May 2024 Newsletter: Coffee Around The World

Updated May 08, 2024 • Donna Lu

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Happy May, fellow coffee lovers. As we enter another exciting month towards summer, here’s a recap of what happened worldwide in April 2024.

Coffee exports have hit record lows across major coffee-growing regions, with Uganda reporting a significant 33% decrease in robusta exports and arabica exports following suit with a 30% decline. This decline has driven robusta and arabica coffee futures to unprecedented highs due to export uncertainties and reduced crop availability. Robusta producers in Vietnam, Brazil, and Uganda are particularly affected, facing challenges such as shipping container shortages, smaller harvests from dry weather, and farmers shifting to more profitable crops like Durian and Cocoa. Arabica producers, especially in Ethiopia, are also grappling with export issues exacerbated by disruptions in shipping routes. The surge in coffee prices is further fueled by hedge funds shifting from cocoa to coffee amidst soaring cocoa prices.

(Source: Business Edge and Bloomberg 1, 2)

It’s not all bad in the coffee sector, with the specialty Coffee Market projected to be on the right track. A survey conducted by Brain Insights forecasted a 12.32% growth in the specialty coffee market by 2030, at a value of USD$152.9 billion.

(Source: Brainy Insights and Global Coffee Report

Good news for foreign Ethiopian coffee buyers: Africa’s most prominent and best coffee producer opens its doors for direct trade. Ethiopia revised its coffee trading rules, allowing foreign companies to buy coffee directly from farmers and co-operatives—eliminating the middleman. According to the Ethiopian government, this policy reform aims to liberalize the economy, allowing farmers and producers to benefit more from their crops.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Research shows that global coffee consumption has grown over the years. Research conducted by Circana in about 12 North American, European, and Asian countries known to have sizeable coffee-consuming public suggests a 5% growth (with over $36 billion spent on the beverage) in coffee consumption, with most forecasted to embrace this trend further. While hot coffee remains the top favorite, cold coffee has massively grown in popularity. Further, the research reports that coffee has outperformed tea (only 4% growth) and carbonated drinks (only 3% growth)  in consumption growth. At the same time, the National Coffee Association’s 2024 Spring Coffee Data and Trends indicates a surge in coffee consumption in the U.S. with an all-time 20-year high. The report suggests a 67% (from 49% in 2004) rise in coffee consumption among American adults - and a 7.5% year-on-year surge in specialty coffee consumption, with espresso-based drinks being the most favorite option.

(Source: Circana and National Coffee Association Data Trends )

Starbucks appeals to environmentally conscious consumers by rolling out its updated single-use plastic cups. As part of the coffee giant’s commitment to reducing carbon, water, and waste footprint by 2030, Starbucks is replacing single-use cups with 10- 20% less plastic. As part of this initiative, the coffee chain giant will roll out new takeaway cups in US and Canadian locations.

(Source: Starbucks)

Nespresso also joins other coffee brand giants in sustainable coffee trading practices. The company has extended its curbside aluminum recycling program to Jersey City after its successful 2019 New York implementation. The program allows consumers to recycle the brand’s aluminum capsules and other wastes.

(Source: PR Newswire)

California baristas celebrate a new milestone as the state sets its new minimum wage cap. California has passed a law, effective April 1st, 2024, to increase the minimum wage to $20/hr for fast food cafes and restaurant chains with more than 60 locations - a fair and much-needed change for the food industry workers. However, this increase in minimum wages is expected to increase coffee prices, with Starbucks already taking the lead. As a result,  consumers in the state are expected to pay an average of $200 per year for coffee from chains such as Starbucks.

(Source: Coffee Geography and Business Insider)

Expocacer, a cooperative in Brazil’s Cerrado Mineiro region, is committed to increasing clean and green coffee production by 2027. The cooperative aims to do so by doubling regenerative coffee production. The practice of regenerative farming combines the practice of organic agriculture, regenerating soil health and entire farm ecosystems to protect soil biodiversity, climate resilience, and water resources while ensuring productive, sustainable, and profitable farming. In 2023 alone, the cooperative has already proven its commitment by generating over 14,000 kWh of solar energy and recycling more than half a ton of waste.

