Friday, March 28, 2008

Prices on Green Coffee 2

Klaus has just returned from his trip to Guatemala and Panama. He has a lot of experiences that he is trying to write down and will post shortly!

Meanwhile we have learned that the Fair Trade price has the flexibility incorporated that when market prices rise above the 'Minimum' FT-price the market price is the price that should be paid to the exporting cooperative. Check this link out to see a graphical illustration of this.

We are very glad to know that FT has this flexibility and therefore even better can be seen as a reasonable 'minimum wage'!

On top of the FT-price 10 cents/lb is paid to the producing coop for develoment projects. Therefore a higher price is still paid for the FT-coffee even when the market goes high and though the premium is given to the coop not the producer.

One of the problems that Klaus heard about in Guatemala was that selling to the ordinary market gives imidiate payment wheras selling through the Fair Trade system often delays payment. Another consideration is that when the farmer is choosing whether to get the market price through selling to the ordinary market or getting the same price through the Fair Trade market, the conditions put up by FT are demanding more work than 'just selling' to the ordinary market. However good these conditions are meant they economically will be seen as increased 'production costs' that demands extra benefits to be worthwhile. Togehter these things might make the ordinary market look more attractive in the short run. In Guatemala therefore it is feared that a lot of farmers will not fulfill their FT-contracts.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Should you be out for Easter Coffee we will have open on Saturday 22nd, but otherwise closed from Thursday 20th and back to normal opening hours from Tuesday 25th.

Have a great Easter!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Barista Champion of Finland

On the 13th of March Mikko Haahti won the finish Barista Championship and the Latte art competition at the same time!!

Lots of congratulations from here!!!

You can see more about Mikkos championship here (in finish but with pictures:)

We proudly delivered green beans to Mikkos Brother, Juhani Haahti (finish barista Champion 2006 and number 2 in this years finish Latte Art comp.), who roasted a blend of Daterra Sweet Collection and Natrual Adado, Yirgacheffe for the espresso that Mikko used!

We are looking very much forward to having all these World Class Baristas coming to Copenhagen for the World Barista Championship in June!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Prices on Green Coffee

Since more than a month now the market prices on bulk-coffee has been above the Fair Trade price! (check these links:

We are supporting the basic idea behind Fair Trade - to give the farmer a "minimum wage" - but these facts does also show some of the rigidity such a large system has!

What will be the consequences of the higher market price versus FT-price? It might just be a temporary situation caused by market speculation. But questions pops up like will the FairTrade farmers sell at better prices to the ordinary market and thereby creating FT-supply deficiencies? Will the big roasters be forced to pay prices better than FT for all their coffee and not just for a symbolic amount of Fair Trade Coffee for marketing (in the long run I doubt it considering the underlying power relations)?

Our Direct Trade prices are based on quality and are therefore all above both the Fair Trade price and the currently high bulk-market prices.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Origin Trip

I'm packing my bags this evening still buzzing over the very kind words about our coffee that Stephen Morrisey wrote on his blog today. Tomorrow I am leaving for a two week trip to Guatemala and Panama.

I will be making our first visit to Finca Vista Hermosa. FVH was our first Direct Trade coffee and still continues to amaze me. This morning I had a french press of last Thursday's roast and it was one of the sweetest cups of coffee I think I ever had. Naturally it got me really excited about this trip and being able to see what it is FVH does to produce this quality. Edwin Martinez has planned a great programme for the visit including a visit to Anacafé - the Guatemalan Specialty Coffee Association.

In Panama I'll be looking at some exciting new coffees. There has been a lot of talk about the Panamanian Geishas in the last couple of years and there's also some cool experiments with microlots going on. Hopefully we'll find something spectacular down there that we can bring home to Denmark.

I doubt there's going to be much access to internet on the trip - let alone time to write blog post. However I will surely be taking a lot of photos and notes, so it should be possible for me to remember what have happened when I return.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Irish Hat Trick and a New Champ!

Today was the final round of the Irish Barista Championship. I just got of the phone with the new Irish Barista Champion: Stephen Morrisey!

