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May 13, 2024

What's going on in Asia-Pacific?

General Market News

After a solid downward move during the last two weeks, we had a short trading week in Europe intertwined with a consolidation phase in both coffee markets.

The combination of rains in Vietnam and Brazil, certified stocks rebounding from historic lows, and a significant sell-off from investment funds had driven coffee prices substantially lower, as well as other commodities such as cocoa.
Arabica prices stopped the downward correction and consolidated in a range of 195 c/lb to 200 c/lb. The market closed the week almost unchanged at 201.15 c/lb. After such a roller-coaster move of the last months, it is unsurprising to see the market recovering a little and searching for a clear new direction.

International Robusta prices also recovered during the week and are still digesting the massive moves from the historic highs of 4,338 USD/MT to Friday's close of 3,440 USD/MT. The week closed almost 3% lower than the previous Friday.

Somebody hit the "pause" button on these otherwise very active and volatile coffee markets. One thing is sure: volatility will soon return to the markets. Speculation on the back of climate change, war, and geopolitical distress will indeed ensure this.

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




In an effort to get young people to move to the new capital city of Nusantara, Indonesia's Government is recruiting influencers to hype it up on social media. This capital city, being built from scratch and planned to be inaugurated in August of this year, has come into play as Jakarta faces many environmental challenges. The town is the fastest-sinking mega-city on the planet, hosting more than 30 million people. Jakarta is and shall stay the economic center of Indonesia, while Nusantara will be home to the Government and its National Administration.

In the northern parts of Sumatra, the Arabica fly crop is complete, and the last bits and pieces are coming down the mountain towards the exporter's warehouses for further processing. The coffee trees are recovering from the harvesting stress, and the main crop cherries are slowly and steadily continuing their maturation process.
The Robusta harvest is coming forward and moving into its final stage in the southern parts of Sumatra, but at a much slower-than-expected pace. This is pushing local prices higher, as exporters need to pay up to get their hands on the coffee.

On the beautiful islands of Bali, Java, and Sulawesi, the crop continues to mature on the trees. Good weather conditions are helping to bring those cherries up to full maturation. The early pickings and, thus, the beginning of the harvest are expected to start towards the first weeks of June.

No significant updates from the port of Lampung; logistics are operating without disruptions.



The harvest ended some months ago in India's Arabica and Robusta-producing regions. The trees are recovering, and farmers are not only doing some basic husbandry on the trees but also still sitting on a substantial volume of coffee. This is keeping internal prices on the higher edge, but the falling international markets have encouraged some farmers to step in and sell part of their coffees as they are scared of missing out on the high prices.
Nonetheless, the demand for Robusta continues to be high despite the high price scenario.

The monsoon season is about to start in the next few weeks. During this time of the year, the heavily humid air and excessive rains help process coffees stored in specially prepared warehouses and convert them into Monsooned Malabar coffees. We keep our fingers crossed and hope the needed rains will come soon.

Given the slow movement of coffee, shipments are delayed as exporters struggle to get the necessary quantities to meet their contractual obligations. There are no significant updates from the ports so far.



Weather concerns and scorching heat affected water supplies in Vietnam's southern provinces. Luckily, some rains appeared in the Central Highlands, bringing needed rains to the coffee regions in Dak Lak, Lam Dong, and Kontum. These showers didn't go unnoticed as international Robusta prices began to fall from their historic high of 4,338 USD/MT. Farmers started to sell following the falling prices and wanted to monetarize at least something of this historic moment.
Nonetheless, the coffee regions of Gia Lai and Dak Nong still need some rain, and the drought could potentially affect the next harvest.

Besides the ongoing challenges posed by the Red Sea crisis, there are no significant updates from the port.


Papua New Guinea

The Eastern and Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea have been experiencing heavy rainfall, which has caused logistical challenges such as landslides and overly muddy roads, which have complicated transportation.

Despite these challenges, local farmers are gearing up for the harvest season with positive expectations for quality and volume. The first samples of the new crop are eagerly anticipated soon, and the first pickings are expected to start within the next few days.

Exporters have prepared the warehouses, and their dry mills are looking forward to receiving the first arrivals of parchment of the new season.

No significant news from the port.


Asia Pacific Production Statistics 



May 06, 2024

What's going on in East-Africa?

General News

The US Federal Reserve held interest rates steady and unchanged at 5.25 to 5.5%, the highest level in more than 20 years. Further robust employment numbers and a continously strong US economy may encourage Jerome Powell and his team to raise falling rates at the next Fed meeting.

Only two weeks ago, Arabica prices in New York reached a new contract high, and London's Robusta coffee contract marked a new all-time historic high. The coffee markets were overheated and following a frenzy partly spilling over from the Cocoa world. But last week, we saw soft commodities (and particularly cocoa and coffee) cooling down. Chocolate will be getting its sweetness back (the price fell about 35% from its highs), and coffee shall move in a similar direction. Arabica prices retraced 10% and closed the week at 200.75 c/lb, and Robusta also had a substantial correction of almost 15%, finishing last Friday at 3,541 USD/MT.

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


A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Buffalo in New York traced the origins of Arabica coffee to Ethiopia, further supporting claims that Ethiopia was the first to grow Arabica. Intriguingly, the study estimates Arabica to be between 610,000 and one million years old, potentially indicating that this species even predates our own: Homo Sapiens.

