Nasty old Brazilian coffee

by JulieCraves on December 19, 2006

My inability to completely connect the dots here is a testament to the lack of transparency of the big four mega coffee roasters and where they get their beans.

Dot 1:  Brazil, the world’s #2 coffee grower, has experienced drought conditions that means their 2007 production will be at a four-year low. This on the heels of a 16% decline in the 2005-2006 crop.  Therefore, the market is tight and stocks are quite low.

Dot 2:  Brazil will be selling off its federal coffee stocks, beans from the 1977-1978 harvest.  Not a typo.  Thirty year old beans, which they contend do not lose their flavor, only their color. Unroasted beans do stay fresh a long time, as it is the roasting process that creates oils and other compounds that oxidize when exposed to air.  But coffee beans are a once-living, organic crop, and changes do take place.  Most experts advise roasting beans within a year.

Dot 3: Who buys up all these tons of old beans?  Well, Kraft is the largest buyer of Brazilian green coffee.  Nespresso, a division of NestlÁ©, just announced it will be purchasing 45% of its coffee from Brazil. These are supposed to be “specialty” beans, but  I have no further information.

I cannot say for sure, but I would think it is likely that the large roasters are buying at least some of these old beans, given the low stocks, high demand, and their history of using — and needing — inexpensive Brazilian beans.  If used in blends, flaws would be less apparent.  Yuck.

Revised on November 28, 2020

Posted in Coffee regions,Corporate coffee

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