We're very happy that Stephen won, because he was using our espresso for his presentation.

He used descriptors like sweet, clean and fruity and described the aromas of cocoa from the Finca Vista Hermosa and pineapple and apricot from the Adado. The judges agreed and liked it.

Stephen promised he'll post on his blog tonight about the presentation and what his signature drink is all about.

But not only did Stephen win the Irish Barista Championship. On friday he also won the Irish Latte Art Championship. And yearlier this year he won the Irish Cup Tasting Championship. The man pulled a genuine hat trick! Now he'll be the first to represent a country in all three disciplines.

Huge congratulations to Stephen for the great accomplishment and many thanks for choosing our espresso for the presentation!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Danish Barista Championship pt. 2

Yes yes yes, we promised to come back with news from the 2008 Danish Barista Championship. Sorry for the delay.

The winner is: Søren Stiller Markussen.

Søren has come in second place in the Danish BC the last two years as well as in the World Latte Art Championship in Antwerp last year. Naturally he was very relieved to win. His presentation made use of the big screen, where he played a video for the judges and crowd to enjoy.

In second place came Mikkel Otto, freelance barista, who were using our espresso blend. He scored the highest on the espresso (Yeii! we say, although it's all his accomplishment).

Unfortunately his cappuccinos didn't work out. He was using a raw milk from a bio-dynamic cow named Ophelia, grazing on the wild meadows of northern Sealand. Single Cow Milk is the latest thing apparently. He had the judges taste the milk as an appetizer before starting with the capps, but unfortunately the milk didn't steam very well on the day (he had fresh milk brought over to Jutland).

Mikkel Otto was very happy with his achievement and we're all sure people will remember his performance.

On third place came Mikkel Pilgaard from Sigfred's Kaffebar in Århus. Quite a surprise to many of us as he's a new face in coffee. Mikkel has been working as a barista for about a year and only began training for the competition a month ago. But talk about a natural talent! His presentation was calm (in spite of some first-time nerves) and he had great communicative skills.

We were very happy that Mikkel also chose our espresso for his performance. He told us he really liked it and his descriptors on stage were, although different from what we've wrote on the label, spot on. He wasn't afraid of talking about very specific aromas and tastes in the espresso, and he delivered! We can only hope to see Mikkel back in the competition again.

The overall level of the competition this year was higher than we've seen before. It's great to see the baristas' skills evolve and the presentations getting better and better.

Go here to see more pictures from the finals. If you understand Danish you can also read interviews, details and follow-up comments from the baristas on EspressoBar.

Søren stopped by our coffee shop yesterday afternoon. It was very cozy and we all had a good chat about the competition and tasted his espresso blend. Now the training for the WBC begins and as usual when the Danish winner has been crowned everyone wants to help prepare the representative of our country for the world championship.

The Danish SCAE chapter had organized the event very well and a big thanks goes out to everyone involved, especially Lene Hyldahl (former Danish Champion) for all her hard work. It was a pleasure for me to emcee the event and everyone we've talked to has been full of praises.

Congratulations to all the competing baristas!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Danish Barista Championship

Monday and Tuesday next week the Danish Barista Championship is taking place at Food Expo in Herning.

Two baristas have chosen to use our espresso blend for their presentation. We've mentioned Mikkel Otto before but also Mikkel from Sigfreds Kaffebar in Århus will be using our blend.

None of us at the Collective will be competing this year. We've simply been way to busy, but we're happy to support the competition and to be present in some way or other. I, Klaus, are also going to emcee the event and am currently trying to think up cleaver questions for the baristas to fill out the time between competitors. Any suggestions are welcome ;-)

This year nine baristas have entered the championship. Not many for a country with such a victorious track record in the competition. Monday will be the first round with all nine baristas competing. Six of them will then proceed to the finals on tuesday. An international team of judges, along with a couple of Danish judges, have been brought in for the championship.

Good luck to all the competitors! Remember to have fun and just enjoy .. that .. coffee ! ! !

Danish readers can follow updates, background info and interviews on and we will also have a recap here on our blog from the championship after it's over.