Archive for the ‘Coffee News from Around the World’ Category

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz squelched rumors Thursday that the coffee chain is on the verge of buying Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, a company known for a machine that allows people to brew a single cup using small ground-coffee inserts known as K-Cups.

Schultz instead indicated that he’s ready to take on the single-serve wonder from Vermont, which two years ago bought the wholesale business of Tully’s Coffee. Despite great success with K-Cups, Green Mountain is considerably smaller than Starbucks, with a market capitalization of $5.7 billion compared with Starbucks’ $30 billion.

“Green Mountain has done a very fine job introducing single-serve brewer technology to the U.S. market. And as a result it has emerged as an early leader. But as I have said, these are very early days, and history has demonstrated time and again that patents alone do not determine market winners — deep customer engagement, best-in-class experiences and quality do,” Schultz said in a memo to executives.

Speculation ramped up early this week that Starbucks planned to buy Green Mountain. Starbucks has said it wants to make acquisitions with its plentiful cash, and with a long-term relationship with Kraft ending March 1, some people thought it might be poised to buy Green Mountain to replace a similar technology from Kraft called T-discs.

Green Mountain’s stock surged to an all-time high on the rumors Monday.

The shares quickly deflated on Tuesday when Starbucks made its single-serve- coffee announcement: It will provide single-serve packages of ground coffee for single-cup brewers in half a million hotel rooms across the United States.

Shares of both companies dropped Thursday. Green Mountain stock fell 7.7 percent, to $40.71, and Starbucks dropped 0.2 percent to $33.50.


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Japan plans to buy more coffee outside its traditional African markets in an effort to broaden cooperation with producers on the continent, the state-run Japan External Trade Organization said.

The world’s third-biggest economy wants to increase purchases from Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi and Cameroon, Toyokazu Fukuyama, an official at the organization known as Jetro, said in an interview at a coffee conference yesterday in Arusha, northern Tanzania.

Japan’s traditional sources of coffee on the continent are Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, Fukuyama said. Brazil, Costa Rica and Jamaica are the country’s other main suppliers, he said.

“As part of cooperation with African countries we want to venture into new markets for coffee,” he said. “We have started and we want to build on the small level from these countries.”

Japan consumes 84,000 metric tons of coffee annually, with per capita consumption at 1.7 kilograms (3.75 pounds), according to the International Coffee Organization’s website. Africa accounts for 12 percent of global output of the beans, according to the InterAfrican Coffee Organization, which represents 25 of the continent’s largest producers.

Jetro started seminars for Japanese coffee buyers to promote non-traditional markets as a source of beans, though volumes of purchases have yet to be determined, Fukuyama said.

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SAGADA, the Philippines — Goad Sibayan went prospecting recently in the remote Philippine highlands here known as the Cordillera. He clambered up and then down a narrow, rocky footpath that snaked around some hills, paying no heed to coffins that, in keeping with a local funeral tradition, hung very conspicuously from the surrounding sheer cliffs.

The New York Times

More than 30 families are involved in the civet coffee business in Liwa.

Reaching a valley where coffee trees were growing abundantly, he scanned the undergrowth where he knew the animals would relax after picking the most delicious coffee cherries with their claws and feasting on them with their fangs. His eyes settled on a light, brownish clump atop a rock. He held it in his right palm and, gently slipping it into a little black pouch, whispered:


Not quite. But Mr. Sibayan’s prize was the equivalent in the world of rarefied coffees: dung containing the world’s most expensive coffee beans.

Costing hundreds of dollars a pound, these beans are found in the droppings of the civet, a nocturnal, furry, long-tailed catlike animal that prowls Southeast Asia’s coffee-growing lands for the tastiest, ripest coffee cherries. The civet eventually excretes the hard, indigestible innards of the fruit — essentially, incipient coffee beans — though only after they have been fermented in the animal’s stomach acids and enzymes to produce a brew described as smooth, chocolaty and devoid of any bitter aftertaste.

As connoisseurs in the United States, Europe and East Asia have discovered civet coffee in recent years, growing demand is fueling a gold rush in the Philippines and Indonesia, the countries with the largest civet populations. Harvesters are scouring forest floors in the Philippines, where civet coffee has emerged as a new business. In Indonesia, where the coffee has a long history, enterprising individuals are capturing civets and setting up minifarms, often in their backyards.

Neither the Indonesian government nor the Association of Indonesia Coffee Exporters breaks down civet coffee’s tiny share of Indonesia’s overall coffee production. The Association of Indonesian Coffee Luwak Farmers, created in 2009 to handle the rising demand for civet coffee, or kopi luwak, as it is called in Indonesian, said most civet producers were small-time businessmen who exported directly overseas.

