The Central American coffees are great at all roast levels and, for our espresso connoisseurs, these also make a dynamite espresso.
The very early crop in Central America will start soon. In Guatemala our partners estimate the crop as being 2 weeks late, but expectations for quality and quantity remain good. The coming crop in Guatemala is estimated 10 – 15% down, with talk of abandon coffee plantation in the eastern part of the country. The regions of San Marcos and Huehue look to be normal. Fraijanes and Nuevo Oriente look to be early as a result of early flowering back in February combined with good rain patterns throughout the year.
In Honduras we are hearing an estimated crop is between 6 - 6.5 million 60 kg bags. Last years crop of was 6.8 million bags, so in line with an expected 5 – 10 % drop in production. The weather has been drier than normal, with a water emergency in Tegucigalpa as the reservoirs are only half full near the end of the rainy season. The crop in the western part of the country is slightly early. The crop in Marcala is looking good with less weather issues. Most of the specialty shippers are acting out of caution, with offers on request. Good business has been booked for organic coffees, but very little business booked with conventional coffees.
As Central America gears up for the 2019/2020 crop we see similar scenarios playing out in Guatemala and Nicaragua. This adds to the pressure on differentials, where we can expect specialty coffees to trade at higher differentials that previous years. Plus we may see (as with Peru) differentials climb for commercial coffees as the crop progresses adding to origin risk. Coffee is cheap, but too cheap is not good for the buyer as much as the seller.