HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Update: Guat Auction Sour Grapes... (2 msgs / 76 lines)
1) From: Tom & Maria
Hi all,
I am back from visiting relatives in Pennsylvania for a couple days. Before
I left I had a chance to breifly patricipate in the Guatemala Cup of
excellence Auction but things did NOT go well....
Basically, this is an eBay-like auction that is supposed to end at a
particular time. It did not. It just kept on going way past them end time
and the bids were completely ridiculous. While I really support the auction
system, it needs to be technologically functional, and reasonable in
realtion to the item being bid upon. Sure, competition and "bragging
rights" are a part of it, but if auctioning top coffee becomes ridiculous,
the coffee trade is going to mock the winners more than they will respect
them. As a way to put quality first, and offer a reward for excellence, its
great. But too much of a reward and the whole system becomes unsustainable.
That is waht happened on the 6th. In my mind there were 3 coffees  that
were really nice. There were 8 that probably shouldnt have been in the
auction, judging from the fact that (IMHO) the Bella Carmona would rank
6th, the Organic Huehue 5th, and the new Acatenango we have 7th based on
how I rated the coffees. So yes, there were these 3 good ones but the
prices would have resulted in retail of $10-$16 each! Thats too high.
But beyond all this there was another problem. With the Panama auction
(coffees have arrived, I will be adding them to the web page tonight!) the
coffee was here in the US, and the samples were pulled from the lot being
auctioned. I received the 15 Guat samples straight from Guatemala by FedEx
overnight. It was nice, but then I discovered that the samples were pulled
from the bags there in a Guat warehouse, meaning the coffee was sitting in
burlap in Guatemala. Now when we get a Guat coffee, it is stored in
parchment at altitude (usually), then once it is sold and transport
arranged it is dry-milled out of parchment, sorted again (Euro-Prep
standard), bagged and shipped out. It still takes a month but the coffee
never sits for long out of parchement. But the Guat auction coffees were
shelled from parchment long ago and are sitting in some unknown storehouse
...and the arrival sample of the coffee is NOT going to match the pre-ship.
Welll, it might match, but it probably wont. On this uncertainty, the
broker was not willing to bid, and while I did place a reasonable bid on
the La Perla, it was sold for triple the price.
So, I feel like when I said "I will pay anything for quality" I was wrong
...and  I am sorry I have to ammend that. What has happened here is like
Nadia's perfect 10's. Well, the coffee was not THAT good, but by being
rated too high it throws more doubt on the judgement of the auction staff
and those who bid it up to $14 or whatever per lb wholesale. .... I talked
to Erna Knutsen while the auction was going on. She was just laughing in
disbelief at the unending bidfest. And that's the person who pays the most
for Kenyas at auction and won 2 lots of the Brazils from the Auction, the
ones we stocked...
Tom
                  "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
           Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
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2) From: Steve D


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