Entering the European market for coffees roasted at origin
Entering the European roasted coffee market is challenging. The European coffee-roasting industry is mature and technology-intensive. It is also traditional, in the sense that European roasters import green coffee and roast the beans as close as possible to the consumers. In general, trade channels are unstructured and the number of players active in this niche segment of the coffee sector is limited. For exporters of coffee roasted at origin to be successful, investing in marketing and branding is crucial. As you are dealing with a finished product, market entry legislation is strict and compliance is crucial.
Contents of this page
1. What requirements and certifications must coffees roasted at origin comply with to be allowed on the European market?
You can only export coffee to Europe if you comply with strict European Union (EU) requirements. Buyer requirements can be divided into:
- Mandatory requirements
- Additional requirements that buyers often have
- Requirements for niche markets
The highlights for these requirements are given below, specified for the European market where relevant.
Legal and non-legal requirements you must comply with
Like all food products marketed in the European Union, roasted coffee must comply with the General Food Law (Regulation (EC) 178/2002) and the general rules on Food Hygiene (Regulation (EU) 2017/625). The General Food Law focuses on traceability. Therefore, for roasted coffee exporters it is important to have reliable and well-documented information on the origin of the green coffee, specific lot numbers and producer information.
Other legal requirements refer specifically to contaminants and residues. The most common are:
- Pesticides: There are no maximum level for roasted coffee specifically, but general maximum residue levels (MRLs) are defined at 0.01 mg/kg.
- Mycotoxins/mould, particularly Ochratoxin-A (OTA); maximum levels are set at 5 μg/kg for roasted coffee, including ground coffee.
- Acrylamide: this is a carcinogenic substance that forms naturally when coffee is roasted at temperatures above 120°C. Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2158 establishes that the benchmark level for roasted coffee is 400 μg/kg.
- Microbiological contamination such as salmonella. Although coffee is considered low-risk, food safety authorities can withdraw imported roasted coffees or prevent them for entering Europe when microorganisms are found.
- Extraction solvents, which can be used for decaffeination of coffee. There are maximum residue limits restrictions for the extraction solvents such as methyl acetate (20 mg/kg in the coffee), dichloromethane (2 mg/kg in the roasted coffee) and ethylmethylketone (20 mg/kg in the coffee).
European Union food labelling rules ensure that consumers receive essential information that allows them to make an informed choice when purchasing their food. The information on the label must be accurate, easy to see and understand, not misleading and hard to remove/erase. The language to be used on the label depends on your target market. In general, the label should be in the official language of the country where your product is sold. But multi-language labels can also be used.
The following information is required on the packaging:
- Name of the product, including its physical condition like ‘dark/medium/light roasted coffee’, ‘whole beans’ or ‘ground’.
- Ingredient list (though roasted coffee should be a single ingredient)
- Allergen information
- Date marking (best before / use by)
- Country of origin
- Name and address of the manufacturer/packager/seller
- Net quantity
- Any special storage conditions and/or conditions of use
In case your roasted coffee is organic and/or fair trade-certified, the label may contain the certification logo. Note that the term organic and the European Union’s organic logo can only be used for products which comply with Regulation (EU) 2018/848.
Figure 1: An example of roasted coffee labelling for the European (German-speaking) market
Source: Solino Coffee
There are specific rules for consumer packaging materials which come in contact with the roasted coffee. Rules regarding this are given in Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004. It is important that packaging materials used for your coffee do not endanger human health, change the composition of the coffee in an unacceptable way or deteriorate its taste and odour. Common restricted substances include:
- Vinyl chloride monomer N-nitrosamines
- N-nitrosatable BADGE
- Heavy metals
Import tariff on roasted coffee
Tariffs may apply to the import of roasted coffee. This depends per country, as European countries apply different import regimes for coffee, depending on an individual producing country’s status in terms of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), or Bilateral Trade Agreements. To see if your country falls under one of these schemes, refer to European Commission: TARIC Consultation page. The standard third country duty applicable to roasted coffee imports is 7.5%. The third country duty for decaffeinated roasted coffee is 9%.
- Activate the “Translation” function of your browser to make the studies available in your native language.
