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At origin

Giving back to the people at origin

Back in February 2018, we visited the Sidamo coffee producing region together with our Ethiopian Partners, Moplaco. During this trip, besides visiting producers, we were introduced to one of the projects that Moplaco has developed in this region in collaboration with the local community: The Sergera Elementary School.

This school was built over 8 years ago and its intention was to create an environment that would encourage children to attend classes. Year by year, attendance has improved and now about 2000 children attend the school. Since its early beginnings, the school has significantly improved but as the people at Moplaco put it, "it is an ongoing feat".

The school operates on two shifts, morning and afternoon, in which 1000 children attend at a time. Currently, it has 10 classrooms of which only 2 have concrete floor, the remaining have a sandy dirt floor covered by wood straps. This type of flooring, although cheap is the perfect environment for fleas to nest, which represents a problem to already overcrowded classrooms.

At List + Beisler, we believe in fostering sustainable communities within the coffee industry. On this occasion, we have decided to collaborate with Moplaco and the Community of Sergera to help renovate further classrooms, improve the floors and walls as well as provide them with furniture, with the aim of creating a safer and healthier environment for the children; a space where they can learn and work in better conditions.

The project will span from March 2018 until December 2018 and during this time, we are tasked with managing the overall project design. Moplaco will collaborate as manager of the overall project while the community of Sergera will be involved as workers.

We believe that bettering the overall existing infrastructure will give children the opportunity to learn in proper conditions.

Stay tuned for updates on the project.


Germany's First Q-Arabica Course and Exam

In Feb 2019 we hosted Germany's very first Q-Arabica Course and Exam at our SCA-Training Campus in Berlin. Twelve participants from all over Europe practiced and got tested in 19 different disciplines in order to receive the most respected certification in coffee sensory: the Q-Grader.
Since there was such great demand we are already planning another Q-course in the second half of 2019. Please get in touch with us in case of interest.

At Origin

Trip to Tanzania

Tanzania, August 2019

Right on time for the first days of harvest, we went to the north of Tanzania to have a look at what to expect from the upcoming crop. This was also our first visit to the Edelweiss farm – plenty of things to be excited about!

Check out the route on this map.

Trip to Tanzania

Machare Estate, Kilimanjaro

Machare Estate, Kilimanjaro. Starting off in the Kilimanjaro region, we were welcomed with unusual sunshine for these times. Machare Estate allows you to have a cup of coffee with a direct view onto Kilimanjaro. The farm is surrounded by two rivers and nestled on the lush slopes of the Kilimanjaro Mountain. Bente, the owner of Machare, aims to cultivate 100 % organically certified coffee in a few years. She has quite some talent to teach herself things that go beyond her in-depth knowledge of coffee: an irrigation system that supplies the whole plantation with only one pump and a Tanzanian-tailored organic fertilizer are only two of the projects she successfully executed in the past years. Imagine a farm that has experimented with so many best practices from all over the world, that it is considered state-of-the-art coffee processing in East Africa. This results not only in a unique set-up involving much of the surrounding communities but also in a high-quality cup that constantly convinces with beautiful aromas and high complexity. Machare's coffees are full of tomato, bergamot and berries that play with smooth citric acidity. We have had these coffees for several years now and can only support her engagement that reflects these colorful aromas in one cup.

During our visit in August, parts of the Machare Estate had ripened much earlier than in previous years. Picking in lower altitudes had already begun. Not only on Machare, but also on the many surrounding smallholder farms, people had started to pick the first ripe cherries. Samples should come to our lab in November, first coffees should reach our warehouse in Germany by March.

Last year, we entered a joint project to strengthen Machare's surrounding communities. To us, a strong coffee community with established infrastructure enables synergies as well as stable supply from the region. The goal of the project was to imrpove coffee processing for Machare's neighboring Central Pulping Units (CPU's). These CPU's are owned and operated by the surrounding smallholder farmers to depulp, ferment, wash and dry the parchment of many in one facility. Together with Bente, we decided to supply the CPU's with shade nets and plastic canvas to support their drying processes on African drying beds. Originally, shade nets were used in olive processing, covering the olives and drying them in a more gentile way. Farmers at the Kilimanjaro already dry their parchment in the shade of many trees. Nevertheless, these nets still come in handy. Drying the parchment involves regular turning to ensure constant quality. Placing the parchment on nets rather than directly on wire has several advantages:

keyboard_arrow_rightThe wire is hard to replace or repair as the material is rising in price

keyboard_arrow_rightHandling becomes easier, no beans are missed out on or fall through the wire, parchment can be poured all at once

keyboard_arrow_rightAlready tucked in nets, parchment can be quickly wrapped in canvas in order to protect from rain and humidity at night

The CPU's range in size: the biggest one in the area gathers 74 farmers while others collect the cherries of 10 farmers only. A total of 158 shade nets and 100 plastic canvas were given to 13 CPU's neighboring Machare. Using the shade nets means another step to professionalization and towards a more consistent quality. Easing the work of coffee farmers supports keeping the farm job attractive for generations to follow. Ensuring a stable coffee infrastructure usually creates greater coffees for roasters and coffee lovers. Thank you Bente for your support!

Trip to Tanzania

Smallholder cooperatives, Kilimanjaro

Smallholder cooperatives, Kilimanjaro. Our second visit took us a bit east of the Kili to the producers of our regional coffees "Kulala Kifaru", "Lulu Kaskazini" and "Mamsera Amcos". While the first two coffees represent a mix from several cooperatives, Mamsera Amcos coffee stems from a single-cooperative.
Seven members of the UTZ-certified Mamsera Amcos welcomed us at their headquarters and warehouse. Their modern organization is led by a female manager and supported by a retired accountant of the Tanzanian Coffee Board. In total 2,000 members bring their parchment to the cooperative to be weighed and sold. A similar set-up was found at another cooperative called Mamba South Cooperative. We got to speak to several farmers and members of the cooperatives. All of them named similar challenges they are currently facing: costs for fertilizers, aging trees and especially the youth leaving to the cities.

