Thursday, April 5, 2007

Conillon is coming

Read an interesting article in the latest C&C I (Coffee & Cacao Intern.) about Brazil's mega crop in prospect. The coffee industry around the world is waiting for confirmation of the likely size of Brazil's 08/09 crop. This crop could push world stocks back up to close 60 million bags, and restore the stocks to consumption ratio to the highest for 3 years.

Most interesting part of the article is the finish. I'll copy it for you.

Beans are responsible for about 60% of the retail price of coffee in Brazil, which compares with the 20 per cent beans form of the retail price in developed countries. Packaging, logistics, marketing and profits account for much more of the retail price in the developed world than they do in Brazil.
The relatively low price of coffee in Brazil- which also ensures that few roasters make much of a profit - has allowed consumers to buy superior types of gourmet, or premium beans, in the past few years., despite the fact that such types cost several times as much as the more traditional blends.
Until very recently, these activities were confined to states which produce mainly Arabica beans, namely Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo, but with the increasing popularity of Robusta beans, of the Conillon type - of which about 10 million bags are now normally produced in Brazil each year, the majority in Espirito Santo State.
Winters tend to be damp in Espirito Santo, so beans cannot be left outside to dry naturally, as they can in most places where Arabica is grown. Farmers dry their coffee in rotary drums, which are heated by wood fires, and until recently, wood smoke has often passed directly over the beans, which has affected their taste and quality in the process.
More recently, however, new techniques have been adopted that ensure that only the heat - and not the smoke - passes over the beans. The results have been spectacular, so much so that many of Brazil's most experienced tasters have found it almost impossible to distinguish a well prepared Conillon from an Arabica!!!
Not unnaturally, this news has been welcomed by farmers growing Conillon, which costs only half as much to produce as Arabica, and which, as a result, has become increasinly popular in recent years. About 40% of the beans used by roasters in Brazil nowadays - and in many other countries - is Conillon.

What do we see at this picture (Flickr photo by Joagy) above?
This is how its done in the Phillipines. Coffee cherries are laid out to dry in a garage (though people in the provinces dont have cars and use them for this purpose), on the roads (just like rice), basketball court or in this case their 'backyard'. Crude but effective.

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