- For the full buyer requirements, read the CBI study on buyer requirements for coffee in Europe or consult the specific requirements for coffee on the European Commission’s website Access2Markets.
- Check EUR-Lex for more information on limits for different contaminants. For specific information on the prevention and reduction of Ochratoxin A contamination, refer to the Codex Alimentarius CXC 69-2009.
- Read more about quality requirements for coffee on the website of the Coffee Quality Institute.
- Find out more about the coffee market, including practical trade considerations, by reading ITC’s 4th Edition Coffee Guide.
The quality requirements for roasted coffee will vary widely according to the market segment you are aiming at, as well as very specific buyer and end-consumer preferences. But there are general guidelines you can follow to benchmark and/or improve the quality of your product(s). Note that quality always begins at the raw material level. These quality requirements are explained in our study on European market requirements for green coffee.
Roasted coffee quality is often associated with its freshness after roasting. The two methods most commonly used to preserve freshness are vacuum sealing or nitrogen flushing. One basic element in safeguarding the freshness of roasted coffee is a one-way valve packaging, which allows the air out and not back in.
The type of coffee used in combination with the duration and degree of roasting (light, medium, dark and everything in between) determines the coffee’s flavour profile. In the case of ground coffee, the grinding operations also make an essential contribution to the product’s final quality.
Other important variables which affect the flavour and quality of the roasted coffee include: charge temperature, roast temperature, airflow and the roast time. The sensory experience of the roaster is another element contributing to the final product.
Additional food safety requirements
Food safety certification is not obligatory under European legislation for roasted coffee. However, given the legal guidelines for food hygiene safety and traceability, distributors and importers will likely request extra food safety guarantees from you. A system based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is often a minimum standard required. Also, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) are the basic operational and environmental conditions required to produce safe foods. Buyers may require additional certification schemes, especially those recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative, such as:
- British Retail Consortium Global Standards (BRCGS)
- International Featured Standards: Food (IFS)
- Food Safety System Certification (FSSC 22000)
Additional sustainability requirements
Corporate responsibility and sustainability are very important topics in the European coffee sector, including for its consumers. As an exporter of roasted coffee, highlighting your sustainability practices and your environmental and social vision may help you position yourself in the market.
Whether certification standards add value to your product highly depends on the target market and market segment you wish to enter. Refer to our study on certified coffee to learn more about the certified coffee market in Europe.
In addition, it is good to be aware of the European Green Deal (EGD), which is a European package of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to minimise the use of resources while achieving economic growth. This means that products sold in the European market will need to meet higher sustainability standards.
Sustainability issues that receive increasing attention on the specialty coffee market include:
- Agroforestry efforts
- Carbon neutrality
- Impact on producing communities
- Impact on the local biodiversity
Branding and story
To market your product, you will need to invest in developing your promotional message and materials. The story of your product will be crucial and will contribute to its market value. This starts by defining your unique selling point (USP). Your USP can be based on various aspects of your product and company, such as your company’s social and/or environmental mission, the beneficial impact of your company on producing communities or the conservation of biodiversity, the uniqueness of the coffee varieties you use or the specific location of your coffee farm or coffee roasting facilities, among other aspects.
It is key that your story is consistent and it should also be reflected on your packaging and label materials. Your study must be well documented, and supported by transparency, figures and facts.
- Refer to the International Trade Centre Standards Map or the Global Food Safety Initiative website to learn about the different food safety management systems, hygiene standards and certification schemes.
- Read about emerging trends in coffee packaging to ensure that your packaging is competitive and appealing to consumers.
- Learn about sustainable coffee packaging and consider using sustainable materials for your coffee to be able to tap into the sustainability trend on the European coffee market.
- Get acquainted with the basics of coffee roasting. Refer to this article by the Barista Institute on how to develop flavour by roasting.
- Demonstrate traceability to origin, to the farm or to the coffee lot. This is an important sales argument, while it also complies with European law. Demonstrable traceability through a lot number to be checked or tracked on the web, or by using a QR code. Read this article to learn more about QR codes and the benefits of including them on packaging.
- Check on the CBI website what the EU Green Deal can mean for your business.