Given the money at stake, fake and low-grade civet coffee beans are also flooding the market.

“Because of its increasing popularity, there is more civet coffee than ever, but I don’t trust the quality,” said Rudy Widjaja, 68, whose 131-year-old family-owned coffee store in Jakarta, Warung Tinggi, is considered Indonesia’s oldest.

Competition is touching off fierce debates. What is real civet coffee, anyway? Does the civet’s choice of beans make the coffee? Or is it the beans’ journey through the animal’s digestive tract? Can the aroma, fragrance and taste of beans from the droppings of a caged civet ever be as tasty as those from its wild cousin?

Vie Reyes, whose Manila-based company, Bote Central, entered the civet coffee business five years ago, said she bought only from harvesters of the wild kind. Ms. Reyes exports to distributors overseas — Japan and South Korea are her biggest markets — and also directly sells 2.2-pound bags for $500, or about $227 a pound.

Maintaining quality was a constant challenge because distinguishing the real stuff from the fake was never easy. One time, harvesters sold her regular beans glued to unidentified dung.

“I washed it,” she said. “But the glue wouldn’t come off.”

One of her suppliers, Mr. Sibayan, 37, buys beans from collectors throughout the Cordillera, a mountainous region in the north that can be reached only after a punishing 12-hour drive from Manila. On a recent day, he dropped by to see the Pat-ogs, who own a 1.7-acre lot just outside this town.

Until Mr. Sibayan began buying their civet coffee four years ago, the Pat-ogs had never given much thought to the droppings left behind by the civets that came to munch on the family’s coffee trees at night. They discarded the beans or mixed them with regular beans they sold to agents. Now, they were getting about $9 a pound for the civet beans, or about five times the price of regular coffee beans, which, furthermore, required labor-intensive harvesting.


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Participants in the United States Barista Championship at the Specialty Coffee Association of America expo are finding themselves going up against some tough judges.

Baristas make specialty coffees like espresso and cappuccino, along with specialty coffees of their own concoction.

The 58 baristas get 15 minutes to prepare and serve four espressos, four cappuccinos and four of their own drinks to the seven judges during the four-day competition at the Anaheim Convention Center.

They are judged in terms of quality of the drinks, cleanliness, technical skills and overall presentation.

After the first round, the contestants are whittled down to a semi-final, with the finals and awards on Sunday, the last day of the exposition.

Mokk-a’s Cafe Italia!  Winner and still the champion!!


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Milwaukee’s Common Council has agreed to the use of industrial bonds to help a coffee company expand. 

Alterra Coffee Roasters wants to upgrade its local operations, including, creating a bakery and café in an old bank building in Bay View. The council voted today in favor of issuing Industrial Revenue Bonds, so Alterra could get a lower interest rate from lenders.
The vote came despite Alderman Jim Bohl’s concerns that the bonds are designed for manufacturers.
“Do not think that ultimately you may not have someone say, I went to a conventional lender and they’re not providing. I’m looking to create a larger restaurant and we manufacture food,” Bohl said.

The City Attorney’s Office indicate the bond use is legal. Alderman Tony Zielinski says that’s good enough for him. 

“Everybody knows how difficult it is to get a number of these economic development projects going. Everybody’s hurting. And to have a four million dollar project take place in a vacant store front property, I think, is something that is very positive,” Zielinski said.

Alterra’s plan includes upgrading its facilities in Grafton and Shorewood.

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Starbucks Entry into $5 Billion Japan Home Coffee Market Opportunity Follows Successful Introduction in U.S., U.K. and Canada.

TOKYO, Apr 13, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — –Starbucks VIA Expected to Reach More Than 30,000 Distribution Points in Coming Months 

 Howard Schultz continued the global expansion of the Starbucks VIA(R) business with an announcement from Tokyo, celebrating product availability in 870 Starbucks /quotes/comstock/15*!sbux/quotes/nls/sbux (SBUX 24.73, +0.24, +0.98%) stores in Japan. Starbucks is inviting Japanese customers to participate in a four-day Starbucks VIA(R) Taste Challenge–hosted in Starbucks retail stores to see if Japanese customers can taste the difference between Starbucks VIA(R) Coffee Essence and fresh brewed Starbucks(R) coffee.

 “Launching Starbucks VIA(R) Coffee Essence in Japan, where the at-home coffee market is $5 billion, represents a significant milestone as Starbucks goes after the $23 billion global instant coffee business,” said Starbucks chairman, president and ceo Howard Schultz. “Customers in other parts of the world have already discovered and adopted Starbucks VIA(R) Ready Brew into their daily routines, and we are pleased to introduce our customers in Japan to the great taste of Starbucks VIA(R).”

