Were just about to go full on into the busiest auction season known to the Specialty coffee world ever. In the space of the next six weeks there are six auctions all from Central America. Having just seen the successful Colombia Cup of Excellence competition where prices reached an average $6.73 per pound, we now move to Nicaragua next week, then Guatemala and then Costa Rica and then El Salvador and ending up in Honduras. I expect an expensive few weeks ahead for Has Bean so no asking for discounts !
One auction I’m keeping my eye on is the one this week from Panama. The Best of Panama (BoP) auction last year reached dizzy heights with the wonderful La Esmerlda reaching $50 a lb fob price the highest auction price for coffee ever. This was very special coffee that was reported by a friend and I completely agree “the most uncoffee like tasting coffee I’ve ever tasted”.
The rest of the auction didn’t excite in the price department (although number two and three I tried were very good coffees and reports from others in the industry were favourable). The best of Panama is run by the SCAA and isn’t a cup of excellence event, so I really need to find out more about it as a competition but it will be interesting to see how bidding goes. Will I be bidding? I’m not sure with an array of fantastic coffees from 5 countries, from a competition and system I know lots about taking the lions share of my coffee budget for the year, is the BoP a bridge too far? There are lots of things to consider when spending a large amount of money on coffee, and yes taste Is number one but things like shipping, milling, transparency, aims and goals of organisation, what happens if things go wrong the list is endless and something I lose sleep over regularly.
It’s a shame I wish things like this fit under one umbrella, that the coffee world could pull together for the good of the coffee farmer, and also for the good of someone who gets forgotten a lot in these discussions for the good of the consumer. But ego’s and politics mean people want to empire build and things split off in different directions, and not always for the better.
Good things to happen in recent years was Last Year Guatemala coming back to the Cup of Excellence auctions after trying there own thing realising the format and the organisation bring something special to coffee competitions and most importantly high prices for all winning farmers. Another great sign is this year Costa Rica coming back after breaking away with another type of competition., all that’s left to do is to keep growing on that solid platform.
So I’m grumpy over the next few weeks, you will know why, but come July/August when they start arriving in port and we start getting out hands on these wonderful special coffees, I’m sure I’ll cheer up.
But one thing I do know I’m looking forward to cupping this one.