The Coffee Trade

The Coffee Trade



Globalization has resulted in the worldwide movement of goods that allow for raw materials to be extracted in one country, intermediate processing to be carried out in another and final manufacturing to occur in a third country. An example is products like coffee where we see coffee producers in the traditional coffee producing nations in the tropics (be it Brazil, Ethiopia or Indonesia), sell coffee to importers in the temperate regions (Canada, France and Japan) but through blending. To enable this remarkable human achievement, businesses rely on wholesale suppliers that bring together buyers and exporters on a global scale.

The Players

The efficiency of modern manufacturing and commerce has been improved tremendously by the utilization of online business to business portals that in a sense allow businesses to integrate their supply chain far more efficiently than has previously been possible. The coffee exporter at the international coffee auction in Mombasa Kenya wants to get in touch with the coffee importer in Cairo who in turn wants to get in touch with the wholesale coffee importer in London. To manage this kind of connection, an efficient business to business portal with a good exporter’s directory will be useful tool for all. B2B portals like are helping importers and exporters globally to find the best deal that will help their businesses maximize their profits through sourcing the best exporters or importers of goods, reducing the time needed to research business partners by having a credible importers directory as well as an exporter’s directory.

The Process

Coffee goes through various stages in its production that results in various points at which value add occurs and which offer potential trading points. After coffee is picked it is usually sorted to separate green and ripened berries. This is followed by roasting which results in a change in the flavor of the coffee. Roasters may be in the country of origin, a second county or even at the level of the consumer who may want to roast his/her coffee just right. The beans are then ground and a drink made from them.

Varieties of Coffee

The main varieties of coffee are Arabica and Robusta with Arabica making up close to 60% of coffee consumed. Latin America and Africa which are the biggest producers of coffee mostly grows the Arabica variety, while South East Asian countries dominate Robusta production.

Trade, Analysis & Trends

With customers worldwide developing more and more sophisticated tastes (due primarily to better access to information through the web) in whatever goods they require, importers are being forced to have better mechanisms to fulfill these specific niches. A coffee buyer in the USA will demand for a coffee bean that is found in a specific part of the world, the exotic civet coffee comes to mind, a demand that may only be met by coffee suppliers from south Asia. A wholesale buyer may even want to increase the value addition they offer by having the coffee blended by a bean that is only found in the rain forests of Brazil. allows for such buyers and suppliers to meet conveniently and form the business networks to survive in the globalized economy. This trend in globalization that can be seen as a second evolution in globalization (the first phase of globalization having been the outsourcing of manufacturing to cheaper labor markets) has been enabled by the so called web 2.0. This second phase of globalization will have interesting effects in various geographical regions in the world. African farmers and extraction industries are now suppliers to the newly minted factories in Asia who produce goods that are finally assembled into finished good in Europe and the United States. It also offers an opportunity for the same raw material producers to do some small scale value add and supply directly to markets that they previously did not have access to with the role that was previously played by middle men who did not have any input in the whole production process being cut out. Coffee farmers in the third world are now in a position to sell directly to major retailers on the developed world. Such farmer could easily utilize the power of an exporter directory to become wholesalers of a niche coffee product.

Studying recent import/export data (provided below for reference) on the Coffee trade suggests that the biggest producer/exporter nations of unprocessed or unroasted coffee are – Brazil, Viet Nam, Colombia, Honduras, Indonesia and Ethiopia. On the flip side, the biggest importing nations for unprocessed or unroasted coffee are – USA, Germany, Italy, Japan, India, UAE, Belgium, France, Spain, Canada, Switzerland and UK.

Further, the biggest exporters of roasted/processed coffee happen to be – Switzerland, Italy, Germany, USA, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, France, Poland, Slovakia and UK. The list of biggest exporters of processed coffee seems to generally match with the list of importers of unprocessed coffee suggesting that these exporters are adding value and re-exporting coffee. Finally, the biggest importing nations for processed or roasted coffee are – France, Canada, Germany, USA, Netherlands, Austria, UK, Poland, Belgium, Slovakia, Denmark, Italy, Russian Federation, Australia and Sweden. Which also agrees with generally known coffee consumption patterns.

Role of B2B Portals in Coffee Trade

Business to business portals have also acted as a catalyst for entrepreneurial activity. It is not rare for a business person to stumble upon a new opportunity while going through an importers or exporters directory. not only allows one to be able to reap all the benefits of taking advantage of B2B portals but also offers tailored searches to reduce the tedium of researching for a matching business. By ensuring that its members are pre-verified and that they are legitimately looking for opportunities, go4WorldBusiness also offers the much sought after security that globalized businesses need as they operate across large geographical regions where meeting business partners and forming personal relationships may not be possible.


A look at some Import/Export and Trading data for Coffee around the world

Biggest Exporters



Biggest Importers





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