From studies to weather: Ethiopia has most recently experienced rainy weather, with Addis Ababa experiencing a mix of rain and sunshine. Similar conditions persist further south in Yirgacheffe and Sidama, with temperatures reaching up to 25°C.

Availability of high-quality lots remains limited in Addis as most shippers lack sizable stocks, primarily due to financing constraints and new regulations mandating upfront payment to farmers and middlemen before the coffee is moved to the capital. Moreover, with the recent rally in the NY market, the majority of stocks in Addis have been sold, prompting shippers to procure more coffee from akrabis (local middlemen) at higher prices. Consequently, local prices are on the rise.

The Red Sea Crisis continues to have implications on logistics, with reported container shortages and increased costs from some shipping lines. Due to the scarcity of 20ft containers in Addis, shippers have started employing 40ft containers to ship their cargo.


Recent heavy rains have triggered severe flooding and landslides across Kenya and Tanzania. Additionally, Kenya's government has warned of the possibility of the country experiencing its first-ever cyclone (Hidaya). The Kenyan meteorological department has indicated that Nairobi is expected to be among the areas most affected by the storm. Residents living near water bodies have been instructed to evacuate for their safety.

Similar to Ethiopia, local prices remain high due to the recent rally in the NY market. High demand has also contributed to keeping prices at elevated levels. Sale 27 of the 23/24 season took place last week at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange, with sale 28 scheduled for tomorrow, May 7th.

The heavy rains forced some cargo evacuation from the Port of Mombasa to the inland container depot in Nairobi.


Like its neighbor Kenya, Tanzania has also been affected by heavy rains and strong winds from Cyclone Hidaya. Consequently, much of the country has endured power blackouts. These torrential downpours and floods have tragically claimed the lives of more than 400 people across East Africa in recent weeks.

The Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) recently announced structural changes to the Arabica auctioning process, introducing a new format called "parchment auctions." News about the new regulations is expected in the following weeks.

The port of Dar es Salaam continues to be congested due to a shortage of vessels.


Like its neighbors, Rwanda is also experiencing heavy rains. Conditions in the southern and western regions bordering Lake Kivu are partly cloudy, with occasional rain showers forecast. The same weather pattern is observed in the eastern regions.

The Southern coffee regions are at their peak of the harvest, with washing stations becoming increasingly active as the harvest progresses. Peak collection is anticipated soon in the Central and Eastern regions, too. The crop outlook remains positive. However, due to rainy conditions, the drying of parchment is taking longer than usual. Cherry prices are very high, mainly influenced by both speculative intermediaries and the NY market.


Weatherwise, most of Uganda has experienced rainy days. In Mt. Elgon, temperatures drop to as low as 5°C, while temperatures are significantly higher in western areas.

The Arabica fly crop has concluded in the low and midlands, with the remaining cherry collection limited to higher altitude areas. Small volumes are reaching Kampala, and prices persist above buyers' expectations.

On the other hand, the Robusta harvest has started in the central region, with steady volumes reaching Kampala. To avoid losing their cherry due to the abundant rain, farmers are harvesting immature cherries and coffee is getting hulled with high moisture content, raising concerns about quality.

April 29, 2024

What's going on in Central-America?

General market situation:

Money makes the world go round; hence, all eyes are fixed on the upcoming meeting of the Federal Reserve and Jerome Powell's decision on where the interest-rate pendulum might swing... While some investors still hope for a rate cut, more conservative bankers expect the Fed to keep interest rates unchanged until September. Despite a strong US economy, inflation is still around and higher than anticipated (and hoped).

On the other hand, some rumors expect the European Union's Central Bank to cut interest rates in the next session. The Central Bank of Japan has left interest rates unchanged despite its firm commitment to start raising them for the first time in decades.

Actual higher prices in New York (Arabica) and primarily in London (Robusta) are becoming increasingly attractive for coffee to be delivered to the board. Certified stock in both terminal markets is slowly starting to rise. Concerns about dry weather in Vietnam keep prices for Robusta at a historic high. Nonetheless, after a slower start to the week, London posted a new high on Thursday at 4,338 USD/MT. Towards the end of the week, we saw a slight correction to the downside, closing on Friday "only" 1.7% higher at 4,151 USD/MT.

Arabica prices also marked a strong performance, reaching a new high on Thursday (238,90 c/lb). However, the bulls ran out of steam for a moment, and the market retraced 3.4%, closing the week at 224.00 c/lb on Friday. Good rains and record-high shipments out of Brazil in April explained the falling Arabica prices.

But despite all efforts to find a fundamental explanation for the actual price scenario, hedge funds and financial investors continue to set the tone in the commodity sector, particularly propelling the coffee prices.

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

Central America

Mexico is gearing up for its most significant election to date, set to take place next June, with approximately 99 million voters casting their ballots for over 20,000 local, state, and congressional positions. This election will see Mexico elect its first female president, with both leading candidates being women. However, the electoral process has been marred by violence, as several politicians involved in the elections have been targeted and murdered.

President Bukele is transitioning focus from addressing El Salvador's gang issue through large-scale prisons to prioritizing digital transformation. In line with a 2023 agreement with the Salvadoran government, Google inaugurated offices in El Salvador this month, intending to increase modernization in the digital government, healthcare, and education sectors.

Weatherwise, temperatures remain high across Central America. Nevertheless, some rain has been reported, offering a refreshing respite and signaling the arrival of the rainy season, which traditionally spans from May to October. Additionally, in 2024, the region is poised to transition from the El Niño phenomenon to La Niña. Forecasts suggest the possibility of hurricanes during this period.

