First Ethiopian Conference On Coffee Opens

BY SAMUEL ALEMU, 9 NOVEMBER 2012 Source: All Africa

Addis Ababa — The First International Conference on Ethiopian Coffee was opened here at the Hilton Addis yesterday. The Ethiopian Coffee Exporters Association (ECEA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade,USAID and Commercial Bank of Ethiopia organized the Conference with the theme:” Strengthening the Legacy of Our Coffee”.

The conference is aimed at enhancing the position of Ethiopian Coffee in international market through facilitating exchange of information and experience among stakeholders to address key opportunities and challenges facing the coffee sector; as well as promoting the uniqueness of Ethiopian coffee to spell out its vision for the future.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Haile-Mariam Dessalegn said coffee is a mainstay for more than 15 million Ethiopians who are involved directly or indirectly in the sector.

Haile-Mariam said that modern trading of the commodity and comparative advantage Ethiopia has over other coffee producing and exporting countries, has enabled it to trade in better volume, enhancing its global share in the coffee market and and thereby boost export income.

According to him, Ethiopia’s coffee production and export picked up over the past nine years to an export volume reaching close to 200,000 tonnes, generating close to 842 million USD in foreign exchange in 2010/11.

Moreover, over the past four years, coffee traded through the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), which is the first of its kind in Africa, has raised it significantly reaching 768.8 million USD in the 2010/11; with a strong growth in volume amounting to 235, 131 tonnes. Coffee accounted for 74 per cent of the trade value in 2010/11, taking the lead in the commodity exchange market, he noted.

International Coffee Organization (ICO) Head of Operations, Jose Dauster Sette, on his part said that Ethiopia can sustainably produce and supply fine specialty coffee, with the potential of producing all coffee types growing across the world. Ethiopia is not only the birthplace, an important producer, and a leading exporter of Coffee Arabica, but also a heavy consumer, he said.

He also indicated that the structural, policy environment, sustainability challenges such as poor access to market and long supply chain, low level of public investment in agriculture, adaptation and mitigation to climate change and other adverse weather events are the major ones.

European Union (EU) head of delegation, Xavier Marchal noted that Ethiopia and coffee are the two sides of a coin. As a result, Ethiopia has to provide the world with profile of coffee and has to have better understanding of coffee to increase its competitiveness in the global market. Moreover, improving the quality and quantity of coffee in a sustainable base would play pivotal role in improving the livelihood of farmers, he added.

The Ethiopian coffee export in the international market would increase by at least 25 per cent from the present level, in which the export volume will exceed 220,000 tonnes and the foreign earnings will surpass one billion USD setting a new record of the economy’s foreign exchange generation with a seven digit figure from a single agricultural commodity in the history of the nation’s export sector performance.

Members of the ECEA, Ministers of Trade and Agriculture, the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) and the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange Authority, local financial institutions, principal actors in the Ethiopian coffee trade and international coffee buyers are attending the conference.

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Coffee break with top Oslo barista

Source: Views and News from Norway.

AUDIO REPORT: Tim Wendelboe is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in coffee in Norway. He’s won awards, been written up in the New York Times and a host of other publications, and remains devoted to his highly acclaimed coffee shop in Oslo’s trendy Grünerløkka area. It continues to be a magnet for those seeking what many claim is the best coffee in the world.

Tim Wendelboe, shown here in his Oslo coffee shop, has an international following. PHOTO: Emily Williams

A self-described “coffee person” – a definition which includes barista, taster, roaster, importer and author – Wendelboe recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of his namesake coffee and espresso bar in Grünerløkka, which also doubles as a “micro-roastery” and a coffee training center.

In addition to running the shop and roastery along with his business partner Tim Varney, Wendelboe imports his own beans and maintains a blog in English that is followed by coffee-philes from all over the globe. His tiny, exclusive shop on the corner of Fossveien is a destination for hip “Løkka” residents and foreign coffee pilgrims alike.

At any given moment, Wendelboe can most likely be found either in his shop (roasting, tasting and taking shifts at the bar) or jetting off to South America or Africa to meet a grower. Most recently the Oslo-native was in Colombia to visit the farm of one of his newest exporters.

With an emphasis on sustainability and individuality, Wendelboe hand-picks the small, carefully-sourced coffee bean farmers he imports from.

