Posted in blog on December 2nd, 2011 by admin – Comments Off
There is no Starbucks in Nepal (thankfully) so normally no need to write about them. However this article on worldenvironment.tv shows something interesting. Starbucks are saying that they are worried about climate change, where other business leaders and politicians remain mute or sceptical.
“What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road – if conditions continue as they are – is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean,” Hanna said. “Even in very well established coffee plantations and farms, we are hearing more and more stories of impacts.”
Concerned to a point of being part of a lobby visiting Washington to speak to congress about their concerns.
Starbucks is taking a proactive approach to climate change risks. Hanna will be in Washington, D.C. on Friday to speak to members of Congress about climate change and coffee at an event sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Starbucks, responsible for slash and burn tactics to put smaller coffee-house establishments out of business looks long term:
“If we sit by and wait until the impacts of climate change are so severe that is impacting our supply chain then that puts us at a greater risk,” Hanna said. “From a business perspective we really need to address this now, and to look five, 10, and 20 years down the road.”
What does this mean for Nepal?
Coffee supplies are being reduced by higher temperatures, long droughts and intense rainfall, plus more resilient pests and plant diseases, according to the UCS, “all of which are associated with climate change.” Coffee varieties adapted to certain climate zones so a temperature increase of just a half of a degree can have a big affect and cause lower crop yields. A good example is the almost 30 percent decrease in Indian coffee production From 2002 to 2011.
We are promoting Nepali coffee by arranging a coffee tasting event next Saturday (30/7). By simply raising the standards we want to create an awareness about good coffee and see how the Nepali Highland coffee stands up!
My request to you is that if you can, please print a few of this .pdf file and post it in your office area for some people in your group who might be interested in learning more about coffee by tasting and watching our roasting demonstration.
We will have two sessions in the afternoon in which Dr. Dale Nafziger (from Top of The World Coffee) and I, Per Zetterberg will talk and demonstrate and serve coffee in a hands-on fashion. Feel free to neglect this request if you find it annoying.
All information attached in the file. If you have any questions please feel free to email or call me.
Warm regards Per (Prem) Zetterberg
CEO Nepal Face to Face Resort
01-5528688 or 9808838447
Don’t know the difference? Come and taste! For FREE!!!
10.00 – 11.00 am and 3.00 – 4.00 pm from the 11th to the 14th of May here at Nepal Face to Face Resort in Jhamsikhel (near the British School) From the 12th of May you can also watch the roaster in action. You can order the freshly roasted and ground coffee direct from the roaster! For our location: http://web.me.com/perzetterberg/Nepal_Face_to_Face_EN/Contact.html
Welcome and greetings! Spread the word!
Per (Prem) Zetterberg
CEO Nepal Face to Face Resort
The world has a bad coffee addiction. And it might be about to experience withdrawal. Food prices have been swiftly rising over the past few years and coffee prices are joining them. Coffee yields have decreased over the past few years in many of the Central and South American countries where most specialty coffee is grown. A New York Times article on Wednesday reported that Colombian coffee crops have been especially hard hit and climate change could be to blame. After Brazil, Colombia is the second largest producer of Arabica beans—more popular and expensive than Robusta, the other variety of commonly consumed coffee. As its name suggests, Robusta is a strong variety and better able to withstand changes in climate than the delicate Arabica. As temperatures increase in coffee growing regions throughout the world, coffee plants do not ripen at the right time and are more susceptible to pests like coffee rust and the coffee berry borer beetle. The resultant decreasing yields and the fact that demand is increasing with increasing consumption in emerging economies has led coffee experts to predict coffee could reach a premium like oil unless production is expanded globally.
So what does this mean for Nepal? Nepal’s coffee growing potential has been receiving more and more attention lately. The mountainous and temperate climate of the mid-hills is perfect for coffee cultivation—Arabica in particular. And the beetle that has been devastating coffee crops has been seen in all coffee growing regions (over 70 countries) except Nepal and Papua New Guinea. Coffee production has been increasing in Nepal and just last week the National Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB) distributed an official trademark logo to three coffee industries. But production is nowhere near demand. While the 120,000 kg exported last fiscal year was a big jump from the 24,000 kg exported five years back, it’s not enough to make Nepali coffee a serious fixture in the international market. Compared to the 540 million kg produced by Colombia last year (a particularly bad year), it’s barely a drop in the bucket.
