Conversations over Coffee with Hendra Taruli, Director,Opal Coffee

According to you what changes have taken place in the coffee industry due to COVID-19? Has it impacted the way Opal Coffee operates?

COVID-19 has impacted Opal Coffee in many ways, in the way businesses are conducted. This includes various changes in the industry. Most buyers prefer sticking to their past buying methods. As volume is decreasing in the specialty segment, there has been an increase in the commercial segment. With changing times, the technology methods have sped up too.

Has this affected the demand for coffee in the past few months?

The volume has been decreasing in the specialty segment while there has been an increase in the commercial segment.

Opal Coffee operates globally. You have some markets that are moderately impacted and others that are largely impacted due to COVID19. How differently is the coffee market impacted in each of these regions? And the way forward.

COVID-19 has impacted differently, in particular to those businesses which have been hit heavily in their volume. As their fixed cost remains constant, most roasters would take the option of reducing cost of purchases, to increase their gross margin to pay fixed overheads.

Coffee Sourcing – How different is sourcing of coffee during these tough times when visit to origin is not possible. How differently is the industry sourcing specialty coffee?

We have modified our previous methodologies and relationships that we have fostered. Suppliers are shipping the samples instead of us visiting the origin and consequently, there have been some delays in the decision-making process. We have used this time to build new relationships with our suppliers too, as earlier we never got a chance to do so.

What has been the impact on pricing of green coffee which was already at historically low levels?

The price has been fluctuating for a long time now and nothing much has affected the actual price.

Has currency depreciation of most of the producing countries helped the local farmers and exporters of coffee?

The currency depreciation has definitely affected the small manufacturers, but since currency depreciation is often reflected in NY market movement, the final price of delivery pretty much remains the same.

What points do you keep in mind for storing green coffee beans?

When storing coffee one should always store it in a cool and dry place. Other than that it should be stored in Ecotact hermetic bags for a prolonged shelf life.

What measures do you take to ensure the quality of green coffee is maintained during transit or storage?

One of the most effective way to maintain the quality and prolong its shelf life is by adopting Ecotact hermetic packaging for our specialty coffee range.

The coffee industry has evolved over the years. Please share some developments that have inspired you?

Over the years it has evolved a lot, for example; direct trade has become very popular, however “true” direct trade with transparency is still difficult to establish. The commercial markets are unfortunately still dominated by the same major players.


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