Production & Trade

soluble coffee in supermarket

Louis Dreyfus Company acquiring Cacique shows that soluble coffee isn’t going anywhere

Louis Dreyfus Company recently acquired Brazilian instant coffee exporter Cacique, further consolidating its position in the soluble sector. The soluble coffee segment has seen exponential growth for many years, and are a good investment for commodity trading companies looking to hedge risk and consolidate growth.

stock market classroom

It’s time for specialty coffee buyers to learn how the C market works

Specialty coffee roasters are struggling to turn a profit or stay in business. Many operate outside of the C market and are unfamiliar with it, but its fluctuations can still have ripple effects on specialty coffee prices. Understanding the C market could help specialty buyers unlock strategies for more sustainable growth.
coffee cup costa rica race

Why Costa Rica will struggle to remain competitive as a coffee origin

Costa Rica is famed for its coffee. But its coffee sector has been struggling for years, with production falling and other issues. Now, a bad exchange rate and raised competition have left the sector in crisis, as the country invests in more lucrative service sectors.
contract in a coffee warehouse

The industry needs to remember that relationship coffee is a business

Relationship coffee is core to the specialty sector, an embodiment of the ethical and collaborative values it aspires to. But with no formal definition, it can be romanticised and positions the partnership somewhere between friendship and business. A balance of boundaries and flexibility are required for mutual growth for both parties.
pie chart in coffee cup

The green coffee trading sector is consolidating because it’s in crisis

Consolidation is happening in green coffee trading, with increased competition, high interest rates and lower profit margins. Smaller green coffee traders will need to adapt in order to survive, either through wise financial partnerships or adapted business models.
coffee and money scales

Why a mandatory minimum price for green coffee won’t work

Mandatory minimum price advocates argue it will bring more stability to coffee farmers' livelihoods. However, the reality is more nuanced than that, as challenges lie in reaching consensus and adapting to differing contexts.
tropical fruit

Exotic flavour descriptors fetishise coffee-producing countries

Flavour descriptors have become increasingly specific and “exotic” – potentially fetishising producing countries. While research suggests that specific flavour notes are more desirable to consumers, more accurate flavour language based on a shared understanding between coffee producers and buyers could be more commercially viable.

How IP laws can limit research into coffee genetics

IP laws protect ownership of coffee's genetic material. But the paradox is that coffee growing countries often lack the resources to convert their natural assets into economically valuable IP, while countries with the capacity to do so may be unable to own the genetic material.

China doesn’t import coffee through Taiwan anymore – but the relationship lives on

China used to have to source its coffee through Taiwan to sidestep isolationist trade policies. Today, it relies on the country for its technology, skills, and expertise to stay ahead of the game.

Why are taxes higher for roasted coffee?

Many consuming countries levy a tax on roasted coffee, but not green beans - protecting the domestic production of goods by adding more value. But are these tariffs going anywhere?

Is Colombian coffee off the menu for roasters?

Colombian coffee has experienced a sustained period of high prices. Roasters and importers started sourcing from elsewhere, which has caused something of a seachange even as Colombian prices settle.

Do coffee certifications get weaker as more are launched?

Over the last few years, new coffee certifications have been launched with increasing regularity. But as more get introduced, do they begin to lose their value and impact?

Is trade liberalisation the answer for struggling coffee origins?

Smallholder farmers encounter many obstacles when it comes to selling their coffee. Logically, removing barriers to trade should make the process easier, and even incentivise more farmers to produce more coffee. But is the reality really that simple; can the solution be that easy for struggling coffee origins?

Coffee farmers’ income shouldn’t be decided by something as subjective as taste

It's widely accepted across the industry that cupping exposes the process of evaluating coffee quality to individual biases. It's therefore dubious that such a subjective process decides something as important as coffee farmers' income.

Why so many coffee farmers can’t secure working capital

Coffee farmers are typically paid once a year when they sell their harvest. However, the period between harvests can be unpredictable and they often require some form of finance – but this can be difficult to secure for a number of reasons.

Early contracting: the solution to coffee farmers’ credit issues?

For many smallholder coffee farmers, an inability to access affordable credit has reached a breaking point, and minimal cash flow support from other actors in the supply chain is leaving them with limited options. Could early contracting be a viable solution?

Why addressing coffee’s generation gap could create opportunities for farmers

As more and more young farmers exit the industry, coffee's generation gap is becoming more pronounced

What China’s Belt and Road Initiative means for other coffee-producing countries

China's Belt and Road Initiative is enormous, and it's impact on coffee-producing countries and the global industry could be significant.

Why heritage is so important to the coffee industry 

In many regions around the world, coffee farming has been entangled with communities for centuries. Rather than neglecting this fact, recognising it could benefit the coffee industry.

Do we abuse the term “smallholder coffee farmer”?

The term "smallholder coffee farmer" can be confusing and is sometimes misused -- which has a direct impact on genuinely vulnerable farmers.