August 2021

In July’s newsletter we discussed the new crop being in full swing in Brazil. A few weeks later and the big news out of Brazil is the frost that hit on the morning of July 20th.

A significant frost in the growing areas of Brazil has a huge impact on coffee growing and the wider industry. Every producer, exporter, importer, roaster and retailer around the world will be keeping a serious eye on the weather reports over the next few weeks while the frost season should come to an end.

So why is it such a big deal? Well Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world and what happens there has real importance. In the 2020 crop, Brazil accounted for 40% of the world’s coffee production with 69 million bags of coffee produced. This year’s crop was estimated to be around 45-50 million bags as Brazil is in its ‘off’ year in its biennial cycle. The early estimates of the frost damage are a loss of around ten percent of the production, approximately 4.5 to 5 million bags of coffee, or five percent of the world’s production. Add to this the difficulties with Covid and the shipping situation and we start having serious supply problems which will have an impact on the next few years. Prices have and will continue to increase in the coffee markets.

There have been two major frosts in Brazil in modern times. In 1975 the Black Frost destroyed over half of the coffee trees in Brazil. This sent coffee prices skyward on the commodities market and had devastating effects on the farming communities. The 1994 frost was also devastating and had similar consequences. The difference this year is the frost has hit on the back of a recent drought, and of course the pandemic. Things were already difficult before the frost got involved.

Thankfully, the Carmo Coffee farmers have had limited damage to their crops. Most of the crop was in and as the Carmo farms are at a comparatively higher altitude than other farms in Brazil they had limited exposure to the frost. This frost was a result of temperature inversion which means the lower areas of the farms were covered in rapidly cooling air and cloud formations which made a freezing layer under a higher layer of warmer air. The higher areas of the farms were in essence protected in this warmer layer, but it acted as a kind of lid which trapped the cooler air below and drove down the temperatures.

For the farmers that have frost damage it will be a process of seeing how the trees react over the next few weeks and months. Frost-burnt leaves are black and will fall. The farmer will then be able to inspect the skeleton of the tree and see how far the damage goes. Most newly planted trees will likely die as they just aren’t large and robust enough to deal with the damage. Any plant nurseries may be similarly affected so where a farmer needs to replant there may not be stock to use. Older trees have a better chance of survival depending on where they are in the plant cycle – after a good prune to remove the damaged branches the trees will become productive again.

It was not just coffee that was affected by the frost. Brazil is a large producer of oranges, sugar, soy and corn and these crops have all sustained losses. The full extent of the damage will become clear over the next few months and as Brazil’s agricultural sector is a big part of their economy, they are likely in for a rough time.

Keep an eye out for news coming from Carmo Coffees via their instagram @carmocoffees – they have a great IGTV post explaining the frost by Natalia Araujo.

Many thanks for reading and see you next time,

Monmouth x

July 2021

We are firmly in the landing time for the new crops from Central America. Some, like the Malacara A (El Salvador) and Telia Herbazu (Costa Rica), are already with us but July is when most of our coffee from Guatemala starts to land. And what a crop it is. We have old favourites from Capetillo… Read more »

June 2021

Last month we had our organic audit, always nerve racking and always better than expected, which we passed with a couple of small things to do within twenty-eight days of the audit. Audits are there to keep the process of buying, importing, warehousing, roasting and selling organic coffee controlled and legitimate. One cannot in the… Read more »

May 2021

We have, this month, our best decaffeinated coffee to date arriving. The coffee itself is from Fazenda IP, Brazil, a stalwart on our counter. It has been decaffeinated at Descamex in Mexico and at time of writing has just arrived at the roastery. We tasted the arrival sample when it landed and all of us… Read more »

April 2021

April in the roastery is all about sample roasting and tasting. This is a super busy time for our coffee buying team with all the new crop samples coming in from Central America. Each coffee is sampled before shipping, after shipping, and on arrival to make sure the coffees are tasting great and ready to… Read more »

March 2021

We have a new coffee on our counter this month – El Morito – from Peru. We haven’t had a coffee from Peru for several years and it is interesting to think about how and why that happens. Peru is a large coffee producer and over the thirty last years or so has really concentrated… Read more »

February 2021

As we are all here rejoicing in the occasional snow fall, holding off the usual February malaise, and generally feeling fed up and frustrated with the virus, there is plenty happening on the farms in Central America. The crop is finishing ripening and being picked with COVID precautions in place. Once picked the coffee cherry… Read more »

January 2021

Happy New Year! And what a hangover 2020 has dealt to us all. When the pandemic really got going and country after country began to close their borders and lock down, coffee, like all crops and harvests, continued to grow and work needed to get done. There is a saying in coffee growing (probably all… Read more »

December 2020

Christmas really starts at Monmouth when the panettone and chocolate arrive. Both are rocking this year and you will find more information about them on our website and in our shops. The next thoughts invariably turn to which coffee should be on the table for Christmas and that is where it gets interesting. Like all… Read more »

November 2020

Clocks have gone back, Halloween was less sugary than usual, Corona has a vicious second bite and it has turned cold. So what we all feel like is a cuddle of a coffee and this is where the Brazils on the counter really shine. Each year we visit our friends at Carmo Coffee and select… Read more »