January Specialty Coffee Report
The New Year brought with it exciting new origins and some surprising results for Mercanta. Read further to hear the reflection on January from our Founder, Stephen Hurst.
January 2022 had a decent start to the month, then a quiet middle, and a surge of sorts at the end of the month. When the counting was done, we had the second best sales month of the Financial Year (the best being November 2021). January sales featured a wider geographical spread across North America and Asia than earlier UK-centric sales, with North America and Asia having record months for the Financial Year. Containers actually arriving and unloading are directly connected to sales. On current trajectory, Mercanta will have a record all time sales year, though it will be a close-run race (previous record year financial 2019).
If it were possible, the export situation from Brazil (and Peru) is worse than the previous months.
In a rare occurrence, we had no containers from any origin arriving in the UK in January 2022, and now something of a backlog (particularly Brazil) unloading in the UK in February. Some more changes effective from 1st January in EU and inter EU / UK imports have made the Brexit customs situation worse, if that were ever possible.
Colombia prices are such that specialty roaster customers are exploring all kinds of options to replace specialty Colombia in all the premium filter and espresso recipes that have Colombia as key components. 2022 prices for specialty Colombia are 50-75% higher than 2021 – in the raw materials local market point of sale. Another interesting feature could be specialty clients increasing the amount of what we call “fine estate Brazils” in their recipes – given the substantial price difference.
The latest origin reporting dire circumstances is Costa Rica – poor flower set and inclement weather have people talking about the smallest crop “of all time.”
No Centrals new crop shipments seen yet, and actually few samples. Uganda and Tanzania are moving – Rwanda arrived “early” despite other logistics chaos.
Mercanta purchased two lots at the first ever Ecuador Cup of Excellence auction, which have now arrived in the UK via airfreight. These were some of the best coffees we cupped in 2021. We participated in the first Indonesia Cup of Excellence Auction in Jan 2022, and most lots of any ranking rose above $20/lb in the first Indonesia Cup of Excellence Auction. We were unable to secure any lots but look forward to participating in the next competition.
We have four months to run in our current Financial Year, and we are hoping to manage a record. Thank you to all of our producers and partners for this great month. We look forward more coffee hunting in February!