Pest, Pain and Poverty – Perfetto Espresso?

Dec 10, 2012



Espresso Roller Coaster 


It has been a helluva year in the coffee market!

Perhaps for many, not as manic as 2011, with new +3$ USD / Lb highs, but none the less, 2012 will go down as a busy year in the trade!

The year started with prices stubbornly above 2.35 $ and has finished plumbing depths 30% lower, at near 1.40 $

Where do we go next?

Well, if reports from the Ugandan growers association are to be believed, not very far, as they now advise coffee production is ‘at or below the margins of profitability’

Farmers in the eastern Ugandan Bugisu sub region, have advised that they may have to adopt alternative cash crops, such as maize to raise their incomes. ‘A number of farmers interviewed by URN say that they cannot withstand the persistent decline of coffee prices, which has been on-going for the last three years. A kilogram of Arabica coffee parchment in Bugisu sub region now costs between 5500 and 3500 shillings, from shillings 12,000 two years ago.’

I am no expert, but we all know coffee has reached recent 20+ year highs in the last few years and so such margin erosion can only be due to middle men as well as gross expectation, combined with an unfortunate lack of education and co operative style farming- many dislike organisations as FNC in Colombia – but it seems an essential tool for protecting farmer interests and welfare


Meantime,the Salvadoran Coffee Council, has warned that up to 40% of the coffee tree population may now be affected by a mutant form of Roya (Coffee rust) fungus…the resulting impact on crop yields is still unknown (although the c 1m bag crop was in the 2011-12 year down some 35%)  – but Roya is prevalent this season in Guatemala and Honduras, as well, it tends to favour lower altitude growing areas, where the moister climes encourage proliferation of the fungus.

This follows an earlier out break of Fusarium guttiform, or Pineapple blight in the region!

Thank goodness hurricane Isaac did not inflict further damage on New Orleans coffee stocks at the end of August and that the Cubans started their harvest some weeks earlier…. otherwise, the trade could have been forgiven for thinking there was a biblical angle on the current market conditions!

After all these  depressing reports, you will be pleased to hear that the horizon of 2013 looks some what brighter! The trade seems set on a course for lower pricing and more stable and consistent supply into 2013! And even the ICO sees business moving out from the traditional sub 6 month coverage, to layered purchases, out as far as 18 > 24 months…… With this in mind, will there ever be anything left to report on in the market place? Is humdrum and boring good for us?

Well, whilst we ponder on that dichotomous question…..Monkey get me a perfetto espresso dear boy!


Guru writes for Aromo Coffee – They are coffee experts focussed on providing convenient and tasty ways for the caffeine addict to take their medicine. Aromo supplies excellent ESE Coffee pods and superlative Senseo pods,  both of which offer the espresso and filter connoisseur  a no mess, no fuss,  super fresh and environmentally conscious method to make stunning coffee… the guys at Aromo also have a range of Dualit branded capsules which make a brilliant and economic alternative to nespresso capsules

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