Monday, March 31, 2014

Why the Cost of Coffee Changes

We are raising our prices slightly in May, and we want to make sure our customers know why. This is also a great opportunity to explain a little bit about the coffee industry. 

This is the path our coffee takes:

Farmer > Olam (Importer) > Voyage > You

Did you know green coffee is traded as a commodity, just like cocoa, corn, or wheat? (Coffee is second-most traded commodity in the world in fact, after oil.) Because it's a commodity, the price fluctuates every day. Every time we restock on the same green beans, from the same farm, the price has changed.

We want the farmers who grow our beans and their workers to be paid, fair, livable wages. That's one of the reasons we work with Olam. Though not all of the beans we buy from them are certified Fair Trade, (the Fair Trade certification is not without issues) we know that they are committed to paying the farmers well. They even have many community development and education programs in place. (That's another post for another day.)

In 2013, there was such a drop in commodity coffee prices, that many coffee farmers were not even profitable:

“There can be no doubt that in many countries the prices received by coffee growers fail to cover the unit costs of production, while at the same time the prices of basic goods, such as food and energy, are rising....Indeed, coffee is the worst performing agricultural commodity of the last two years, with a downward trend that has so far shown no sign of improving.”
 ---International Coffee Organization, November 2013
Source: Daily Coffee News

In the last several months, the price has risen again, and that is reflected in the price we pay for green beans. We think paying a little more per pound is worth it to ensure that the people who work hard for our coffee are able to support their families!

Here is a great infographic with some other interesting facts about coffee and economics:


-Jessamyn at Voyage Coffee Roasters