Nepal has an opportunity to enter the international coffee market with force. Vietnam can serve as an inspiration. Non-existent in the coffee market after the destruction of the Vietnam War, since the 1990s Vietnam has grabbed the number two spot for overall coffee production (number one for Robusta production). Vietnam’s incredible rise is due to economic reform and a serious governmental push towards production—a model Nepal would be wise to follow. Vietnam’s production drive has been so aggressive there are concerns it has driven coffee prices down. But it indicates that the market is open and may be opening even more if the trend of poor yields in countries like Colombia continues. There’s no reason Nepal can’t nose its way in. Still Nepal is no stranger to climate change and it is possible coffee crops here will also be affected by warming temperatures. A serious investment in coffee could be a gamble, but if the day comes when customers at Starbucks order a Grande cup of Himalayan, it could seriously pay-off.
This is a press release from the USA, but includes some interesting informaiton about Plantec, one of Nepal’s foremost coffee growers.
After 14 years of surmounting innumerable obstacles in their beloved homeland of Nepal, Ujjal Rana and the dedicated staff of the Plantec Coffee Estate have perfected the cultivation of superb Arabica coffee and pioneered a new industry in one of the world’s most enchanting yet impoverished countries.
At an early age after receiving his education in Darjeeling, Ujjal Rana chose to forgo the privileges afforded by his heritage as a member of one of Nepal’s most prominent dynastic families. Instead, he traveled the world and upon his return, chose to invest his resources and considerable knowledge working alongside remote villagers. The fruits of his efforts are paying off, not only for Ujjal and his wife, but also scores of struggling farmers in this, one of the planet’s poorest countries. Their Plantec Estate has emerged as not only the largest coffee farm in Nepal, but more significantly, has achieved quality standards that rival the World’s finest specialty coffees and is actively working with smaller local farmers to form cooperatives also capable of producing desirable high quality coffees for export.
His dream of growing coffee originated during his travels as a youth in Papua, New Guinea. After returning to Nepal, he worked as an aviation consultant while he and his wife found what they believed to be the perfect location for growing world-class coffee. Along the banks of the Trisuli River in Northern Nepal, the farm they chose had excellent climate and elevation, ample water and the skilled workforce needed to get started. “We spent those early years experimenting with coffee varieties, finally learning which produce the best coffee here,” says Ujjal. Life was never dull as they encountered fierce leopards, pesky monkeys, and Maoists, along with all the usual challenges all farmers face. “When we first began, my wife and I watched in amazement as a Leopard took down and consumed a buffalo right next to our house.”
All that is history as the farm now rivals the most pristine shade grown coffee farms in the world. American businessman and President of Common Good Foods, Jim Haun, recently visited the estate. “We began purchasing coffee from Ujjal last year and were very impressed with the quality. Historically Nepali coffee hasn’t cupped as well as some leading coffees, but Ujjal and his people have invested a tremendous amount of effort and intellect in this project and the results are obvious in the cup,” Haun adds, “The countryside surrounding the farm is breathtaking in its beauty. I was amazed with what they’ve accomplished. In all my travels I have never seen such dense shade tree coverage and the density and lushness of the coffee plants is remarkable considering that it has always been organically grown. Once you arrive, it’s so peaceful and remote, with such an amazing variety of birds, you don’t want to leave.”
The Plantec Estate encompasses about 100 acres and they say yields about 50 tons of coffee annually, most of which is shipped to Europe and now the US. They’ve been able to control the quality by managing the entire farm, as opposed to consolidating from numerous smaller farms. Always looking forward, Ujjal works tirelessly to help smaller farmers form well run co-ops in Nepal which maintain the same high quality controls and standards.
Haun notes, “While I was there we met with the regional USDA Organic inspector and are very excited to see that they are now underway in the process of USDA Organic certification. This will be a huge boost for all Nepalese coffee farmers in the long run, most or all of whom produce organically but are not able to afford the certification process.”
“This has been a very adventure-filled project contributing to reforestation, soil conservation, and wildlife conservation especially in connection with providing shelter to both migratory and non-migratory birds and endanger animals many of which have returned after several years to the vicinity,” says Ujjal. “Our project has had considerable impact on the livelihood of the local inhabitants of this remote region especially in regard to women employment and training.”
“Ultimately to succeed, they know they need to produce exceptional coffee and from what I saw, they take this very seriously,” according to Haun. “They’ve done their research and know what grows best in their locale, they have excellent climate, soil and elevation and I suppose the secrets of their success may be the incredible shade canopy and the glacial fed waters from the nearby Ganesh Himal mountain range used for irrigating and processing on site.”
