Posted by Cris on August 4, 2007
This is old- Ive been having troubles posting for a while. Sorry for the delay!
One of Amy’ students took me to a coffee auction yeterday. This came a day after we watched the movie “Black Gold”, about the coffee (specifically Ethiopian) industry. I was interested to see what I could dig up. So, the auction was pretty boring. There isnt much coffe now, as we are between the “washed” and “sundried” seasons. Everything was in a lull, and while I couldnt really tell (even with my cherry inspecting experience), Dawit told me that all the coffee being auctioned looked pretty spotty. And expensive, since there isnt much around now. It was selling for about 360 birr per 70 kilos (1 dollar equals 9 birr), making it about 23 birr a kilo. Now, this is the same coffee that the farmers are earning 3 birr a kilo for (if youve seen the movie, or want to, the movie claims 2 birr a kilo, but the price has since gone up). This is because the coffee goes from the farmer, to the “coffee supplier”, to the exporter. So the suppliers, and there is possibly one more step in between, take a cut, as does everyone else, and this is why you pay 3 dollars for latte. From the exporter it goes to the coffee company, the roaster, and finally to the store (Starbucks or Safeway, etc) where people buy it.