 Wendelboe recently spent time speaking to reporter Emily Williams, who shared her audio feature on coffee and Wendelboe with Listen to their conversation here

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Arabica Coffee Could Be Extinct in the Wild Within 70 Years


ScienceDaily (Nov. 7, 2012) — A study conducted by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK), in collaboration with scientists in Ethiopia, reports that climate change alone could lead to the extinction of wild Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) well before the end of this century. Wild Arabica is considered important for the sustainability of the coffee industry due to its considerable genetic diversity. The Arabicas grown in the world’s coffee plantations are from very limited genetic stock and are unlikely to have the flexibility required to cope with climate change and other threats, such as pests and diseases. In Ethiopia, the largest producer of coffee in Africa, climate change will also have a negative influence on coffee production. The climate sensitivity of Arabica is confirmed, supporting the widely reported assumption that climate change will have a damaging impact on commercial coffee production worldwide. These are worrying prospects for the world’s favourite beverage – the second most traded commodity after oil, and one crucial to the economies of several countries. The research is published in PLOS ONE on 7 November 2012.

The study, which uses computer modelling, represents the first of its kind for wild Arabica coffee. In fact, modelling the influence of climate change on naturally occuring populations of any coffee species has never been undertaken. Surprisingly, even studies on plantation coffee have been limited, despite the concerns of farmers and other industry stakeholders.

The researchers used field study and ‘museum’ data (including herbarium specimens) to run bioclimatic models for wild Arabica coffee, in order to deduce the actual (recorded) and predicted geographical distribution for the species. The distribution was then modelled through time until 2080, based on the Hadley Centre Coupled Model, version 3 (HadCM3), a leading model used in climate change research, and the only one available that covered the desired time intervals, for several emission scenarios, at the resolution required (1 km). Three different emission scenarios over three time intervals (2020, 2050, 2080) were used. The models showed a profoundly negative influence on the number and extent of wild Arabica populations.

Two main types of analysis were performed: a locality analysis and an area analysis. In the locality analysis the most favourable outcome is a c. 65% reduction in the number of pre-existing bioclimatically suitable localities, and at the worst, an almost 100% (99.7%) reduction, by 2080. In the area analysis the most favourable outcome is a 38% reduction, and the least favourable a c. 90% reduction, by 2080. Bioclimatic suitability refers to the combination of climatic variables that are necessary for the health and survival of a species: loss of optimum bioclimatic suitability places natural populations under severe environmental stress, leading to a high risk of extinction. This study assesses the survival of Arabica, rather than productivity or beverage quality, under the influence of accelerated climate change. There are other studies showing that the productivity (yield of coffee beans) and beverage quality (e.g. taste) of Arabica are tightly linked to climatic variability, and are strongly influenced by natural climatic fluctuations.

Of the two analyses undertaken, the locality analysis is regarded by the authors as the most pragmatic and informative. The predicted reduction in the number of Arabica localities, between 65% and 99.7%, can be taken as a general assessment of the species’ survival as a whole, given the scope and coverage of the data and analyses used in the study. However, the predictions are regarded as ‘conservative’, as the modelling does not factor in the large-scale deforestation that has occurred in the highland forests of Ethiopia and South Sudan (the natural home of Arabica coffee). Moreover, because of the lack of suitable data, the models assume intact natural vegetation, whereas the highland forests of Ethiopia and South Sudan are highly fragmented due to deforestation. Other factors, such as pests and diseases, changes in flowering times, and perhaps a reduction in the number of birds (which disperse the coffee seeds), are not included in the modelling, and these are likely to have a compounding negative influence.

A visit to South Sudan (Boma Plateau) in April 2012 provided an opportunity to test the modelling predictions via on-the-ground observation. On comparing these observations with a study on Arabica made on the Boma Plateau in 1941, it was clear that not all of the environmental stress evident could be attributed to deforestation or agriculture over the 70 year period. The modelling predicted that Arabica could be extinct in these forests by the year 2020, due to climate change, and this appears to be realistic given the poor health (lack of seedlings, loss of mature Arabica specimens, low frequency of flowering and fruiting) of the remaining populations observed in 2012.

The outcome of climate change in Ethiopia for cultivated Arabica, the only coffee grown in the country, is also assumed to be profoundly negative, as natural populations, forest coffee (semi-domesticated) and some plantations occur in the same general bioclimatic area as indigenous Arabica. Generally the results of the study indicate that Arabica is a climate sensitive species, which supports previously recorded data, various reports, and anecdotal information from coffee farmers. The logical conclusion is that Arabica coffee production is, and will continue to be, strongly influenced by accelerated climate change, and that in most cases the outcome will be negative for the coffee industry. Optimum cultivation conditions are likely to become increasingly difficult to achieve in many pre-existing coffee growing areas, leading to a reduction in productivity, increased and intensified management (such as the use of irrigation), and crop failure (some areas becoming unsuitable for Arabica cultivation). Despite a recent dip, coffee prices are still the highest they have been for some 30 years, due to a combination of high demand and poor harvests. It is perceived by various stakeholders that some of the poor harvests are due to changed climate conditions, thus linking price increases to climate change.

