August 23, 2012

Euro Crisis Affecting Coffee Prices

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According to the WSJ, the European economic crisis is killing a rich coffee tradition for some in Europe, especially the coffee drenched southern countries. With the economies of Spain and Italy falling off the cliff, spending on coffee is plummeting too, as habits change, and trips to the cafe multiple times a day disappear in an effort to save Euros.

The belt tightening is also having an effect on the coffee markets, as Europe is developing a taste for cheaper coffee blend that include more Robusta, the cheaper cousin of the Arabica variety. Prices have dropped this year for the more expensive Arabica, while stockpiles of Robusta have fallen and prices have climbed.

What's this mean for European single serve espresso machines? It might mean a shift to home made espresso, and a resurgence of the popular brands as people shift to cheaper home-sourced espressos versus the expensive cafes. It might also mean a colossal shift to make your own in the good old Moka style pot for a few pennies versus a few Euros at the cafe.

What's that mean for the US? If the trend continues, expect lower priced coffee in our Main Street cafes as Arabicas continue to slide in price, if they didn't buy ahead with contracts pegged to higher expected prices. Don't expect deep discounts though; those hard fought price increases of the past are hard to give up again once you are pocketing the difference. And if they do come, don't expect huge changes; the price of Arabica is only down 20%, and that is only a tiny fraction of the cost of your Latté.

Pictured - Coffee Bean Charm

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August 15, 2012

Rivo Espresso Machine - the New Kid on the block?


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Word is out that Keurig owner, Green Mountain Coffee has trademarked the name "Rivo" - it means stream in Italian. While the world has embraced their K-Cups, the patent expiration is sure to bring a lot of competition to the market. Not content, Keurig brought out the Keurig Vue, a new maker, with new "V-cups" that allow you to compost the grounds and recycle the cup itself. The lack of "Green-ness" has been a call of detractors for a long time.

Rivo Espresso would Join a Crowded Market

Green Mountain is said to be working with famed Lavazza, of Italy, on machine development, which would inject a lot of experience into the project. The market is going to get crowded; not only do you have existing standard espresso machines, but you have Nespresso, Illy's iperEspresso, CBTL's CafeItaly systems, and the forthcoming Verismo machine line from Starbucks.

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August 5, 2012

Caffe Vergnano - Nespresso Compatible Capsules

The Nespresso capsule wars continue to rage in Europe, and recently, an Italian court told Caffe Vergnano that their capsules do not violate the Nestle patents protecting the Nespresso system and its capsules. They did ask for a labeling change, but that's minor. I see that they are available in Italy and Australia for now. If they come to the States, I'll let you know. They were just launched last month in Australia.

Others who are selling or trying to sell Nespresso compatible capsules include; Sara Lee's L'Or EspressO, Denner, and Ethical Coffee. You may also be able to refill your own stainless steel capsule in the near future.

They have four varieties of their Caffe Vergnano 1882 coffee, Intenso, Cremoso, Arabica, and Decaf. Caffe Vergnano comes in biodegradable plastic capsules, made of Biode plastic, which has been certified as biodegradable under controlled conditions.

Here's an ad for the capsules.


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