What a mistake.
a mistake nick? to further get the money to coffee farmers they deserve for quality coffees? i had the opportunity to sit on the jury this year in nicaragua and one night we all had dinner with a bunch of producers. myself and gorge howell were sitting at a table with about eight growers who opened up my eyes to, what they view as, a flaw in the cup of excellence system. they were quite vocal about it.
64 coffees made it to the international jury, 25 got awarded the coe award. close to 40 coffees did not go to auction. these coffees, however, are sitting in a bonded warehouse until the day that competition is over. if they don't make it to auction, they go back to the farmer or cooperative to sell. well, may 12 is kinda late in the game if you are trying to peddle your coffees to a western market of roasters and importers who have likely locked down their nicaraguan coffees for the year, outside of the auction lots. what does that mean? in many cases the farmers are getting a more commercial price for their coffees, yet these are the NEXT best 40 coffees out of the country. that 65th coffee that barely missed the cut off to the international jury now has a head start in the market because it's not going to the final round.
so susie rolled by our table and these farmers asked her what kind of solution the ace and coe could come up with to solve this. george and i were screaming, "micro-lots, micro-lots!" but, as susie stated in her article, this takes even more work and time and money. getting those samples to importers or roasters as seperate lots would be a monumental task, and thus far the ace only has the resources to deal with the coffees that win the coe award. susie promised the farmers sitting at my table that a solution would be in place, "hopefully within the next year." well, unlike the scaa, it looks like the ace and coe is sticking to its word and getting some help from an organization who is actually willing to give it.
when i heard about the whole nca thing initially, i kind of thought that this would be how they would be involved based on what susie had said that night. i didn't want to jump to conclusions before i heard it from the horse's mouth.
am i thrilled that the nca is the organization coming to help out? no, but what are you gonna do when the association that is supposed to help promote the most speciaiaty coffee has no interest in helping out at all?
do you think those farmers care where that money comes from? they have to eat too, nick. how do you think they would like it if you were sitting at the dinner table and told them that you'd rather see them not get paid the $$ they deserve just because you don't like the dudes giving them the money?
stephen e. vick