To tackle these challenges, the cooperatives have come up with practical solutions: regular trainings teach the farmers how to produce their own fertilizers as done at the farm of Christian Arestides Massae (see picture). In cooperation with an NGO, they are also setting up a nursery to slowly replace some of the 100-year-old trees by fresh and more productive ones. In addition, the farmers exchange their experiences in pruning with "promoter farmers" within the cooperatives. Convincing the youth to follow in coffee growing remains the most challenging problem though. By employing young people, the cooperatives try to create a bridge between the generations. They also award the best 45 farmers as an incentive for good quality and prestige. Yet, according to them, the average age of a coffee farmer in the Kili area currently lies above 60. Next to climate change, we also consider this as one the critical points for future coffee production. The cooperatives have done a great job in this area and we hope to have a continuous coffee flow in the future, too!

By buying these coffees, you certainly contribute to supporting the smallholder farmers from these cooperatives, too. Coffees from this area tend to be slightly floral and come with an intense citric acidity. We expect the first samples from this area in November and are excited to see what this year's production will bring!

Trip tp Tanzania

Edelweiss, Ngorongoro Crater

Edelweiss Estate, Ngorongoro Crater. Heading west from Moshi, our next destination led us to the Arusha Coffee Mill. This dry mill is owned by the Edelweiss Estate and mills the parchment of 4-5 neighboring farms next to their own. We got to cup the first Edelweiss lots from lower altitudes. Neel Vohora, the third generation owner of the farm, loves to experiment with different processing styles. This upcoming crop there will be refreshing samples of carbonic maceration, anaerobic fermentation and honey coffees to be checked out. First samples should reach us in the second half of September, with shipments reaching us in Jan/Feb.

The Edelweiss Estate consists of two neighboring farms: Edelweiss and Helgoland/Ascona. The funky German names are a heritage from German settlement in the early 20th century. Both farms are adjacent to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area with an abundance of wildlife such as elephants, buffalos, lions, the endangered black rhinos and zebras. This wildlife is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, this land remains a diversified part of its natural surroundings. On the other hand, the coffee trees have undergone a quite stringent rejuvenation program over the past ten years, production is said to reach a new peak this year. Yet, buffalos and elephants in particular cut back yields by destroying not only a few trees but sometimes also complete hillsides. Young buffalos that grow horns, are suffering from itching, so they rub their horns on coffee trees. Elephants dig huge holes with their tusks to lick minerals out of the soils. Both farms already dedicate 30% of their area to a natural buffer zone for wildlife protection. It remains tricky though to balance the needs of farmers and wildlife in such proximity. Nevertheless, Neel is positive to find a solution that works for both.

Until then, we keep our fingers crossed that buffalos and elephants are not too keen on the fine cherries Edelweiss has been producing and will leave more of that juicy and complex coffee for us. Stay tuned for some unique rhubarb in your cup!


We are the first World Coffee Research partner in Germany!

Sustainability is inseparably linked to our company's DNA. List + Beisler has been promoting and supporting sustainability projects in coffee-growing regions for a very long time.

We mainly focus on coffee-related trainings for coffee farmers. Our primary topics of training include best practices for farm health, harvesting, processing, and caring for coffee quality during production. The main objective of the projects is to improve the farmers' quality and productivity through enhancements of their agronomy and production skills, or "software," such as better pruning techniques and composting methods.

The limitation we regularly face is the existing infrastructure, or the "hardware" – the coffee trees themselves. We typically find randomly mixed varieties that have been planted conveniently, but not strategically optimized for providing the farmer higher quality, more productivity, and efficiency.

This must change if we hope to improve an existing farm's chances of not only having a sustainable business model but especially in our pursuits for improvements. This caused us to begin looking for ways to transform the farm design with those farmers who wish to see these improvements made. After an extensive search, we were able to find an organization specifically addressing these needs utilizing a scientific, progressive, non-GMO approach and potential solutions.

We are very happy to announce our partnership with World Coffee Research (WCR).

We had the great opportunity to meet Vern Long, the new CEO of WCR in Berlin during the WOC. She attended our company's get-together, and with refreshing drinks in our hands, we explored collaborating.

This is what we learned about the WCR: they are a collaborative, not-for-profit research organization, formed by the global coffee industry in 2012. Using advances in agricultural science, it is possible to improve coffee yields, quality, climate resilience, and farmer livelihoods. WCR focuses exactly on this work: they use advanced and applied research in coffee genetics (no GMO!) and agronomy to create new coffee varieties and imagine new agronomic approaches. Adding these new varieties to the farm increases biodiversity at farm level.

Improved and focused diversity does a couple of things:

1) With more biodiversity, a farm is able to weather the storm of new pests as well as a changing climate.

2) With focused variety planting, a farm can plant the "correct" varieties for their specific geography and climatic conditions. This allows a coffee tree to be put into an environment that fits its needs. A happy tree is a healthy tree, and healthy trees produce more and better coffee.

The WCR has an excellent network of leading scientists and institutions in coffee-producing countries around the world. Together, they develop solutions that are quickly implementable and flow straight to innovative and quality-focused coffee farmers.

Not only are we partnering with WCR, but we are inviting you to partner as well!
How can you participate? How does it work?

  • Roasters agree to donate USD 0,01— USD 0,10 per pound (EUR 0,02 – EUR 0,20 per kilo) of coffee purchased through List + Beisler.
  • List + Beisler matches the donation of the roaster with USD 0,01 per pound (EUR 0,02 per kilo) of the coffee purchased through us.
  • List + Beisler keeps track of coffee sales to roasters, adding however many cents per pound/kilo the roaster has indicated to the coffee purchased. The contribution is included as a cost of doing business on the roaster's invoice, similar to docking costs, brokerage fees, or warehousing costs.
  • List + Beisler collects the funds and disperses them to WCR four times a year.
  • Once set up with List + Beisler, there is no work for you.

You can find more info on or contact us at any time!