It is hoped that the study will form the basis for developing strategies for the survival of Arabica in the wild. The study identifies a number of core sites, which might be able to sustain wild populations of Arabica throughout this century, serving as long-term in situ storehouses for coffee genetic resources. In many areas of Ethiopia loss of habitat due to deforestation might pose a more serious threat to the survival of Arabica, although it is now clear that even if a forest area is well protected, climate change alone could lead to extinction in certain locations. The study also identifies populations that require immediate conservation action, including collection and storage at more favourable sites (for example in seed banks and living collections).

Aaron Davis, Head of Coffee Research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, says, “Coffee plays an important role in supporting livelihoods and generating income, and has become part of our modern society and culture. The extinction of Arabica coffee is a startling and worrying prospect. However, the objective of the study was not to provide scaremonger predictions for the demise of Arabica in the wild. The scale of the predictions is certainly cause for concern, but should be seen more as a baseline, from which we can more fully assess what actions are required.”

Tadesse Woldemariam Gole, from the Environment and Coffee Forest Forum in Ethiopia, says, “As part of a future-proofing exercise for the long-term sustainability of Arabica production it is essential that the reserves established in Ethiopia to conserve Arabica genetic resources are appropriately funded and carefully managed.”

Justin Moat, Head of Spatial Information Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, says, “The worst case scenario, as drawn from our analyses, is that wild Arabica could be extinct by 2080. This should alert decision makers to the fragility of the species.

“Our aim is to develop and apply these analyses to other important and threatened plants, on a routine basis. There is an immense amount of information held in museum collections around the world, such as Kew, and we have only just started to unlock their potential for assessing some of society’s most pressing issues.”

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”A dream come true”. Meet Miguel Lamora. 2012 Spanish Latte Art Champion and 2012 WLAC contestant.

The 2012 World Latte Art Championship is over but baristi still rolling in their coffee shops back home. Some of them are determined to fight again  next year for the title which takes place in Niece, France. The enthusiasm from all participants, from various countries was high in Seoul, Korea.  Some were lucky, particularly our specialty coffee diplomats from Russia, Brazil, Germany, Poland, Lithuania and South Korea. Some were not so fortunate and were unable to reach that last step. In my opinion all of the contestants were champions just judging by the thoughts of being selected to such prestigious event in coffee history to compete on the World level. This does not mean that others have no skills in pouring beautiful latte art or their efforts do not deserve a big round of applause.

During this amazing event I was chatting with the winner of 2012 Spanish Latte Art Competition, Miguel Lamora. Miguel is also the winner of the Regional Barista Competition from Catalunya and holds  2nd place at the Spanish Barista Competition. Some would probably say that star did not shine bright enough for Miguel to be selected to the final, or perhaps his pour was not consistent to match the patterns presented to the judges. In my own opinion Miguel’s performance was outstanding. His calmness, great personality and the self-confidence in what he was trying to achieve led him to the 8th place in WLAC 2012 which is not bad at all. It’s like running a marathon.

Miguel’s participation at WLAC in Seoul coincided with his 28th birthday which was celebrated among his friends who came to support him . Including his competitors and other folks from specialty coffee industry on November 3rd. Apart from his passion to coffee, Miguel also enjoys other hobbies like photography, music and tranquility of the nature. The current economic situation in Spain and the prediction of the repeated austerity measures as we see in Greece, left Miguel unemployed. Unemployment in Spain reached it highest level and most young citizens are having a difficult time making ends meet. To some extent, it has also affected the coffee shops throughout the country. Miguel moved to Barcelona two years ago to pursue his passion for specialty coffee and become the Barista Trainer for local school of coffee.

As barista myself , an addict towards specialty coffee and one who appreciates aroma, flavor, body, complexity and taste, I love to speak to other baristi across the globe to find out what attracts them to specialty coffee, and  at what point they realized that their life would change dramatically. Miguel is back in Spain, and we decided to chat a little bit more about his career and what coffee means to him. Miguel shared his story with me. It began  8 years ago when he was employed as a waiter with the intention to make some money and cover his personal expenses while taking technical courses on illustration. It was than that he was introduced to latter art by one of his ex-colleague that not only turned his life upsite down but changed his view towards coffee. No regrets whatsoever.

