Australia is well known for its high standard for coffee. Coffee culture in Australia is so strong that coffee is deeply integrated in our daily life. Coffee is also the most consumed beverages in Australia (Square, 2018). Businesses directly working with coffee contribute 12 billion revenue (IBISWorld, 2019) to the Australian economy, importing about 115 million tonnes of coffee in 2017-18 (ICO 2019).
Lack of Data and Transparency
Coffee is such an important part of our daily routine, however we are amazed by the lack of data and transparency in the Australian coffee sector. There are fairly limited statistics and data regarding coffee trading and pricing in Australia.
This makes economic modelling or even assumptions difficult. This is due to a number of reasons. For one Australia is not part of the International Coffee Organisation which incorporates and publishes up to date trade data of all its participating members. Furthermore major Australian coffee associations do not actively and directly promote transparency in the trade of green coffee.
Hype vs Value
There seems to be a disconnect between Australia’s hype about coffee and the coffee price crisis in the producing regions. While many coffee producers are emigrating to other crops as they are not able to make a living with coffee due to its oversupply and high volatility, it seems to have little cascading effect on the price of coffee as an end product.
This disconnect is understandable as Australian operators tend to absorb the price fluctuation and green coffee costs are only made out a small portion of your everyday flat white. This does not necessarily mean that the Australian coffee sector, either commodity or specialty, is sustainable in the long term. It could be well just a matter of time until the cascading effect reaches the Australian coffee sector.
Our opinion is that to have a more sustainable coffee market, there needs to be a fundamental change on the demand side of the trade. There is a need for consumers to demand higher quality coffee and therefore raises the quality of supply in the producing countries. Higher quality supply means a fairer price for coffee and better earning for the quality producers.
To create this demand from the consumers, there is a need for consumers to understand the values of higher quality coffee through transparency and data such as product traceability and pricing. There is still so much scope for further discussion on better transparency and data in the Australian coffee sector.
How Good Coffee Project Is Improving Transparency
At Good Coffee Project we partner with coffee roasters who purchase specialty grade green coffee directly from producers or reputable importers such as Raw Material Coffee and Melbourne Coffee Merchants. This maximises the traceability and transparency in the supply chain, ensuring fair pay (and often above market average pay) to farmers and producers.
We also make all the information available to you as much as possible, either through our product pages or information cards provided by our roaster partners. We believe you would appreciate and value the stories behind each coffee as much as we do.
As a consumer, you could also help improve the sustainability of coffee by demanding and purchasing high quality coffee.
We hope you enjoy your coffee journey!