Overall, the coffee scene is tranquil, with harvest activities largely concluded across the region. In certain farms, the pleasant aroma of jasmine is taking over as flowering advances. New crop activities can be expected around October.

In March, Honduras exported some 709,800 bags of coffee, marking an 11.96% increase from the same month in the previous year, as reported by IHCAFE, Honduras' National Coffee Institute. Furthermore, Honduras, along with Peru and Rwanda, signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with JDE Peet's to address coffee-related deforestation. Besides ensuring coffees are EUDR compliant, the mutual agreement aims to establish a protocol for remediating any coffee that violates these regulations.

Meanwhile, in El Salvador, the Salvadoran Coffee Institute (ISC) indicated that compared to the previous cycle, El Salvador's cumulative coffee export earnings fell by 43% in the 2023-2024 harvest.

In the Panama Canal, the drought-related issues are gradually easing, with 27 vessels being allowed to transit daily. The Panama Canal Authority recently indicated that transit operations are expected to fully normalize by 2025.

Coffee production estimates in Central America:


April 22, 2024

What's going on in South-America?

General market situation:

There are different ways of making history, and breaking new records is surely one of them. Tunde Onakoya, a 29-year-old Nigerian chess champion and founder of the "Chess in Slums Africa" foundation, is an example. In the middle of the New York Times Square, he has played for 60 straight hours, setting a new world record for a chess marathon. He wants to raise $1 million to support children's education across Africa and is now waiting to be included in the latest version of the Guinness World Records Book.

Another record-setting example can be seen in the soft commodity sector. Cocoa alone continues its historical rally to new all-time highs. Prices continue to go through the roof as global demand for cocoa remains robust despite the already high price situation. Concentrating production in only two origins (Ivory Coast and Ghana) is a risky undertaking—particularly when cocoa production is the lowest in the last 40 years. Prices have tripled since January 2024.

But also the coffee market is looking to set new records, particularly when it comes to Robusta (RMN24). Prices have spiked by 50% since the beginning of the year, reaching an all-time high on Thursday (4,292 $/MT). The Robusta market slightly retraced on Friday closing at 4,080 $/MT but with an overall 5.9% gain on a week-by-week comparison.

The Arabica market in New York (KCN24) also had an impressive move in April alone. Prices have risen 31% since April 1st, 2024. A new high was reached on Thursday at 245.40 c/lb, but prices drifted slightly back on Friday, closing at 231.85 c/lb, which is 5.2% higher than the previous week.

In a mix of slower shipments, uncertain production, weather nervousness, and withholding farmer sales, financial investors continue to be attracted by soft commodities. Funds are holding record-long positions and the futures prices are not reflecting the fundamental reality any longer.

These record-high prices are undoubtedly good news for farmers, but exporters, traders, and roasters suffer from the inverted market, high prices, and slowing demand.

If prices stay at these levels for longer, cocoa and coffee farmers might not make it into the Guinness World Records Book but will surely be able to relax and play some chess...

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


In March, Brazil's exports hit a new record. According to data from Cecafé, the country exported over 4,2 million bags of coffee that month, a 37.8% increase in comparison to March 2023. Specifically, Arabica volumes had an increase of 15.1% while for Robusta – the surge is quite high: 8x higher than last year, amounting to 689.1%! Forecasts indicate that the 2023/2024 crop will reach 69 million bags, with 45 million destined for export.

Weather forecasts indicate that São Paulo and Minas Gerais are set to enjoy sunny and clear days. This favorable weather trend extends across all coffee-producing regions, with recent rainfall benefiting the crops. With such optimal conditions, expectations for the upcoming 2024/2025 harvest have been positive.

Furthermore, it's important to note that coffee is a biennial crop, meaning trees yield higher outputs in alternating years. Coinciding with a cyclically higher production year in Brazil, this upcoming harvest is poised for increased productivity. As the world's first coffee producer, Brazil's increased output in these years significantly impacts the global coffee supply/demand equation.

Meanwhile, preparations for the upcoming Arabica harvest, anticipated to begin in June-July, are currently the priority. Volumes could reach the record-breaking biennial bearing upcycle of 2021/2022, which according to CONAB, reached almost 50 million bags. As for Conilon (Brazilian Robusta), harvest activities have begun and are expected to gain pace.

Currently, the market is quite active. Good volumes of Arabica are flowing and farmers are seeing high prices for their coffees. The local market is keeping a close eye on the situation for Arabica, particularly in light of the recent price hikes observed for Conilon. Speaking of Conilon - the market continues to be constrained due to ongoing demand, while most business activity revolves around the new crop.

Activities at the port of Santos are slightly delayed. There is a lack of adequate container equipment and bookings are being postponed.


Over the past weekend, approximately 250,000 people in Colombia mobilized across several cities to protest against the social and economic reforms proposed by left-wing President Gustavo Petro. These reforms encompass initiatives aimed at nationalizing health services and addressing the challenges within the ongoing peace negotiations with armed guerrilla factions. Petro, who assumed office in 2022, has faced protests intermittently throughout his tenure.

Across Colombia, many regions have experienced long periods without rain since June of last year, due to the El Niño weather pattern. Consequently, water rationing plans are being implemented in Bogota, the nation's capital, as several of its reservoirs face unprecedented low levels. However, El Niño's period is coming to an end as it transitions into La Niña, characterized by colder weather and lots of rain. Showers are already forecasted for Bogota and some of the coffee regions (Antioquia, Quindio, and Tolima).