Coffee Knowledge

List+Beisler’s contribution to the 4th edition of “The Coffee Guide”

Blog by: Philip von der Goltz, 14.10.2021

Being in charge of sustainability, marketing, and digitalization at List + Beisler, these were special weeks for me. More than 20 years ago, I started working in the beautiful world of coffee. I was only a couple of weeks into the new job when international coffee prices reached their historically lowest levels of 41.50 c/lb. This was in December 2001. Back then, it looked like the end of the coffee world to me. Luckily, I was proven wrong!
Extreme price volatility is one of many factors directly affecting everyone's lives and businesses in the coffee value chain. However, the most fragile member in our community is the coffee farmer, particularly the smallholder farmer. Coffee farmers depend on the international coffee prices and Mother Nature's mood, local currency volatility, and political developments. Many factors come together and are often far beyond their influence.

Coffee: a complex body of knowledge
A thorough understanding of the coffee world is a time-intense endeavor yet key to improving your own knowledge and your decision-making capabilities. In my own journey, I had the privilege of learning from some of the industry's bests. Still, there is plenty of room for further development. After all these years, I came to at least one firm belief: coffee is a livelong-learning process; the more you know, the more you realize there is more to learn and understand. The complexity of this global business creates an ever-evolving and changing reality on production, trade, consumption, and many other components of the magical elixir. Knowledge needs to be adjusted and updated constantly.

So, how to start and what to learn? The nature of complexity is that it is hard to summarize and simplify. Coffee grows all over the globe and is consumed in many ways. Suppose you want to understand not only your own perspective but genuinely thrive on the job. In that case, it is crucial to get ideas, thoughts, facts, and science-based insights combined from as many professionals as possible. Hence, choose your sources wisely.

Back in 1992, the first Coffee Guide was published by the United Nations' International Trade Centre (UN/ITC). It turned into the leading source of information on coffee matters for professionals. It was a commodity handbook, mainly written by Jan van Hilten and Morten Scholer. After the initial success, they continued and developed two additional coffee guides (published in 2002 and 2012) together with a team of industry experts. This – in my opinion – fantastic work provided the coffee industry with detailed knowledge, providing an invaluable asset for the coffee world.
Almost 10 years have passed since the last publication. It was not only time to update information but also to adjust to new realities.

Source: ITC "Building on the legacy: From commodity handbook to comprehensive working tool."

How it started and team-building
Eighteen months ago, Hernan Manson, head of UN/ITC's Alliances for Action unit, asked me to take over this immense task of updating ITC's Coffee Guide. As honoring this task is, it is also challenging. On day 1 of this project, Hernan and I had just started scoping the depth of this endeavor when we slowly realized the dimension of the work on our plate. The vast amount of topics to be covered made me recall a saying from a teacher during my school days: "You don't need to know everything; you just need to know where to find it!". And so we started brainstorming on the individuals with whom we wanted to work together. We built a fully dedicated and brilliant core team: Sarah Charles as my principal co-author, editor, and creative powerhouse. She is a well-known writer, having already worked on several coffee publications. Martina Bozzola, an outstanding academic, the most charming professor in economics and agriculture at the Queen's University of Belfast, and a senior research associate at Zurich University for Applied Science. Tommaso Ferretti, an expert on sustainable trade finance, finished his PhD at McGill University and became a father when creating this new guide edition. He surely had very short nights, but not only due to the newborn baby. Eleni Gerakari, getting all our thoughts and ideas into actionable work and getting some order into our creative mess. She is an invaluable asset to all of us! Last but not least: Neil Rosser – the data master. His knowledge goes back to more than 30 years of profound insights into the numbers that make the world of coffee go round.
Next to our core team, we engaged a highly professional and committed group of over 70 industry experts. The range is wide: from coffee farmers, cooperatives, exporters, importers, roasters, coffee shops, consultants to academia, international institutions, NGOs, and associations of all sorts. We are proud to have covered the whole coffee stakeholder community. This network of highly-passioned coffee lovers is one of the core assets of the new guide.

What is new?
Let me give you a quick glimpse of what is new:
• Sustainability is a core topic, with an attempt to guide the industry towards the new normal
• Latest statistics and trends: Production numbers are split into three groups that differentiate between standard, premium, and specialized coffees.
• There is a focus on user-friendliness. Eight independent modules with a corresponding toolbox adding practical advice and case studies.
• A new chapter on the latest innovations is now part of the guide. This mainly involves the digital side of the business.

After an intense 18 months, I am beyond happy to finally launch this new edition. I stand amazed and thankful to all of you who have supported us in getting this mammoth project done! With this Coffee Guide, we set the cornerstones for a new legacy and hope to have contributed to a better understanding of the coffee world for professionals all along the value chain. The challenges of the next few years will increase and become more severe. May the new Coffee Guide help us in finding proper and sustainable solutions.

Where to find it?
No other day could have been better for officially launching the 4th edition of The Coffee Guide than International Coffee Day (October 1, 2021).
You can download "The Coffee Guide, 4th Edition" for free here.

Looking forward to your comments and impressions!


Farming Accelerator Project - Ethiopia

October 2021

While the Climate Change Conference COP26 is taking place in Glasgow and clearly shows the importance of keeping sustainability at the core of our actions, we are happy to tell you about our findings after coming back from an extensive field visit in our Farming Accelerator project in Southern Ethiopia.
This project has been running for more than a year now. It started just before the Covid-19 related lock-downs in March 2020. Despite all the restrictions related to the pandemic, we could adapt to the necessary hygienic precautions and begin with the much-needed work in that part of Ethiopia.
The principle of the project is simple and smart: we partnered with UN-ITC, Enveritas, and COQUA to tackle the most evident sustainability challenges faced by smallholder coffee farmers in Southern Ethiopia. We selected six specific coffee regions in Yirgacheffe and Sidama, known for their outstanding quality. Using artificial intelligence, satellite technology, and in-person interviews, Enveritas can provide us with accurate and transparent data on the farmers' situation. Based on this information, we developed a set of trainings together with UN-ITC and COQUA. These trainings cover two main areas, and we call them:
Sustainable Productivity Acceleration, covering among others:

