February Green Coffee Outlook: Shipping Updates And Assurances

In this February Green Coffee Outlook, we take a look at what trade route disruptions means for the flow of coffee, as well as what origins you can expect to see in the near term.

Jute bags filled with green coffee are piled high in a Kafa warehouse awaiting transport to a dry mill in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Jute bags filled with green coffee are piled high in a Kafa warehouse awaiting transport to a dry mill in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

While the transfer of coffee is never a straight line, the current trade route disruptions see this year’s shipping lanes shaping up to be particularly non-linear. Rest assured, we have several shipment reaching Oakland in the next few weeks. But for our coffees shipping April – July (Ethiopia, Kenya, and many Central American origins) we won’t truly know the how recent global events will impact these coffee routes since they are several months off from shipping. Rather than getting bogged down with speculation, I’ll briefly touch on two of the biggest stories related to global shipping, and then cover incoming coffees with firm ETA’s.

The crisis in the Red Sea continues. Many of the major shipping companies, such as Maersk, are opting to take a 2-week detour around the Cape of Good Hope rather than navigate that shipping route. The security situation through this trade route has also led to many shipping companies avoiding major African ports altogether, making the movement of coffee out of Africa more and more difficult, not to mention, expensive. When you do find space on a vessel, there are added fees charged either associated with the longer voyages, or security risk if navigating the Red Sea.

While this may sound like an isolated logistics issue, it has a ripple effect in other parts of the world. Just today we received notification by Maersk that they are limiting service from Mexico to Oakland for the next few months in order to “maintain schedule reliability”, which will stall our Colombia shipment they are managing by 2 weeks. Comparatively, this is a small inconvenience, but shipping companies are already adjusting their service to make up for the longer travel times from rerouted vessels.

This cherry was just laid out on the drying beds. You can still see some underripe coffee in there, but most will be removed by hand while the coffee dries.
Whole coffee cherry drying on raised beds at the Kayon Mountain Farms site in Guji, Ethiopia.

Shipping through the Panama Canal is also facing uncertainty as unseasonably dry weather has led to very low water levels, and threatens to limit traffic through the channel. We don’t expect to see this impact our South American coffees since they typically ships to Oakland. But should our African shipments be rerouted around the Cape of Good Hope, a slow-down at the Canal poses a potential bottle neck for getting African coffee to the West Coast.

Though the circumstances are very different, it’s not the first time we’ve faced supply chain disruptions (remember the port closures during the COVID-19 lockdowns?). The importers we tend to work with have contingency plans in place for the different possible scenarios. But honestly, one of the most important lessons from our previous experience is to try not to fret, because we really don’t know what’s going to happen.

This may sound sound lame, or even slightly apathetic, but understanding your limitations can bring some relief! It also allows you to focus on what’s in front of you. In this case, where there’s a strong possibility African and Central American shipments will see delays, we are choosing to focus on the fact that we have our largest selection of Ethiopian, Kenyan, and Guatemalan coffees right now, and new coffee from these origins is still a long ways out.

Even without shipping delays, we wouldn’t expect to see new crop coffees from these origins until early Summer, which is several months away. It’s always a good time to stock up on a coffee you love, since there’s no telling when it will be back. But with the multiple months between now and new crop, I will make the case that that sentiment is perhaps more important now than in previous years. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”, rings true.

We are still a ways off from shipping any coffee, and are holding out hope that both of these situations improve. We should have a more clear picture of what to expect in next month’s Green Coffee Outlook.


Coffee origins to expect in the near term

A cattle dog lies down to rest in front of two indoor coffee drying rooms made from wood frames and tarpaulin. Topidi Village, Sulawesi.
A cattle dog lies down to rest in front of two indoor coffee drying rooms made from wood frames and tarpaulin. Topidi Village, Sulawesi.

If we focus on the near future, the outlook is much brighter . We’ve had a couple shipping containers arrive over the past two weeks, and a few more scheduled to land in Oakland toward the end of the month.

Our recent Indonesian arrivals have us pretty excited as there are a couple coffees we’ve not stocked in over a year. In addition to wet hulled options from Flores and Sulawesi, you’ll be seeing a return of coffee from Topidi Village in Sulawesi, as well as really interesting anaerobic coffees from Flores, and Java. The turnaround to get these in-house is usually a couple of weeks, and you’ll see below that our first lots are slated to launch early March.

A photo of Delta Farm in Santa Rita do Sapucaí, run by farmer Doña Wania Maria. Minas Geraís, Brazil.
A photo of Delta Farm in Santa Rita do Sapucaí, run by farmer Doña Wania Maria. Minas Geraís, Brazil.

