Production & Trade

Certification adds value – but for whom?

Certifications have become a pivotal but contentious aspect of the industry. While brands leverage certifications to enhance their market position and consumer appeal, questions arise about who shoulders the burden of securing these stamps of approval and who truly benefits from them. In 2020-22, approximately 55% of global coffee production was certified, but less than 26% of it was purchased by the industry. Certification often means high upfront investment, but low profitability for producers. Has it become a producer tax, and who benefits?

Mandatory farm audit measures could lead to an era of data monopoly

With mandatory supply chain due diligence measures, collecting data on coffee farms has become a priority. JDE Peet’s has partnered with Enveritas in more than 20 countries for comprehensive coffee farm audits. Who is really auditing, and who ends up owning the data?
cars converge into warehouse

Exporters and importers are centralising operations to cut costs

Green coffee exporters and importers have started to centralise their operations. As companies scramble to cut costs, new hires tend to be in local teams. But does the risk of short-term labour savings come at long term sales costs?
An image of the Mexican flag represented as a jigsawy puzzle

Exporters entering the Mexican coffee market are in for a surprise

In recent years, a notable trend has emerged in the coffee industry, with exporters from various countries increasingly setting up operations in Mexico. However, the popular origin is no cake walk for exporters – infrastructural challenges and context must be weighed in. Establishing a presence in any new coffee origin requires careful research and networking before taking the leap.
wind turbines and solar panels in a dumpster

Why innovations for sustainable coffee agriculture aren’t being adopted

Innovations keep emerging as potential game-changers for sustainable coffee farming – but their adoption remains sluggish. There is a gap between researchers and producers, resulting in untailored solutions. With the right support, coffee producing countries could generate their own adapted research and tools.
coffee punch bowl

Infused coffees will find a longer term home in emerging markets

In 2015, new “infusion” processing methods took specialty coffee by storm. They aligned with the sector’s quest for the next best thing and could potentially raise cupping scores to boot. But has the trend run its course? Regardless, demand remains strong for infused coffees, led by emerging markets like Asia and the Middle East.
two coffee beans at a party

Regenerative agriculture doesn’t replace organic

Regenerative agriculture is trending in the coffee sector, increasingly being promoted by big agri-food firms as well as niche actors. More of a holistic approach than a certification, it is a conveniently catch-all term that can mean everything and nothing.
Cuban coffee served

How Cuban coffee is changing to retain more value

Change is afoot in Cuba. Once a big coffee exporter in the mid-1950s, its production and exports have been declining over the years. Today, some supply chain actors are trying to reverse this trajectory with a broader focus on improving long-term productivity.
coffee warehouse

Why specialty third wave roasters are moving away from microlots

For many, microlots are a defining feature of specialty coffee. With the coffee C price peaking, inflation and other factors squeezing roasters’ budgets, many roasters are moving away from microlots. They seek more financially viable options – though a niche market remains.
Mayorga organic coffee

Why organic coffee will thrive over the next few years

Organic coffee is trending. While the overall certified coffee area decreased by 2.5% in 2020, organic shot up by 24.6% in the same year. Some consumers have label fatigue with too many certifications on the shelves, and organic is easy to grasp. It could be a viable trend for the industry to bank on.
money growing on coffee trees

Regenerative agriculture is about more than just sustainability

More than a sustainability buzzword, regenerative agriculture is a transformative agricultural approach that can offer environmental sustainability to coffee production – and it's gaining traction in the coffee industry. But beyond environmental sustainability and consumer demand, there may be other reasons why businesses are investing.
coffee bags loaded on truck

Why small specialty coffee traders will start establishing commercial divisions

There is a noticeable shift amonsgt small-sized specialty coffee traders towards commercial divisions focusing on 82-84 point coffees. In a tough economic landscape, this enables them to adapt to changing market dynamics, enhance their competitiveness, and explore new avenues for growth.
man cut out

Why roasters and producers are cutting out the middleman

Direct trade emerged as a response to intermediaries’ bad reputation, but still heavily relies on third party services. Cutting out the middleman can avoid a finder’s fee, but financing coffee is expensive. Many producers and roasters are seeking out alternatives.
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.
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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.