Coffee Importing and Pricing

Welcome back to the 6th week of the Ntaba From Farm to Cup blog series. This post is dedicated to discussing the importation of coffee, and the market value of coffee. Coffee is a popular commodity in the world and traded quite frequently. The whole process involves a multitude of factors including, ethics, pricing, and mission. 

Coffee is usually priced at $/lb. The global term is called the C-Market Price (Commodity Market Price), which refers to the price of speciality coffee. The C-Market Price fluctuates every day (today 9/30/20 it is $1.11/lb.) but is generally around $1/lb.♦1 This price is used by importers of green coffee, and it reflects what the coffee is worth in market value. It also takes into account the labor, economic stability, or livelihoods of the farmers of the coffee fields. Buying green coffee from the importer at this price is what is called Fair Trade. To be considered Fair Trade within the speciality coffee industry, the buyer of the green beans needs to purchase them above the C-Market Price.

Fair Trade and Direct Trade have become increasingly more used systems of buying coffee as it benefits the farmer or coffee worker to support themselves and their family. They also help the coffee industry continue to grow. Direct Trade ensures that you pay more than the C-Market Price (usually at least $3.50/lb.) and has a more direct relationship to the farmer through the importer. The roaster will buy the coffee in bulk 60kg bags and respect the importer’s mission of price and relationships to the coffee farmer. Direct trade ensures that the coffee is bought ethically and helps the import coffee support the economy of the source country.♦2

Trading coffee is an essential part of the farm to cup experience and important for consumers to be knowledgeable about it. At Ntaba Coffee Haus we are proud to be a Direct Trade coffee shop and be able to work with so many wonderful women and men in Africa! Next week we will start to look at some of the early histories of espresso and roasting techniques!

◊ Written by Andrew Watson, Manager at Ntaba Mellwood, v60 lover, and Interstellar‘s #1 fan

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♦1 – Hoffman, James. “The World Atlas of Coffee.” Octopus Books, 10.4.2018.
♦2,coffee%20beans%20unfit%20for%20consumption | Opened 09/30/2020

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