Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Earthquake in Yogyakarta and Problems in Timor

I talked to Sam Filiaci this morning. There were 1800 people killed in his town of Klaten. Fortunately he did not lose any employees or family members, but some of the employees did lose family. His spice factory in Klaten had the roof collapse. It happened Saturday before the work day began, so they were lucky no one was there or there would have been fatalities. Friday night Sam had evacuated 22 employees from Timor and put them up in a hotel in Yogya. Then the hotel was destroyed. No one was hurt, but they had to sleep in the parking lot; they are all now at Sam’s house.
As for Timor, the situation has deteriorated further at the worst moment for the coffee farmers. There is no one to buy the cherry; the banks are all closed. As far as the coffee for this year goes, we are looking at another compromised situation at best. We’ll know a lot more in a couple of weeks. Sam’s immediate concern, however, is the Mt. Merapi volcano which is threatening to erupt 15 miles from his house.--- Bob

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Your 2006 Panama Update

For the most part, the Central American crop of 2005-2006 is now harvested, and if it has not been shipped, it is resting in pergamino waiting to go. Therefore it is an opportune moment, especially with the current low C market, to look at booking these coffees for the rest of the year. Why? They won’t get better, in our view they won’t get a whole lot cheaper, and later, come October or sooner, they will be gone. So, let us review what Royal is offering starting with Panama and work our way North over the course of the next few weeks.

Panamaria SHB--- I think we have a consensus here in the cupping room that this has been an above average year for these. Sweet, juicy & mildly acidic. A very nice representation of what Boquete coffee should be. 3 lots on the spot, and 3 more afloat.
Here’s a little tip I’d like to relate….ask for ref 11268.

Maunier SHB---Panamaria’s slightly wilder sibling. Generally a little more acidic, but we won’t know for sure ‘til they arrive in mid June. 3 lots available--- Refs 11947, 11948, 11949.

And for value shoppers, we have 2 more containers of BEP (Bouquete Export Premium) ref 13423 & 24, priced about 14 cents less than the above mentioned. And, for a couple cents more, two lots from the Arkapal Estate refs 13530& 13531 which, by the way, is owned by the ex-president of Panama.

Who is Victor Venado? He’s the guy who lives all over the world, seven miles from paved road, who works as a coffee picker, and has a small farm of his own, brings his coffee out on horseback. He’s the guy who usually gets 30 cents a pound for his coffee,--- but this year got the same price as the ex-president of Panama. Victor has worked for Casa Ruiz for many years picking coffee. This year he gave a sample of his coffee to Plinio Ruiz. We tried the coffee and really liked it, and we liked the story even more. So we cornered the market on all 10 bags--- ref 13656. This is very traditional washed coffee, done with very old equipment, but the sample we saw was well prepared and the cup was very good. It is arriving in early June.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Small Producer Program

One day a customer asked me what I knew about the Pluma coffee that he loved. This started my research. In the quest to quench our roaster clients never ending thirst for information about the fine coffee we import, I am happy to introduce RC# 12585 Mexican Small Producer Pluma.
Our friends at Calvo (Pluma Tres Oros) agree with us that establishing and maintaining the relationship between roaster and small producers is the key to ensuring that these coffees of distinction do not disappear forever. Small producer’s coffee throughout the world is usually mixed together to form commercial export brands. The idea behind this program is to recognize and reward the small individual growers.
These five featured producers have been purveying their coffee to the Calvo family for many years. These coffee(s) embody the true distinct flavor that the Sierra Sur Mt. Range has to offer. The bright, sweet cup has a distinct layer and length to it that some roasters feel only exist in Guatemalan coffee.

Try it as a single origin espresso…hopefully they’ll be some left when you come back for more.
---Alex Mason

For more info on these producers, click on “business intelligence” on our home page and then click on “recently added links” for Fincas San Jose, San Mateo, Cafetal El Popo, Don Andres and Rancho Golgota.



We are now right in the heart of the season for Mexican Coffees. We have quite a few from which to choose. If you want to cherry pick the best Mexican coffee we are going to see this year, you buy these: Refs: 12804 and 12805 Mex Organic Pluma Real, Olivo and Cabana. These two lots, along with the Pluma 3 Oros (small producers) ref 12585 are classic Pluma coffees--- soft, sweet, but still lively and bright. Plumas do not often get the credit they deserve, but when they are as good as these, they would do just fine in any cupping contest.

From Chiapas, the lot to bring home is ref 13409 Organic Chiapas from the Proish COOP.

For conventional coffee, we have two single farms, the Fino Rojas from Señora Rojas Jamaica farm, and from Tapachula, the Finca San Carlos which has been in the Hotzen family since 1888. So, it is a very good time to buy Mexicans.
Robert Fulmer

Monday, May 01, 2006


Que Sorpresa!... Update 5/1/2006

Generally we hate surprises. But the last couple of weeks we’ve had a few of the pleasant variety. First of all, we received two very good Brazil deliveries, which is only surprising because it is very late in the year to be bragging about Brazilian coffee. But these two are very good:
Ref 12682 Brazil 17/18 Mogiana
Ref 13048 Brazil Natural Fazenda Aurea
…this one is also available as Royal Select Water Decaf …ref 13516

The next surprise, also pleasant and somewhat unexpected, was the arrival of Sulawesi Toraja ref 13148. This has not been a banner year for Sulawesi. Just when we were ready to throw in the towel and drink tea, we get this stellar delivery….Again at a time when real good deliveries like this are not common.

It’s also somewhat surprising when a washed Sidamo out-cups our Yirgacheffe deliveries, but ref 12645 washed Sidamo will out-Yirgacheffe most Yirghcheffe.

It’s never a total surprise, in fact we are always hoping for great Natural Sidamo, but getting a great Natural Ethiopian is not something you can ever take for granted. So, it is a great time to buy Natural Sidamo both Organic and non-certified…. Mocca flavor at tight-wad prices…Refs 124444 &12475 Organic and Refs 12653 & 12654 conventional. If you want to add instant character and personality to your coffee, these components certainly provide that opportunity.

Finally, we contracted for our first container of the year of Rwandan... Ref 13593 Kibuye Mt. A Grade. We generally are looking for the brightest acidity we can find from East Africa, so it is a bit surprising we locked into this coffee. It did not really show floral or citrus-like acidity. Oh, this coffee is plenty bright, but it is a brightness combined with a sugary sweet body. This should be, surprises aside, a great coffee based on our pre-shipment sample. Look for it to be here in early July.

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