• Good agricultural practices
• Product quality consistency

Farming as a Family Business, creating awareness on:

• Basic Financial Literacy (accounting and record-keeping)
• Income diversification and business development

All training is inclusive and targets all members of the family living and working on the farm. Youth and gender are equally involved.
Once the training modules are refined, it remains a challenge to deploy the training. We have recruited several farmer trainers, young enthusiastic agronomical professionals from the towns who are well-connected within the local communities. They get trained by a senior agronomist and experienced coach. The project counts with 60 demonstration plots where the farmers are invited to attend the training. The farmer trainers explain the methodologies, and then the farmers and their families can experiment by themselves under the supervision of the farmer trainer. Each farmer trainer trains a group of farmers. Thanks to this methodology, we can provide training for 1,800 farmers in the region.
We have already accomplished composting pits on all demo plots, and farmers are already adopting these new techniques on their land. They have also learned how to prune or stump a tree and understood the importance of having young and strong plants to accelerate productivity. Most of the smallholder farmers are not taking any notes on income and expenses, and therefore they are not able to accurately assess the results of their work. To better manage the farm, though, it is crucial to understand basic numbers coming from income and expenses. This is why we are also training this. And usually, women and the younger generation are very prone to understand the importance and impact of this exercise.
Now, once the project runs, it is essential for all participants – from farmer to roaster - to access these coffees. Systemic change is embedded through the continuous purchase of these project-related coffees.
This is what we define as "Sustainability as a Service" (SaaS) – with a bit of tweak from its original acronym ;-). In a nutshell: excellent coffee quality, sustainably produced and sourced from tree to cup.

Regions visited:
We started the journey flying from Addis Abeba to Awasa. From there on, we drove south towards Dila. Departing from Dila, we went to the coffee fields located around the small villages (called Kebeles) of Nurakorate, Kumato, Adame, Gotiti, and Chelchele. We visited 15 demonstration plots and farms surrounding these demo plots. We have spoken to over 100 farmers during our field visits and interviewed them and the farmer trainers to better understand their needs and check the efficiency of our training service provided.


September 04, 2023

What's going on in East-Africa?

 General News

Extreme weather events are becoming a steady part of the newsletter.

Efforts to restore and rebuild have commenced after Hurricane Idalia, which recently battered USA's Florida Gulf Coast. Although the devastation, fatalities, and electrical outages were less severe than those caused by the previous major hurricane that hit the state almost a year ago, insurance companies are bracing for claims that could reach the billions. China has activated its top-level typhoon alert in anticipation of Typhoon Saola, a powerful storm with wind speeds exceeding 200 kph (125 mph). The typhoon is on course to impact the southeastern coast, putting Hong Kong and key industrial centers in the adjacent Guangdong province at risk.

International coffee prices started with a solo trading day in New York as the Robusta market remained closed on Monday. This upcoming week will also begin with a slower dance. Labor Day festivities will keep the New York futures market closed on Monday. Arabica prices traded in a narrow range during the past week. The market is sidelined and lacking a clear direction, meandering around the 155 c/lb. The December 23 contract closed at 151.90 c/lb on Friday, a narrow 0.8% loss compared to the previous week's ending.

On the other hand, international Robusta prices have gained some ground and closed the week at 2,482 USD/MT. This is a 1.8% gain compared to the previous Friday's close. The tight Robusta availability is reflected in the market's continuous strong character.

To keep up with the caffeinated rollercoaster that is the coffee market, check out the table below. We give it a fresh weekly update, so you're always in the loop.


The Ethiopian Government has declared a six-month state of emergency in the Amhara region following clashes between local militias and national defense forces. On another note, in a significant geopolitical move, Ethiopia, along with five other countries, has been invited to join the BRICS group, aiming to counterbalance the weight of the G7 on the world stage.

July saw the lowest coffee exports in six years, with just over 350,000 bags shipped. The August numbers will most probably point in a similar direction. The Central Bank's recent reversal of forex restrictions aims to boost these dwindling numbers. However, the real question is: who's holding the unsold stock in this falling market - exporters, akrabis, or farmers?

Ethiopia is at a crossroads, grappling with political unrest and a precarious coffee industry in permanent change and under extreme pressure. As the new crop season looms and the Government pushes for increased exports, the stakes are sky-high. Will Ethiopian exporters weather this storm, or is a crisis inevitable? The clock is ticking.

The new 23/24 crop is maturing, and picking activities are expected to start in late September or early October. Good rains and sunshine make farmers look optimistic. The amount of cherries hanging on the trees inspires a bullish outlook regarding crop size and quality.

Due to a lack of adequate container equipment, Djibouti's port activities are sluggish. This has led to rescheduled shipments and a growing backlog, further complicating Ethiopia's export challenges


Kenya's coffee sector is undergoing a significant transformation, marked by new rules and players entering the market. Brokers will be offering the coffee at the auction, and they will be appointed by farmer societies from a respective county. This new system has caused some uncertainty among all players, and hence, the first auction of the 2023 fly crop was delayed by a month due to hold-ups in license issuance. Millers are still in limbo, awaiting their licenses from county governments, which has led to a pause in milling activities.

The harvest for the fly crop is complete, but initial reports suggest that this year's yield will be lower than last year's. A higher percentage of smaller beans is expected, which could impact the overall quality of the coffee. Farmers are holding onto their parchment, awaiting the resumption of milling activities.

No significant logistical news coming from the port – but a true gem for the people around Mombasa: the MV "Logos Hope", a 132 meters floating library ship with more than 5,000 books, anchored and opened its doors to the public. People can either read or buy their favorite books for a small fee. This might be an excellent excursion while waiting for your coffee to be shipped ;-)

The announced changes in the Kenyan coffee marketing regulations are still not 100% clear. Discussions between the operators and the Government officials are ongoing. As a consequence, the auctions haven't started so far.

The fly crop has reached its peak, and farmers continue their picking activities.

Weather conditions are dry with abundant sunshine to dry the parchment after washing.

Due to the prevailing marketing uncertainties, the processed parchment is still upcountry in farmers' and cooperatives' hands.

