Meanwhile, a reaction to the coffee situation was developing. The specialty coffee market had practically disappeared in the '60s when two important companies--Zabar's in New York and Peet's in Berkeley--reintroduced the sale of whole-bean coffee. Today specialty coffees are 10% of the coffee market by weight, 20% by dollar, and marketing experts see the figures rising to 20% by weight (but perhaps only 30% by dollar, as competition lowers prices) in the next few years.
In the end, the International Coffee Agreement failed. Small producer countries, with the approval of the anti-protectionist Reagan Administration, refused to join it, and the Agreement fell apart July 3, 1989.
"I lost over half a million dollars that day," says Castle, "half a million I couldn't afford to. But it was for the good. Now the smaller producers feel they can stand out if they make a good coffee. They can make more money because they can sell 100% of a crop, rather than whatever the quota was. And the market is more oriented toward specialty coffees today."