Following a 2021 that might be characterized by the generic phrase “logistics issues,” the global coffee industry experienced something like a return to normalcy in 2022.
Of course, normalcy in green coffee production and trade is in and of itself historically characterized by logistical complexity and extreme volatility.
Thus, stakeholders from throughout the coffee universe explored new ways this past year in which to create potentially healthier and more sustainable markets, building upon emerging concepts such as transparency and supply chain equity.
Many of the year’s biggest innovations in green coffee involved data. In various breakthrough examples, these data were tied to green coffee prices, living incomes for farmers, risk calculations for corporations, climate adaptation and production improvements for farmers, and more.
As we continue our 2022 Year in Review, we look now at the business of green coffee, beginning with innovations in data tied to sustainability:
Data & Sustainability
A multi-stakeholder group is developing a new data-driven tool geared towards more equitable pricing in the green coffee trade called the Sustainable Coffee Buyers Guide (SCBG).
A pre-competitive tool led by Colombia-based Azahar Coffee Company and coffee roasting software provider Cropster, the Guide is attempting to lead socially conscious buyers to prices that result in prosperity among coffee farmers, as opposed to baseline incomes. .. Read more
Over the past four years, the commodity price for arabica coffee — a.k.a. the “C price” — can be characterized by extreme volatility. In 2018, the C price dipped below $1 USD per pound, and today it sits at approximately $2.29 per pound.
Such volatility stands in notable contrast to trend consistency found in the latest edition of the Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide, an annual publication involving anonymized contract data from more than 100 coffee roasters and traders from all over the world… Read more
Fairtrade International has released its second major “living income reference price” for coffee while finding that farmers in Indonesia’s Aceh region earned only 40% of that price in 2020.
This is the second major living income reference price released by Fairtrade as part of a broader effort to work towards more sustainable coffee prices for the world’s smallholder coffee farmers, who have historically been exploited through commodities-driven global coffee purchasing structures… Read more
Designed for use by any number of actors within the seed-to-cup nexus and available in three languages, the 17-tool kit is part of a broader, 4-year, $2.2 million effort called The Cooperation on Fair, Free, Equitable Employment (COFFEE) Project, which is funded by the United States Department Labor (DOL)… Read more
Representing the first major update to the 60-year-old International Coffee Agreement in 15 years, the International Coffee Organization has announced the landmark International Coffee Agreement 2022.
First established to regulate coffee export quotas in 1962 to help steady global coffee prices, the International Coffee Agreement has historically been a multilateral agreement among governments representing both coffee-producing and coffee-consuming countries… Read more
Available through a free download, the 332-page La Guía del Café is reflects the latest, 4th edition of The Coffee Guide, designed as a practical and essential tool for coffee exporters, importers, NGOs, government agencies, producer groups and other stakeholders… Read more
Through a number of strategic partnerships and pilot projects, the producer- and roaster-managed cooperative Cooperative Coffees (sometimes styled Coop Coffees) is helping to lead the way for reduced carbon emissions throughout the coffee sector.
The United States green coffee importing organization — whose membership currently includes 23 coffee roasting companies in the United States and Canada — is building on its ambitious Carbon, Climate and Coffee Initiative to reach net-zero carbon production by 2025 while incentivizing biodynamic and organic agricultural practices… Read more
A farm-focused, third-party social and environmental certification scheme called Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) has moved into the coffee industry. Claiming to reflect regenerative agricultural practices, the first ROC-certified coffee products recently hit store shelves in the United States.
A term often ascribed to the Rodale Institute in the 1980s, regenerative agriculture may be broadly defined as agricultural practices that support sustainable environmental outcomes and promote climate resilience, supporting ecosystems as a whole as opposed to simply crop output… Read more
Approximately 55% of the green coffee purchased by eight of the world’s largest coffee roasting and retailing companies met some sort of sustainability baseline in 2021, according to a new report from the nonprofit Global Coffee Platform.
