In Europe as a whole, more than 60% of Agro- alimentary products are transformed and
commercialized by cooperatives (FAO) while in France 40% of the alimentary products proposed to
consumers come from agricultural producers. Why the coffee industry do not give space to products
transformed by the producers themselves.
It’s even more amazing when we consider the great efforts that occidental transformers, modest
baristas or great capsule producers put to make coffee enter the exclusive club of gourmet products.
In the world of exceptional products isn’t it the producer who holds the legitimacy of transforming
and, very often, of directly commercializing his production? It’s actually what is happening with the
great teas, great wines, great olive oils etc., why should it be different with coffee?
Getting access to consumers is the only key to get a better appreciation of the value of coffee in the
producing countries as well as
in the consuming countries.
We all know that, as the years having been going by, the share of returns that goes to
the producing countries continues to decrease. Even the efforts of certification are
consumed by the market: Certification is always done at the producer’s cost and the certified product is being valued on the pattern of the ordinary uncertified product up to when certification has become the norm and the rice
of certified product is as low as the price of uncertified one was. All this is not specific to coffee.
The inevitable conclusion therefore is that the only choice we have is to bring
coffee roasted in their countries of origin close to the consumers. This is already being practiced in
three countries at a modest scale: USA, France and Japan.
Why is that which was considered to be impossible yesterday, going to become a possibility today?
Firstly, cultural change. The producers have become proud coffee growers and they are passionate of
their production. As soon as they taste their coffee, the word “quality” becomes magnified.
Can you imagine the horrible experience I had when I went to a superb plantation in Central America
and when it was coffee time I saw a huge teapot of instant coffee! It was ten years ago….
Producing countries have converted into consumers and they will continue to improve the quality of
their production and of what they are consuming.
Still to come, second step, is the introduction of a brand in the consuming countries, the only way to
obtain value which is actually the default to coffee growers…
The dream of building commercial brands similar to the big brands of international roasters is out of
the question as far as the financial capacity of most producing countries is concerned. It would cost an
arm and a leg to create an international brand name!
Only Colombia can afford and achieve this with its brand name, “Juan Valdez”
Coffee with information of its origin don’t bring much returns to the concerned producers. It’s
nowadays a significant share of the market (10% in France) without any additional income for the
countries of origin. This is true for coffee, cocoa, or rice for example. The reason of this economic
inefficiency (seen by the green coffee seller) is simple: he cannot control and restrict this usage…. I
Nevertheless, the idea to sell with a Denomination of origin is the only possible way to build an image
and a price at a reasonable and affordable cost since we consider that this strategy of Origin
Denomination will give the same result as a classical commercial brand….with an investment divided
by 10! A lot of agricultural food producer use it (wine, olive oil, fruits, cheese) why are not we able to
make it work with coffee? These are the only economic ways of branding for producers
But for the time being, we have to note that this didn’t help much. Columbia certainly managed to
prove that in their time they were earning a few cents per pound, in France and USA with its 100%
Colombian Coffee, but at the expense of huge investments. Also next to this modest success, the
efforts of Veracruz Coffees, Marcala Coffees and actually those from Indonesia does not seem t get
The reason for these failures is plain: these brands are constructed under the certification of green
coffee, while this doesn’t concern the buyer of green coffee who is ultimately a roaster of coffee sold
under his own brand name! and If he wishes to inform the consumer that is coffee is not blended he
has no restriction to do it as the denomination of origin is designed to certificate green coffee bags,
not sachets of roasted coffee.
The only way to overcome this is to roast the coffee in its country of origin and to give a denomination
of origin to those very coffee which are roasted in the growing region.
Today this is legally possible in Europe, according to the statement from an important international
legal cabinet we consulted.
Ok, let us dream a bit and try to imagine what could happen to coffee farmers the day they will be the
only ones able to take profit of denominations that are already known by enlightened armatures:
Harrar , Yergachefé , Sidamo …………….the future brands that only Ethiopia will have the pleasure to
Accomplishing this dream is the duty of the NGO, of which I am the president, AVPA. It presents to
Paris, the best coffees roasted in their country of origin so as to bring these exceptional producers to
the limelight, giving them their first recognition which is actually necessary in their professional world
and in their markets.
The main objective is to introduce these exceptional coffees to the world of French and International
Philippe Juglar speech at the late 4th World Coffee Conference – Addis-Abeba – 2016