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The Has Bean Open day Saturday the 28th of July 2007

On the 28th of this month we are having out first ever roastery open day. We plan to have some roasting demonstrations, a cupping of some fine coffees (and some very special ones) and plenty of coffee to drink. We have the Guatemalan coffee bus (a bus that’s been converted into a coffee bar, with seats and everything) visiting again.

The fun kicks off at 11am and will carry on until you all go home. There will be food drink and much merriment. Places are limited so please let me know at steve@hasbean.co.uk to reserve your place.
Guat coffee bus

El Salvador COE

The penultimate auction of this season, and there was more fun to be had. Very happy with the coffee we have secured in a group grown by Juan José Ernesto Menéndez Arguello from Finca Alaska. On the cupping table it shone above everything else. I took a few photos today (not sure why but I’ve got a new camera you know) take a look at this link

I’ve said so much about these auctions of late I’m sure you are getting bored of it all, me I love it a chance to get some exceptional coffees I’d have an auction every week but it will be good to have a week off.

Tomorrow I’m going a to cinema screening of the film Black Gold. I’ve seen the film on DVD but not on the big screen so should be fun. There is also a question and answer session afterwards by the makers, I’m never one to miss an opportunity or shy away from debate. I’ll fill you in on what happens and try and get some pictures too.

Costa Rica Cup Of Excellence

After the disappointment of missing out in Guatemala last week, Costa Rica was a chance for me to make up for some hurt pride.

So armed with a larger budget from my Guatemalan savings, I sat back and waited for things to happen. An exiting auction for sure. My initial thought was there was a little bit too much value in the auction, but then I did the maths.

The average price works out at £4.64 compared to the average market price of $1.10 ish and the fair-trade price of $1.26. The number one lot sold for $21.45 that’s 17 times the fair-trade price and 19 times the market price. The lowest priced lot $2.35 double the market price.

I think there have been so many success’s in the cup of excellence and so many record breaking auctions of late, that its easy to loose sight. And to look at an auction on its prices alone is very naive. Many of the coffees we sell on Has Bean have had there relationships started from the cup of excellence competitions (Brazil Fazenda Cachoeira, Brazil Fazenda Santa Terezinha, Guatemala Finca Entre Rios, El Salvador La Fany to name a few).

So we can hope that good prices (and they are good) and good relationships are built.

So what did we win, the number 4 Finca de Licho from the farmer Felipe Aguilera González for which we did have to push the boat out over six times the fair trade price which I think is a good premium. We also won a second, Coopeatenas that came 19th which we paid over double the fair-trade price for. I’m so exited to have two different coffees from this auction and two diverse examples of the finest coffee form Costa Rica.

So we are past the half way stage of auction season. So far I’m happy, ask me last week and I wouldn’t be so sure but Costa Rica has got me exited. El Salvador next week hold a great deal of happy memories for me. A couple of years ago we made a run for the Number one and won it. We paid $16.30 a lb that at the time was a record for El Salvador and considered a fantastic auction. Less us not forget how far we have come and far we have to go.

Guatemala COE

Its been a bad day for me

Today was the Guatemalan cup of excellence auction, and for the first time in a long time we were not involved. Well that’s not true we were involved but the buying group fell apart at a price (which happens a lot in these things) and normally I have a back up plan. But one thing that some one said to me stopped me in my tracks. They said to me, is this coffee four times better so worth four times more than the El Bosque you sell or the Entre Rios. Now please don’t get me wrong, you will not find a better and bigger supporter of the cup of excellence program, and both of these coffees are past winners and that’s where the relationship comes from.  Without this competition lots of our fantastic coffees would not have been found and I love finding new coffees that we wouldn’t have found otherwise..

This auction was small and I think that’s because the auction was held very early for Guatemala. Lots of the samples were of course very good, excellent to coin a phrase but I wasn’t wowed enough to start paying huge prices. I wonder how many great coffees may have got missed because they were not quite ready. This year we will have five awesome Guatemalans, all would be in good company with any of the COE samples.

So when the buying group fell apart (for a coffee that was a WOW) should I have taken (IMHO) second choice for a coffee that was equal to what was available, just so I’m involved? Well I decided no, were in the middle of auction season there are three more auctions, with some exiting opportunities in there, and spending on something that’s ok just didn’t feel right. Would I have paid top price for the coffee I thought was worth it? You bet, but today fell away from us.

Auctions are tough and demanding, on money, time and physical energy and when the rewards are equal that’s fine, today was not my day, roll on next week.