Production & Trade

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.

Specialty coffee gives too much credit to direct trade

"Direct trade" is a founding principle of specialty coffee. However, as many across the sector hailed it, supply chain intermediaries have received widespread criticism

Is hand-picking coffee actually the best option for the future?

For many, hand-picking coffee represents the pinnacle of quality. However, with most of the people that pick the coffee lacking basic human necessities and social security, is it really that glamorous?

Why farmers don’t drink their own coffee

For various practical and cultural reasons, farmers don't tend to drink their own coffee. However, this is starting to change, and it could be for the betterment of the industry that it is.

Should coffee varieties be “owned”?

For many years, coffee varieties have been artificially developed to increase production yields, improve quality, combat plant diseases, and adapt to different environmental conditions. But can a single entity "own" one?

Why are coffee producers selling their coffee on Amazon?

Digital sales channels have become crucial for roasters, but coffee producers have started stepping into the digital ring, too.

Saudi Arabia is throwing everything it can at the coffee industry

Saudi Arabia has been investing massive resources into its coffee industry, as part of an effort to diversify away from oil.

What happens to a specialty coffee brand when it gets acquired?

Over the last decade, the coffee has become increasingly consolidated. It's therefore an important question to ask – what happens to a specialty coffee brand when they get acquired?

Is it time to scrap coffee roasters’ sustainability initiatives?

Coffee roasters' sustainability initiatives have become a common theme in the specialty sector – but should we reconsider how effective they are?

Will AI set a new standard for green coffee quality?

There has been a longstanding conversation about how to objectively define green coffee quality. And as pricing mechanisms rely on a quantifiable measurement of quality, this represents an issue that is challenging to resolve. 

Does Ethiopia’s civil war affect the country’s coffee production?

Coffee production may be fuelling Ethiopia's civil war – as the government uses it to bank more US dollars to buy foreign arms

Coffee farmers need more than higher prices

Despite the C price fluctuating over the last few years – with some comparatively significant highs – many smallholder coffee farmers didn’t see a rise in earnings. As such, it's become clear that higher prices is not the sole solution.