Activities at the port of Mombasa are running well and without significant disruptions.


The Tanzanian Minister of Energy has come under pressure as a system error in a major gas-fired power plant forced power cuts in many parts of the country. According to a statement from the power company Tanesco, the problem will be fixed soon. Power cuts are nothing unusual in East Africa, but this little "system error" erased almost 25% of the yearly energy supply in this specific case – not bad for an IT bug.

Harvesting activities are in various stages across the country. Farmers are wrapping up their harvest in the northern regions around Mt. Kilimanjaro, with about 50% still going on the higher altitudes of the "Shy Mountain". In the southern regions, harvesting has ceased in Mbozi, and Mbeya is in the final stages. Most wet mills have closed their operations, marking the end of the harvest season in these areas.

Parchment deliveries to the dry mills are taking place, and the milling operations are running smoothly. Exporters are hulling, cleaning, segregating, sieving, cupping, and preparing the coffee to be containerized.

Port logistics are running quite well, but some transportation issues are delaying deliveries to the port. Some delays might arise.


Farmers, their farms, and the coffee trees rest properly after the harvest. Some have already started with good agricultural practices in their fields and have been pruning and fertilizing the trees.

The last bits and pieces of parchment are moved from the country's interior to the exporters' or cooperatives' warehouses and dry mills in Kigali. Once there, it is hulled, sorted by quality, and ultimately, readied for export.

The first containerized truckloads have already begun making their way toward the Tanzanian border, destined for Dar es Salaam.




September 11, 2023

What's going on in Asia-Pacific?

General market situation:

Global financial focus will be tuned on Wednesday's release of the US latest inflation report. Depending on its outcome the US Federal Reserve might decide on further increasing national interest rates.
China's economy continues to slow down reflected in falling export (-9%) and import (-7%) statistics. A weakening Chinese appetite for commodities – of course also including coffee – will put additional downside pressure on prices.

Not really surprising, but at least worth mentioning: Japan reported receiving numerous harassing phone calls criticizing the release of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific. In such a tech-savvy and data-driven world, it's difficult to imagine that there aren't better solutions to such a problem as simply dumping everything into the ocean?

Chinese meteorologists have warned several provinces about impending torrential rains and flash floods. Over the past week, the relentless downpours led to the evacuation of over 3,000 people in the Hunan province.

Hong Kong experienced its most intense rainfall in 140 years of record-keeping. Typhoon-induced extreme weather conditions led to further disturbances in southern China. Footage revealed torrents of water rushing down hilly terrains, flooding shopping centers, subway stations, and tunnels.

The European Union's Copernicus climate change commission announced that August was the hottest August ever recorded globally. This follows the trend with June and July, both also setting temperature records.

Heavy rainfall resulted in flash floods in northwest Turkey, claiming the lives of at least five individuals. Simultaneously, in Greece, torrential downpours led to the death of two people, with three others missing. The rains flooded homes and businesses and caused significant infrastructural damage. This comes after Greece experienced the largest forest fires in the history of the European Union, now facing record-breaking rainfall.

Contrary to the overwhelming global climate-related news, international Arabica and Robusta coffee prices showed another calm and weakening week.
Arabica prices had a short week –Monday was closed due to Labor Day in the US. Prices meandered between 155c/lb and 150c/lb during the whole week but on the final hours of Friday, they fell to a new 2 week low, closing the week at 148.65 c/lb, at a moderate 2.1% discount compared to the previous Friday's close.
And also Robusta prices have given-in some terrain, starting the week slightly touching levels above the 2,500 USD/MT mark but retracing during the course of the last five days to 2,407 USD/MT, and herewith marking a 3% week-on-week loss.

To keep up with the caffeinated rollercoaster that is the coffee market, check out the table below. We give it a fresh weekly update, so you're always in the loop.



Indonesia's local roasting industry continues with its steady hunger for cheap Robustas, but a flourishing specialty szene in the bigger cities is looking for funky Arabica cup profiles from this multifaceted group of islands. Nevertheless, the volume market remains the locally loved ready-to-drink - three-in-one sachets.

The Arabica harvest in the northern parts of Sumatra is ending, and coffee is reaching the exporter's dry mills, looking to be milled, sorted, cupped, and prepared for export.

Meanwhile, the Robusta flowering is underway and promising a good 2024 harvest. But weather conditions must be supportive to make the flowers turn into cherries and, herewith, into a prosperous 2024 season... but Indonesia's meteorological agency has indicated that the current El Niño conditions, known for extended periods of heat and dryness, might impact over two-thirds of the nation. This includes the islands of Sumatra and Java. We are working on a separate El Niño blog post - so stay tuned.

No significant news from the port so far.



While India is officially in the middle of the monsoon season, the heavy rains and humid days were completely absent. Farmers were starting to worry as their coffee trees needed some water. Luckily, the rains have started now, and humidity is restored - not only in the soil but also in the air. Coffees are undergoing the "monsooning process" in specially designed warehouses, and the extreme humidity is sweltering the coffee beans, turning them yellowish and adding the typical monsooned flavor.



For weeks, reports were showing torrential rains in Vietnam's central highlands. The situation has changed quite drastically: the key producing regions of Dak Lak, Gia Lai, Dak Nong, Lam Dong, and Kontum haven't received any rain for weeks, and temperatures are also going through the roof. Weather forecasts for the next weeks ahead look positive, though, with some showers on the radar.

The harvest is expected to start in a couple of weeks. Some first-pickings are being reported. Farmers are glimpsing the high internal prices and hope to be able to sell their harvest at these levels.


Papua New Guinea

The coffee harvest is advancing smoothly in the highlands near Mt. Hagen and other coffee-rich areas. Farmers are busy collecting cherries, which they either process themselves or take to washing stations. After the cherries are depulped, fermented, and washed, parchment is finally dried in the sun before being dispatched to the dry mill. It's hulled, screened, selected, cupped, and prepared for shipping there.

There is no significant news from the port to report.


Asia Pacific Coffee Production


How does El Niño impact coffee production?

