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New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:05 pm
by Steve
That's 3 in a row! But it might not happen 4 times in a row so no turkey for me, aaah man I haven't been bowling in ages! Better fix that soon. Bit of laser quest too perhaps!

El Salvador Finca Alaska Natural Bourbon
Raspberry jelly, creamy, sponge cake
In the cup this distinct coffee is a lot like a bowl of Auntie's trifle. Raspberry jelly, creamy finish, hint of booze, a sponge sweetness and a complex fruit acidity. Party time!
£10.00 for 250g

Bolivia Don Carlos Washed Caturra
Mars Bar, tinned peaches
In the cup a Mars a day helps you work, rest, and drink coffee! There's a Mars Bar mix of chocolate, nougat and caramel which is finished off with soft yellow fruit - think tinned peaches.
£7.00 for 250g

Sulawesi Tana Toraja Kalosi Washed Peaberry
Rambutan, cacao, elderflower
In the cup this is a bit of a confusing coffee as it's a mix of both sweet and savory. Rambutan, cacao and delicate elderflower all compete in this unique cup.
£7.50 for 250g

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:51 pm
by rgifford
Now that I'm back in the UK and able to type on a proper keyboard I'll return to my 'too many coffees' topic.

Back in the olden days I would receive my weekly IMM. There were a few coffees appearing on the site which weren't on IMM (some highlighted by you) and I would buy those too. I was therefore able to buy EVERY coffee on offer from Has Bean. I drink about 120-150 bags a year so I could choose from the coffees that I had drunk which ones I wanted more of and would buy more. This worked very well as I was able to choose the ones that I liked myself. Sometimes where a farm/mill was offering washed/pulped natural/natural there would only be one on IMM and I would buy the others. I still tend to do this but there are now too many coffees offered with multiple processing to be able to do it every time.

Fast forward to today. There are currently 24 coffees on the site (ignoring blends and Geishas) which I have not received/bought. Three Brazils, one Kenya and twenty Central America. New coffees arrive faster that I can drink them so the majority of these won't be bought. There will no doubt be some arriving that I'm particularly interested in, and I will buy them, but generally I an no longer able to choose for myself which coffees to buy on the basis of 'I enjoyed that, I will buy some more'.

The majority of this growth in numbers has come from Central America and is primarily (it seems) because there are farmers with multiple farms and every coffee from all of those farms arrive. I expect that isn't true and there are some coffees offered for sale which aren't bought but I'm talking about impressions from the consumer point of view. This weeks IMM was a good example with a single farmer having multiple farms, presumably all run with the same (or very similar) planting/farming techniques, all close together, all going through the same mill/processing and I wonder why buy a washed bourbon (for example) from all of these farms rather than just the best one, which would presumably have been the case when buying at auction/exporters without a direct relationship. Ignoring farms and looking at farmers, there are now several 'special relationship/friend' farmers from which a vast variety of coffee is bought and this growth seems to be being encouraged with so many coffees these days with multiple processing, something which is simple for the producer to achieve as multiple farms are using the same mill/processors.

It does seem that coffees from other than Central America have been reducing (I'm sure there used to be more Ethiopians for example) but this could just be an impression based on the numbers from Central America compared to the numbers from everywhere else put together.

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:45 pm
by Steve
Hi Roland

We went through this on Facebook, lots of people are enjoying the variety and difference (however small). I understand this is not for you, and we agreed to disagree.

We work with over 40 producers in lots of different countries, and I think because of the way we work, the coffee has got better by investing in farmers, and developing process and varietals with them. I'm very proud of the coffees we stock and will always stand by them, and love the nuances of process and in particular varietal. We have always had lots of choice.

Sorry Roland :(

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:00 pm
by rgifford
We did agree to disagree and I still do that. Posting on Facebook on a phone I felt that I wasn't able to explain fully. I have done that now, no more.

For me I'll probably just ignore the Central Americans completely apart from some of the Pacamaras (of which there are now too many even though I like them) and the IMM ones of course and just follow my old method with the rest of the world. Being able to choose some of what I drink based on having drunk some of it already is important to me. You can do that with every coffee on the site, we can't.

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:01 am
by Steve
Thats sad as you will miss out, I think our best work is done in the centrals.

We have no more Pacamaras than we did a few years ago as I saids in my post, but hope you find a way for it to work for you.

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:16 pm
by rgifford
Not buying Centrals is my only option if I want to choose based on what I have tasted, and I do want to do that.

