Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee in the EU

A full review of the EU coffee market with the aim of enhancing the competitivenesss of Jamaica coffee exporters in the EU markets.



99 participated

participated in the Absolutely Caribbean Trade Show 1 firm

ning and certification mmes held in country

2 stakeholders

Time to wake up and ‘cup’ the coffee Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee in the EU 1 participant benefitted from some activities of the WE-Xport programme

ttended trade missions, expos, and conferences

benefitted from the OECS Youth Accelerator 1 firm

Prepared by: Windward Commodities 30 th June 2022

3 stakeholders were

present at the CAIPA activities

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022



Executive Summary A Ferrari or a Rolls Royce? A European problem

4 4

1.1. 1.2. 1.3.

5 5 6 6 7 7 8 9 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 15 16 18 19 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Domestic structural issues 1.4. Towards simple solutions 1.5. What that means in practice 2. Our approach 2.1. Always market-lead 2.2. Our deliverables 3.

Jamaica and the coffee market A story of resilience and decline


3.2. A tale of two coffees 3.3. Why the world price does, and does not, matter 3.4. The trouble with roasting 3.5. The chosen few 3.6. A European problem 4. The European Union market for JBM coffee 4.1. The size of the EU prize 4.2. The complexity of coffee shops 4.3. Markets old and new

4.4. Coping with competition 4.5. Riding the coffee wave 4.6. The nuts and bolts of EU exports 5. Moving Blue Mountain to market 5.1. EU Roasters 5.2. EU Speciality Traders 5.3. EU Distributors 5.4. Jamaican producers

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Caribbean Export Development Agency and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

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Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022


What buyers want

29 29 30 31 32 35 37 39 39 40 41 42 43 44 46 46 47 47

6.1. Frank feedback 6.2. It’s all quality all the time 6.3. Wake up and ‘cup’ the coffee 6.4. Innovate or stagnate 6.5. Case study: A tale of two origins 6.6. A blend of problems 7. Getting serious about supply 7.1. An industry in decline 7.2. Production and Price 7.3. The trouble with profitability 7.4. Yielding results 7.5. End to end Quality 7.6. Case study: When supply chain interventions work 8. Recommendations 8.1. Practical solutions to complex problems 8.2. Securing the supply chain 8.3. Paying for the pilots

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1. Executive Summary

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

Above: View of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains

1.1. A Ferrari or a Rolls Royce?

Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee has a serious problem. In many ways, the brand has never been stronger. Despite the global recession of 2008, a hurricane that wiped out 20% of Jamaican coffee production, the rise of competing specialty coffee origins from Ethiopia to Panama and the disruption of COVID19, Jamaica Blue Mountain commands much the same price premium that it did in 2007. For any brand to consistently sell at 20.5 times the world price for green beans, 3.9 times that of other specialty coffees, is remarkable. For a traditional product still processed and marketed in much the same way as it has been for decades is more impressive still. But feedback from EU traders, roasters and buyers suggests that the Ferrari of the coffee world is starting to look old fashioned. More like an ageing Rolls Royce than a sleek sports car.

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Executive Summary

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

1.2. A European Problem The reason given by EU buyers is simple. The rest of the world has moved on while Jamaica has not. Innovative processing, traceability, micro-lots, new varietals, sophisticated marketing and competitive cupping have replaced the single-origin model. While Jamaica is still firmly behind the ‘third-wave’ of coffee, the rest of the world, and the EU in particular, is moving towards the ‘fifth’. In this respect, the EU specialty coffee market is more complex and demanding than that of the US and Japan which represent better short term opportunities, as does expansion into growing markets such as China and Emirates, where the expanding middle class values scarcity, luxury and brand reputation. The EU focus on traceability, ethics, measurable quality and innovation as well as stringent import requirements and a complex market structure make it an expensive place to operate. However, it would be a mistake to ignore these trends. The EU represents the world’s single largest specialty coffee market and many ideas that originate there become mainstream elsewhere. These same trends have increased competition and impacted both pricing and demand for Jamaica blue mountain coffee in Japan over the last decade despite strong historical links and an outstanding brand. And, while the price premium that Jamaica Blue Mountain commands has been highly resilient, export revenues have halved over the last fifteen years from USD30.35m in 2007 to USD15.57m in 2021. 1.3. Domestic Structural Issues In part this reflects deep seated structural problems in the industry rather than simply demand. Production is down because farmers do not make enough money at a farm level to make a profit. This is despite the fact that demand for Jamaica Blue Mountain outstrips supply, and farm gate prices are multiples of those in other countries. Yields are low, coffee is a second income for many, and investment and technical support to support farmers is almost non existent, with the most consistent coming from larger farms to secure their own supply chains. Outside the Blue Mountain areas, the picture is worse still due to the limited price premium that can be extracted for non-blue mountain coffee, and this is reflected in a sharp decline in both incomes and production. Further, the use of terms such as ‘Jamaica High Mountain’ serve primarily to confuse buyers who are overwhelmingly negative about these sub-brands. This report therefore focuses almost entirely on Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee given the quality credentials required in the EU and the price points needed to motivate farmers.

