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Coffee and Tea Reports
from the Front Lines

SCAA States View of Current Coffee Situation
LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA - At a recent meeting, the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s International Relations Committee developed the following position statement on the world coffee economy:

The SCAA understands and appreciates the position of the Association of Coffee Producing Countries (ACPC) on the current low price of coffee. The SCAA is concerned that prolonged periods of low prices will lead to hardship for the coffee growers and a deterioration in the overall quality of coffee being produced, and that this would have a very negative effect on coffee consumption worldwide. The SCAA therefore supports all measures that are designed to bring about better and fairer remuneration for coffee growers.

The SCAA believes that producers and the coffee industry should implement measures to raise the minimum standard of coffee. The elimination of “TRIAGE” from use in coffee beverages should reduce production surplus and should bring prices to more acceptable levels. The SCAA is keen to work with coffee producers to bring about an overall improvement in the quality of coffee, which, we believe, will bring about an increase in world consumption and better prices.

Founded in 1982, SCAA is the world’s largest coffee trade association with over 2,500 members. SCAA members are located in over 40 countries and represent every aspect of the specialty coffee industry-from coffee growers to retailers. The SCAA’s annual conference is held in a different U.S. city each year and is the coffee industry’s largest gathering and exhibition. Dozens of workshops and roundtables on a variety of timely topics are attended by 8,000 participants, from cupping coffee to merchandizing. The exhibition hosts over 800 trade booths. SCAA’s next Conference & Exhibition will be held in Miami Beach, Florida, April 20-23, 2001.

New Technology Boosts Cancer-Fighting Properties in Coffee
AUSTIN, TEXAS - Researchers say they have developed a roasting process that may preserve more of the cancer-fighting elements found in coffee. The patent-pending roasting process significantly increases the extractability of polyphenols when coffee is brewed. Polyphenols are antioxidants that naturally exist in coffee beans and tea leaves. According to cancer research, an increase in polyphenol intake results in a decreased incidence of all cancers. These antioxidants also protect against cardiovascular disease, immune dysfunction, inflammatory diseases and other degenerative diseases.

Coffee beans naturally possess cancer-fighting polyphenols, but only a limited number of polyphenols are usually extracted from the coffee grounds during brewing. Consequently, when the consumer throws out the used grounds, many of the healthy polyphenols are thrown away also.

“We’ve simply changed the roasting process, made it a little more efficient and found a way to keep more healthy compounds intact,” said Dr. Thomas Slaga of the AMC Cancer Research Center, which developed the process along with Oncology Sciences Corp. (OSC).

The process is applied after the coffee beans are roasted in a traditional manner. This allows approximately 60% more polyphenols to be extracted from the coffee at the time of brewing. What this means to the coffee consumer is a healthier cup of coffee with 60% more polyphenols and no change in taste or aroma.

“The discovery of this process is an exciting find for a pharmaceutical company specializing in developmental cancer therapies,” said Loretta Zapp, president and c.e.o. of OSC. OSC is closely affiliated with Denver-based AMC. “This process can lead to a healthier cup of coffee for the billions of people who drink it every day.”

OSC and AMC Cancer Research Center are currently refining the research of the process-the first of its kind anywhere in the world, according to the companies. AMC has dedicated a section of its facility solely to this area of research, complete with a small batch roaster. Already substantially improved, the end result is expected to be a cup of coffee that contains 150-200% more polyphenols than today’s ordinary cup of coffee.

OSC says it plans to license the beverage technology to a large coffee roasting company within the next 18 months. A portion of the profits from licensing the rights to the technology will go back into cancer prevention research.

ICO Coffee Projects Approved
LONDON, ENGLAND - The Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) approved two new coffee projects sponsored by the International Coffee Organization (ICO). The CFC is an intergovernmental financial institution established by the U.N that assists developing countries dependent on production of primary commodities. The two new projects, designed to improve the business capacity of small producers and exporters in Mexico and Nicaragua, and to rehabilitate neglected coffee farms in Angola, have a total value of US $5.3 million and US$8.5 million respectively.

The first project was named “Strengthening the Commercial Financial Management and Business Capacity of Small Coffee Producers/Exporters in Mexico and Nicaragua.” The project’s goal is to pilot new ways of helping the small producer by improving market access, developing suitable credit systems, and providing technical assistance for capacity building for small producers and exporter organization. The direct beneficiaries of the project will be 40 coffee producer organizations, their families, and communities or regions where they are located. The market linkages established by the project should enable small producers to participate in niche markets such as organic, gourmet and specialty and fair trade coffee markets, speculates the ICO.

The second project is called “Pilot Rehabilitation of Neglected Coffee Plantations into Small Family Production Units in Angola.” Its immediate beneficiaries are resource-poor farmers who will participate in the rejuvenation of coffee plantations, and displaced families who will be allocated a piece of land to produce coffee and other crops.

The objectives of the project include demonstrating key elements of coffee rehabilitation plans by showing how production can be increased in abandoned coffee estates and how displaced people can be resettled.

The ICO is an intergovernmental organization established to serve the international coffee community by bringing producing and consuming countries together to exchange views and address policy issues.

India Looks to Nearby Countries for Coffee Plan Answers
LONDON, ENGLAND - India will not join the coffee retention plan proposed by the Association of Coffee Producing Countries (ACPC) until they know whether Indonesia and Vietnam will follow the scheme as well, reports the Financial Times. India, which exports 80% of its coffee production, is watching the Asian countries’ moves before committing itself under this proposal to hold back 20% of exportable surplus as a price stimulating initiative, reports the Financial Times.

The concern in India is that if other producers do not back the coffee retention scheme (CRS), the country could lose some of its 4% share of the world coffee export trade. With the Indian coffee plantation industry being highly export-oriented and the domestic market for the beverage stagnant, a cautious government will come out with a policy on the CRS only when the next ACPC meeting on the subject is held.

Vietnam is not a member of ACPC and is not bound by its decision to restrict coffee supplies. But observers say Hanoi’s coffee exports revenues have fallen so far that it may be ready to consider a short-term clampdown on coffee exports to help longer-term revenues. Officials from Vietnam’s ministry of agriculture and rural development and the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association (Vicofa) met with Sergio Amaral, ACPC chairman, to listen to the ACPC argument for using the strategy.



Tea & Coffee - December/January 2001
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