Premium Coffee Culture since 1901

February 19, 2024

What's going on in South-America?

General market situation:

The international outlook remains complicated to navigate. There is no sign of peace as we are entering the 3rd year of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, Putin's most significant opposition leader for the past decade, Alexei Navalny, died in an Artic Circle prison. Most of Putin's oppositionists are either dead, jailed, or living in exile. It takes great courage to speak up against the Kremlin; our most profound respect goes to those who dare to do so.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to escalate with no quick solution in sight. Besides the horrible pictures and the genuinely complex and intricate reality of the situation, there is a direct impact on the coffee world as Houthi rebels are attacking ships in the Red Sea. In turn, most shipping lines avoid the route through the Suez Canal and reroute their vessels via South Africa's Cape of Good Hope. This makes shipments from East Africa, India, Indonesia, PNG, and Vietnam more expensive and substantially longer. And, remembering COVID times, distressed maritime supply chains produce a domino effect as other vessels around the globe are waiting for containers to arrive and to be reloaded with new items.

Nonetheless, some shipments have been delivered to certified warehouses as the number of certified Arabica inventories has risen. After a record low, stocks registered a 33% surplus and now count more than 300,000 bags. Additionally, abundant rains in Brazil's main coffee production regions have brought international Arabica coffee prices slightly lower, closing the week at 186.70 c/lb. This is 2.5% lower than the previous Friday. Due to President's Day celebrations, the NYC market remains closed on Monday, 19th of February.

Robusta has also lost some ground, but it looks like a brief break before a new bullish stampede might start. The Vietnamese New Year celebrations have brought commercial activities almost to a halt. Certified Robusta stocks are tight and have reached a new low, supporting the bullish sentiment and high price scenario. They reached a new all-time high on Monday at 3,241 USD/MT. Nonetheless, the week closed 2.4% lower than the previous week at 3,141 USD/MT.

If you are comparing the prices to the previous weeks, please note that First Notice Day is around the corner, and hence, the spot months have switched from March (KCH24 or RMH24) to May (KCK24 or RMK24).

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


For the past week, millions of Brazilians and tourists from around the globe have been out in the streets of Brazil to celebrate. This is the largest Carnival in the world, a vibrant celebration brimming with color, music, samba performances, parades, and a myriad of traditional festivities, embodying a spirit that champions diversity and equality.

In early February, the weather remained dry, but recent days have seen abundant rain, which has provided relief from the excessive heat typical for this time of the year. Moreover, the rain forecasts have further effects, holding both promise for a positive new crop outcome and having a declining impact on coffee prices.

According to CONAB's very conservative estimates, coffee production is anticipated to increase by 5.5% this year, reaching approximately 58 million bags. Arabica coffee output is projected to hit around 41 million bags, up 4.7% from 2023, while Robusta production is expected to rise by 7.2% to 17 million bags.

Due to the Carnival holidays, trade activities in Brazil have been quiet. But overall, the flow of Arabica has been steady in the last few weeks, as internal prices were firm. Exporters covered short-term contracts in the local market, and new crop business activity started to take off.

As for Conilon, there has been a strong flow of business driven by attractive local prices. This motivated farmers to secure sales and trade for the new crop 24/25. Due to the prevailing logistical challenges at the Red Sea, international demand remains high as buyers opt for Brazil over Asia for Robusta.

There is growing concern regarding the potential impact of the situation in the Red Sea on shipping operations in Central and South America.


Once again the government of Gustavo Petro sat down with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group in search of a peace agreement. Another bilateral six-month ceasefire was announced after the preliminary one agreed to last year in August expired.

Moving on to the weather, Petro also declared a disaster situation due to wildfires raging across several parts of the country. The fires are the result of hot and dry conditions linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon, which is expected to continue for the next few months.

Temperatures across much of the country were reported to be 5-10°C above normal, leading to drought in key producing regions like Antioquia, Huila, and Valle del Cauca. However, recent weeks have brought much-needed rainfall. The forecast is now shifting away from dry conditions towards more scattered rains, providing some relief.

Dry mills are still processing the last of the 23/24 harvest. The fly crop or "mitaca" is expected to begin in April. The volumes traded, and the differentials remain stable.

So far, no significant news have come from the port of Buenaventura (Pacific Ocean), Cartagena, and Santa Marta (both Caribbean Sea).


The Peruvian government announced a 60-day State of Emergency for the provinces of Trujillo and Pataz in the region of La Libertad, which started last week. The precautionary measure was established due to increased crime incidents in the area.

