The below is a cut and paste I did from an email from personal friend who used to work in coffee in the Hamptons… and now lives on a farm in Costa Rica. Honestly much of this is new to me and over my head but am just sharing for the sake of education, but quite interesting none the less as I’m constantly redifining my own definition of sustainability. If you too are wondering what GMO’s ARE CLICK HERE FOR A DEFINITION FROM HAWAIISEED

    Please read this activist group link for the story/fight going on in Hawaii: and there are many other organizations and of course, Dean’s Beans (his whole Frankenbean thing is terrific)

    Below find who the main GMO players of Integrated Coffee are. Mr. Stiles is quoted on Hawaii Seed’s website stating that GMO coffee will be available in 1.5 years from his group. Integrated Coffee released (via PR newswire) yesterday notice of who is buying them and if one unveils the chain of ownership – the actual business organization serves Dole. Three years ago Reuters announced that GMO coffee was 10 – 15 years away. Apparently, because the University of Hawaii (where Integrated Coffee/Mr. Stiles science
    hails from) has moved much faster than projected.

    Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring has already begun – there are no honey bees humming in Gringolandia now (read why at above website) and the crash of wild bumblebees is happening as I write this email to you.

    We all must work NOW so that Costa Rica and Hawaii stand hard against more GMO. Guatemala has not (crashing honey bee populations there) Brazil has not. Europe has.

    So if Dole/Integrated Coffee has their way the market will have GMO coffee but the world will have no bees and then no birds and then no . . . . ?

And interestingly as of yesterday Pacific Land and Coffee Corporation Signs Letter of Intent to Acquire
Integrated Coffee Technologies, Inc.

On another note… deans beans is mentioned above… not knowing much about them, but having some friends in their back yard… I felt compelled to do some homework… Despite seeing “Mud Pie
A double chocolate, pecan and vanilla delight” not as descriptors to a coffee… but as a FLAVOR, I found some cool stuff and great efforts at transparency. It seems they’ve built a coffee business on partnerships. SUCH AS THIS ONE. NICE JOB CULTURAL SURVIVAL. I actually listened through some of the radion sposts online. One was about a girl who comes home telling her family she’s to give up her traditional attire that is worn daily that is a part of their culture.. and pay money for a uniform. The spot basically demonstrates how they can put their foot down. This was interesting for me as Guatemala as a nation has the highest percentage of native americans in all of the americas. It’s a beautiful and rich culture that is being lost every day.

Click on image to enlarge.

International cuppers profile on FVH

CLICK HERE and then click on PHOTO GALLERY, and to see the final auction results CLICK HERE!!!

Eric Orellana is the MC once again. He is also the buyer for Anacafe who aquired our coffee to represent the Huehue region for Anacafe in 2007 and 2008 in house, for cupping, for guests for sale and all trade shows including SCAJ and WBC2007.

You will notice it was not crowded as it was a delegation from Anacafe and then the participating growers only. Coffee from each grower in CoE was brewed and available for tasting…. This is a wonderfull thing for growers our size and smaller to see how “the growers association” prepares our coffee, and how we feel it stacks up to the others in the room. It would be nice to see a Clover there next year, hint hint zander…

The very first pic you’ll see is my father and grandfather approaching 60 and 90 years of age. If you take the time to click through all of them there’s a few more good ones of my grandfather with his purple noise maker shaker.

Congradulations to Juan Diego and Juan de la Cerda of El Socorro as the top lot and to Solberg and Hansen who was willing to pay for it. I thought you were going to end up with our lot towards the end there, right up until 1 minute before the auction ended.

Thank you Anacafe, CoE and you the bidders who make this happen.
Thank you

And on behalf of Finca Vista Hermosa, we would like to offer a sincere thank you to Kyokuto Fadie Corporation in Japan, Time’s Club and C-COOP also in Japan.

And the Cup of Excellence Guatemala 2007 is 3 hours from now and I had to get up as I just couldn’t sleep.

I’m in Bellingham, Washington for 3 more days before returning to Guatemala where there was a 6.8 earthquake today, 40 miles off the coast. I hear it’s been a gloomy day in Guatemala with some very dark clouds and thunder that preceded the scare of this earthquake that could have been a disaster had it been closer to the surface of the earth and or closer to the coast or inland.

My father was doing some work in Mexico and he has been on a bus all day making his way to Guatemala City in order to join other family at Anacafe at 7:00 a.m. this morning Guatemala time for the big party. I will be there next Monday, but unfortunately will miss out on the fun of kazoos and noise makers made of paper that roll out into a long air filled tubes that make… well – noise. Ten seconds before the screen refreshes the cheering begins and becomes a roar right up until the updated screen comes on. Then you hear growers yell and cheer that see their coffee bid up higher than before. And at the same time I can imagine specific individuals who are staring at a computer in different parts of the world in their home at odd hours or in that back office crammed behind the roasting room… clicking away the mouse and picking up the phone to discuss a change in plans with their buyer or buying group because someone out bid them or to communicate an interest in agressively securing their second choice. And at the end of the day, what do you get? Bragging rights.

