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The latest news and views from the Bennetts team

Featuring the latest news on the coffee industry and business insight from senior members of the Bennetts team.

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The Bennetts Newsletter

September 2018 Newsletter! All things Bennetts and coffee...

100 Year Celebrations

Our Brazil Ipanema Origin Trip Competition is in full swing! There is still over a month to enter so be sure to secure your lots of their Premier Cru product line before they run out! More information on the competition here.

We are officially opening our brand-new Bennetts HQ on the 7th of September at 5pm. Come and join us for an evening of cupping and celebration, with special guest Kenny Davis from San Cristobal Coffee Importers speaking on Mexican Grupo Terruño Nayarita microlot coffee. To RSVP shoot an email to  tom@hab.com.au

We have concluded our Centenary AFL Footy Tipping competition and at the end of it all Titans has been crowned the champion! Unfortunately, and painfully for all patriotic Australians, Titans is a Kiwi resident. This makes their win even more impressive! James Fox Coffee placed second, Zero in third and BeanRoasters followed up at the bottom collecting the literal wooden spoon prize.

Update from the Bennetts Team

We are enjoying the company of our international guest Kenny Davis. Providing an American twang to the vocabulary used in the office. He is very informative in describing current issues in Mexico and will go into further details at his cupping evenings. You can catch him in Melbourne on the 7th of September and the 13th of September in Brisbane. To RSVP to the Brisbane event send an email to khalid@hab.com.au

Origin News – India

Being labelled the worst flood in a century, Kerala, a state at the southern tip of India known internationally for its scenic green landscapes, touristic spots and backwaters, is left with over 1 million people stranded in relief camps with close to 400 people reported to have lost their lives.

In the neighbouring state of Karnataka lies the Kodagu district which is the country’s largest coffee-growing region. 

Exacerbated by landslides in this mountainous region, the Kodagu district is facing crop losses as flooding has left many of its plantations in ruin and led to the widespread destruction of homes, road networks, bridges and industries – Coffee being one said industry set to feel significant impact, the extent of which is yet to be fully realised.

Excess rain in the region is expected to see a reduction in coffee production across all growing districts of Kodagu and adjacent districts of Chikkamagalur and Sakleshpur. In total, these three districts of Karnataka are estimated to produce 70% of India’s coffee.

Of the 3.16 lakh tonnes (lakh =100,000) of coffee produced in India in fiscal 17-18, Karnataka is said to have produced 2.22 lakh tonnes of both Arabica and Robusta.  Production was expected to be 20% higher in fiscal 18-19 but this excessive rainfall and subsequent crop damage combined with the flooding in bordering Kerala, which contributes a further 20% of national coffee production, the fear is that overall production will be less by at least the same percentage. 

A reduction in production will result in a drop in the required workforce which is likely to be further diminished as the financial strain takes its toll on impacted growers.

Rains are not due to ease until early September so the full impact will likely take some time to unveil over the coming months.

The Coffee Industry

The past month has seen the New York ‘C’ price continue its inexorable slide south in the absence of any real support from either the industry or the speculative sector. Arabica Coffee futures traded last week at their lowest level since mid-2006, bottoming out at 95.85 usc/lb.

We already knew there was a lot of coffee coming from the main producing origins (with Brazil expected to contribute a hefty 45 million bags of Arabica and a further 15 million bags of Robusta this season), which meant that buyers basically just had to wait for sellers to come to them in terms of price.

In more recent weeks the absence of any sign of a meaningful recovery for the ‘C’ has caused sellers to increase their market participation, selling at lower prices in order to generate cash flow and essentially pay their bills. The Brazilian Real has also become a major factor over this period, having devalued sharply against the US Dollar due to political turmoil and the ensuing economic uncertainty. This means that lower US-denominated prices have not had as much of a negative impact in Brazil, with many producers still being able to fetch prices in their local currency which remain above cost of production in that country.

This is however, sadly not the case for many other coffee producing nations whose currencies have not been weakened against the greenback to the same degree, signifying hard times ahead for a lot of farmers the world over. If this remains the case for any significant period of time, it will be jeopardising the livelihoods of millions of farming families who could eventually decide to exit the coffee growing sector.

A Word from the QA Lab

We are enjoying the new Roast Room and cupping room “The Lab”. We want to extend a welcome to all our customers and invite you to cup with us when you’re in town. Just drop us a line and we can arrange a time.

Its ‘Microlot season’ so that means lots of interesting things on the cupping table. Last week we had the pleasure of tasting some amazing Costa Ricans, Ethiopians, El Salvadorians and Kenyans. All are showing great sweetness and depth of flavor. Of note, the Ethiopians are very fruity this season and the Kenyans have unusually heavy bodies.

Kenny’s Korner – Mexico

Tacos, Tequila and Limes. Unavoidable when thinking of Mexico, but I’m going broaden your experience and share some detail about Grupo Terruño Nayarita.  

Despite popular belief, I have not come to Australia to promote tequila consumption. I came here to represent Grupo Terruño Nayarita (GTNay) and provide the Bennetts team with an update of what’s happening on the ground in Mexico. GTNay is a coffee producer society comprised of several smallholder cooperatives scattered around the state of Nayarit. My company, San Cristobal Coffee Importers is based out of Seattle, USA and is vertically integrated with GTNay. We help provide access to the global market, risk-sharing, and resources to focus on sustainable production and quality management.

Nonetheless, an immunity idol doesn’t exist when it comes to agricultural variability and climate change. This year’s harvest we suffered tremendous losses due to the ever-prevalent leaf rust, La Roya. The leaf fungus attacks the stomata of the leaf resulting in defoliation. Cherries that were able to develop quickly turned from green to black. GTNay was only able to export 282 bags total, down over 90% from the previous year of 3,000 bags. Subsequently, there were no microlots to export to Australia and the coffee that was exported only had an average cup score of 81.25, a result of the trees experiencing severe biotic stressors. 

The group utilized resources from a local agricultural university and have improved soil health instead of replanting or spraying. The resulting flowering seen in March was very strong and we hope that by Christmas of this year we will see lots of healthy, mature fruit. Regardless, agriculture, even Tequila and Limes, is subject to seasonality and risk. By shining a light on the subject to share in this risk we can better understand and strengthen our supply chain for years to come. Saludos!

Catch Kenny in Melbourne on the 7th and Brisbane on the 13th of September.

Enjoy the Month of September!


The Bennetts Team

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