Producing regions have experienced abundant sunshine, and forecasts indicate milder, cloudier days with some rain in the Junin region. Such weather conditions have been ideal for cherry development and foster optimistic expectations for the upcoming crop's volume and quality.

In lower zones, farmers are preparing to start harvest activities any time now, whereas in middle and high altitude zones, cherries are still in the developmental stage. Harvest in higher zones, ranging from 1,600 to 2,000+ masl, is expected to begin around June. We hear that higher zones are expected to yield good production volumes, while lower and middle zones may have a reduction due to increased coffee leaf rust incidence.

Few offers for the new crop 2024 are available. Exporters are waiting to conduct internal inspections before providing quotations.

No news from the port.

Coffee Production Estimates in South America



February 12, 2024

What's going on in Asia-Pacific?

General market situation:

Volatile stock markets reacted to inflation concerns and geopolitical tensions, exacerbated by extreme weather events worldwide. Australia is undergoing another extreme heatwave, and bushfire risks are emerging again. Global warming and geopolitical tensions are part of our new reality and are difficult to appease. Escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine further fueled uncertainty, underscoring the need for coordinated efforts to address both immediate challenges and long-term sustainability goals amidst a complex geopolitical landscape.

International coffee prices for Arabica and Robusta had quite a volatile and active week.

The nervousness in the coffee market can be sensed particularly as the rolling from the spot month of March 2024 to May 2024 has started and is backed with some substantial volume.

Arabica prices pushed onwards, reaching a new weekly high at 197.00 c/lb and closing on Friday at 196.30 c/lb, posting a 2.3% win to the previous week.

The Robusta bulls continue with their rally modus after a short recovery breath. The week closed 3.5% higher at 3,349 USD/MT. Volatility and bullish moods remain with us.


Indonesia is having elections this week. On Wednesday, February 14, about 200 million eligible voters will choose a new president, vice-president, and executive and legislative representatives at all administrative levels across the country, making it the world's biggest single-day election.

Piotr, coffee trader in our team, is currently visiting our suppliers in Indonesia. He reports that there is a bit more rain than usual, considering Indonesia is now in its dry season, but not enough to pose any disruptions.

Arabica production is advancing steadily. Harvest activities are picking up speed in Sumatra, particularly in northern areas like Aceh. In Java, the harvest is expected to begin earlier than usual. Some farms already have plants with plenty of green cherries. On the other hand, Robusta cherries continue to develop. Piotr tells us that farmers are very optimistic about the new crop quality and volume, which is set to see an increase.

Local prices for Arabica have remained high recently. Robusta shows a similar behavior with a very tight supply and elevated prices.

No significant updates from the ports; logistics are operating without disruptions.

PS: Don't miss the opportunity to cup with us the winning lots from the 2023 Indonesia Cup of Excellence. The public cupping is scheduled for March 15; learn more here.

Impressions from Piotr's trip to Indonesia.


India announced its plan to end its visa-free movement policy with Myanmar for border residents, citing national security and demographic preservation concerns. This decision follows the home minister's announcement of plans to fence the 1,643 km border, where currently, individuals within a 16 km zone on both sides enjoy visa-free movement.

The rainy weather continued to disrupt the harvest momentum, especially in Arabica growing zones. Nevertheless, forecasts show sunny days ahead in the Karnataka and Kerala regions, with high temperatures reaching around 30°C degrees.

Despite the delays due to rainfall in the first weeks of 2024, Arabica harvest activities are reaching their final stage, with around 85% of coffee already harvested. The Robusta harvest is currently at its peak, approximately 50% has been harvested. Some suppliers report labor shortage concerns but remain hopeful with the current high prices. This year might bring lower washed Robusta volumes. However, this estimation is always challenging as it depends on various factors such as the price of natural Robustas.

Besides the Red Sea crisis challenges, there is no major news from the port.


Vietnam celebrated its Tet New Year this weekend, welcoming spring and the Year of the Dragon. During celebration days, there are many festivities across the country, with traditional local food, music, and dragon dancing performed along the streets.

Vietnam is currently in its dry season. The provinces of Dak Lak, Lam Dong, and Gia Lai are anticipating sunny and dry weather in the forecast ahead.

The harvest is nearly complete, and the sunny weather in the central highlands is favorable for coffee drying. Dry-mill operations are running at total capacity.

Businesswise there is a lot of activity. The sharp increase in London market prices prompted farmers to have significant sales. Currently, given Tet New Year's celebrations, farmers and exporters have made a pause in operations. Local trade may continue at a slower pace until market players gradually return from holiday, with most expected to resume activities around this Wednesday, February 14th.

Like other countries in East Africa and the Asia Pacific region, Vietnam also feels the impact of the Red Sea crisis.

