The long road to your cup of coffee

by | Oct 14, 2020 | Business Experiences

How coffee works - The coffee supply chain

Did you already have your shot of coffee today? Probably yes. While enjoying it, did you imagine the route the main ingredient of you drink followed? In most cases the answer will probably be no. For a long time, I for sure did not realise. While cooperating on a project with Fairtrade a few years ago, step by step I started realizing how complicated this supply chain is and how much hard work is going into our daily treat.

Coffee is a massive worldwide industry

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. Globally, consumption is estimated at over 2.25 up to 3 billion cups per day (different sources). But what does it all take to fill all these cups?

The traditional production process is complex and involves many parties

The growing of the coffee beans takes time, as it lasts about 4-7 years for a plant to produce its first harvest. The ripe berries, containing two beans, are often harvested by hand, but the larger farmers will use machines. It is relevant to mention that about 80% of the worldwide coffee amount is produced by 25 million smallholder farmers, who have a very small piece of land. (Source: Fairtrade)

Then the beans are being removed from the berries, cleaned, sorted. The resulting green beans are being shipped around the world before they will be roasted. Once roasted they are ready for consumption and it is best to consume them asap for the best flavour.

Recently, someone shared a very impressive infographic with me, that the complexity of this supply chain clearly shows. The infographic How coffee works by Dan Zettwoch, was made in 2012, but nevertheless, it is still a great representation of the process.

How coffee works



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