The most attribute that Miguel appreciates in espresso is intense and pleasant flavor combined with sweetness and acidity (i.e balanced and refreshing) that compliments with fruity and floral notes with no harsh bitterness in finish.  We should not forget that espresso has three phases; water, oil and foam. James Hoffman once said that “coffees with interesting and delicious flavors often have a higher level of acidity“. In the coffee industry we would probably agree that the balance in espresso we are trying to achieve gives us a pretty good idea of what is going on.

Espresso is nothing without rich crema, and when pressurized water hits the ground coffee the interesting things start to happen. I have asked Miguel about espresso crema and here what he said: “It depends how it is… it must to be elastic, dense, good color… symbol of a good extraction, not under, not over…” As far as brewing method concerns Miguels prefers V60: “V60 is one of my favorites, it produces very clean cup with an amazing flavor. The Chemex is very elegant and tasty“. But when Miguel is away from home or attending various events outside of Spain he prefers to carry with him the easy brewing method, Aeropress which is perfect for traveling. Now we are going back to latte art and that was the main reason why Miguel ended up in Seoul and how we found out about him. Milk chemestry is one of the aspect of achieving the right texture for latte art. You can use 2% or whole milk or other milk alternatives if you can succeed. But whole milk tends to have a softer foam than non-fat because of the fat present. Why latte art is so important? Miguel shares his thoughts “the customers really love it and also it helps to increase your sales because of it, but we can’t forget that the most important thing is the flavor in the cup“.

We always refer specialty coffee as a third wave of coffee when agronomy, ecology, understanding the six essential elements such as the correct coffee-to-water ratio, a coffee grind that matches the brewing time, understanding the flavor where it comes from, etc. etc. had a tremendous impact on specialty coffee industry. I did not include here different way of processing coffee, the soil and altitude which are important factors that engage with each other before ending up in our cup. So I asked the question:

Mikhail Sebastian: With all the achievement and progress coffee industry has made towards introducing and establishing specialty coffee, do you still think we are in third wave of coffee movement?

Miguel Lamora: Absolutely, the coffee industry appreciates the great job specialty coffee has done in this market. Everyday more amazing coffees are discovered that at the end turn in our baristi hands. And as baristi we share the knowledge, do a lot of cupping to find new flavors, learn more from experts, and of course from producers from coffee growing regions that we support.

Being far away from Spain and not witnessing the economic disaster that wrapped this beautiful country and learning mostly from the news, I wanted to find out from the actual Spaniard about the impact that affected coffee businesses in this southwestern European nation on Iberian peninsula. Here what Miguel has to say: “It’s true that in Spain the situation is not the best, the government is not helping to open coffee shops, you have to invest a lot of money and obtain a lot of licenses, hard way… but I think that in few years, step by step, we can achieve a good standard in the speciality coffee industry. Baristas are more interested in specialty coffee and people like Javier Garcia (4th place in WBC 2012) from Right Side Coffee and Joaquín Parra, are starting to roast speciality coffees with great approach“.

Miguel is still being adjusted after Korea and overwhelming joy and happiness is still as Miguel says “a dream come true“. “If someone had told me 8 years ago that I could take part in the World Championship I would probably thought that this person was crazy…” As far as taking the 8th place in 2012 WLAC Miguel is not dissapointed at all but on the contrary, “I’am very happy with my results” said Miguel. Most baristi who are professionals in latte art had an opportunity to be trained by experts but some learned techniques on their own and Miguel is not acception: ” I started by myself and nobody explained me anything how to make Latte Art“.

Mikhail Sebastian: How do you achieve the appealing texture in espresso?

Miguel Lamora: Good coffee, well roasted, freshness, grind on demand, dosage, tamping, and extraction.

Miguel prefers light or medium roast and as he said “it depends on the preparation“, and as far as bitterness goes “I hate it” replied Miguel. Achieving the perfect milk texture to create beautiful latte art depends on “milk and finding your own way of frothing milk” explains Miguel. Further he continues “first add the air and then break the bubbles“. And of course milk is not the only ingredient to latte art, “the crema of espresso is also very important contributing factor to perfect latte art“, Miguel reaffirms.