In terms of coffee, the scene has been calm. However, as the fly crop, locally known as "mitaca" or "traviesa" gains pace, there is a lot more activity in regions such as el Eje Cafetero (Caldas, Quindio, and Risaralda), Antioquia and the south of Huila. At the same time, the main harvest is taking off in Cauca, Nariño, and northern Huila. We expect coffee to flow and continue reaching the dry mills.

Operations continue to be smooth at Colombia's Caribbean ports of Cartagena and Santa Marta. There is also no significant news from the port of Buenaventura in the Pacific.


In terms of weather, Amazonas and Cajamarca are experiencing ample rainfall, contrasting with the sunny conditions in Cusco and Puno in the south.

Across these regions, the harvest has recently begun, with most activity concentrated in the Amazonas and San Martin regions. Overall, harvest activities are gaining pace and are expected to peak around June-July. We hear this year's production might be slightly lower than last year's, but at this stage it is too early to make an accurate forecast.

Parchment is flowing, as producers are happy with the high prices in the market and are eager to sell their coffees for improved profits and increased liquidity throughout the harvest season.

No news from the ports of Callao or Paita.

Coffee Production Estimates in South America



April 15, 2024

What's going on in Asia-Pacific?

General Market News

During this weekend the coffee community gathered in Chicago for the Specialty Coffee Expo held by the Specialty Coffee Association. Our US team also took part in the tradeshow, which was a great opportunity to meet new and old friends, taste amazing coffee together, and explore the latest innovations shaping the industry.

The 2024 World Brewers Cup and World Cup Tasters Championship were also held during the event. Big congratulations to Martin Wölfl, representing Austria, for clinching first place in the Brewers Cup, and to Aurore Ceretta, who represented Germany in the Cup Tasters Championship and secured second place. Hats off for their outstanding achievements!

While all this happened in Chicago - the futures market recorded a week of new highs for Robusta and strong gains for Arabica. International Arabica prices in New York closed the week at 224.65 c/lb (KCK24) last Friday, while London reached new all-time highs, hitting 3,956 USD/MT and closing the week at 3,900 USD/MT (RMK24).


With Proexo's team at Specialty Coffee Expo in Chicago


In February, general elections were held in Indonesia. The country's General Elections Commission (KPU) officially declared Prabowo Subianto as the winner with 50.8% of the votes. He is scheduled to be inaugurated as president on October 20th.

On a festive note, Indonesia, home to one of the largest Muslim populations worldwide, celebrated the end of Ramadan last week with the three-day festival known as Eid al-Fitr, which translates to "the feast of breaking the fast." During the holiday, families and friends come together to celebrate with food, drink, and prayer.

Weatherwise things have been varied. While Sumatra has seen dry and sunny days, southern areas have encountered heavy rains and strong winds due to a tropical storm. Sulawesi is experiencing cooler temperatures of around 23°C, with forecasts indicating some rainfall.

The Arabica harvest in Sumatra is experiencing a delay. Typically, cherry collection is in its final stage by this time, but currently, good quantities of cherry are still being collected. In Sulawesi, Bali, and Java, the main Arabica harvest is expected to commence in the next couple of weeks, with the Robusta harvest following shortly after. In the meantime, farmers are preparing for the upcoming crop.

Demand for Arabica has been a bit soft and local prices seem to remain steady. In contrast, Robusta is flowing consistently, and farmers are keen to sell due to the high prices. As for local demand—since internal consumption has increased significantly, Indonesia continues to import coffee from Brazil to meet the demand within the domestic market.

No significant updates from the port of Lampung; logistics are operating without disruptions.


India also participated in the celebrations of Eid al-Fitr along with Indonesia. Muslims across the country celebrated the holiday by offering prayers at mosques.

Karnataka continues to have dry and sunny days while Kerala has high temperatures but also some rainfall.

India's Arabica and Robusta harvesting seasons concluded in January and March, respectively. In recent weeks, farmers have been holding onto their coffee and only a few are releasing some coffee to the market. Local prices have reached an all-time high. Particularly for Robusta, demand in India has been exceptionally strong, as other origins are not offering it. Despite the high prices, differentials are on an upward trend and continue to rise.

Given the slow movement of coffee, shipments are delayed as exporters struggle to get the necessary quantities to meet their obligations. There are no significant updates from the ports of New Mangalore or Cochin.


Vietnam's president, Vo Van Thuong, resigned at the end of March, marking the shortest term in office, having served only one year. Preceding him, Nguyen Xuan Phuc resigned last year after a two-year tenure. Both leaders were tainted by allegations of corruption during their time in office.

Weather-wise, temperatures continue to be high. The Central Highlands have experienced prolonged heat as it enters the peak of its dry season. The absence of rainfall, drought, and water scarcity in 2024 not only disrupt people's daily routines but also impact coffee plantations, as farmers struggle to irrigate their farms. In Đắk Hà district, water supplies are dwindling, and some coffee fields are filled with yellowing leaves.

Due to the ongoing dry conditions, the future harvest yields may suffer. Moreover, Vietnam's Coffee Association forecasts a potential 20% decrease in 2023/24 exports.

The local market is tight, with farmers and traders showing reluctance to sell. While some coffee is moving, it's insufficient to meet short-term demand. The heatwave in Vietnam is further influencing prices, particularly for Robusta, which have surged. Soluble coffee companies are transitioning to importing Brazil Conilons due to escalating local prices.

