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Topic: St Helena problem (3 msgs / 86 lines)
1) From: Paul Jolly
Jim Price writes:
<Snip>
Hmmm...I don't think socialism & tea alone are to
blame, Jim.  After all, literally hundreds of
tons of coffee are going unharvested in Mexico
due to low global market prices---farmers can't
afford to harvest it.  Likewise, the fabled Maui
Moka (as we know by now) is rotting on the ground
because the profit margin it provides isn't high
enough for the investors.  David Henry begrudges
the "social security" system for leaving him
short on labor.  While he's surely more intimate
with the St. Helena scene than I am, I suspect
that the problem is a shade more complex than
that.  
While the loss of so much of the ISH crop is a
colossal bummer, I find the loss of so many other
coffees (the Mexicans, the Hondurans, the many
Africans, etc.) truly devastating.  The coffee
that rots on the ground in those locales
represents unemployment w/o any kind of social
security net for many coffee workers---besides
the fact that so much of it is damn good coffee. 
If great coffees commanded the prices they
deserve (sufficient to provide living wages to
farmers, pickers, processors, etc.) I reckon we'd
all be drinking the best of the best, less would
be turning into mulch so soon, and more people
would be living well.
My two cents...but, for what it's worth, I also
suspect that the tea has something to do with it.
%^)
Paul
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2) From: Jcpxyz1
Right on, Paul - my observation on St. Helena was a quickie one, without much 
thought. I am right with you, and others, that it would be OK to get coffee 
prices up and help the coffee pickers. I feel like I am getting away with 
"murder", enjoying such a valuable product for such a bargain basement price, 
because the supply/demand has swung so far to the buyers advantage. I haven't 
been able to try the St. Helena, but if it's as good as the reports, I'm not 
so sure I could stand it; I make five or six pots/day on average as is, and 
when I don't have a cup in my hand, I don't feel normal. 
Let's hope the efforts afoot to help the St. Helena problem by a couple 
contributors do some good. Best saludos, Jim Price
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3) From: Charlie Herlihy
There is more to the story re the St. Helena coffee going unpicked with demand for the entire crop at 40 times the world price .I haven't a clue what the story is, but I do know that picking coffee is not the hardest job if the farm is well organized and pickers don't have to carry the heavy sacks of coffee too far after filling them with their 10 lb. baskets. If the demand is really so much more than the supply then an hourly wage of $20 hr. should be feasable and an increase in the price of the coffee ,if nessesary, chargable. I haven't been able to find any coffee that good from any commercial source and I've tried quite a few.  The bargain prices we are paying for other premium coffees won't last too much longer because the best high grown arabica is being sold at a loss and farms are being abandoned at a remarkable rate. In many cases the forest cover is being logged or burned off, and where it's just sitting fallow the coffee borer is building up population densities th
 at will require the prunning to the ground of most plantings even if there is an ability and willingness to return to them and start taking care of them again. The labor force needed for that is also leaving the producing areas and is unlikely to return. Lower, more machine and chemical dependant , full sun high densitycoffee farms will continue to produce, and overproduce. In some cases there is a lot of money being laundered in doing so, in others there will continue to be venture capital that needs to be spent and the large land owners tend to have almost endless access to credit. The smaller farms on the high, steep and shaded slopes that yeild little tonnage but much quality will soon be so rare that the price of the coffee from them will rise due to very limited supply. The abandoned farms all around will continue to be breeding grounds for pests, and the lack of neighbors to help maintain roads, even trails, means that soon (a couple of years) that really special coff
 ee will be a sunday treat and not a daily habit. There will still be lots of well cleaned and screened arabica beans for all the starbucks chains but the real coffee snobs like us will notice that they all taste pretty bland, at best. Just my opinion of course, I could be wrong  ;o)
 
 Charlie,  just off the phone after talking with more great coffee growers who have given up
 Jcpxyz1 wrote:Right on, Paul - my observation on St. Helena was a quickie one, without much 
thought. I am right with you, and others, that it would be OK to get coffee 
prices up and help the coffee pickers. I feel like I am getting away with 
"murder", enjoying such a valuable product for such a bargain basement price, 
because the supply/demand has swung so far to the buyers advantage. I haven't 
been able to try the St. Helena, but if it's as good as the reports, I'm not 
so sure I could stand it; I make five or six pots/day on average as is, and 
when I don't have a cup in my hand, I don't feel normal. 
Let's hope the efforts afoot to help the St. Helena problem by a couple 
contributors do some good. Best saludos, Jim Price
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