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Topic: Oaxacan(was)+Brazil "Cup of Excellence" -Boa Vista(long) (94 lines)
1) From: Oaxaca Charlie
 In response to what--- Tom & Maria  wrote:
 I'm still waiting to get my own order through Mexican customs.
Many new rules and a whole new layer of beurocracy, now war
jitters, -but that's another story...  The weather was good all
growing season and through harvest in the Pluma region, maybe a
little less rainfall than the Caturras etc. like for best
production. Lowest prices ever, and many farms picked late as
they scrambled to find financing to pay harvest costs. Because
of that, many over ripe cherries and over full patios leading to
less than optimal prep. Borer damage getting worse as more trees
are left unpicked. The Don Porfirio from Royal, new crop, is
almost all Maragogype. The ones left over after scimming the
screen size 18 and above. At least one big black bean per lb. to
be removed pre roast or... Largest stones I've ever encountered
in a sack of coffee, too. Can't take a very dark roast at all,
either. They say the 3 oros is great. I kinda doubt it but,
maybe? Last year's Loxicha (the highest grown) sure was good,
and it's not available to try yet, so let's hope. That coop
should have had some advance payments available to get it off
OK. A friend in Oaxaca is expecting a bag from Finca Olivo any
day now and will report his impressions. I meant to drop in
there for a visit but had to go right by, no time. I found
absolutely excellent beans just 10 miles away from there,
though. It was a matter of paying some $ ahead of harvest to
have it picked and dried with fresh baskets and mats. Many
neighboring places used last years somewhat moldy mats and
baskets. New ones were an expense that they couldn't come up
with.  All except for some FT farms only did one weeding this
year, and that only days before harvest, in case there would be
no harvest. Only a false rumer of a big price jump got many
growers to pick at all. Some big dry mills broadcast that news
every year in order to fool people into harvesting, only to say
the priced dropped way down when farmers arrive with bags of
parchment a month later. Fools them every time. Should have been
a vintage year, with such nice dry weather all through harvest.
One organic estate I always visit had beautifull coffee, the
best I ever tried from him. Slightly lower elevation so I
passed, now I wish I'd grabbed a sack or two. Amazingly rich
aroma. He has a bulldozer, and custom work with that brings in
all the cash needed to keep up the estate. Even being cert.
organic, well known and with modern equipment and the best
skills and experiance he's losing money on every lb sold.
Oaxacan coffee from other areas of the high sierra Juarez
suffered from record cold and unending cold mist around harvest.
No bueno. I've always loved the Putla Mixteca, but haven't tried
any this year, or heard any news from that area. I hope you get
samples from them, worth a try. Ironically, some of the best is
staying in Oaxaca as small coops invest in roasters and
grinders, and use their now numerous city dwelling relatives to
supply the growing domestic demand for premium coffee. At least
there is some profit that way. Production is being cut back
untill better markets can be found. We have to find a way to
bypass the big buyers there who skim and hold onto the cleanest
and densest for European specialty buyers, but won't pay the
growers who bring it in any more than lower grade producers. Sad
scene in Oaxaca, I spent a lot of time with pickers looking for
work, and many went home in disgust because growers were putting
off harvesting, paying less than last year, and had hardly
weeded or prunned. Many mountain comunities that have always
supplied workers are totally abandoned, ghost towns , gone to
the city or el norte, never to return. I had ordered a few sacks
from one very high elevation cert. organic estate, but he
couldn't find enough pickers, and then couldn't afford to get
his truck fixed to deliver the goods. What a shame, the whole
sad situation. So many central american refugees in Chiapas
hoping to pick that crop, when the locals really need that work.
Mex. imigration was all over searching vehicles for Guatamalans,
Nicaraguans, etc, and busting heads when they found them. Lots
of people suposedly hiding and just eating coffee cherries and
squirrels to stay alive. Hope I'm not spoiling anyone's dinner,
but,that's my overview from going there. I managed to buy the
best beans yet, but not by going through the normal coffee
business channels to do so. Paid a premium price up front, and I
still haven't recieved it, 1+1/2 months after it was dried. 
Things are supposed to be even worse in Harar,(drought etc.) but
the Horse is still finding primo. Hopefully great Oaxacan will
manage to make it up.
Charlie
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