Besides the ongoing challenges posed by the Red Sea crisis, there are no significant updates from the port.

Papua New Guinea

Today, Papua New Guinea was hit by a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5. Authorities stated that the epicenter was located 110 kilometers southeast of Kimbe, in the provincial capital of West New Britain, and happened around 7am local time. Fortunately, there have been no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Both the Eastern and Central Highlands have experienced heavy rainfall. This has caused some logistical issues as there have been landslides and some roads have become too muddy, making transit more challenging.

Farmers are preparing for the harvest, which is about to start. Quality and volume expectations are good, so parchment will soon start to flow. We are looking forward to receiving the first samples of the new crop soon!



Getting to know Urbania’s PAZ Project in Colombia

When we think about Colombia, coffee often comes to mind. Since the 1950s, the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros has actively promoted the country as a leading coffee producer. However, Colombian coffees have not only won our hearts over a successful marketing campaign, but they shine through their quality and diversity. Coffee in Colombia is cultivated in over 20 regions, where picturesque landscapes of steep mountains, lush greenery, and the melodies of birds create a serene ambiance on coffee farms. Nevertheless, many areas in Colombia have not always enjoyed this tranquil scenery.

For much of the last century, Colombia has been mired by armed conflict. What started as a confrontation between liberal and conservative parties escalated into a war involving the government, paramilitary forces, guerrilla groups, and crime syndicates. This prolonged conflict has had profoundly negative consequences for Colombians. The numbers say it all: over 260,000 lost lives, thousands are missing, and many are falling victim to violence and insecurity.

After numerous attempts, a peace process started in 2012 between the Colombian government and the FARC, one of the most prominent guerrilla groups. The process culminated in a final agreement signed in November 2016. Nonetheless, after decades of unrest, achieving peace and fostering development in the affected areas is easier said than done.

This is where companies like Urbania step in. Founded in 2015, Urbania opened multiple coffee shops across Medellin. Since their inception, they have focused on leveraging coffee production for positive societal impact, mainly working in vulnerable communities and with victims of the armed conflict. They do so through their PAZ project, from which we started buying coffees last year.

Grasping the complexities of post-conflict Colombia and the efforts aimed at fostering positive transformation in affected regions, including coffee-producing regions, takes a lot of work. To gain deeper insights into this and the role of initiatives like the PAZ project, we had a Q&A session with Julian Gamboa, Impact Manager and Co-Founder of Urbania.


Julian — to begin with, please tell us about yourself. How did you get involved in the world of coffee?

I come from Bogotá but have been living in Medellin for the past 8 years. My journey in coffee began with the establishment of Urbania back in 2015. Previously, I was involved in organizing cultural events. However, after initial discussions with my business partner about the concept of opening coffee shops that emphasized more than just quality, I transitioned into coffee.

Tell us more about Urbania. How was it founded?

We aimed to adopt a model that exclusively collaborated with small coffee producers. Our goal was for them to generate higher profits through the production of specialty coffee. This vision led to the birth of Urbania. Subsequently, we realized that exporting was crucial to amplify our model's impact. This increased volume would enable us to magnify our impact, collaborate with more producers and associations, and encompass more extensive conservation corridors.

Is this focus — working with small coffee producers — what makes Urbania different from other suppliers?

No, that was just how Urbania was born. Our focus has since evolved to concentrate on working with victims of the armed conflict in Colombia. Our current model is centered on a "triple impact" logic, through which we aim to engage with producers and positively impact three key areas: environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

You see, we are not coffee hunters looking to find the best coffees in Colombia. Instead, we prioritize ensuring that the producers we collaborate with can develop and thrive as farmers. By enhancing quality, we aim to help them expand their businesses, particularly in regions severely affected by conflict or areas of significant environmental importance.

The armed conflict in Colombia is incredibly complex, with various armed groups, political ideologies, and socio-economic factors at play. Could you tell us more about it for those who may not be familiar with it? How has the conflict impacted the lives of Colombians, including those involved in coffee production?

Of course, I will try to be brief.

The conflict began in the middle of the last century with the formation of the guerrillas in Colombia after the Cuban revolution. One of the most prominent groups was the FARC, which was essentially fighting the government.

You see, during that period, Colombia operated under a democratic system dominated only by two parties, excluding alternative ideologies from participating in elections. This exclusion contributed to the emergence of guerrilla movements seeking to challenge the established political order.

Later on, around the 1980s, with the rise of the drug trade, guerrillas resorted to drug trafficking to finance their operations. This led to the formation of paramilitary groups, further complicating the conflict. The involvement of multiple actors — guerrillas, the Colombian army, and drug dealers — created a scenario akin to a civil war. Rural areas, where guerrillas often established themselves, were affected the most. This had significant repercussions for the coffee industry, as guerrilla movements traversed coffee-producing zones, leading to disruptions in production. Many farmers and entire families had to abandon their land because the guerrillas were taking ownership of them or due to high levels of insecurity and violence.

After the peace agreement in 2016, many of the victims are still making a transition to "civil" life. Victims include not only those who were displaced but also underage youth who were recruited, people who lost loved ones, or who have no economic means of subsistence as a result of the conflict.

What is the PAZ project, and how does it support these communities affected by the conflict?