In the world of agriculture, few crops are as sensitive to climate as coffee trees. Coffee plants require specific conditions to flourish, and even minor changes in temperature or precipitation can significantly impact yield and quality. One of the most influential climate phenomena affecting coffee production is El Niño, a recurring climate pattern characterized by the warming of the Pacific Ocean. But what exactly is El Niño and how does it affect coffee production?

In this article, we delve into the intricate relationship between El Niño and coffee production, examining its economic, environmental, and social implications.

What is El Niño?

El Niño is a climate phenomenon that occurs every two to seven years, disrupting regular weather patterns around the globe. Essentially, it is described as the warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which in turn influences atmospheric (air) circulation. El Niño is one phase within the broader climate phenomenon known as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). ENSO also comprises La Niña, a phase characterized by cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

You may be wondering, where does the name 'El Niño,' meaning 'little boy' in Spanish, come from? As the saying goes, fishermen along Peru's coast first noticed unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean back in the 1600s. This weather anomaly brought along lots of fish from the cold depths of the sea, giving the fishermen a fantastic catch for Christmas. They coined this "present" El Niño de Navidad, because El Niño typically manifests around Christmas in December.

The changes in the weather patterns caused by El Niño have far reaching effects, impacting weather systems, ocean conditions, and, consequently, agricultural production.


The Science Behind El Niño's Impact on Coffee

The majority of the world's coffee is grown in a region known as the Coffee Belt, which stretches across the globe between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. This area is particularly susceptible to the effects of El Niño, as the phenomenon can bring about drastic changes in weather conditions, such as prolonged droughts or excessive rainfall.

Coffee leaf rust.

The coffee plant is highly susceptible to changes in its environment. This is why El Niño's influence on weather patterns can lead to conditions that are unfavorable for coffee growth. For instance, increased temperatures can accelerate the coffee bean's maturation process, resulting in an early harvest and affecting coffee's growth and quality negatively.

On the other hand, excessive rainfall can lead to the proliferation of pests, such as the coffee berry borer, and diseases like coffee leaf rust (known as "la roya" in Spanish). These conditions can devastate entire regions. This is exactly what happened in late 2007 and 2008 in Colombia and Central America. One-third of Colombia's coffee production was destroyed by coffee leaf rust, while farms in Honduras and Nicaragua were also massively hit by the fungus.

Nonetheless, El Niño is extremely complex and the weather changes it triggers manifest differently across regions. Typically, El Niño brings decreasing rains to Colombia, Central America, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Vietnam. On the other hand, Peru, Brazil, and some African countries are challenged by excessive rainfall.


Economic Consequences for Coffee Producers

The economic repercussions of El Niño on coffee production are profound. When weather patterns are disrupted, coffee farmers face a multitude of challenges that can lead to decreased yields and increased production costs. For example, drought conditions may require additional irrigation, which is costly and resource-intensive. This could particularly impact farmers in certain producing areas lacking irrigation systems, making them heavily reliant on natural precipitation.

Excessive rainfall, conversely, may result in soil erosion and the need for more frequent application of fungicides to combat diseases. These additional costs can be devastating for small-scale farmers who already operate on thin margins.

Despite the challenges, there are positive outcomes worth highlighting. In Colombia, for instance, the El Niño phenomenon has sometimes had a positive impact. In the case of increased sunshine hours, for example, coffee trees can produce more coffee cherries, ultimately resulting in higher yields.

Price Volatility

El Niño events do not only affect coffee in terms of production. The uncertainty surrounding it leads to significant price volatility in the coffee market. Farmers, middlemen, exporters, traders, and roasters are aware of the potential impact on coffee yields, and this can lead to speculative behavior.

Certainly, the participation of hedge funds in the international coffee markets adds another layer of speculation. As a result, coffee prices can swing dramatically, making it difficult for the coffee value chain actors to plan for the future. During these periods, it is indeed the smallholder coffee farmers who bear the highest toll.

Green coffee cherries.

Environmental Ramifications

Besides its effects on the economic landscape, El Niño also brings about significant environmental consequences. The altered weather patterns can exacerbate ecological issues such as deforestation and soil degradation. For instance, drought conditions can make forests more susceptible to wildfires, which not only destroy coffee plantations but also contribute to air pollution and loss of biodiversity.

Water scarcity is also a pressing issue in regions where El Niño leads to drought. As with every agricultural undertaking, coffee production also needs water, and insufficient water can cascade effects on local ecosystems. Rivers and streams may dry up, affecting not just agriculture but also local fauna and the surrounding communities.

Latest Weather Forecasts and Global Alerts

The latest weather forecast reports to come from the U.S. Government's National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Centre anticipate that a transition from ENSO neutral conditions could occur during the next few months, with a 95% chance that El Niño weather conditions are expected to come into play towards December this year. The Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology has issued an El Niño alert, forecasting an 80% chance that the El Niño weather phenomenon will develop by the end of the year. This weather phenomenon, should it come to the fore, is associated with above-average sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which would threaten partial drought conditions for the Pacific rim coffee countries such as Colombia and Indonesia. It could, however, bring with it further potential for increased rainfall for the coffee-growing districts in Southeast Brazil.

The Indonesian weather agency BMKG has also reported that the prevailing El Niño weather phenomenon, which typically brings prolonged hot and dry weather to the area, may be affecting more than two-thirds of the country. This includes Java and parts of Sumatra, two key coffee-producing regions in the country.

Coffee farm in Brazil.

Case Studies: Countries Most Affected

Brazil is the world's largest coffee producer, and its coffee belt is significantly impacted by El Niño. The phenomenon has been linked to severe droughts in some years and flooding in others, both of which have detrimental effects on coffee production. As the world's leading producer, the uncertainty surrounding its supply can potentially lead to significant repercussions on coffee prices.

Colombia, another significant player in the coffee industry, also faces challenges due to El Niño. The country's mountainous terrain makes it particularly vulnerable to landslides during periods of excessive rainfall, which can wipe out coffee plantations entirely. And not to forget the earlier mentioned increase in coffee plant diseases such as coffee leaf rust.

