The coffee trade weathered some remarkably swirling winds in 2018. While political instability among various producing and traditional importing countries disrupted some traditional trade channels, there was also some remarkable innovation toward transparency and supply chain efficiency through technologies such as blockchain.
2018 also saw absolutely bonkers prices paid for some high-end auction coffees, underscoring the wide chasm between the premium specialty market and the commodities market, where a coffee price crisis is ongoing.
Here we feature some of our top trade-related stories of the volatile year that was 2018:
Following a wave of anti-globalization steps made since United States President Donald Trump took office, officials from the U.S. State Department have confirmed the country’s withdrawal from the International Coffee Agreement.
While some specialty coffee retailers are taking advantage of the virtual currencies for which blockchain was originally pioneered (see Part One of our series on cryptocurrency and blockchain in the coffee industry), others are pursuing blockchain itself as a means of securing crucial data and saving money and time to the benefit of everyone in the global coffee supply chain.
The team at the Transparent Trade Coffee has has dug deep into the web to unearth insights regarding the online presence of some of the world’s most renowned coffee farms.
Recently I took a dive into the changes in policy in Tanzania that have reshaped the cooperatives and auctions in that country. Here, I’d like to take a close look at one of the most well-known national auctions and affiliated cooperative systems in Kenya.
A month-long protest resulting in violence and civil unrest in Nicaragua has caused transportation shutdowns affecting the export of Nicaraguan coffees following the recent harvest season.
In total, the Spring GFH auction brought in $23,442 for the Vermont-based nonprofit, which has been providing cervical cancer screening and prevention in coffee-growing communities since 1996. Money from the auction will go directly toward Grounds For Health’s programming in Ethiopia and Kenya.
A natural-process Geisha from the Lamastus Family Estates in Boquete, Panama, fetched $803 per pound yesterday at the Best of Panama green coffee auction hosted by the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama. It’s the highest per-pound price ever paid at the coffee auction, and the purchase continues a trend in the high-end specialty coffee market in which buyers hailing from Asia, Australia, Europe and the U.S. are spending unprecedented amounts of money to secure what they believe is the best of the best.
After a two-year hiatus, the Cup of Excellence competition returned in Rwanda earlier this month, with 28 winning lots receiving scores of 86 or above from an international jury. Rwanda was the first African country to host a CoE competition, led by the Portland, Oregon-based Alliance for Coffee Excellence along with in-country partners, with the first CoE there dating back to 2008.
Among the numerous regional events being held to promote specialty coffee cultivation and quality in Colombia’s post-conflict zones is the growing Best of Cauca festival and auction, now in its fifth year. Organizers of the annual event hope that the increased access and exposure to new markets provided by the platform will continue to encourage farmers to continue producing coffee over illicit crops, primarily coca.