- For information about payment and delivery terms, refer to our study on Organising your coffee export to Europe. Note that the most relevant risk for the transportation of roasted coffee via sea is the deterioration of the product’s quality. This requires well-ventilated containers with a breathable membrane, and top-notch packaging solutions of the product. Air freight is more expensive but generally shortens the transportation interval by more than 10 times and thereby lowers quality-related risks. In both cases, the use of Letters of Credit is not common.
In order to market your roasted coffee as organic on the European market, it must comply with the regulations of the European Union for organic production and labelling. Obtaining the EU Organic label is the minimum legislative requirement.
Before you can market your coffee as organic, an accredited certifier must audit your growing and processing facilities. In case you do not grow your own coffee, you must make sure that your suppliers are organic-certified according to the EU regulation.
Refer to this list of recognised control bodies and control authorities issued by the EU to ensure that you always work with an accredited certifier. For your growing and processing facilities to become organic-certified, you can expect a yearly inspection and audit which aims to ensure that you comply with the rules on organic production and/or processing.
Note that all organic products imported into the EU must have the appropriate electronic Certificate of Inspection (COI). These COIs must be issued by control authorities prior to the departure of a shipment. If this is not done, your product cannot be sold as organic in the European Union and will be sold as a conventional product. COIs can be completed by using the European Commission’s electronic Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES).
In addition to organic, Demeter might be an interesting certification for your product. This certifies biodynamic farming; it is limited to small niche segments, but sees increased interest in markets like Germany and Switzerland. Also, Smithsonian Bird Friendly is a certification standard for niche segments. It guarantees that the coffee is grown at farms that provide forest-like habitat for birds. Markets like France and the UK include some coffees certified according to this standard. An example is the UK coffee brand Bird & Wild.
Before you can market your coffee as fair trade, an accredited certifier must audit your growing and/or processing facilities. The most common fair trade standard in Europe is Fairtrade, for which the accredited certifier is FLOCERT. Fair for Life (certified by IMO/Ecocert) is another standard you may choose as well as Small Producers’ Symbol (SPP).
- Before engaging in a certification programme, make sure to assess (in consultation with your potential buyer) if this label has sufficient demand in your target market. And make sure it will be cost-beneficial for your product. Note that certification standards are less common and much less required in the specialty segment.
- Learn more about organic guidelines on the European Union website and the Organic Export Info website.
- Find importers that specialise in organic products on the website Organic-bio.
- Try to visit trade fairs for organic products, like Biofach in Germany. Check out their website for a list of exhibitors, seminars and other events at this trade fair. There you will also find organic certification bodies on the exhibitors’ list.
- If you produce coffee according to a fair trade scheme, find a specialised European buyer that is familiar with sustainable or fair trade products, for instance via the FLOCERT customer database.
- Use this cost calculator to estimate what costs will be involved for your organisation to become Fairtrade-certified.
2. Through what channels can you get coffees roasted at origin on the European market?
The European end market for roasted coffee can be segmented by quality (see Figure 2). Coffees roasted at origin will mostly fall between the middle range and high-end segments. Roasted coffees in the upper-end segment will almost always be roasted in Europe, as freshness is highly valued and coffees roasted at origin have a perceived lower level of freshness.
Figure 2: Coffee end market segmentation by quality
Mid-range coffees: are commercial coffees with a good and consistent quality profile. This segment consists of blends with a high proportion of Arabica compared to coffees in the low-end segment, as well as a growing offer of 100% Arabica from single-country origin. Examples of these coffees include Lavazza or Illy, both from Italian roasters. The mid-range segment represents a stable coffee market, in which Rainforest Alliance-certified coffees are widely available. Increasingly, coffees with Fairtrade and organic are also found. Coffees that are roasted at origin, and which are available via more mainstream channels like supermarkets, usually have one of these certifications.
High-end coffees: The high-end segment consist of high-quality coffees, mainly Arabicas. These coffees are often single origin, tracing back to country level. The coffee beans used in the high-end segment typically have cupping scores between 80-83. Sustainability certification, especially organic and to a lesser extent fair trade, are important. Still, certification is not always required, as buyers active in the high-end segment may already incorporate sustainability criteria in their trading practices, such as long-term contracts between suppliers and buyers, as well as higher prices.