The emergence of premium quality coffee as a sought after product in the global market is providing a much needed infusion of hope and income for the thousands of hard-working Nepalese farmers who recognize their need to transform from subsistence farming. The future looks very bright.
Plantec Estate Nepalese coffee from Common Food Foods is available in the US on Amazon.com.
A brief video of the Plantec Coffee Estate may be viewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lxzp-AYal-k
About Common Good Foods, LLC
Common Good Foods is a US-based manufacturer and provider of premium quality, responsibly produced foods and supporter of humanitarian and development initiatives in producer countries.
“Kaldi’s Coffee Chiya is going to take the market by storm due to its taste.” – Kaldi’s marketing head Siyaram Bhandari.
Only in Nepal you might say, with a little help from the Japanese. And that help may have been in the way of a lesson in Chindōgu which apparently means useful tool. Wikipedia explains:
Thus, chindōgu are sometimes described as “unuseless” – that is, they cannot be regarded as ‘useless’ in an absolute sense, since they do actually solve a problem; however, in practical terms, they cannot positively be called “useful.”
I suggest we hold a 10 minute speed design competition to see which of the many talented graphic designers in Nepal can put something together in less that 10 minutes. I am sure some reasonable results would come out of it.
Someone once asked me if manual coffee grinders could be bought in Nepal for taking on a trek. If you have something like that for a trek, then you can take beans which obviously remain fresher for longer than ground coffee.
I don’t know what my answer until stumbling into Nepal Organic Coffee Products shop in the A1 Bazaar in Thamel. See the map below for location, which is near to the Everest Bank.
And of course, coffee pots are available here too!
Nepal Organic Coffee Products store in A1 bazaar, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
In order to help people find a way to prepare of the abundant and tasty local coffee and despite the loadshedding situation, Jimmy Carson, currently working in the Arniko store designed a pretty cool flyer. Its long overdue! Currently the pots are only on sale in certain Cafés and speciality coffee places with a limited clientel. This flyer should help to alert more people to what they are missing.
Look out for it around town.
ps. Jimmy is a talented artists and graphics guy and is availble for projects in Kathmandu. Contact him via the email address on the where to buy page.
Perhaps it would be better if they hired a quality officer, perhaps an Ecuadorian or Colombian or Kenyan expert who knows the secrets of making good beans. And most of the secrets are not secrets. There are many steps in coffee processing and many steps for the quality to be degraded.
Coffee is something that goes in people’s cake-holes and that means quality is everything. From looking at many of the products created in fair trade, pro-poor, community-based projects, the quality often leaves much to be desired: wonky candles, honey with ants in, good doses of mould in the dried ginger, caustic soap and so on. And with coffee too: picked to early, mishandled, over roasted – all opportunity lost. I hope the new Senior programme officer is rabidly quality focused.
And what about the home market? Why can’t someone spend a week training the various shabby baristas around Kathmandu to make the stuff properly and consistently properly. Have any of these guys ever event drunk a really good coffee I wonder.
What about a coffee festival with some freshly roasted beans from all over the world. Get baristas cupping or at least drinking the results of coffee prepared properly. Get the different brands of coffee produced here tested in a public forum. This has not yet happened here before. And why not do the same for the coffee drinking public – brew up some good coffee and educate them before they go down the Starbucks route of accepting any bucket of sugary-milk. How about inviting a coffee connoisseur here to go around the cafés and see who is making good coffee and who is making awful coffee, and them publish the results widely.
I remember the best coffee I ever had, siting on a small terrace in Paris on a Monday morning. No actually it was in Holland, with the guy who had the portable hand press, I forgot his name, but I remember he was stationed in a car park as his little trolley was too wide to get through the door of the building he should have been in. Or was it that café in Switzerland…
Everyone should have their own ‘perfect cup’ moment. In raising the level of expectation of people here, perhaps there will be some immediate feedback to producers regarding what is good and what is not. Why should all the good coffee go abroad if a market can be created here? In creating a buzz about Nepali coffee in Kathmandu, perhaps the world will begin to pay a little more attention to Nepal.
Oh, Helvetas, http://www.teacoffee.gov.np/‘s website is down for days now. Why can’t someone create a website which is just about Nepali coffee which is buyer / trader / drinker focused, which provides all the information they could want about coffee in Nepal?
Is this view ill-informed? I welcome your opinion below.