In addition, we also had two containers of Brazilian coffees land with very interesting lots, some of which have already started trickling to the website (see Pulp Natural Wania Maria, and a really nice Yellow Honey from Carlos Henrique on Valentines Day). The single farmer lots in these boxes really challenged our preconceptions of what Brazilian coffees can be, and I encourage you to keep an eye out for new additions in February and March.

Rwandan coffees have also arrived, and we’ve kicked off the year with stunning lots from Gitesi and Tumba (one of my personal faves!). These mark the beginning of a steady stream of new coffees to come, the next being a peaberry lot from Gitwe.

Lastly, we have containers from Papua New Guinea, Burundi, and Colombia nearing Oakland with ETA’s stretching across the next two weeks. Check out the detailed lists below in our Incoming Coffees list. There’s a lot to look forward to!


Upcoming Coffees February & March

Below is a list of upcoming green coffees currently on the schedule to be added to our website for December and January. This list is still being updated:

February Outlook:

CoffeeBags
Brazil Yellow Honey Carlos Henrique60
Brazil Dry Process Pedra Branca60
Guatemala Xinabajul Producers 255
Guatemala Libertad Punta del Cerro66
Guatemala Patzún Finca La Florida39
Guatemala Patzún Finca La Florida39
Guatemala Proyecto Xinabajul Dos Villatoros20
Honduras Dry Process Sabillon Parainema12
Nicaragual Los Altiplanos Java18
Ethiopia Dry Process Senna Katta Mountain100
Kenya Nyeri Gatugi AA21
Timor Leste Hatletegeo30
Timor Leste Honey Process Daurfusu20
Indonesia Nusantara SWP Decaf42

March Outlook (so far – check back later this month for an update):

CoffeeBags
Brazil Canastra Luis Otavio32
Colombia Honey Aponte Margarita Pujimuy12
Guatemala Xinabajul San Pedro Necta34
Guatemala Proyecto Xinabajul Wilfredo Perez15
Guatemala Carmen Amelia Robusta10
Honduras Honey Process Carlos Umberto14
Nicaragua Buenos Aires Maracaturra20
Ethiopia Dukamo Rumedamo60
Ethiopia Bensa Hamesho60
Kenya Thika Karatu Peaberry16
Kenya Nyeri Kiamwangi AA15
Flores Albertus & Reti20
Java Sunda Anaerobic Honey15
Sulawesi Kahayya Village15
Sumatra Lintong Sigumpar Village30
Sweet Maria's Coffee Shrub Coffee Sourcerer
Sweet Maria’s Coffee Shrub Coffee Sourcerer

Incoming coffees currently on the water: February onward

Please keep in mind that the coffees on the Upcoming Coffee Outlook schedule with a location status of “In Transit” are still a bit of a wild card, and the month we have them listed under is based on the current shipping ETA, and subject to interruptions out of our control. Also, you may notice some of the coffees from last month’s list have disappeared. These coffees have arrived in the US, and await being added to our launch schedule. Thanks for your patience!

African Incoming Coffees

CoffeesBagsETA
Burundi Kayanza Gahahe40ETA 2/17
Burundi Kayanza Gakenke40ETA 2/17
Burundi Kayanza Kibingo Station40ETA 2/17
Burundi Kayanza Nemba40ETA 2/17
Buruni Honey Process Masha40ETA 2/17
Burundi Dry Process Kibingo60ETA 2/17
Burundi Dry Process Gahahe60ETA 2/17
Burundi Dry Process Agahore50ETA 3/8
Burundi Kiganda Murambi10ETA 3/8
Burundi Dry Process Kiganda Murambi25ETA 3/8
Tanzania Mbozi Ilomba AA50ETA 4/3
Tanzania Dry Process Acacia Hills AB22ETA 4/3
Tanzania Honey Process Acacia Hills AB16ETA 4/3
Tanzania Mbozi Kanji Lalji Farm50ETA 4/3
Yemen Mokha Matari100ETA 3/29
Yemen Bani Haraz100ETA 3/29
Yemen Al Qafr Hawari100ETA 3/29
Yemen Mokha Saanani100ETA 3/29
Yemen Mokha Peaberry50ETA 3/29