Coffees roasted at origin are typically characterised by elements from both the mid-range and high-end segment. For instance, several brands which have made it into the market are of commercial good quality, and not considered specialty grade. Coffee roasted at origin will be single origin, at least at a country level, but not necessarily tracing back further into the chain to farmer or cooperative level. Just like in the higher-end segment, sustainability certification is not always seen on coffees roasted at origin. This is mainly so because these products already meet many criteria for a sustainable supply chain, aiming to keep much of the added value at origin. For instance, check the Trade not Aid page of Solino Coffee or the Impact page of Moyee to see how these companies communicate their impact to end consumers.
Examples of coffees roasted at origin, based on retail prices in 2022, include:
Brand: Naty’s Coffee
Coffee bean: 100% Arabica
Roasted in: Ethiopia
Size: 400-gram package
Sold in Europe: Czech Republic
Brand: Juan Valdez
Coffee bean: 100% Arabica
Roasted in: Colombia
Size: 454-gram package
Sold in Europe: the Netherlands
Brand: Solino Coffee
Coffee bean: 100% Arabica
Roasted in: Ethiopia
Size: 1-kilogram package
Sold in Europe: Germany, Switzerland
Coffee roasted at origin is mainly sold through the online web shops of brands themselves, specialised online coffee web shops, mainstream retailers and specialised (fair trade) retail outlets or other ethical shops. Where your products are for sale will in part depend on your product, the size and capacity of your business operations and your market entry channel (read more below).
As an example, Solino Coffee is sold through different sales channels, including Solino’s own web shop, the fair trade store claro (Switzerland), mainstream retailers REWE and Edeka (Germany) and specialised coffee web shops like Espresso International and Roast Market (both Germany).
As shown by the above examples, most retail prices will range between €10-30 per kilo. Green coffee export prices typically amount to only 5% to 25% of the end-market prices, depending on the coffee quality, the size of the lot and the supplier’s relationship with the buyer. For coffee roasted at origin specifically it is difficult to give a single price structure, due to various factors:
- International logistics; airfreight is a lot more expensive than sea freight.
- Transportation costs; depend on national costs and roaster’s location.
- Base price of the product; depends on production costs, volumes, quality, availability, country differentials related to international C-market prices, and certification.
The figure below shows a specific example of the value distribution for Moyee, an Ethiopian/Dutch coffee brand, roasted in Ethiopia. In this example over 53% of the value of the coffee is retained in the coffee producing country, compared to 5-25% in the case of green coffee exports. For those who start roasting at origin, good roasting equipment is required, which will require significant investments. The branding and promotional activities in destination markets will also require investments.
- Learn more about coffee retail prices in European mainstream supermarkets to see how your price relates to that of European coffee brands. Check for instance the Belgian Colruyt for prices of standard quality and high-quality coffees. Compare their product assortment and price levels with specialised stores, such as the German web shop Roast Market.
- Have a clear and well-defined cost structure. Ensure that your price is competitive in relation to similar products. Selling your product at higher prices will be difficult, that is why differentiation is important.
- Check the website of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) to learn more about the high-end coffee segment, market trends and main players.
- Want to sell your roasted coffee on the European market? Try to establish direct trade relationships with distributors to find an entry channel into the market.
Through what channels do coffees roasted at origin end up on the end market?
The majority of roasted coffee available on the European market is roasted by large European companies, and distributed throughout the region to different retailers, hotels and other outlets. The concentration and market dominance of these European roasters and brands pose a great barrier for new entrants.
Coffee roasted at origin is a small niche market. Companies which have successfully entered the market have done so through different market entry channels and by adopting different strategies. How to enter the market will vary according to the quality, quantity and availability of your products, and your connections on the market. The below figure shows you the most common entry channels for coffee roasted at origin in Europe.
Figure 4: Market channels for green coffee in Europe
Source: ProFound, adapted from UNCTAD/G. Ferro (2021)
There are a number of importing distributors on the European market. Some specifically focus on coffee, but it is more common that they deal with a wider range of products. Examples of these importing distributors also include alternative trading distributors such as El Puente (Germany), GEPA (Germany) and claro (Switzerland).
