Tick, tick, tick….. boom.

The internet is quite talkative at the moment.  The coffee sliver of the internet anyway.  Lots of talk about seasonality, which is a good thing.

This does beg the question – how long is coffee good for?  Green coffee I mean – we’re still arguing about roasted coffee’s shelf life and a great deal more time and money has been spent on that topic in the last 100 years.

If anything, and we are getting into the realm of personal opinion here, green coffee is trickier because green coffees don’t age the same way.  Each lot is an individual little time bomb.  As much as we can look after it as well as we can in storage/in roasteries – we are still working with an individual fuse whose approximate length was determined before the coffee left the producing country. Continue reading “Tick, tick, tick….. boom.”

Predictions for 2009 – Analysis

Well.  I really didn’t do well this time!  Having done ok on my 2008 predictions I must say that I can’t quite claim the same level of success for 2009.

My predicitons were:

1. Coffee Packaging takes a step forward

Nothing here to report.  I don’t know if anyone has done anything interesting in 2009 with roasted coffee packaging but I certainly haven’t seen it, and I don’t think it has had an impact.  A poor prediction.

2. Improved Green Coffee Packaging

This is a tricky one.  I am sure that this year people have received record quantities of vac-packed, or grainpro packed coffee.  I know that a substantial amount of coffee that we’ve bought this year has come this way.  I also know that it leaves me conflicted over the amount of waste this packaging generates.  An OK, passable, but not great effort at prediction.

3.  Someone invents a grinder worth getting excited about.

Nope. Nothing here.  I know why, from an R&D cost Vs sales perspective, this hasn’t happened.  For some reason I guess I thought it just would.  A complete failure of a prediction.

4.  Decent Coffee Press in the UK.

I am going to claim this one.  You could argue that the quality of writing hasn’t been where it could be but I think this year we’ve seen unprecedented levels of coverage for speciality coffee – mostly in response to Gwilym’s win – but also covering the blossoming of London’s coffee culture.  I hope it continues.  A pretty successful prediction.

5.  Producing countries in the WBC Top 6.

Another utterly failed prediction.  Raul was just outside the top 6, and I think there was some surprise at who made the top 6 and who didn’t.  Nonetheless I can’t even vaguely claim this one as successful.

So…  Barely 1.5 out of 5 I reckon.  Not good work.  I shall have to try harder for my prediction for 2010, or just give up entirely!  I hope next time I don’t confuse speculation and prediction with wishful thinking!

The one interesting thing, in terms of me trying to salvage my credibility, are the two main predictions that I got wrong in 2008 – the rise of pressure profiling and increase in green coffee pricing – have somewhat come true in 2009.

There can be no argument on the pressure profiling front.  From the Slayer to Strada, but also to Cimbali’s rather impressive pressure profiling machine – the technology is now here and seems to have perhaps captured the interest of manufacturers more than baristas but I think it will continue to be incorporated into new machines.

As for green coffee – it may not yet have reached the peak of March 3rd but after a steep drop it is definitely back on the rise:

(couresy of Wolfram Alpha – the rather splendid search engine for this sort of thing.)

I’ll post my predictions for 2010 around New Year.

5 Predictions for 2009

I suppose I consider my previous predictions (with your support) reasonably successful.

Just for fun I am going to make another 5 predictions and we’ll wait and see how they turn out!

1).    Coffee packaging takes a big step forward

Think for a moment about how many kilos of espresso are brewed every day.  Think about how many bags are thrown away each day.  Good packaging is a necessity for quality, but it isn’t recyclable and that is becoming more and more of an issue.  The reusable, valved buckets we’ve been using at Square Mile have been great, and I am glad the bulk of our production goes out in them, but we still have to bag a good deal up.  Hopefully this year we’ll see someone clever devil make a breakthrough and move coffee packaging at least a little closer to closed loop recycling.
Continue reading “5 Predictions for 2009”