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea's Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) has partnered with JDE Peet's and Enveritas to implement a scheme ensuring compliance with the European Union Deforestation-Free Regulation. This initiative aims to verify that coffee exported from PNG is not grown on land deforested after 2020. Tanzania and Ethiopia have also joined this partnership. Hopefully, other countries will follow.

There is little coffee-related news. PNG is currently harvesting its fly crop, giving mills some business in the following weeks. The main crop is expected to start in April-May across the Highlands regions.

So far, no major news has been reported from the port.

Asia Pacific Coffee Production

February 05, 2024

What's going on in East-Africa?

General News

US Federal Reserve's decision to maintain steady interest rates, with a particular blow to the technology sector, led the Nasdaq to endure its most challenging days since past October. This decision came amidst investor anticipation for a shift in policy that would initiate interest rate cuts, particularly eyed for the March meeting. However, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled a cautious stance in a post-meeting press conference, suggesting that such cuts are unlikely to be considered until the Fed gains sufficient confidence in the inflation trajectory moving towards their target—a scenario he does not foresee happening by March. Powell did, however, hint at the possibility of rate reductions later in the year, albeit without committing to a specific timeline.

The European Central Bank (ECB) navigates a complex economic environment, balancing the need to control inflation with the risk of stifling economic recovery. With inflation expectations and economic performance data continuing to evolve, the ECB's policy direction in the coming months will be crucial for both the Eurozone's economic outlook and global financial markets.

The Bank of England (BoE) mirrored this cautious approach in its monetary policy decisions. Despite a divided Monetary Policy Committee, the bank held interest rates at a 15-year peak of 5.25%. This decision followed a three-way split among officials, with a majority voting to maintain the current rate amid calls for more substantial evidence that inflation would consistently meet the bank's target.

Switching from the big picture and focusing more on the world of coffee, we saw international Arabica prices meandering between 190 c/lb and 195 c/lb during the past week. News about a bigger harvest in Brazil has pushed prices a tad lower, closing the week on a slightly negative note at 191.95 c/lb. This is 1% lower on a week-on-week comparison.

The Robusta bulls have lost a little steam after reaching a new contract high on Wednesday at 3,379 USD/MT. Or are they just taking a brief break before they continue their rampant stampede? The week closed at 3,237 USD/MT on Friday, losing 1% compared to the previous week's close.

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


The 20th edition of the African Fine Coffees Conference and Exhibition, organized by the African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA), will be inaugurated tomorrow at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa. The event will take place from Feb. 6-10 and feature the Africa Youth Barista Championship and the African Taste of Harvest Coffee Competition. We look forward to meeting our suppliers and cupping fresh crop coffees during the event.

In other coffee-related news, Ethiopia Minister of Planning and Development Fitsum Assefa inaugurated the FOLUR project in Addis Ababa. FOLUR, comprising 26 country projects, including Ethiopia, aims to prevent deforestation, foster reforestation, and support local coffee farmers. The coffee project in Ethiopia is titled "Preventing Forest Loss, Promoting Restoration, and Integrating Sustainability into Ethiopia's Coffee Value Chains & Food Systems," and will be implemented in 22 woredas nationwide.

Currently, southern regions such as Sidama and Yirgacheffe are experiencing favorable weather conditions during the Bega season, characterized by drier and colder weather. Forecasts indicate partly sunny conditions with minimal to no rainfall.

In these regions, the coffee harvest has reached its final stage. The focus now is transporting the new crop to warehouses. Dry mills are preparing for their busiest period starting in March-April. Prior to shipment, fresh crop coffees are cleaned, graded, and, in the case of washed coffees, hulled, while natural coffees are dehusked first.
Quality is promising. However, the word on the street is that top coffees might be lower in volume due to a lack of liquidity for suppliers.

Ongoing attacks in the Red Sea continue disrupting shipping, leading to increased shipping prices and environmental concerns, as longer routes mean ships are burning more fuel and emitting more CO2 emissions.

Operations at the port of Djibouti are slow and tedious. Some shipping lines are skipping the port.


The main harvest months in Kenya are November and December. By now, harvest activities are largely finished.

Three auctions took place throughout January. Prices, particularly for commercial qualities, remain relatively low, while there is a strong demand for high-grade coffees. Overall, Kenyan coffees are experiencing high demand, a trend anticipated to persist with the arrival of fresh crop coffees.

Besides the difficulties brought by the Red Sea crisis, there is no significant news reported from the port of Mombasa.



The annual report from the Tanzania Central Bank shows that coffee production levels for the year ending in June had a 24% increase compared to the previous one.