 Starbucks VIA(R) Coffee Essence is Starbucks first premium coffee stick product in Japan, where 63 percent of total coffee sold is instant. With the body, flavor and rich aroma expected from Starbucks(R) coffee, Starbucks VIA(R) Coffee Essence will create a new category for coffee drinkers looking to enjoy Starbucks quality coffee anytime and anywhere.

 Starbucks VIA(R) Taste Challenge

 Similar to Taste Challenges in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., customers are invited to visit any of Japan’s 870 Starbucks stores from April 14-18 to participate in the Starbucks VIA(R) Coffee Essence Taste Challenge and see if they can tell the difference between Starbucks VIA(R) Coffee Essence and fresh brewed Starbucks(R) coffee. In addition, customers who purchase a book of three sticks of Starbucks VIA(R) Coffee Essence will receive a complimentary fourth stick, and those who purchase a box of 12-sticks will receive three complimentary sticks, which encourage them to share with friends and colleagues. Customers can locate their nearest store through the Starbucks Store Locator.

 This Taste Challenged builds on the successful launch in the U.K. where customers responded enthusiastically, and nearly one half of people who participated in the Taste Challenge went on to purchase.

 “Starbucks VIA(R) has clearly struck a chord with coffee drinkers in the U.K.; it’s a huge instant coffee market, but a lot of people are looking for a step up in quality,” said Brian Waring, vice president of marketing for Starbucks U.K. “We knew the key was to get customers to take the Taste Challenge. Starbucks VIA(R) tastes just like our fresh brewed coffee and upon tasting, customers start recommending it to family and friends.”

 Poised for Growth

 The company is optimistic about creating a new premium category in the Japanese home-use coffee market, and Japan is Starbucks next step as the company eyes the $23 billion instant and single serve coffee market. Since its September 2009 launch in the U.S., Starbucks VIA(R) Ready Brew continues to gain momentum and customer adoption as customers find new times and ways to incorporate it into their daily routines.

 The growth will continue as Starbucks VIA(R) Ready Brew is introduced into grocery, mass and drug accounts in the U.S., bringing the expected distribution points to more than 30,000 locations by the end of the third quarter of Fiscal 2010, doubling the current distribution. The company continues to innovate on the platform, creating new ways and opportunities to enjoy Starbucks VIA(R).

 Starbucks VIA(R) Ready Brew has received numerous honors since launching in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., including product innovation awards from Backpacker magazine, Progressive Grocer, and Allegra Strategies[1].

 About Starbucks

 Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee in the world. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup.

 Allegra Strategies is a London-based management consultancy and has accurately predicted trends in the UK branded coffee shop market since 1999. Allegra is recognized as one of the global leaders in coffee sector and foodservice research. 126 industry executives were surveyed by Allegra between 15 April and 1 May 2009. A further 20 company executives were interviewed to gather information on latest store numbers

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April 12 (Bloomberg) — Coffee rose in New York for the first time in a week on tight supplies from Colombia, the second-largest grower of arabica beans, and as the dollar fell, making commodities more appealing. Cocoa and cotton also gained.

Coffee exports fell 33 percent last month from March 2009, Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers said last week. The dollar fell as much as 1.3 percent against a basket of six currencies including the euro and yen. The 24-contract Standard & Poor’s GSCI commodity index gained as much as 1 percent.

There are reports from Colombia of “scarcity and problems with quality,” said Rodrigo Costa, a vice president of institutional sales at Newedge USA LLC in New York. “The dollar is getting weaker, this puts the macroeconomic picture a little more friendly to markets as well.”

Arabica coffee for May delivery rose 0.85 cent, or 0.6 percent, to $1.3355 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. The most-active contract is down 1.8 percent this year.

World coffee demand is likely to outstrip supply “in coming months,” the International Coffee Organization said today in a report. Production in the year from Oct. 1 may fall to 120 million to 122 million bags, down about 4.8 percent from the previous year, the London-based group said.

Investors are “a little cautious about being short in this market,” Costa said.

In the week ended April 6, hedge-fund managers and other large speculators increased their net-long position, or bets on rising prices, for the third straight week, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data.

Also on ICE, cocoa futures for July delivery jumped $53, or 1.8 percent, to $2,930 a metric ton, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since March 29. The chocolate ingredient has climbed 14 percent in the past year.

Cotton futures for May delivery advanced 0.06 cent to 78.13 cents a pound on ICE. The fiber has gained 60 percent in the past year.

–With assistance from Debarati Roy in New York and Heather Walsh in Bogota. Editors: Ted Bunker, Daniel Enoch.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Campbell in New York at ecampbell14@bloomberg.net

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