginaldo Castellon Paguaga of the Las Nubes Farm with a Pacas variety, also from Dipilto. Both farmers scored over 90 points and were awarded the presidential medal as well.

Each of the 35 winning coffee lots were auctioned in their entirety to the highest bidder. For more information, log onto www.cupofexcellence.org.

Tea Consumption in U.K. Declines

U.K. - In the past two years, sales of traditional teabags in the U.K. have fallen by 16% and loose tea by 9%. The tea market, worth £707 million in 1999, fell to £623 million last year.

Tea’s decline is blamed on competition from new products such as fruit teas and the growing range of cold drinks from mineral water and fruit juices to sodas, which means that young people are increasingly not getting into the tea-drinking habit.

Health concerns have also hit sales. In contrast, sales of caffeine-free herbal and fruit teas rose by up to 50%. Despite tea’s popularity, a survey by the consumer research group Mintel shows that almost 80% of Britons still drink tea. In the over-65 age group that figure is 85%. Of those aged 15 to 24, just 72% drink tea.

Ellen Shiels, the senior market analyst at Mintel, said: “There is a need by manufacturers to make traditional tea more of a fashionable beverage. The tea market has become more segmented, trying to be many things to more people.”

Shiels said that consumers regarded the new teas as healthier and more fashionable than the traditional cuppa. “Herbal and fruit teas are being sold as “well-being” teas. Green tea is being promoted as containing high levels of antioxidants, and white tea is said to contain three times the number of antioxidants as green tea.”

Starbucks Goes To Russia

Russia - The U.S. coffee giant is entangled in a trademark dispute with a Russian firm.

Global coffee behemoth Starbucks is planning expansion into Russia after quietly opening its first outlet in Moscow last week, states Bloomberg News Service.

The company has been eyeing the capital’s expanding coffee culture for years but is entangled in a legal dispute with a local firm claiming ownership of the Starbucks trademark in Russia.

Starbucks opened its first Russian cafe in the basement of the Renaissance Hotel last week. It managed to skirt the trademark question thanks to an international cooperation agreement with Marriott, which owns a stake in the Renaissance.

“We look forward to participating in this market. In the next several months, we will have specific answers,” said Julio Gutierrez, president of Starbucks Coffee Europe, Middle East and Africa, warding off reporters’ questions about the company’s specific plans.

Gutierrez flatly dismissed suggestions that the launch was being delayed by the challenge from Starbucks.“We are the owners of the brand in Russia. We have been for years,” he said.

Starbucks originally registered its trademarks with Rospatent in 1997. But Starbucks is claiming that the registrations were inactive too long. “The Starbucks trademark was canceled because it was not used,” said Sergei Zuykov, a lawyer for Starbucks, which acquired the registration last year.

Starbucks owns the Russian rights to several trademarks used worldwide, including a logo strikingly similar to the famous green mermaid, said Yevgeny Ariyevich, a partner at Baker & McKenzie, which is representing the U.S. firm in Russia.

Zuykov denied that Starbucks was acting in bad faith, arguing that the U.S. coffee giant had never been active in Russia. He said that Starbucks was planning to open two cafes in Moscow as soon as the courts confirmed its rights to the trademarks.

But Zuykov said the owner of Starbucks, Natalya Nosova, might be willing to sell the trademarks to the U.S. company if that option turned out to be more profitable than selling coffee.

Tea & Coffee - July/August, 2005


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