At the conclusion I was interested in how Miguel would rank his own performance during the competition and here what my new friend had to say:

I watched it and I really liked it, not because for the sake of being a part of WLAC. I felt comfortable during my presentation. I went overtime by 50 sec and I think that costed me to move to finals. I also saw some mistakes that I can correct for the next time but I’m very happy with my 8th place on the world ranking. Of course I was a bit nervous! Only 6 min to show the judges your job of the last months of training, and of course the job of your life is a great challenge, but I like it“.

To watch Miguel’s performance at 2012 WLAC in Seoul, Korea click here

Wish you a best of luck Miguel.

Mikhail Sebastian

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An unusually aggressive coffee-eating fungus has crept higher than 6,000 feet above sea level for the first time in Guatemala, threatening the country’s most prized beans, a top Guatemalan coffee official said Thursday, Jean Guerrero of Dow Jones Newswires reports from Mexico City.


“Antigua, our famous coffee, is being affected,” Ricardo Villanueva, president of the Guatemalan Coffee Association, or Anacafe, told Dow Jones. “This has never happened.” The fungus, known as roya, lowers the quality of harvested coffee beans and slashes the productivity of plants. Mr. Villanueva said he believes the output for the 2012-13 season that began this month won’t see a significant impact, but the following season’s production could be hit by a year-on-year drop of up to 15 percent. Throughout Central America, coffee plantations are seeing particularly strong outbreaks of roya, largely as a result of climate change. The fungus tends to spread with humidity, but it has rarely been found at altitudes beyond 3,500 feet. Guatemala’s coffee output is usually relatively stable, at 3.8 million 60-kilogram bags last season, according to the International Coffee Organization. The coffee season in this Central American country runs from October through September of the following year. Mr. Villanueva said the costs of eradicating the fungus are expensive, at more than $50 per hectare for an application of the necessary pesticide. However, producers have in some cases applied it up to three times to no avail because the fungus has become resistant to chemicals. The country’s volcanic Acatenango region, which received a denomination of origin certification that boosts the premium on its beans two weeks ago, is also suffering severe damage from roya. Small coffee producers, representing half of Guatemala’s total, are the ones experiencing the worst of the damage, the coffee official added. In many cases, the fungus has caused the leaves of coffee plants to fall off, leaving the plant vulnerable to another disease that dries it out entirely.

By OLAM Specialty Coffee

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Wednesday, November 7th, 6:30–9pm in Los Angeles, CA

Featuring a preview of our new Honduras film, a tasting of our Apolis + Handsome Co-op Roast and a keynote presentation from Handsome Founder, Chris Owens, and Honduras Coffee Farm owner, Curt Hamann.

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Burundi Cup of Excellence Internet Auction :: Wednesday 7th November


Cup of Excellence is the most stringent and complex competition in the industry today.  This first-ever Burundi competition was no exception.  To discover the 17 winners – 14 national cuppers, 20 international cuppers, 8 observers and 4 guest cuppers analyzed 9,672 cups in the 3-week cupping process.  Each top ten winning coffee was scored 105 times.  We are proud of the coffee industry in Burundi, of the farmers and washing stations that put their coffee through this kind of scrutiny, of the staff that worked diligently every day and are grateful to the cuppers.

Burundi, more than any other coffee-producing country, relies on coffee as a means of generating export income.  Coffee accounts for over 80% of total export earnings and provides jobs for 800,000 Burundians – a quarter of the country’s workforce.  Coffee growers are all smallholders and they deliver ripe cherry to coffees washing stations (CWS) located throughout the coffee growing regions.

Only with your support can Cup of Excellence begin to better define which regions and washing stations are producing the best qualities, help identify and extend these best practices to other washing stations and raise the value of the winning lots and of the country’s entire production.  

‘Traceability’ for Burundi and Rwanda had to be adjusted from the Latin America model to better reflect the realities of coffee production.  After extensive discussions we invited each of the 176 operational washing to enter up to 4 samples. Each sample represented a specific ‘day lot’.  The competition received samples from 70 washing stations in 9 of the country’s 11 growing regions.  All coffees are 100% Red Bourbon varietal.

While potato defect is a problem in Burundi, research is underway to prevent it or to identify and remove it.  Until then, we can only reassure buyers that these winning 17 lots – including 3 Presidential Awards – have not exhibited any potato defect during the entire competition. 

We invite you to participate at the auction for these exceptional small lots on Wednesday 7 November (starting 09:00 EST New York).  If you have any questions or need any help please contact us at

Thank you for your support!
The Cup of Excellence Team
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