I am in agony.
As a coffee buyer, the hardest thing is to wait for the coffees each year. If you're engaged in buying from origin, you've tasted coffees at least a few times before they've shipped from their country of origin. And once you've approved the pre-ship, there is nothing to do but wait for surface transportation to do it's thing and bring the coffee containers to a port near you. Oh, and then customs needs to make sure there are no terrorists in the coffee.
It goes without saying that this is an agonizing wait, especially when you have worked really really hard to source the coffees.
Besides, shipping is one of the most dangerous times for coffee. The hot n' humid deck of a container ship is no place for coffee to live, never mind docks at ports. I don't know how many of you guys reading this know about the trouble various shipments of Rwandan coffee had getting to the states this year, but many roasters (including this writer) were strung out for months waiting for coffee to arrive. Word is, the truckers in Rwanda would get a much better deal trucking supplies around for the UN, and would drop coffee containers by the side of the road until the more lucrative UN shipments dried up. As a result of this (and lots of other shenanigans, mostly related to the fact that Rwanda is landlocked and has no port of its own), some of the containers arrived NINE months after shipping, and the coffee aboard was dead as a doornail. This is especially tragic, given the fact that Rwandan coffees were among the most exciting things we saw in 2004.
So, anyway, as of this writing I am waiting impatiently for shipments to arrive from Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Germany (decaf), Kenya, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua. Most of these are coffees I've tasted already, and can't wait to sink my teeth into. Normally, this would not all happen at once. Normally, nature works it out so that shipments kind of spread themselves out, and the impatient coffee roaster gets to be distracted by new arrivals while the other ones make their way to port. Not this year. Nature has conspired against us.
So I'm all cranky. I've been snapping at my coworkers and my friends. I apologize if I have been snappy with any of you guys. I didn't mean it. It's the shippers' fault.