Mitigation Strategies

Given the significant impact of El Niño on coffee production, it is crucial for stakeholders to develop mitigation strategies. These can range from adopting more resilient coffee varieties to implementing water-saving technologies.

One approach is the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices, which aim to make farming more resilient to climate variability. This can encompass techniques such as cultivating shade-grown coffee, which is less susceptible to temperature fluctuations. Other practices include adjusting fertilization practices based on the availability of water and rainfall distribution as well as providing plants with the proper maintenance, like stumping and pruning.

National Governments can also play a role by providing subsidies for the adoption of more sustainable farming practices or offering insurance schemes to protect farmers against extreme weather events.

Coffee picking during harvest season.

El Niño is a powerful climate phenomenon with far-reaching implications for coffee production. Its effects are experienced on the economic, environmental, and social levels, making it a critical issue for anyone involved in the coffee supply chain. While it is impossible to prevent El Niño events, understanding their impact and implementing mitigation strategies can go a long way in safeguarding the future of coffee.




September 18, 2023

What's going on in South-America?

General market situation:

The world mourns with the people affected by earthquakes and floods in Morocco and Libya. It is scary to see the force with which Mother Nature can strike.

The European Central Bank (ECB) continues its hawkish interest rate course, posting another 25 points hike to 4%. With this, the ECB reached a historic interest rate high since introducing the euro in 1999.

All eyes are now focused on the meeting session of the US-Federal Reserve (FED) taking place this week. Economists would welcome an interest rate hiking pause. The job market tightness has relaxed a little, and the US economy continues to show strength and growth hunger. The signals are mixed, and bankers hang on the FED's Chairman's lips, waiting for enlightenment.

After a rather dull week where international Arabica coffee prices were trading in the well-established 145 c/lb to 155 c/lb range, the market had a bullish turn on Friday, posting a fresh 5-week high and closing the week at 159.15 c/lb. This is a 7% stronger close than the previous week.

But also, Robusta prices continue their steady bullish trend. We saw three consecutive bullish sessions towards the end of the week, pushing prices to 2,556 USD/MT. This is also a new 5-week high and a 6% price increase compared to the previous week's closure.

To stay informed about the ever-changing dynamics of the coffee market, refer to the table below. We update this table weekly, providing the latest insights and updates.


The National Space Research Agency INPE shows a 66.1% reduction in Brazil's Amazon deforestation rate compared to August 2022. This is particularly encouraging as the month of July also indicates a substantial decrease in illegal deforestation.

September through November mark the traditional flowering season in Brazil. The coffee trees of most production regions are then covered in white, and a beautiful fragance enchants the air. Flowering has a direct impact on the size of the upcoming harvest. After pollination, the flowers need water and a supportive micro-climate to fix the buds and continue their evolution towards a mature red (or yellow) cherry.

This season's flowering looks very good so far; now, rains need to come in. Some regions have registered abundant rains, but others are still waiting. Nonetheless, El Niño shows some effect, bringing along dry weather conditions while pushing rains further into the future. Weather forecasting services show no rain is expected in the following days. On the other hand, the dry-weather conditions help complete the final bits and pieces of the harvest.

A small trucker strike at the port of Santos induced some delays, but the parties have come to an agreement now, and the usual speed shall pick up again.


Colombia - and the world - mourns its famous painter and sculpturer Fernando Botero. He passed away at 91, leaving an iconic footprint in the world of art.

Botero L+B Inspiration: Caficultores Antioqueños

The main crop has started to flow in the lower altitude regions of Colombia. But also the higher altitude regions in the well known coffee-producing regions - starting from Antioquia, Huila, the Eje Cafetero (Caldas, Risaralda, Quindio), Tolima, Santander, Valle del Cauca, Cundinamarca, to the Sierra Nevada - will start with the harvesting labor in two to three weeks.

The hotter - El Niño related - weather is bringing pests and diseases, such as the coffee berry borer, to the fields. Farmers are carefully monitoring their trees to spot any outbreaks early.

The first impressions suggest a big harvest. Cooperatives and exporters get ready to receive a steady flow of parchment in the weeks to come. For now, farmers are reluctant to sell their last remainders of the fly-crop as prices the price gap between sellers and buyers is still very difficult to bridge.

No significant news from the ports of Buenaventura (Pacific Ocean), Cartagena, and Santa Marta (both Caribbean Ocean). Operations are running smoothly.


The harvest is progressing well in Peru. Abundant rain and sunshine help the maturation process of the cherries still ripening in the high-altitude regions. The lower and mid-altitude areas are harvested.

Cooperatives and exporters are receiving a decent amount of parchment flow, and their milling operations are in full swing. Hulling, screening, sorting, cupping, and bagging are the main focus areas for now.

Logistics at the ports are running without any significant problems.

Coffee Production Estimates in South America




Climate resilience and coffee varieties

Without a doubt, climate change is significantly altering the landscape of coffee production. Rising temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns, and increased incidents of extreme weather events are disrupting traditional coffee-growing regions. Prolonged droughts, for instance, can lead to lower yields, while excessive rainfall and high humidity can result in pests and diseases such as coffee leaf rust. Moreover, rising temperatures can impact the geographical areas where coffee plants thrive, potentially forcing farmers to relocate their farms to cooler or higher areas, taking a toll on deforestation.

To adapt and bring coffee forward in light of these challenges, improving farming practices and coffee varieties plays a pivotal role. This is why we support the work of organizations such as World Coffee Research (WCR). Their work includes the improvement of coffee varieties, which does not only improve coffee plants' climate resilience and productivity, but also contributes to reducing farmers' risks while at the same time increasing yields.

Just last week, they released a new poster celebrating Arabica and Robusta coffee varieties. The poster depicts the relationship of over 100 coffee varieties from 22 countries, breaking down Arabica into four major groups: Bourbon Typica, Typica, Ethiopian Landrace, and Catimor. Robusta varieties, on the other hand, are classified according to countries: Congo, Congo x Guinea, Guinea, and Uganda.