Two weekends ago, heavy rain in the port of Dar Es Salaam caused floods, blocking several access routes to the largest city in Tanzania for a couple of days.

Frequent rain reached producing regions, too. In higher altitude areas in the north, in regions including Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Tarime, and Kigoma, the harvest is complete. The precipitation pattern nourishes coffee plants for flowering and fruit development.

In the south, coffee trees have also benefited from the wetter weather. Farmers are currently pruning, removing weeds, and pampering their trees during the bean formation stage.

Most coffee has been sold, with little volume on offer for this first quarter of 2024. Auctions are expected to restart in the following weeks. Dry mills are either closed or working on preparing coffees for buyers.

The port of Dar es Salaam continues to be busy, given the high demand. Slots are fully booked, and vessels are anchored due to congestion. The transition of management to the new operator adds further complexity to operations.



As coffee cherries continue their maturation on the trees, farmers prepare for the upcoming harvest, which is expected to begin around March and April.

Wet mills are closed but slowly beginning to prepare for the new season.

Given the congestion at the Dar es Salaam port, some exporters are choosing the port of Mombasa to expedite transit.


The Ugandan Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) reported that national coffee exports for December showcased a 4% decrease in comparison to December 2022. On the one hand, Robusta exports show a slight increase during this period. On the other, Arabica exports showcase a decrease of around 25%. The UCDA attributes this performance in part to delays in the harvest caused by rain, which also led to a slowdown in the drying process of newly harvested coffee and resulted in a reduced harvest in the Mt. Elgon region.

Uganda is currently harvesting both Arabica and Robusta. The Robusta harvest is winding down, and volume flow has been consistent. It will most likely be completed in the first weeks of March, while the Arabica harvest will continue for 1 or 2 months.

Heavy rains associated with El Nino were reported, causing delays in cherry collection, drying, and transportation to mills in the interior. However, weather conditions have improved since, hinting at increased coffee flow and exports to consumer markets.

The Red Sea crisis also indirectly affects landlocked Uganda. The situation will likely result in additional delays for Uganda's Robusta and Arabica shipments, typically exported from Mombasa.

East African Coffee Production




Join our team!

We Are Hiring – Coffee Quality Control Assistant (m/w/d)

Coffee Quality Control Assistant (m/w/d)
Halbzeit, befristet
Arbeitsort: Hamburg

Über List + Beisler 

Als Experte für Rohkaffee bietet List + Beisler allen leidenschaftlichen Röstern das Erlebnis einer einzigartigen Kaffeekultur und ausgesuchte Premiumkaffees der Spitzenklasse.

Spezialitätenkaffee ist ein hochemotionales Produkt. Emotion spielt bei unserer Arbeit eine ganz zentrale Rolle. Wir sind nicht einfach nur Händler, sondern leidenschaftlicher Importeur, Produktexperte, Kaffeeliebhaber, Freak mit Herz. Diese Liebe zum Produkt spürt man bei allem, was wir tun – seit 1901. Mehr Leidenschaft geht nicht.

Job Beschreibung 

  • Unterstützung bei Verkostung der Rohkaffees

⇨ Auf- und Abbau der Cupping Tische
⇨ Auswiegen und mahlen von Röstkaffee
⇨ Aufgießen und Unterstützen beim Cuppen

  • Analyse des Rohkaffees

⇨ Green Grading und Auszählung von Defekten
⇨ Screen Size und weitere Messungen
⇨ Akribische Eingabe der Daten in unserem Qualitätskontrollsystem

  • Versand von Mustermaterial an Kunden

⇨ Packen, Etikettieren und Versenden von Roh- und Röstkaffeemuster

  • 20 Stunden pro Woche (5 Tage à 4 Stunden)

Skills und Qualifikationen

  • Du hast eine ausgeprägte Passion für Top-Kaffees.
  • Du bist zuverlässig, fleißig und arbeitest schnell und genau in einem Experten Team.
  • Dein Deutsch ist fließend und grundlangen in Englisch sind definitiv von Vorteil.
  • Dir sind die Abläufe im Musterzimmer eines Rohkaffeehändlers nicht ganz unbekannt. Sollten sie es doch sein, so bist du lernwillig und möchtest die Zusammenhänge gerne einstudieren.

Was wir bieten

  • Ein kleines und sehr motiviertes Team.
  • Ein sehr internationales Arbeitsumfeld mit Büros in Deutschland, USA und Australien.
  • Ein interessantes Arbeitsumfeld im Herzen der historischen Speicherstadt in Hamburg.
  • Kaffeewissen aus über 120 Jahren Erfahrung: du wirst dein eigenes Kaffeewissen extrem ausbauen können.
  • Den schönsten Kaffee in deiner Tasse – jeden Tag, soviel du willst.

