Yes Virginia, there is a COE

coffee competitions, auctions, best of panama, etc

Yes Virginia, there is a COE

Postby xristrettox on Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:46 pm

I was talking to the owner of a large roaster the other day. (large as in, he does a whole lot of restaurants and very few cafes... don't try to guess who it is, it's not important)

Where was I, oh yeah, I asked the guy if he ever gets involved with COE coffees (it was obvious that his operation wasn't interested, but I was feeling ornery). He said something to the effect of that the COE is done after most of the lot has already sold, and that he is actually able to buy the same great tasting coffees without paying high prices because he doesn't wait for the auction.

He went on to say that COE is really just a bunch of marketing, so that roasters can brag about what their doing. I know this sounds bad and incriminating, but is he right? Can green bean buyers buy these same coffees before the auction, and save a bunch of cash?

To me it sounds like B.S., but maybe I just want to believe in the COE.
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Postby Mark Prince on Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:13 pm

All of the following is my opinion - and who knows, I may even have my facts wrong... but:

CoE is about marketing... he's right. But his snide view of what the marketing is, is most likely wrong.

CoE is about marketing the hard work and efforts of FARMERS direct to buyers, skipping middlemen, and getting direct relationships working. It's about finding the best coffees in the world, and marketing the origin.

Marketing the beans themselves? That's usually 100% up to the buyers.

As for being able to buy beans, again, he has it right (yes, CoE farmers sell before and after the auctions and jury), but again, he has the basics of what actually happens quite wrong.

As I understand it, a lot of these farms are your typical 2-10 hectare jobs. 10 or 12 bags put up for CoE is usually what the farmer considers the absolute best of his or her crop. Yes, they can (and will) sell the rest of their coffee, and hopefully they get even better prices because of their CoE involvement, and it usually sells for much less than the typical top five or ten coffees.

In some cases, farmers will put up the majority of their crop for CoE selection and jury. But in most cases, they pick the best micro-lot stuff off their farm.

Sounds like this dude needs a bit of edjukation. But he also sounds like many roasters I have talked to who just become anti-coe for what I believe are two main reasons - a), they don't want to ever have to pay those kinds of prices for coffee, or b) they just don't know how CoE works or what its purpose is.

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Postby Steve on Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:16 pm

Spot on there Mark, everything I was about to type in there.

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Postby Alistair Durie on Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:51 pm

there may be more of what the farmer has chosen to enter the auction, there may be not. other coffee the farmer has might as good, or maybe not.

marketing is a very broad term which can be used to describe just about anything.

CoE is something to be proud of.

and yes, he's full of shit.
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