I’ve concluded that for a grower to be in the Cup of Excellence, or for a roaster to be the winning bidder on a lot does not define success by any means, rather it’s being a part of something excellent. Often participation on either end is a fruit of sucess or at least the fruit of being purposefull =). I don’t see many roasters going out of business, but it seems to me most roasters buying CoE coffees recognize the marketing value and have no problem paying rediculous prices for coffee. And I think it’s great. It’s like real estate…. worth whatever someone is willing to pay. Sure it’s not for everyone, but it is a great tool that has a use. Especially in countries where it has developed. As far as intrinsic value, it’s all in the cup and determined blind of course. Sure one can expect that the overall quality of coffees in countries participating in CoE the first year might be like buying a new model of a car the first year the model comes out before all the kinks are worked out.

Now I’m left wondering with anticipation…. I know there are some that will bid on our coffee. But how high will it go? It’s been a funny realization for me to arrive at where we have customers that want to bid on our coffee and as opposed to a strategy of trying to secure a great coffee at the best price (lowest) possible… it’s a hope that it’s high for the sake of marketing… but not too high so they can still buy it. However not everyone has an extra hundred grand to drop on a pallet of coffee. I actually had a dream last night that I walked into the stumptown cupping room.. and there was an extra door (that isn’t really there) that lead to a huge attached warehouse containing over 10 Million lbs of CoE coffee (which would have to be the entire existance of CoE coffees and then some) on one side and tons of syrups on the other…. and that’s when it turned to a nightmare and I woke up. Something was really wrong. Congradulations Duane. Way to go strong!

It seems there is a time for everything. A time to go all out and a time to be modest and discerning.

Many have asked what it’s like to be on the other side of this event economically. Simply put this creates more exposure. The less exposure one has to begin with, the more it is worth in the end. And if one gets the top rank, it’s not priceless but seemingly close to it. But for the rest, consider this…..

You’re a grower and say the C market is at around $1.15/lb and you are used to getting spot at farmgate .15-.40 premium and your coffee is auctioned at double the C price. This now amounts to $2.30/lb green.
If you’re not willing to risk more than the bare minimum you submit 40 bags containing 100lbs of parchment. You are required to do this with out knowing if you are in the final auction so you may be required to pick up the coffee you submit also at your own expense if you do not make it past both the national and international jurys. Say you make it, if you’re far away you and you’re not a large grower you might spend almost $1000 getting your 40 bag lot (which is really only about 20 bags of green at 152lbs each) to the warehouse where you will also pay storage fees. 4 full bags dissappear as samples around the world… and then you end up with that magic number of 16 BAGS!!! And you then pay out 15% or more for auction expenses. So this leaves you with $1.95 price on 16 of 20 bags you submitted and after you back out around $1000 of misc expenses, you’re clearing a whopping $1.23/lb which you still need to pay tax on, and you’ve waited a few more months to get the funds you could have received spot at the farmgate.

All this to say, I’m pleased with progress. Auctions don’t make much sense if coffees are going in the low $2 range in the short run. They seem to be on the rise. High prices will infact attract more submissions of samples and make the competition much more competitive. So bid strong and enjoy great coffees!

That being said – I believe the real challenge and defining factor that separates the good from the great is nailing exceptional quality CONSISTENTLY OVER TIME. Here in lies what I believe is also the biggest challenge for coffee retailers accross north america. It seems we’ve placed such a high value on convenience that we’re willing to give up the demand or even the appreciation of something great.

**************** POST AUCTION SUMMARY **************

Well this was a first for us and exciting beyond belief. Thank you to those of you who bid on our coffee. It’s a strange thing to watch this unfold with only half the story. There were 3 bidders that bumped each other around consistently and started off VERY strong hitting $4-$5 with seemimgly with in minutes while many remained at the $1.5 starting point for while. It then creeped up consistently until hitting $8 where is sat for a while controlled by the same bidder #9227 who won first place at $19.50!
And then whole new bidder # 7087 swooped in and snatched it at $8.05! the last minute. I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure I never saw this number bid on our coffee before the entire time… and I don’t know that I even saw it anywhere else on the board. And boy is the curiosity killing me.

Thank you much 9227, 7621, and 1793 for bidding strong.

Congradulations to all bidders, and to the winners…. take good care of these coffees!

If you’re reading this 7087… please reveal yourself!

Photos by Gabe Rodriguez – master coffee photographer.

Post harvest update

June 14, 2007

Last week I received the following email from my father:


I spoke to Carlos This morning. He was working with about 20 people in the
upper part of Vista Hermosa. They have cleaned up 20 brand new cuerdas. Monday and Tuesday they have dug 1200 hoyos and will dig a total of 5,000. Today they stop digging hoyos and building a road so we can drive right to the new Lot.
We don’t have a name for that yet. It was exiting for me to talk to Carlos knowing exactly where he was and what he was doing.

He didn’t have the exact numbers for the cuerdas in each lot. He is going home for lunch when I will call him again and send the numbers to you.

for your information. Next year we are going to use one of the pilas para reposar el cafe despues de lavarlo y antes de secarlo. La pila es la mas nueva y esta cerca de las bodegas.

Te envio la informacion mas tarde.