Daily Archive for October 10th, 2006

is it coffee?

robusta coffee marked xxx

There are laws concerning the maximum number of defects per 300 gram sample of coffee is allowable to import into the U.S. I guarantee you this exceeds the maximum, but it happens anyway. Who is out there sampling and checking all the incoming lots? nobody. this sample was something i pulled from a bulk sack (a giant pallet-sized poly bag that crap coffee, unworthy of the expense of burlap 60 kg bags) down at the annex coffee warehouse. it was marked xxx! i wouldn’t care except for this: if there was no market for this coffee, if it could not be exported, if it was forcibly destroyed, there would be an sea-change in the coffee market, benefiting every farmer from those with a backyard of coffee to those with many hectares. banning below grade coffee and triage coffee (the coffee that even the best mills produce as a byproduct from unripe cherry, broken beans, everything the density sorter removes, etc), then bottom-feeding buyers of this crap would be forced to purchase low-grade-yet-wholseome, non-defective coffee, and competition would increase at the lower-rungs of the coffee supply ladder, buoying the middle and upper end too. It has been suggested before by people (unlike me) who actually understand the global coffee commodity trade, but as long as this level of coffee is allowed, there is no incentive for big crap roasters to behave any better.

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