This is one of the more common entry channels into Europe. Importing distributors purchase and sell a wide range of coffees and brands. These distributors tend to have strong knowledge of the local market and a widespread retail network, usually consisting of specialised shops as well as their own online distribution platforms. They assume ownership of the product and provide a large number of services, including logistics and storage, marketing and after-sales customer support.
Importing distributors are the most suitable point of contact if you aim to get access to a wide network of specialised shops in Europe. It is not common to have direct contact with and/or sell to these shops due to their small order quantities and high frequency of deliveries. In addition, the existing network of distributors will diminish your marketing costs.
Integrated distribution refers to a business with a registered company in a coffee producing country, as well as a registered European partner that formally represents the company in Europe. Examples of this are Moyee (Ethiopia/Netherlands), Solino Coffee (Ethiopia/Germany) and Moema Espresso (Brazil/Germany). The coffees roasted at origin of these integrated distributors are mostly found on the European market.
In these companies there is an integration of coffee growing, roasting and exporting activities in the origin country; while the importing, marketing and distribution activities are taken care of in the destination market. This allows both parts of the company to coordinate closely. For instance, the company can coordinate production according to market demand and sales projections. In addition, the business in Europe can optimise its market knowledge and local distribution network, as well as provide aftersales and other customer support services.
An integrated distributor is an essential part of a company’s business model. It is ideal for companies that have a strong partner and an existing foothold on the destination market, including legal representation, vast knowledge of the market as well as distribution (including warehousing) and aftersales capacities.
Private-label coffee roasting
A few roasted coffee exporters from producing countries have entered the European market by roasting coffee for European brands or retailers. In the case of private label coffee roasting, you must comply with the specifications of the European brand in terms of packaging and quality. This requires that your company is able to meet high food safety standards and can guarantee strict compliance to the requirements of your buyer. By roasting coffee for a European brand, you provide your company with potential for scale, a lower marketing budget and an existing consumer base, as these are elements taken care of by the brand for whom you produce. Some examples of European brands offering coffee roasted at origin, specifically from Colombia, include El Dictador (Poland) and Daluma (Germany).
Private-label manufacturing is interesting for companies with excellent food safety and processing volume capacities, in addition to quality consistency and good access to raw materials. Experience and good track record in processing for domestic roasted coffee can also be a competitive advantage.
Retailers or other specialised outlets
In a few cases, exporters of roasted coffee access the mainstream retail market in Europe. Retailers usually work with large brands from origin countries, with equally large production capacity and distribution network within its domestic market. These players require a relatively large supply of roasted coffee, that may be out of reach for some exporters of roasted coffee. An example of coffee roasted at origin for sale in European retail outlets includes Juan Valdez (Colombia), which is sold in Jumbo retail shops in the Netherlands.
The brands Moyee (Ethiopia/Netherlands), which is sold in mainstream retailer Albert Heijn and premium retailer Marqt in the Netherlands, and Solino Coffee (Ethiopia/Germany), sold in retailers REWE and Edeka in Germany, are examples of integrated distributors that managed to find space in retail shops.
Fair trade shops are usually too small to import directly from origin. It is often not cost-effective for these shops to source directly from producing countries. Instead, they get their coffee products from the abovementioned importing distributors, who can offer them a wide array of products to choose from.
There are also coffee shops that exclusively sell online, such as Kaffee Zentrale (Switzerland) and Roast Market (German). These shops usually source directly from European roasters, and sometimes through integrated distributors or importing distributors. The assortment of coffees roasted at origin are limited in online shops, though there are some examples such as the sales of Solino Coffee on Roast Market. An exception to this is Alternative Café (France), which offers a wide range of specialty coffees roasted at origin through their (web) shop.
Exporters of roasted coffee may want a partner who is familiar with the target market. For starting exporters, the use of an agent could be a point of departure in finding the best distribution channel and partner in Europe. They can help you find, assess and select interesting buyers.
An agent might charge a fee for the assignment, in addition to a commission of between 5 to 10% of any resulting business between the supplier and the retailer. This is excluding the costs (listing fees, marketing fees etc. of the retailer). The agent is never responsible for the logistics since he does not assume ownership or storage of the product.
