We are in the midst of coffee awakening if you will, just looking at Roaste you can see there are a lot of good high quality roasters that know how to show coffee off. In addition to that if you look on youtube you can find many a clips showing anyone how to brew up that perfect cup of coffee or make that excellent latte. Along with all of this new found interest in coffee is that people are going to want more of the good high grown coffee.
So this brings me to a rather interesting article that I read today in the Wall Street Journal, here.
This was a little more than the basic commodity articles that featured quite regularly in the WSJ, it went into a brief explanation as to why prices are going to probably rise in coming years for coffee, they focused their editorial on Latin America with specific look at Costa Rica.
As of right now coffee prices are down quite a bit since May 2011 when they reached their high in the commodity pricing of $3.09 a pound down now to around $1.80 or so. However, this has nothing on the lows that were reached in 2001 with coffee prices going down to 41 cents a pound according to the article 1/8 of the price it was shortly before that. This dramatic decrease in price has left coffee growers very hesitant to start producing a lot more coffee for the growing interest that we are seeing as well as them diversifying themselves.
This caused a lot of farms in parts of Latin America to be abandonded by their famers as they were not able to afford to work the land. In Costa Rica they saw a decrease in coffee production from 2.3 million bags of coffee to 1.5 million bags of coffee.
Now that prices are going up they are growing a little bit more, but they are growing other crops, getting certifications so their coffee sells for a high base price and some eco tourism.
Being a consumer of coffee is hard because I want these farmer to survive but obviously I like to pay the least for the best I can get. Finding that balance between paying them enough to prosper, but also not so much that I can only enjoy good high quality coffee infrequently is a challenage and I am sure it depends on everyone budgets.
However, I am glad they are being slightly more cautious, because growing crops like this that take a few years to mature is hard, similar to fruit/nut trees. They are expensive to put in and maintain while they mature, so it's hard to make sure there is a enough growth but not too much in the yields. I am sure they will find a balance it's just going to be an up and down ride, this time tho it sounds like it might be smoother for everyone. or at least them.