The 2009 Esmeralda Auction yesterday was pretty amazing. Once again this farm has broken records in terms of average price per pound. (The highest price so far on auction was in 2007 Best of Panama, where Esmeralda got 130 USD per lb.) Although I am not astonished anymore by the highest price at USD 117.50 per 453 grams of green coffee, what struck me the most was that even the not so tasty lots went for over 24 USD per pound (453g). See the results here. If we look at this in perspective the best Cup of Excellence lots are selling for around 20 USD per pound. This is the reason why we decided to back out of the auction when prices went over 20 USD. The coffee is just not worth that amount of money, or to put it in a different way, our customers are not willing to pay those prices for qualities that are not up to those standards. Just to give you an idea of the difference in coffee prices. The commodity price for coffee today is about USD 1.25 per pound. This is of course not a sustainable price for quality coffee, as the pickers and farmers are not making a good living at these prices.The cheapest coffee we have in house today was bought at USD 2 per pound, and people still complain about the prices in our store. The fact is we need to wake up and smell the coffee. If we want higher quality coffees in the future, I think we need to prepare ourselves and our customers for prices that are much higher than what we are seeing today. Remember, in 2005 the Esmeralda also sold at a record breaking USD 20 per pound at the best of Panama auction. Today the same coffee is 117.50 USD.
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