(Source: Comunicaffe)

Nespresso pledges to invest US$20 million in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) coffee sector to revive its specialty coffee industry and support coffee-growing communities by 2026. Unbeknownst to some, DRC was once Africa’s largest coffee export - peaking at 120,000 exported tonnes annually. However, after years of civil unrest, economic instability, and foreign interference, the country has remained in disarray while its agricultural sectors - including coffee- continue to dwindle. Today, only 10,000 tonnes leave the country annually - most of it illegally smuggled. While the country produces one of the best arabica coffee quality, robusta coffee is also the country’s forte. As part of Nespresso’s Reviving Origins Programme, this investment will help support farming communities affected by the country’s instability, economic hardship, and natural disasters.

(Source: Perfect Daily Grind)

Fairtrade International has launched the Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence criteria (HREDD) as part of its trading standards. Effective January 1st, 2025, all companies holding the FairTrade or Hired Labor Certification will establish and implement the entire HREDD process. However, this process will be done in phases for a smoother company transition.

(Source: Fairtrade International)

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Expo occurred in Chicago, drawing 17,000 coffee and tea professionals from 85 countries. Here are the key highlights:

  • The Brazilian Coffee Industry Association (ABIC) unveiled a new protocol for coffee quality.
  • Diedrich launched the electric DR3-E roaster with a 3kg capacity.
  • Expocacer introduced the award-winning Natalia Naimeg 90-point Catucai 2SL variety coffee, celebrating female coffee growers.
  • Fellow debuted the Aiden automatic drip coffee brewer, featuring precision temperature control and single-button automation.
  • Avercasso presented an AI-powered coffee bean sorter, boasting 99% accuracy and simplifying the sorting process.

(Source: (Source: Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, Diedrich Roasters, Comunicaffe International, Daily Coffee News, Fellow Products, and Specialty Coffee Association)

Product Launches, Mergers, and Acquisitions in April 2024

Innovative “beanless” coffee brand Atomo Coffee opens a 33,500 square foot US roastery. The brand intends to increase its production to 4 million pounds annually—enough coffee to supply over 2,000 coffee shops. The brand’s unique beanless coffee approach uses upcycled ingredients, roots, seeds, and legumes instead of actual coffee, then grinds and brews it in a fermentation batch with caffeine. As a result, you get the same flavors, aroma, and caffeine kick of coffee—only environmentally cleaner!

(Source: AgFunder News)

Hardtack and Fetco’s Baby Hardtank Cold Brew System finally hit the US market. Launched in 2023 through a Hardtack and Fetco partnership, the Baby Hardtank Cold Brew System is designed for large-scale brewing in coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and domestic users. The innovative, award-winning nitro cold brew system comes with various features and benefits, including its 4-liter coffee, tea, and herb extraction capacity in under an hour.

(Source: Hardtank)

Rarebird Coffee has acquired a patent for Px (paraxanthine) coffee formulation and plans to launch globally this year. The company produces and sells Px coffee in two forms, i.e., ground and canned cold brew. SCA 2023 Expo’s Best New Product is an alternative to decaf, Rarebird’s Px coffee, made using 100% Colombian coffee sourced through Sucafina. However, it includes the naturally occurring stimulant paraxanthine instead of containing caffeine. Px lets you enjoy all the properties of coffee, including the taste, aroma, and alertness-inducing effects - minus the adverse effects that typically come with caffeine. Plus, it has a shorter half-life - meaning it won't affect sleep quality.

(Source: PR Newswire and Rarebird Coffee)

Coffee machine maker La Marzocco launched the new Swan grinder last month. The grinder machine lives up to the brand’s top-notch craftsmanship, combining its 100-year experience in espresso machine innovation. The Swan comes with all the necessary features for seamless grinding expertise - including an antistatic technology, advanced motor control and monitoring system, reliable belt-driven burr carrier, and an accurate RPM dosing feature.

(Source: La Marzocco)

Aeropress launches an aesthetically impressive kaleidoscopic Clear Colors Collection. The brand previously launched the Clear and Clear Pink Aeropress. Adding to this collection, the parented 3-in-1 coffee maker now comes in Clear Purple, Clear Blue, Clear Red, Clear Green, and Clear Black versions - so every Aeropress lover finds the “right” look  - or even collect this colorful ensemble as a hardcore Aeropress lover!