The PAZ project began in 2017 following the peace agreement between the government and FARC. In almost all PAZ projects, we come as private allies of larger peacebuilding projects, with support from organizations such as the UN and USAID, which support post-conflict initiatives in Colombia. They look for partners who know about coffee and can support coffee producers.

For instance, there are municipalities such as Briceño and Genova in Antioquia and Quindío that the government has identified as priorities for transitioning to "post-conflict". Our first project was with an association in Tolima. Like Tolima, in regions heavily impacted by the conflict, economic opportunities are scarce, often leading individuals to engage in illicit activities such as coca cultivation, illegal mining, drug trafficking, and wildlife trade for subsistence.

Our goal through PAZ is to facilitate a transition to legal and sustainable livelihoods through coffee. Rather than cultivating coca, for example, farmers can shift to growing coffee. We are looking for better and more economic opportunities for these individuals.

So, through the PAZ project, we basically have 2 objectives. First, it improves the profits of coffee-producing communities, especially those in conflicted or post-conflict areas. Second, promote better opportunities for environmentally sustainable farmers and mitigate negative impacts.

How is the PAZ project achieving these goals?

Initially, we give group training to farmers about best practices for cherry collection, post-harvest processing, and general agricultural management of their farms. Out of these groups, we identify leaders with a high-quality determination and the potential to produce specialty coffee lots. They become community leaders. We also visit their farms, cup their coffees, and give them feedback in any way we can to improve their coffees.

Regarding higher profits, PAZ pays a bonus on top of market prices for quality and sustainable agricultural practices.

Where is PAZ currently operating? Could you please tell us more about the farmers involved?

PAZ started operating in Tolima. The association began with 50 members and now has around 120. The majority of them are women, and over 90% are victims of the armed conflict.

Today, PAZ also has projects in Antioquia and has reached Quindío and Valle del Cauca. All projects across these communities have different components. For instance, we could have a PAZ Tolima or a PAZ Blend Antioquia from different regions, but they all have peacebuilding projects.

Altogether, we have worked with around 400 families, mostly in Tolima and Antioquia. They are all smallholder farmers with an average farm size of 2 hectares. They are cultivating traditional varieties such as Castillo and Colombia, but a few are producing microlots with Bourbon and Geisha.

What are the hopes for the future?

We look into 2024 with optimism. We believe in the value and growth potential of projects like PAZ from the bottom of our hearts. With challenges such as El Niño impacting quality and productivity, the issue of environmental impact is becoming more and more critical. While expanding to new areas, our focus remains on supporting and collaborating with producers committed to quality and sustainability. Local leadership is vital in this effort, and we see an excellent opportunity to empower women and young people as impactful leaders within these initiatives.

*Interview translated from Spanish


Honduras: Harvest Update

Officially, the coffee harvest in Honduras starts on October 1, coinciding with its National Coffee Day. With 6 different producing regions across the country, Honduras has a prolonged harvesting period, with the lower regions beginning harvest activities in October, extending until February. Farms at higher altitudes in departments like La Paz, Intibuca, and Comayagua typically commence harvest activities later, starting around March and continuing through June and July.

Four months in, farmers are either preparing for the upcoming harvest or are at its peak: recollecting, depulping, fermenting, washing, drying, sorting... While we hear that these activities are progressing well across all regions, the harvest is also expected to be slightly smaller than in the coffee year 2022/23. It is not unusual to receive this kind of news during the harvest. Nonetheless, our own estimations remain positive.

Forecasts from IHCAFE (Honduras' National Coffee Institute) indicate that overall, Honduras will produce less coffee in the period 2023/24, with an estimate of some 5 million bags, 5-7% less than in the previous year.

Aerial view of coffee farms in Olancho.
Photo Credit: Cocaol

 Insight from Agalta (Olancho, Yoro, Atlántido & Colón)

Less production seems to be a trend in most coffee regions. As conveyed by Asdrubal Sanchez, from the cooperative Cocaol in the region of Agalta, who tells us that in Olancho, their last harvest was substantially smaller than three seasons ago. This harvest, he expects a reduction of around 10%. "The department of El Paraiso, our neighbor, has usually been a big producer, but they are also experiencing a drop in production," he says. "We also hear that production could decrease in the west, but not as pronounced as here."

Asdrubal explains that this decrease in production is strongly linked to a lower labor force, as individuals flee the country in search of better opportunities in the US. He emphasizes that the absence of workers on the farm not only impacts the harvest but also hampers essential operations such as weed control and the application of organic fertilizer. He notes, "In my case, we usually start the harvest in December, but this year we had to start in January because we didn't have any pickers."

In addressing this challenge, Asdrubal explains that salaries have been adjusted, making them more attractive in order to retain workers. He has also found help with the use of a small mechanical picking machine, which, although requires an operator, reduces the overall workforce needed. "We can no longer depend solely on harvesting with people," he says.

Our Coffee Map depicting Honduras' 6 coffee regions.

Despite working with a limited team, Asdrubal is happy with how the harvest is progressing, with January and February being the most important months for cherry collection. He sees coffees coming in with good quality and a minimal percentage of defects. The weather conditions have also been favorable throughout January, with a few scattered rains keeping the soil moist.

Western Honduras has been sunny in the first month of 2024.
Photo Credit:Proexo

Insight from the West: Copan, Lempira & Ocotepeque

Moving to west Honduras, we spoke with Melany Madrid and René Madrid from Proexo in Corquín, and Carlos Guerra from San Rafael Agroindustrial in Copán Ruinas, both situated in the department of Copán, bordering Guatemala.

