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Coffee and Tea Reports from the Front Lines

Brazil Decaf Market Survey Unveiled

BRAZIL - Brazil, with a population of about 170 million by the latest census, is the second largest coffee consuming country (after the U.S.); it is estimated to roast and consume about 13.5 million bags and drink an estimated 115 billion cups a year. By a recent survey made by ABIC, the Association of Brazilian Coffee roasters, only about 1% of this volume is in the form of decaffeinated coffee.

Coffee drinking is a traditional national pastime with many “cafezinho” cups consumed throughout the day, and any excuse is a good reason for inviting friends, visitors and customers to enjoy a friendly cup. Perhaps due to the habit and custom of drinking a strong, black, flavorful coffee many times during the day without any apparent insomnia problems, it has not occurred thus far to Brazilians, when offering or serving coffee, to raise the question, “Decaf?” The result is a very limited market for the product; it is believed most decaf consumption in Brazil is the result of doctors’ orders.

The limited demand has resulted in the investment of only one decaffeinated coffee product in Brazil, the firm COCAM (Cocam Cia. De Café Soluvel e Derivados). COCAM began operations in 1970 and is located in Catanduva in the interior of Sao Paulo about 400 km from the capital. COCAM has two factories in Catanduva, producing freeze dried and spray dried soluble coffees and the installation for producing green, roasted or soluble decaffeinated coffees . The company produces a wide variety of instant coffees and extract, providing a private label service for the principal Brazilian and international coffee firms, which are the main basis for their operations. - Harry C. Jones

India’s Darjeeling tea sells for world record price

INDIA - A top-grade Darjeeling tea fetched a world record price of 18,000 rupees ($390.70) a kg in an auction at the main Calcutta tea market, a trade body said recently.

“Five chests containing 55 kg tea, produced by the Makaibari tea estate, Darjeeling, were sold by J. Thomas & Co. Pvt Ltd, at a world record price of 18,000 rupees a kg,” the Calcutta Tea Traders Association said in a statement.

“It [silvertips Darjeeling tea] was keenly competed for by buyers and was purchased by Godfrey Phillips India Ltd GDFR.BO for export to Japan and the United States of America,” it said.

Officials at J.Thomas & Co, the world’s biggest tea brokerage company, said the previous highest recorded tea price was also for Darjeeling. The tea sold for 13,001 rupees a kg at a 1992 auction.

India, the world largest tea producer, exports nine-to-10 million kg of Darjeeling a year. Darjeeling, an orthodox tea produced in a mountainous district of the same name in West Bengal state, is known as the champagne of teas. ***($1=46.07 rupees)

Researchers Cultivate Decaf Beans

JAPAN - Decaf brew from a coffee plant that has been genetically modified to produce beans with very little caffeine could one day come to a coffee shop near you, reports the Globe and Mail.

“At present, coffee is decaffeinated industrially, but the process is expensive and the flavor of the product is poor,” say the Japanese researchers who engineered the decaffeinated plant.

They used genetic engineering to block a gene that produces a chemical that the plant uses to make caffeine.

Shinjiro Ogita and his colleagues at the Nara Institute of Science Technology in Japan say the plants produce coffee beans that are essentially normal, except they would contain up to 80% less caffeine - 20% more than most people are looking for in a cup of decaf, but it is a good start in a novel approach for taking the kick out of coffee, the researchers say.

Their findings are published in the British journal Nature.

Caffeine was first extracted from coffee beans in 1820, when the poet Goethe urged a German chemist to find out why he had insomnia, the International Coffee Organization says.

Decaffeinated coffee was first produced commercially in 1906.

Tea & Coffee - September/October, 2003
Modern Process Equipment


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