Dann schick uns deinen Lebenslauf an




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!





Coffee News 29-01-2024

What's going on in Central-America?

General market situation:

To a certain extent, the global picture of reality always permeates our coffee world. Hence, it is no surprise that we have seen quite some volatility in the international coffee markets during the past week. Bulls and bears are in the ring, with enough arguments for each side. A little bit of information can spark an exceptional swing in the pricing of coffee.

Climate change and particularly the still unknown consequences of the El Niño phenomenon keep farmers unwilling to sell their coffee in Brazil and Vietnam at actual prices. Farmers in both countries produce more than 50% of the coffees globally consumed, and in Vietnam, trading operations are expected to stagnate as Tet New Year celebrations start soon. Additionally, the world's third-largest coffee producer, Colombia is plagued by wildfires. Extreme hot and dry temperatures follow two years of excessive rains, and both weather extremes push national coffee production lower. And there is undoubtedly more to come as the true El Niño effects are expected to materialize more concretely in April and May.

Stocks in consumption countries continuously decrease. Global logistics are a nightmare again. The Houthi rebels and the rising military conflict expanding in the Red Sea have forced major carriers to reroute their ships towards the South African Cape of Good Hope. Shipping lines have declared Force Majeure and drastically increased shipping rates from Eastern Africa and Asia Pacific. The journeys have become more expensive and are taking longer, increasing financial costs to the equation. And, of course, insurance premiums also increase. The other global logistic bottleneck, the Panama Canal, continues to limit the amount of vessels passing to 18 ships per day. The water levels are expected to fall as we enter the dry season, lasting until May.

The consequences of inflation in the USA, Europe, and other consuming countries are still slowing down demand, but we can also see the first signs of recovery in the US economy with a slightly growing GDP and a new record high at the S&P500 – but only driven by the tech sector.

Further, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the armed conflict between Hamas and Israel continue to impose a genuinely uncertain outlook on the future.

In a nutshell, the supply and demand situation remains tight, keeping the market extraordinarily nervous and volatile. Every bit of information sparks action, as reflected in the 14 c/lb price range of the past week. Arabica closed at 193.85 c/lb, posting a 4.7% gain compared to the previous Friday's close.
And Robusta continues its super-bullish trend. On Friday, it posted a new historic high at 3,325 USD/MT and finally settled with a 4.5% plus at 3,269 USD/MT.

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

Central America

Despite months of efforts led by Attorney General Consuelo Porras to derail his inauguration, Bernardo Arevalo has officially taken office as the President of Guatemala. Having won the elections last August, Arevalo was inaugurated on Monday, January 15th.

Things look different in El Salvador, where elections will take place next Sunday. Current President Nayib Bukele is seeking a second five-year term. If successful, he would be the first reelected president in the recent history of El Salvador, despite constitutional concerns raised by some academic and legal circles.

Central America's weather continues to dry in most parts of the region. The sunny days and a few scattered rains allow farmers and coffee pickers to go out in the fields, collect cherries, and deliver them to the washing stations for processing.

The lack of coffee pickers due to emigration to the USA remains a challenge across the region. Nevertheless, actions are taken to retain pickers: higher salaries for manual labor, a collaboration between farms, and shuttle or pick-up services bringing people in from other towns. In Costa Rica, both local pickers and those arriving from neighboring countries like Nicaragua and Panama are now covered by a new insurance policy providing protection against work-related accidents.

In Honduras, we hear that the low labor force is one of the reasons why the harvest is forecasted to be smaller than the previous year. Read more about the ongoing harvest in Honduras in our new blog here.

Costa Rica's coffee harvest is also expected to slightly decrease as some cherries dropped during excessive rains. On the contrary, Guatemala expects a slightly higher production volume, with a forecast of around 3.5 million bags.

As the harvest unfolds, coffee cherries are being delivered to the washing stations where they are de-pulped, fermented, washed, and afterward dried, commonly under the sun, in solar dryers, or mechanically, using "guardiolas". Dry mills are currently bustling with activity, receiving dried parchment, cleaning, sorting, dehusking, grading, and preparing it for storage and shipping.

The Panama Canal is experiencing a significant reduction in traffic due to a severe drought, compelling authorities to reduce crossings by 36%. In response to the delicate situation, some shippers recently announced they will utilize the 75km Panama Canal Railway for freight transportation instead of relying on the canal for vessel transits.

Other ports in the region, such as Puerto Cortés in Honduras' Atlantic Coast, are operating without any complications.

Coffee production estimates in Central America:



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.