Thus, agents can be important to exporters that have limited knowledge of the European market or limited export experience. They can also be relevant to exporters that have limited travel possibilities, and limited presence in the European market, so that agents can act on their behalf as product ambassadors and in contacting potential buyers.
- Participate in award shows to increase your market visibility and test your products in the market. Some events to consider are the AVPA International Contest: Coffees Roasted at Origin and the Great Taste Awards.
- Attend coffee festivals throughout Europe. Examples are the coffee festivals of Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Milan, Warsaw and Paris. These are business-to-consumers events and can provide you with additional insight into the preferences of European consumers with regard to origin, flavour and sustainability certification.
- Invest in long-term relationships with a representative in Europe. This will help you become more competitive, manage market risks, improve the quality of your product and reach a fair quality/price balance. For more tips, read our study on doing business with European coffee buyers.
- See our study on finding buyers on the European coffee market for more tips on finding the right buyer, specifically for your green coffee.
3. What competition do you face on the European roasted coffee market?
Your main competition on the roasted coffee market will come from European roasters. The European coffee-roasting industry is mature and technology-intensive, with many players of all sizes, serving all segments of the market. These roasters will have easier access to market knowledge and distribution channels.
Entering the roasted coffee market in Europe has proven to be difficult. The concentration and market domination of European roasters and brands pose a great barrier for new entrants, especially smaller ones. In addition, the specialty coffee market in Europe, although increasing, remains a niche market. This means that competition is high, also for European roasters.
Kenya largest exporter of roasted coffees to European market
According to Eurostat data, Europe imported 1,070 tonnes of roasted coffee from Kenya in 2021. This represented a large annual average growth of 42% since 2017, when roasted coffee imports from Kenya amounted to 263 tonnes. The largest European importers of coffee roasted in Kenya were the Netherlands, Finland and Denmark.
The Government of Kenya has developed multiple policies aiming to increase productivity and quality in the national coffee sector. Kenya’s improvement in quality level is often associated with a government-run system that offers rewards to farmers for producing better quality coffee. In 2020, the Government of Kenya announced a coffee revitalisation program, most of whose funds were allocated to improving coffee processing. Early 2022, Kenya and the EU have an economic partnership agreement, resulting in 0% import tariffs on roasted coffees from Kenya.
African Coffee Roasters is one of the most successful exporters of roasted coffees in Kenya. It was created as an initiative of Coop Denmark in 2015 and started its commercial production in 2016. This company roasts and packages coffee in Kenya and ships it out directly, mainly to markets in Denmark. The company offers certified and organic coffee. Other examples of Kenyan coffee roasters are Rockbern Coffee, Dormans and Vava Coffee.
Colombia continues to position itself through certified and roasted at origin coffees
According to the Coffee Summary of the USDA Coffee reports, Colombia produced 828 thousand tonnes of Arabica coffee in 2021. During that same year, Colombian exports of roasted coffee to Europe amounted to 348 tonnes, increasing at an average annual growth rate of 12% since 2017. The largest European destination markets were Spain (141 tonnes), France (23 tonnes) and Italy (21 tonnes).
Colombia has an established reputation for high-quality coffees, also in Europe. In fact, already as of 2006, Colombia has obtained the designation of protected geographical indication (PGI) in Europe for the Café de Colombia trademark. Colombia is also the second-largest producer of Rainforest Alliance-certified coffees and the largest producer of Fairtrade-certified coffees. This has enabled Colombian roasters to access international markets and offer diversified products.
The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) sets the administrative and quality norms for roasters and brands who want to trade roasted coffee and/or use the Café de Colombia logo. Procolombia’s work has also been decisive in promoting roasted and specialty coffees. Colombian roasted coffee exporters benefit from the Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the EU since they do not have to pay an import tariff on roasted coffees.
Promotora de Café Colombia SA is one of the most important roasters in the country. It belongs to FNC and manages the well-known brand, Juan Valdez. This brand has developed different premium product lines, including single origin coffees, organic-certified products, and premium selection coffees. Juan Valdez is widely for sale in Europe. A large exporter of roasted coffee from Colombia is Colcafé, specialised in private-label roasting, having a wide portfolio of qualities, sustainability certifications and food safety standards.