Indonesia & SE Asia & Oceania Incoming Coffees

CoffeesBagsETA
Papua New Guinea Morita30ETA 2/21
Papua New Guinea Tairora30ETA 2/21
Papua New Guinea Honey Process Baroida30ETA 2/21
Papua New Guinea Dry Process Baroida30ETA 2/21
Flores Wet Hulled Bajawa Wawo Wae47ARRIVED
Sulawesi Kahayya Village15ARRIVED
Java Sunda Iyan55ARRIVED
Java Sunda Cirambai40ARRIVED
Java Sunda Anaerobic Honey15ARRIVED
Sulawesi Dry Process Topidi8ARRIVED
Flores Bajawa Anaerobic Honey25ARRIVED
Flores Albertus & Reti20ARRIVED
Java Sunda Wet Hulled Dani30ARRIVED

South America Incoming Coffees

CoffeesBagsETA
Colombia Frutas del Cauca35ETA 3/1
Colombia Inzá Vereda San Antonio19ETA 3/1
Colombia Inzá La Chorrera26ETA 3/1
Colombia Inzá Veredas Vecinas43ETA 3/1
Colombia Inzá Cresta El Hato27ETA 3/1
Colombia Tolima China Alta17ETA 3/1
Colombia Nariño Vereda Veracruz9ETA 3/1
Colombia Nariño Vereda Buesaco5ETA 3/1
Colombia San Antonio Doña Rosa5ETA 3/1
Colombia Inzá Vereda Pedregal16ETA 3/1
Colombia Inzá Las Estrellas9ETA 3/1
Colombia Inzá Río Páez16ETA 3/1
Colombia Buesaco EA Decaf58ETA 3/1
Colombia Chiroso Cultivar60ETA 3/4
Colombia Sidra Cultivar40ETA 3/4
Colombia Java Cultivar20ETA 3/4
Colombia Gesha Cultivar30ETA 3/4

16 Responses

  1. I always look forward to these outlooks, Dan. I’m quite amazed what is getting through despite events in the Red Sea. I can’t imagine how it is affecting the people who depend on the coffee crops to support their families. On the bright side the demand is still high and it appears there is still a lot of offerings not only now but many more to look forward to as well. Thank you for all the work you all do to bring these coffees to us home roasters and for keeping the focus on the farmers behind the coffee we enjoy.

    1. Hi Todd, thankfully there are many other routes to keep things flowing, but we will certainly see some delays. Holding out hope that things will let up soon for all parties involved.

      -Dan

    1. Hi Jim,

      We’re expecting similar pricing to last year for our Yemen coffee. We did have to pay more for shipping due to this container sailing through the Red Sea, but not too exorbitant.

      -Dan

  2. Thanks for the heads up on what to expect and when. This will help us plan our coffee needs for the next several months. I can only guess how the international situation effects the small family owned coffee growers.

  3. I am a relatively new customer and was wondering if you all ever had customer reviews of your different coffees. I appreciate your cupping notes and brewing recommendations but it would be nice to to get customer reviews/notes as well. Has that ever been considered?

    1. Hi Todd, thanks for your comment Todd.

      As you pointed out, our site doesn’t have that capability at this time, and it’s something that would take some reconfiguring to do. Not out of the question, but something that we would need some consideration. We used to have a message board, where people could engage a little more, which I miss!

      Perhaps we can get back to something like that again in the future.

      We appreciate your feedback!

      -Dan

    2. Oh wow, did not know that. Any reason the message board was discontinued? Have there been thoughts to resurrect these forums? I suppose like any social platform folks can get a little too personal and policing can be more trouble than anyone wants. Perhaps a “membership” or subscription would be warranted to filter out the bad actors if true…

    3. Hey Todd, you’re right that things can go sideways pretty quickly! But it was just an unfortunate consequence of upgrading our website a few years back. We would like to bring it back, honestly, and may at some point. It functioned as a forum and was a great place for bringing people together.

      I know commenting on library posts doesn’t exactly achieve what you’re hoping for, but it’s what we have to offer right now. And as you can see, the comments do get our attention!

      Thanks again for bringing this up. It’s definitely on our minds too.

      Best,
      Dan

  4. Hey Dan,

    Any word on when your new Yemeni coffees will be available for purchase? According to your incoming coffees the following all had ETAs of 29 March:

    Yemen Mokha Matari
    Yemen Bani Haraz
    Yemen Al Qafr Hawari
    Yemen Mokha Saanani
    Yemen Mokha Peaberry

    Thanks – Yemen is the accent coffee in my espresso blend and I’m down to my last few greens…

    1. Howdy, that box just took a little longer than scheduled. Right now it’s showing an ETA of 4/12. If it does arrive on time, I would plan on getting our first lots up by 1st week of May. Of course, this all depends on port logistics, which are unfortunately slowing down a bit. Fingers crossed that it’s on time and transfers smoothly!

      Cheers.

      -Dan

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