This practical resource is available for everyone. To learn more or download a free copy, please visit WCR's website.

If you are a roaster and would like to support the work of WCR, you can collaborate through the Check-Off Program, here's how it works:

  • You can choose to donate 0,02 EUR/kg of green coffee sourced through List + Beisler. 
  • In return, we will increase your impact by adding a matching donation of 0,01 EUR/kg to every coffee purchase. These contributions will be clearly outlined in each contract.
  • Every four months, we will collect all the contributions and send them directly to WCR.

Want to learn more? Reach out to us via

Photo credits: World Coffee Research

September 25, 2023

What is going on in Central-America?

General Market News:

In Europe, Britain's inflation rate surprisingly decreased in August, with official data indicating a drop in the consumer price index to 6.7% from July's 6.8% - not too much, but at least a step in the right direction. This has led the Bank of England to not further increase interest rates on Thursday.

In the USA, investors remain assured that the Federal Reserve will maintain interest rates at actual levels for now. But considering the US central bank policymakers' views on the potential for an economic "soft landing", further interest hikes towards the end of the year are considered a viable scenario. Meanwhile, in Asia, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has reported that economic growth in developing regions will be marginally below prior predictions. This is due to challenges in China's real estate sector and risks associated with El Niño. Consequently, the ADB has adjusted its growth prediction for developing Asia to 4.7% from the 4.8% estimated in July.

The international coffee market is always good for a surprise. We saw a very nervous Arabica market in New York last week. With what looks to be a spill-over effect of the high oil prices, Arabica prices jumped towards new 7-week highs but could not hold those levels and started to retrace back to the previously established comfort zone, oscillating between 145 c/lb and 155 c/lb. The week closed at 151.15 c/lb on Friday, marking a 5% minus compared to the previous week's close.

The Robusta prices continued their solid, firm course but were also pulled back slightly. The week closed at 2,461 USD/MT. On a week-on-week comparison, it posts a 3.7% weaker closing.

To stay informed about the ever-changing dynamics of the coffee market, refer to the table below. We update this table weekly, providing the latest insights and updates.

Central America

In Nicaragua, the government of President Daniel Ortega has seized the Jesuit-run University of Central America, labeling it as a "center of terrorism." This move on August 16 led to the confiscating of the university's property, buildings, and bank accounts. Will this turn into an overpriced shopping mall soon?

The maturation cycle of the 23/24 crop is advancing favorably across all Central American nations. Favorable weather conditions, with ample sunshine and rain, are aiding the growth of coffee cherries. The green coffee trees start to show hints of red as the cherries ripen. Pests and diseases, including Broca, appear to be well-managed. Farmers are inspecting their farms and undertaking preliminary agricultural tasks. Early predictions suggest a promising upcoming harvest, provided the weather remains favorable. Harvesting is anticipated to commence in regions with lower altitudes by early October, which is just around the corner.

However, a significant challenge persists in the form of labor shortages in the rural areas of Central America. Coffee producers are in dire need of skilled workers for the demanding coffee-picking season. Some are even considering arranging transportation from major nearby cities to ensure they have enough workers for a successful harvest.

No major news coming from the ports. The Panama Canal is recovering its water levels, and more vessels are allowed to transit now. But there is still some backlash with waiting ships on each side of the canal.

Central America Production Outlook




Sustainability Manifesto

One of the most fascinating yet challenging things about international trade is the interdependence between people of different places and cultures. At List + Beisler, we have successfully fostered these relationships since 1901 – this does not happen accidentally. From the very beginning, we realized our role in the supply network. We are a linchpin, a connector between coffee-producing and coffee-consuming countries and people.

For some, it might be obvious to see how an importer can act as a connector... But, what may not be as obvious is how we all become what biologists call crosslinkers. As our world shrinks through more interconnectedness, we see this phenomenon playing out more and more. Famously, the first person to shed light on this reality was Alexander von Humboldt, a German polymath, geographer, naturalist, explorer, and proponent of environmentalism, who revolutionized the Western conception of nature. He was heralded as a genius scientist and networker for cultural and ecological systems from different parts of the earth. Humboldt coined the concept that the natural world is interconnected, which he called the "web of life". This web of life is an intricate system in which all living things are interconnected and dependent on each other for survival, forming a large chain of causes and effects. No substance and no activity should be considered in isolation.

Here at List + Beisler, we agree with Humboldt's view on interconnectedness. We also see daily evidence that many of the "web of life" strands are now broken, and more are being broken daily. Even in the early 1800s, back in the days of Humboldt, he had discovered the devastating damage caused by colonial plantations on Lake Valencia in Venezuela. He was the first scientist to warn of the dramatic consequences of human-made climate change.

Today we are already living with the impacts of climate change and global warming. We find ourselves in a world where human-made climate change is at a global crisis level. Coffee-growing regions are no exception where it has become more than evident. Pests are spreading into areas they were never able to reach before. Rains pour in formerly dry regions. Biodiversity is collapsing. Dry air is pushing deeper into what used to be cloud forests. Soil is eroding, with mudslides wiping out entire coffee-spotted hillsides. Drought and flooding affect the same regions and alternate their negative impact on nature and humans. We hear frightening and paralyzing bad news every day.

Despite this situation, we at List + Beisler are still optimistic. After all, every obstacle comes with an opportunity. We know that we have the chance to rethink and redesign our actions and create a better coffee future: for coffee-farming families, farmer associations, exporters, roasters, and coffee lovers worldwide.

Over the past few years, we have done a lot of research, talked to experts, and had many internal discussions on potential solutions for environmental and humanitarian challenges. If we are serious about finding solutions to these global issues, we are sure that our efforts must be deeply science-based and not purely ideology-driven. Furthermore, several approaches can be co-actively correct and effective.

This is why we would like to share our Sustainability Manifesto 2022/23 with you. Learn about our mission, goals, and achievements to generate positive impact through our holistic Sustainability Program: JOIN THE MOVEMENT.

Download the Sustainability Manifesto 2022/23 here.