(Source: PR Newswire)

Spinn has launched the second generation version of its Spinn coffee machine - only this version is better! Debuted on April 17th, 2024, and integrating the brand’s famed innovative centrifugal coffee brewing technology, Spinn, this next-gen espresso machine is made to revolutionize at-home espresso, coffee, and cold brew-making experience. As a 3-in-1 all-brew coffee machine, the Spinn 2 uses its unique design to expertly accommodate a wide range of perfectly extracted coffee drinks - unparalleled quality and consistency. At the moment, the coffee machine is available for pre-order. According to Spinn, the brand expects to ship out its first batches in the 4th quarter of 2024.

(Source: PR Newswire and Spinn)

Sucafina, an industry leader in sustainable farm-to-roaster companies, has extended its operations into Guatemala, opening a local office. According to the coffee company, while Sucafine worked from the outside to support local coffee communities, recent business market and landscape changes have proven the need for the company to operate locally. The brand aims to continue working and supporting local coffee communities in Guatemala at a more personable level while maintaining a sustainable and ethical coffee pipeline for its market.

(Source: Sucafina)

La Colombe and Chobani's partnership brings the "World's Frothiest Draft Latte" in 11oz cans, merging La Colombe's coffee finesse with Chobani's creamy expertise. With 50% less sugar, it offers classic flavors like Double, Triple, Mocha, Vanilla, Caramel, and non-dairy options.

(Source: PR Newswire)

Luckin Coffee launches the Black Cup Gesha series. Crafted from high-quality and rare Gesha beans from the Bench Maji region of Ethiopia, the single-origin espresso cup series boasts a pleasant floral, berry, and macadamia flavor profile. However, the Gesha cup series is available in limited quantities.

(Source: Comunicaffe and PR Newswire)

Unusually Interesting April Coffee News

Kaffa Roastery, a Finnish roastery based in Helsinki, has released an AI-generated coffee blend, a milestone in the growing global technological landscape. Kaffa Roastery partnered with Elev, a Helsinki-based AI consultancy firm, to produce the AI-conic blend. The blend features four coffees from the Fazenda Pinhal in Brazil to create a well-balanced blend with sweet and ripe fruit notes.

(Source: AP News)

In partnership with Nanyang Technological University, Nestle has created a new database identifying climate-resilient coffee varieties and species. The coffee brand educational institution has used AI and data science to breed resilient coffee plants that can withstand climate change as part of the brand’s commitment to supporting sustainable coffee farming.

(Source: Nestle)

International coffee research institutions have transplanted the first seedlings for field evaluation. As part of the World Coffee Research Innovea Network, several research institutions will plant 5,000 seedlings from the Innovea Global Coffee Breeding Network for their first field trials and evaluation. This exercise aims to accelerate the rate of genetic improvement and future coffee transformation. The Innova Network comprises nine national partner countries participating in the most extensive breeding project for the first time in over five decades.

(Source: World Coffee Research)

Important Coffee Dates and Events for May 2024

The Most Exciting Annual Specialty Coffee Trade Show is Around the Corner

The World of Coffee Specialty Coffee Trade is scheduled for June 27-29, 2024. Ticket bookings for Europe’s largest annual coffee trade show are now open. You can find more information about this expo here

Ethiopian Cup of Excellence (CoE) Returns in 2024

The record-breaking Ethiopian CoE will return this year after a brief hiatus. Scheduled to take place in July in Addis Ababa, the CoE event expects to attract some of the best coffee varieties in the world. Over 600 samples have already been submitted for evaluation and are currently housed in regional warehouses. With much anticipation ahead of the event, organizers encourage registration earlier on.

Meet the expert

Donna is a coffee lover and freelance writer from Tanzania. Coffee runs deep in her family, tracing its roots to her grandmother’s running of their first coffee farm in the mid-70s. During the summer seasons, she enjoys writing and co-running her grandmother's small robusta coffee farm with her sister in northwest Tanzania.

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