I can see considerable benefits for you as an importer/wholesaler/distributor being able to offer a wide variety of similar coffees where your customers can select which one or two they want to buy based on cupping. You can offer different prices/quantities and in some cases exclusivity if a customer wants to buy all of that offering.

That same benefit doesn't apply to retail customers. It could apply if you were to offer small quantity multi-packs but that is way too much faff. I remember washed/natural duo packs in the past as an occasional one-off.

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:17 pm
by Steve
I hear you and glad its a solution for you. Lots of people do enjoy this variety and differences, not everything suits everyone.

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:00 pm
by rgifford
A better solution for me is for you to go back to selling fewer coffees to the retail market and that clearly isn't going to happen.

I know that I'll be missing out on yummy Centrals but I have to find some rule to reduce the number.

Are there fewer coffees from everywhere else or is that just an impression from the very large number of Centrals?

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:03 pm
by Steve
Its much harder in Africa and in Indonesia to build close relationships for sure.

South America we do lots in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and we have a super exciting Ecuador on its way too.

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:19 pm
by rgifford
It is always possible to buy without close relationships, like you used to do. That can be a lot easier because you can buy or not buy purely on quality/quantity/price rather than having a 'maintaining the close relationship' factor. Buying from friends, who are skilled salesmen as well as friends, is the reason for my 'problem'.

But you know that of course.

I'll carry on with IMM and SSSSS because they are both a bargain for the quantity/quality of coffee received. What else I buy is an ongoing problem with more than one solution. It used to be easy and now it is very difficult. These days it is VERY unusual for me to buy something again because I enjoyed it with there being so many I haven't tried at all. I'll see how it goes.

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:33 pm
by Steve
Agreed that you can buy without the relationship angle, but its very tough to follow up year on year when you don't have the contact, so every year you start again. Its tough to build some option when you have to start again. We are having untold issues in Kenya this year because of change of exporters and not knowing the new people.

Please roland, the salesman comment, really !! You think I'm that Naive. I buy the coffee because its fantastic, you may differ, but I stand by that we buy the best coffee in the world, and theres lots who agree.

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:59 pm
by rgifford
No I don't think that you are that naive! But I do think that the farmers you are dealing with have an eye to business and can suggest, or respond favourably to suggestions, which mean they sell more coffee. Multiple processing methods, segregating a particular varietal, experimental planting, that sort of thing. A partnership of course but their business is to sell as much coffee as possible at the best profit. They can be good at that, and appear to be good at that, as well as good at growing coffee and running mills.

Knowing that they are very likely to have a buyer for the coffee from a new farm they are thinking of buying will encourage them to expand. There is more that one producer who has increased their number of farms while selling to Has Bean. Having you excited about coffee from a farm that hasn't started producing yet is buying from the farmer/mill rather than because the coffee is excellent (which it may turn out to be of course because that farmer/mill know how to produce good coffee).

I know that you buy coffee because it is fantastic. Just on the basis of statistics I expect there are cases where you buy coffee that you wouldn't buy without the relationship angle as it isn't quite good enough. Those coffees could well be sold on somewhere other than retail of course and may even be sold on before they arrive in the UK.

Relationships with exporters, rather than farmers, are something that you presumably have outside Central and Bolivia. Difficult when one changes of course but building a relationship with a single exporter in Ethiopia is presumably simpler than finding multiple producers to form a direct relationship with. The number of Ethiopians recently has fallen off a cliff, perhaps the current political problems there.

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:24 pm
by Steve
I can giver you plenty of examples from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Costa Rica of producers who own other farms who I don't think is good enough. My good friend Ale will testify that he cant sell the coffee from his larger and newer farm to me.

Its much more complicated than buying everything that moves

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:11 pm
by rgifford
I'm sure that it is! I'm talking about impressions, not reality.

I'll still buy some Centrals, I've just bought the natural to go with last weeks IMM washed for example and have bought the Hondurans recently as we will be going there in April.

I want to get back to buying extra coffees on the basis of liking the first bag I drank. I have to reduce the number of coffees available to me to be able to do that.

I could go on holiday less as being away for about 8 weeks a year accounts for about 25 bags. That is part of the problem as well.

Re: New Coffee Friday! (hat trick!)

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:12 am
by Steve
I think you deserve the holidays :)

Only been to Honduras once so look forward to hearing how it goes