René reports that in the western region encompassing the departments of Copán, Lempira, and Ocotepeque, the harvest is 60% complete. However, he notes a delay of 2 to 3 weeks caused by low temperatures and persistent rain, preventing the first cherry collections, or harvesting the "requemas", as they are locally called. "In December, temperatures dropped to 9°C, conditions with which pickers cannot go to work in the fields," Melany states.

In terms of volume, René projects a 20% reduction across the entire western region. He tells us that one of the main reasons is climate change, which brings imbalances and unexpected circumstances in production. Carlos echoes the same challenge in Copan Ruinas, further west, as he explains that due to the changing weather and hotter weather patterns in his area, coffee cherries are ripening earlier than they used to.

Moreover, René says that another reason for lower production volumes is that many farmers are renovating their farms, opting to replace older plants with new varieties. Similar to Asdrubal's observations, René notes that a scarcity of labor in the western region poses a prominent problem. "Many times, producers lose their harvest due to the lack of pickers," he says. Carlos further elaborates that in Copán, it is increasingly common for families, previously engaged in coffee harvesting activities, to receive "remesas" (money sent from relatives abroad), resulting in them choosing not to work on the farms anymore.

Positive developments are also occurring during this coffee year in the West. Carlos tells us he sees a sustained high demand for high-quality Arabica, both in the international and local markets. "National coffee consumption has increased overall," he says. Rene and Melany highlight the impact of Proexo's Diversity and Inclusion programs, noting a significant rise in the involvement of women in the coffee supply chain compared to the previous year, with now 54 women producers collaborating with them.

Coffee farms during harvest season.
Photo Credit: Proexo

Preparations for EU Deforestation-Free Regulation

Currently, a big topic in the coffee industry is the new EU Deforestation-Free Regulation (EUDR), a new legislation aiming to prevent deforestation in global supply chains. The law will kick in on December 30, 2024 and applies to seven different commodities, including coffee. This means that coffee importers and roasters will need to prove that their traded coffees are free from deforestation.

This marks a transitional period for many players in the coffee supply chain, including producers and suppliers. René tells us they feel ready to comply with the law, citing ongoing efforts in digitizing their supply chain since 2019. "We also work with certifications such as Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade, which require having data such as the farm geolocation, up to date, which is favorable to us," he adds.

Similarly, Asdrubal tells us he has been well informed about the regulation and believes Cocaol is on track. However, he expresses concern about the potential impact on smaller producers at origin, for whom compliance may pose greater challenges. "Between low prices and even harder market access, many producers become discouraged. Often, they end up leaving the country or switching their crop," he says. Furthermore, he adds that changing crops can end up even worsening the environment. "If they change their crop it is usually to corn, beans, or cattle, whereas coffee is one of the few crops that can be grown in harmony with the environment," Asdrubal says.

Wolfgang with Proexo's team during his last visit in November 2023.

At List + Beisler, our team is proactively monitoring and working to identify suitable solutions for our supply chain, guaranteeing that all our coffee adheres to the compliance requirements before January 2025. Our objective is to sustain the relationships cultivated over the years, providing support and collaboration with our suppliers during this transitional period.

We are expecting fresh new arrivals from Honduras in the next few months. If you would like to come by for a cupping, request samples, or simply learn more about our "Catracho" offerings, let us know! We are always happy to hear from you.

Click here to download a free PDF copy of Honduras' Coffee Map!






Q Grader Experiences: Calibration Across Continents

The Q grader program is quite famous across the coffee industry. The professional certification was established in 2004 by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) to ensure that coffee quality could be assessed globally using the same standards of tasting, evaluating, and scoring.

In this sense, Q graders worldwide, whether they are buyers, producers, or roasters, share a common language to assess coffee quality.

How to become a Q-Grader?

To become a Q grader, individuals must pass a very comprehensive exam. Commonly, these come in combination with preparatory courses evaluating green and roasted coffee, including olfactory and gustatory sensory skills. Moreover, participants must also study theory, undertake cupping exercises, and learn how to properly use the standardized Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) cupping form.

Achieving the Q grader certification is challenging. With high passing standards, many fail on their initial attempt. Once earned, individuals receive the Q grader certification, which can be renewed through an in-person calibration exam every three years.

Q graders in our Quality Control team

Precisely here is where our story starts: Piotr Kotarba, one of the five Q Graders on our List + Beisler team, needed to undergo his calibration exam to keep his license. He got his original Q grader certification in September 2020 in Warsaw, Poland, his home country. This was a true challenge in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic with a specially adapted cupping protocol. But it looks like Piotr truly enjoys challenges. He returned to the office last week after successfully passing his Q Calibration exam. Interestingly, he did not return from Poland this time but from Brazil.

His choice to do it in Brazil came from his curiosity about undergoing the calibration exam in a different context, specifically, that of origin. With a different culture, language, and coffee scene, taking the calibration in Brazil provided a unique backdrop and a new experience. However, it also raised the question: is it the same experience as doing it in Europe, or did this bring unforeseen advantages or challenges?

Piotr getting certified in Warsaw, 2020

Now that he is back, Piotr says yes – it had some differences, and there were both challenges and advantages.

