HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Who buys St. Helena? (10 msgs / 212 lines)
1) From: JB Christy
Does anybody know who besides homeroasters buys St. Helena beans?  At $25/lb.
for greens and only 4500 lbs./yr annual yield, SH certainly can't be used in any
major commercial coffee.  I never really frequented specialty coffee stores, but
I've never seen SH marketed through that channel; if anyone did sell roasted
and/or brewed SH, I would imagine it would have to be priced separately.  There
was obviously great demand for SH amongst us homeroasters, but Tom said he only
got two bags of the beans.  Where did the rest of the crop go?  Or is the
homeroasting market really large enough to consume the island's entire yield?
TIA,
--JB
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2) From: Dan Bollinger
The island is part of the UK.  Ever since Napoleon made the coffee famous
for its good flavor it was exported to the Brits.  I suspect I. St. Helena's
recent return to coffee growing was matched with an increase in UK interest.
Also, the only major contact with the outside world is the mail-ship from
the UK.  That's also the only way to ship coffee.  My guess is that most of
the ISH is drunk in London coffee houses, private clubs, and restaurants.
Dan
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$25/lb.
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in any
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stores, but
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roasted
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There
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only
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yield?
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3) From: Brian Ray
Japan has a huge market for specialty coffees.  JBM is very popular there, 
and I suspect that the Japanese purchase a fair share of the ISH crop.  The 
island's govt. website lists Japan, UK, US and Switzerland as the markets 
for the coffee:
"St Helena now has a world-renowned, premium brand of coffee which is 
currently being sold in the United Kingdom, Japan, Switzerland and the 
United States."
at:http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/investment/theeconomy.htmlbrian
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4) From: JB Christy
Thanks for the replies, Dan and Brian.  But I was wondering less about geography
and more about occupation.
I have a hard time imagining a place serving coffee that sells for $25/lb. green
as an after dinner coffee.  Since the availability is so limited and the cost so
high, I'd think any place that would sell it brewed would make a special deal of
it, and probably charge significantly more for it.  Maybe I don't frequent the
right sort of places, but I've never seen a coffee house or restaurant offer St.
Helena as the coffee of the day (presumably at a mere 3x the normal price of a
cuppa).
I can more easily imagine a micro-roastery selling roasted whole bean St.
Helena.  I've certainly seen JBM and Kona sold that way.  JBM and Kona aren't
that great (relatively speaking, at least), but both have a significant mystique
in the marketplace, and therefore can command high (exorbitant?) prices.  But
I've never seen or even heard of St. Helena outside of the homeroasting forum,
so I wonder if the name has sufficient clout in the market's mindshare to
command the the price necessary to make it profitable to sell that way.  (Did
anyone of the coffee lovers here ever hear about SH in some context other than
homeroasting?)
Assuming that most of the crop ends up outside the USA, does anyone know who
actually buys the bulk of it:  home roasters, micro-roasteries for resale,
and/or restaurants or coffee houses for sale as a brewed coffee?
Oh, the things insomniacs find to fret about.... :-/
TIA,
--JB
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5) From: EskWIRED
<Snip>
How about a "St. Helena Blend"?  One pound could supply them for a year,
depending...
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6) From: Brian Ray
^Thanks for the replies, Dan and Brian.  But I was wondering less about 
geography
and more about occupation.
I have a hard time imagining a place serving coffee that sells for $25/lb. 
green
as an after dinner coffee.  Since the availability is so limited and the 
cost so
high, I'd think any place that would sell it brewed would make a special 
deal of
it, and probably charge significantly more for it.  Maybe I don't frequent 
the
right sort of places, but I've never seen a coffee house or restaurant offer 
St.
Helena as the coffee of the day (presumably at a mere 3x the normal price of 
a
cuppa).^
good point.  i'd be curious to find out as well.  i know in japan that 
individual coffee houses (kissaten)sell JBM and Kona for significantly 
higher prices in individual cups (japan is also reportedly one of the 
biggest markets for kopi luwak).  also in Philly there's a cafe in 
chinatown, ray's cafe (famous for their dumplings as well as coffee) which 
serves kona and JBM from hario vacs by the cup at very high prices - around 
$8 a cup if memory serves.  however, i have never seen st. helena on the 
menu there or in japan.  then again my last time in japan was in 1994 and i 
don't think st helena was producing at that point so it wouldn't surprise me 
to find that it's now being served there.
brian
working my way thru the last hwp roasts and eagerly anticipating the 1st alp 
one
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7) From: rev mark gilstrap
<Snip>
When my first daughter was born in 1980 smoking was 
not as verboten as now.  I bought a box of cigars to hand 
out - like the ones I had seen for at least 5 years called 
"Havana Blend" containing a blend of tobacco - including 
pre-embrago (pre-1959) Cuban tobacco.
Just a few months ago I saw that these are still being sold (hawked).
I can't imagine how little Cuban each cigar must contain if 
their stash of '50s vintage tobacco has lasted more than 
25 years!
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8) From: Irene and Lubos Palounek
"I can't imagine how little Cuban each cigar must contain if their stash of
'50s vintage tobacco has lasted more than 25 years!"
By definition, "Mousse or puree de foie gras" must contain at least 55
percent goose liver.
Mark, I remember a very old joke about someone advertising very expensive
Hummingbird Puree. When pressed, he claimed that it beats the requirements:
Meat from three hummingbirds mixed with meat from just two cows.
Perhaps a 50:50 St. Helena coffee blend ... fifty  St. Helena coffee beans
to fifty bags of Vietnamese beans?
Cheers, L.
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9) From: Ed Needham
Japan buys quite a bit of Hawaiian coffee, especially Kona.
Ed Needham
ed
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10) From: Joe Dickens

I did an internet search for St. Helena in Japanese. (In Japanese if your computer can read it, セイントヘレナ。) I found a couple geography websites, but that was it. However, the Japanese do have the money and will to pay for it in large enough numbers to make distribution practical, and there are indeed some premium coffees to be had... BTW, if anybody's ever in Kichijouji, Tokyo (Tokyo's a prefecture, NOT a city), don't miss trying the espresso at the Italian Tomato cafe. 120 yen for a single and 180 for a double if memory serves. Mmm.

When I was in Japan a couple months ago, I don't remember seeing it--but I wasn't looking either. My girlfriend's in Japan for another week and a day; I'll ask her to keep an eye out for it whenever she goes to a coffee house or decent coffee vendor. (日本の喫茶店すげええ。。。(^_-))She'll be in Tokyo and Saitama (the prefecture just north of Tokyo)--big places, but probably the most likely to find it. Any finds or lack thereof, I'll keep everyone posted.

Joe


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