Of course, if you’re a hopper-half-empty type of person, that also means that 45% of the volume of green coffee purchased by some of the world’s most market-influential buyers was not necessarily purchased in a sustainable way… Read more
The sourcing program involves participation from the nonprofit Fairtrade International — whose new Living Income Reference Price (LIRP) for Guatemala will be used as the benchmark green coffee price — and from Portland, Oregon-based coffee importer Sustainable Harvest… Read more
Led by the Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit Fair World Project, the letter references numerous documented human rights violations found in Nespresso’s supply chain in recent years, including instances of child labor and wage theft… Read more
The United States, the world’s largest coffee-buying country and a critical funding member of the ICO, withdrew from the ICO/ICA in 2018 following an order signed by then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during the Trump administration.
In 2020, Guatemala became the only major coffee-producing country to leave the ICO/ICA, with sector leaders citing lack of protection from the ongoing price crisis as a factor… Read more
The top-scoring coffee in the 2022 Ethiopia Cup of Excellence (CoE) fetched $400.50 per pound during a public auction, breaking the record for the highest price ever paid for a CoE-winning green coffee.
Half of the 1,058-pound lot of coffee, grown by farmer Legesse Botasa Dikale in Ethiopia’s renowned Sidama region, was purchased by Chinese company LNK Coffee Trading. The other half of the natural-process lot was purchased for $400 per pound by Saza Coffee in Japan and Orsir Coffee in Taiwan… Read more
The CoE program dates back more than two decades and follows a mission to celebrate coffee producers through nationwide competitions and awards, while also creating links to the higher-paying specialty coffee market through auctions.
In recent years, the nonprofits have co-coordinated CoE competitions with in-country partners in approximately a dozen coffee-growing countries. A coffee from Ethiopia recently broke the all-time CoE price record at $400.50 per pound… Read more
With funding from more than 200 members in WCR’s membership network, the long-term collaborative program is designed to accelerate the pace of genetic improvement in coffee as the sector confronts existential threats posed by climate change… Read more
Called the Burundi Better Coffee Initiative, the program is designed to help some 60,000 coffee-farming families in the East African country increase their incomes while building climate resilience, according to Technoserve… Read more
The Flavour Sphere is an obvious counterpoint to the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel, a popular resource among coffee roasting and quality-control professionals created by the Specialty Coffee Association of America — now the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) — in 1995… Read more
Part of an unprecedented federal investment into climate-focused activities in the agriculture sector of the United States and its territories, a $15 million project focused on coffee production in Puerto Rico is expected to launch next year.
The Puerto Rico coffee project, which is being implemented by the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) alongside numerous partners in Puerto Rico, is designed to drive upwards of $50 million in long-term economic benefits for thousands of Puerto Rican coffee farmers… Read more
Green Coffee Tech News
According to the HCA, the agreement is designed to benefit coffee growers statewide, although the issue of counterfeiting has most prominently been associated with the Hawaiian region of Kona in recent decades.
In fact, current Hawaiian state laws and U.S. federal laws presently allow for a kind of legalized counterfeiting of Hawaiian-grown coffees. Roasted, packaged coffees need to only contain 10% of a regional Hawaiian coffee — such as Kona, Maui or Ka’u — to bear that region’s name on the finished product… Read more
Switzerland-based green coffee platform provider Algrano has introduced a suite of new features specifically aimed to improve the user experience of coffee sellers, a.k.a. producers.
The company has introduced a producer-focused Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, a differential price setting mechanism for producers, and new European warehousing services for producers. Algrano is calling coffees available through the latter service Destination Stock Offers… Read more
The United States-based nonprofit Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) and online sales platform provider M-Cultivo have teamed up to launch Ethiopia Select, an online marketplace for high-quality, traceable Ethiopian coffees… Read more
A new online green coffee sales platform called Farmly has launched in Brazil, connecting producers directly to buyers then assisting in the logistics.
Transactions can range from as little as a single bag of green coffee up to entire lots, with Farmly also offering quality control measures throughout the delivery, according to the company. The startup says it aims to allow even the smallest and most remote producers to represent themselves for direct communications with buyers… Read more
Dutch technology startup Almacena says it has raised €3.5 million ($3.39 USD, as of this writing) for the further development of a digital green coffee platform and marketplace focused on African coffees.