Vietnam: third-largest roasted coffee exporter to Europe
Vietnam is the world’s second-largest coffee producer, with production volumes reaching 1,866 thousand tonnes by December 2021, according to the Coffee Summary of the USDA Coffee reports. Over 96% of Vietnamese coffee production consists of Robusta coffees and its coffee production is strongly focused on creating large volumes of standard quality coffees. Vietnam exported 345 tonnes of roasted coffee to Europe in 2021. Vietnam roasted coffee exports increased at an annual average growth rate of 26% between 2017 and 2021.
It is likely that trade between the European Union and Vietnam will increase, as the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) entered into force in August 2020. This agreement lifted tariffs on all green, roasted, and processed coffee from Vietnam. To help boost coffee trading through the EVFTA, the Vietnamese government asked the country’s coffee industry players to apply advanced cultivation, processing, and storage technologies, to better meet the requirements of European importers.
Ethiopian roasters known for their high-quality coffees
Ethiopia is recognised as a notable producer of specialty coffee within Europe. The country produces both Arabica and Robusta varieties. Ethiopian exports of roasted coffee destined to Europe showed a significant year-to-year growth of 42% between 2017 and 2021, growing from 78 exported tonnes in 2017 to 323 tonnes in 2021. Ethiopian exporters have benefited from the European Union’s Generalized System of Preferences as this regime allows roasted and processed coffee to enter the EU market without paying an import tariff.
Two examples of Ethiopian companies that export coffee roasted at origin to Europe are Moyee and Solino Coffee. Moyee was founded in partnership with the Fairchain Foundation from the Netherlands, and offers 100% specialty coffee of cupping scores ranging from 80 to 83.5. Solino, which has its European base in Germany, also processes the coffee entirely in the country of origin, paying above-average wages and is acknowledged as a Fairtrade Plus brand on the German market. Other examples of Ethiopian roasted coffee exporters are Tarara Coffee, Garden of Coffee and Tomoca Coffee.
Brazilian roasted coffee exports have shown a decline
Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer, producing both Arabica and Robusta varieties. Although the country is mainly known for exporting large volumes of standard quality coffee, it is also gaining reputation as a producer of specialty coffees. There is also an emerging micro-roasting revolution inside the country which responds to an increased domestic consumption of specialty coffees.
Brazilian roasters have a competitive advantage in terms of raw material availability. However, they must pay a general import tariff of 7.5% on roasted coffees to enter the European Union. Brazilian exports of roasted coffee to Europe decreased at an average annual rate of 8.5% between 2017 and 2021, amounting to 156 tonnes exported in 2021. The decline in exports might have to do with the continuous growth of domestic coffee consumption.
India’s roasted coffee exports show significant growth
India is among the top 10 largest coffee producers in the world. India produces both Arabica and Robusta varieties. Indian Robusta is often preferred for blends thanks to its good blending quality. India is also known for its unique Monsoon Malabar coffee, which is exposed to the salty sea air during the monsoon season to acquire a specific taste.
India is the sixth-largest roasted coffee exporter to Europe. India registered one of the largest growth rates from all exporting countries, growing from 33 tonnes in 2017 to 143 tonnes in 2021. Indian roasted coffee exports grew at an annual average rate of 43% during this period.
The coffee sector in India is promoted domestically and internationally by the Coffee Board of India. There is an increasing need and desire within the country to add value at the coffee processing stages, mainly aimed at increasing the quality of green coffee. Examples of Indian coffee roasters are Araku Coffee and MV Agro.
- Identify your potential competitors. To be successful as an exporter, it is important to learn from them too. Look into their marketing strategies, the product characteristics they highlight and their value addition approaches.
- Identify and promote your unique selling points (USPs). Give detailed information about your coffee-growing region or origin, the varieties, qualities, post-harvesting techniques, roasting, your business mission and certification of the coffee you offer. These are all elements that make your company unique.
- Actively promote your company on your website and trade fairs. Quality competitions also provide good opportunities to share your story. AVPA: Coffee Roasted at Origin or for your green coffee specifically: the auctions organised by the Cup of Excellence.
This study has been carried out on behalf of CBI by ProFound – Advisers In Development.
Please review our market information disclaimer.