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

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The Bennetts Monthly May '20

All things Bennetts & Coffee ...


With COVID-19 restrictions having been in place for some time now around Australia, we are starting to see some stabilisation in coffee roasting and consumption trends. The good news is; things are looking reasonable for the future of many of our customers. As Managing Director of Bennetts, Scott Bennett, said in his recent video update, consumers still need to get their coffee fix, so there will always be a demand in the market.
Overseas, our origin partners are all in different states of lockdown but looking to ease restrictions around exports over the coming weeks. We still don’t anticipate any shortage of coffee arriving into our warehouse at this stage.
While we have had to overhaul our cupping process to keep in line with COVID-19 protocols, we are still tasting coffees daily. New crop Centrals are rolling in right now and the quality this season is great.
After our Key Account & Trading Manager, Alex Capurro, recently visited suppliers in Guatemala the origins timely arrival in Australia is worth sharing. This week we cupped a SHB from the Huehuetenango region. With delicate flavours of blackcurrant, orange and warm spice. A smooth, juicy body and crisp berry acidity. Finishing with notes of chocolate and vanilla. Also, a delicious lot from Antigua displaying dark chocolate, malt and hazelnuts. Sweet orange acidity and long toffee finish. Please contact your Account Manager for more information or samples.
Next week we expect to land another great product from the Todosanterita Coop in the Huehuetenango region. This coffee is produced by the indigenous community of the Q’tan’ma. The group has 131 members of which 16 are women heads of household, and together they produce 20 containers of amazing coffee each year. The incoming lot is expected to show typical notes of currant, stone fruit, black tea and butter with long honey sweetness.
We are a running a little low on Cherry Robustas at the moment, and while we wait for the next delivery to land, we wanted to let you know we have some other great Robusta options you might not know about.
Firstly, our Brazil Pulped Natural Conilon - a milder variety with a similar genealogy to its cousins Robusta. Brazil is the second largest producer of Canephora (Robusta) after Vietnam. The main Conilon growing regions in Brazil border Minas Gerias state yet at lower altitudes than that of Arabica due to its resistance to higher temperatures and less water availability.
Many Conilon farms are technologically advanced and over 50% of the entire Brazilian production is irrigated. Conilon producers are considered market leaders in Canephora genetics, pruning, irrigation and nutrition techniques.
These technologies and knowledge are exported across the globe for Canephora cultivation. The Pulped Natural process was developed in Brazil during the 1980’s and 90’s, and has been adopted across the globe under differing names such as honey or semi-dry process. It was originally designed to be a more efficient way of producing a pseudo-natural coffee by cutting drying times. Additionally, it creates a more consistent profile through the separation and removal of under-ripe and already dried cherries. This process done with Conilons creates a similar profile to washed Robustas from other continents, due to the fact that there is less water availability resulting in minimal amounts of mucilage to begin with.
And from India, we have the Kaapi Royale Washed Robusta – grown in the in the lush green hills of Southern India lie the regions of Coorg, Chickmangulur and Hassan. Abundant with scenic beauty, these regions are home to some of India's largest coffee plantations.
The natural environment here is conducive to good coffee growth. Fertile soils, favourable climate and rainfall, combined with the latest scientific methods of cultivation and strict quality control contribute to the production of the finest Robusta in the region. The unique, mild flavour profile of this variety is due to the relatively low altitudes at which the coffee is grown while the washing process and sun drying contribute to the lower acid profile and rich earthy notes common in Robusta cultivars.
Every container of “Café Femenino” coffee we buy generates a percentage of funding towards the Café Femenino Foundation. This year we were able to support the foundation with over USD$8000 which we assigned to grant programs in Peru. The funding has provided stovetops and ventilation pipes to a number of remote homes. Café Femenino President Mayilyn Dryke was in Peru when the kitchen project was being rolled out and said “The women were standing in the hot sun waiting for the trucks to come around the corner and they were so happy. Raising the cooking surface and ventilating the smoke to the outside will change their life by reducing respiratory disease especially for the women and for their small children”. If you want to see more on these great initiatives check out this link; https://cffoundation.org/2019/11/13/peru-trip-october-2019/ 


In amongst all the Covid-related noise and disruption to life as we know it, the coffee market continued to operate. As expected in last month’s report, high prices in a global recession-bound world economy were ultimately not sustainable.

Arabica prices on the New York Commodities Exchange were very volatile in intra-day trading, and oscillated between 115 and 123 US cents/lb during the first half of April, when short-term demand was still relatively strong. Once this demand was mostly covered, prices promptly dropped in a dramatic fashion, and settled in a narrower range of 105 to 108 US cents/lb. A further drop to around 100 US cents/lb over the next few months should not be discounted at this point in time.


In our conversations with coffee traders around the world over the past few weeks, the picture they paint of local markets is eerily similar to our own: a sharp decline in consumption from roasters supplying wholesale to the food-service sector as a result of government-imposed restrictions in public movement and gatherings. This has been accompanied by a strong increase in uptake by those roasters servicing the retail sector.

Overall, the expectation is one of no growth in consumption of coffee on a global scale (and conceivably a decline as well), a shift in consumer patterns towards more economical options (read soluble, or supermarket-branded roast coffee), as well as the expectation of a very large upcoming crop size in Brazil (whose currency has devalued to a historical low against the greenback). If we take any of these factors (never mind all of them) into account, we just can’t see coffee price rebounding significantly anytime soon.

Have a great May,
The Bennetts Team

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