First, he explains that the group taking the exam in Poland was smaller, with only six participants, whereas the calibration sessions in Brazil included a larger group of twelve individuals. He also perceived that the environment in Patrocinio, in the estate of Minas Gerais, was much more relaxed than what he experienced at home. "In Poland, everyone was more concerned to know how the other evaluated, and in Brazil, everyone was more relaxed; they didn't worry as much," Piotr says."I felt a more relaxed atmosphere, and everyone was super friendly."

Piotr explains that this may not only stem from cultural differences but could be attributed to the higher level of experience among the cuppers during his calibration. In fact, some participants were undergoing the calibration exam for their fifth time. "So, the first difference is that I got together with people with much more experience, and as a second point is that there are cultural differences when doing it in another country," he notes. For Piotr, the cultural differences meant taking the exam in a different atmosphere and in a foreign language.

Challenges and Advantages

The primary purpose of the Q grading system is to ensure cuppers are calibrated and agree on general standards when assessing coffee quality. Calibrated cuppers have a common understanding of quality and can score the coffees on the table in a consistent manner. A scoring system is used to evaluate the coffees. Upon experienced Q-Graders, deviations from the group's mean are an exception - particularly when cuppers are highly specialized in one origin country but not so fluent in determining cup profiles from coffees of other countries and their specific qualities.

Piotr was genuinely concerned about this situation being in Brazil and undergoing his calibration there. Cuppers presumably had a broader cupping understanding of Brazilian coffees than he could ever have. Instead, he would be more familiar with coffees from different origins, like Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, or Ethiopia, but this could also lead to a twisted situation where he would score the coffees differently. "It is more difficult because you cup with a group of people who are used to certain coffee profiles, and in Q grading, it's all about the cuppers evaluating coffees in the same way. So it was interesting to see if I was in line with them," Piotr says.

Once he finished scoring coffees from three different tables, Piotr tells us he left the cupping room full of uncertainty. Would he pass or not? Two days later, the Q instructor finally revealed the results, bringing some relief. Piotr was super-aligned with the rest of the group and successfully passed his calibration course. Congratulations!

Q calibration in Patrocinio, Brazil. November 2023

Recommendations from this experience

Piotr advises anyone doing the calibration course to train in advance, if possible, with other Q graders. "This way, you share comments and scores and really see where you are. If you do it by yourself, you won't know, but with someone else, you can compare results," he says.

As a second point, he underscores the importance of training using the SCA cupping format and learning how to use it correctly. This is simply crucial. Knowing how to use it appropriately can save precious time during the evaluations.

Finally, Piotr encourages anyone considering doing their Q grader exam or calibration outside their home country to try it. "Sometimes, the thought that I chose the hardest path to do it crossed my mind," he says. "But I passed three out of three tests. I truly recommend it! It was a cool adventure and got me out of my comfort zone. And I also had the opportunity to meet many coffee professionals and exchange good experiences."

„Q"urious? Contact Piotr and the other four Q-Graders at List + Beisler to find out more or schedule a date for a joint cupping session ( 






Costa Rica: Origin Report


As the year draws to a close, the harvest season in Central America continues to unfold. In Costa Rica, harvesting activities kicked off around end of August in regions like the West Valley and Brunca. In higher areas such as Tarrazú and the Central Valley, red cherries are already visible on coffee trees, with some producers having completed the initial picking rounds known as "graneas". From his last visit three weeks ago, Wolfgang, Coffee Buyer at L+B, reports that the harvest is far more advanced in Costa Rica than in its neighboring countries.

Costa Rica's eight coffee regions.

The 23/24 harvest is anticipated to yield good quality; however, volumes are expected to be smaller than in the previous year, which could potentially drive prices higher. Farmers are focusing on producing high-quality coffees, experimenting with processing, and different varieties, as well as investing in their farms. José Pablo Juarez, Independent Consultor and Q Grader from Costa Rica tells us that harvest is progressing well across the country. "Coffee cherries are developing well across all regions, the coffee trees look strong and healthy, and the ripening of the coffee fruits seems uniform," Juarez says.

As in the rest of the world, Costa Rica is also challenged by the changing climate. Wolfgang tells us that certain areas of Tarrazú and southern Costa Rica experienced an accelerated ripening of coffee, likely attributed to elevated temperatures in previous months. As a consequence, some farms have seen earlier harvest periods. This warming trend was quite evident in Panama too, leading to a drought scenario at the Panama Canal.

In addition to the climate change-related weather carrousel, Juarez tells us that some areas have also faced excessive rain. Lower altitude regions have reported coffee cherries falling off trees due to the excessive rainfall, resulting in losses for producers in these areas.

Red ripe cherries in Tarrazú during the first week of November.

Labor shortage is another challenge heard of across all regions. Currently, pickers from Panama have been entering the country to help with the harvest activities. Some cooperatives and farms are working together and organizing their recollection days, so pickers can work on different farms during the week. This creates additional employment and income opportunities for pickers, and in turn guarantee the harvesting of more red ripe cherries, preventing potential losses from cherries falling to the ground.

Moreover, in October, ICAFE announced that coffee pickers, whether local or international, would now be covered by Occupational Risk Insurance, aiming to enhance their safety and provide a sense of security while on the job.


Visit to Finca Santa Elena in Tarrazú.

Like each year, we are looking forward to receiving new coffees from Costa Rica. Samples are expected to hit our lab in the last weeks of January 2024. Keep tuned for updates and – Pura Vida!

Would you like to download our Costa Rica Coffee Map? 

Click here for a free digital copy! 




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.


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


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.

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.





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.


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!


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!

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!

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!

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!


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

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.