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Executive Summary

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

1.4. Towards Simple Solutions

Which brings us to the tension at the heart of the Jamaican coffee industry. Jamaica Blue Mountain commands a huge price premium, backed by established infrastructure, large commercial producers, institutional quality standards and established distribution. However, it is also falling behind old competitors such as Hawaii Kona that achieves higher premiums at larger volumes and newer ones such as Panama Geisha that extract huge prices and media coverage from tiny volumes. It also has an ageing consumer and farmer base with unprofitable farms that are producing less each year. The problems here are deep-seated and complex but our recommendation is simple; pilot something different. Take a single-minded focus on product innovation, quality, traceability and yields for Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee backed by the marketing required to increase, not decrease, prices into the EU market. To do this, we are proposing the establishment of a fund with contributions from the EU and Jamaican producers and the direct involvement of farmers groups. This will be market-driven, with technical and market assistance from an EU buyer to drive product and processing innovation in the form of quality, auctions and marketing to future-proof the industry for the next 70 years. 1.5. What that Means in Practice The first thing to say is that funds now need to be spent on action, not reports. And, although the solutions we are proposing may be simple in theory, there is nothing easy in practice about improving yields, introducing new varietals or training Q-cuppers. However, in conjunction with a longer-term pilot (‘new directions’ below), there is a real short-term commercial opportunity (‘enhancing excellence’) to build on the innovation that’s already taking place in Jamaica and take advantage of the EU opportunities we have identified. We strongly advocate seeking funding for these pilots from the EU commission with support from EU companies (specialty traders & distributors) and input from stakeholders (JACRA, producers and smallholder groups):

‘Enhancing excellence’ Leveraging current excellence in new ways for existing EU markets

‘New directions’ Creating new supply chains into EU markets in Scandinavia & East. Europe



e.g. Farmers with exceptional quality, varietals or specific lots.

e.g. JAWiC and JCGA farmers, intro. new varietals, micro-lots and batches.


e.g. Coffee Traders/ Mavis Bank

e.g. Sherwood Forest/ Country Traders


e.g. JACRA

e.g. JACRA


e.g. Blue Mountain Group

e.g. Oubu Coffee/ Drink Moments


e.g. Rehm & Co.

e.g. Falcon Coffee


e.g. Burg, Germany, Verlet, France

e.g. Stern Coffee, Denmark, Huracan, Lithuania

Yield, price & quality improvements. Third party farm audit (trees, yields, skills, climate). Identity ‘living income’ mechanisms and yield improvements.


Q-Cupping and quality consultants for specific high-quality lots and different varietals/ processes. Present current traceability and pricing at farm level.

Q-cupping/ processing certification (CQI). Introducing new varietals, new processes (e.g. anaerobic) with JACRA.


Build on Sherwood blockchain system for automated traceability


Jamaica Cup of Excellence, Auction for quality lots, Baristas & Roasters to create interest in ‘New JBM Wave’, Higher prices for higher quality, Media.



Drive Geographical Indicator specifically for EU niche markets

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2. Our Approach

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

2.1. Always Market-Lead Windward always takes a practical, market-lead approach to evaluating commercial opportunities, grounded in the reality of supply-side constraints and opportunities. To this end, we have spoken to a varied cross section of major speciality coffee distributors, traders and roasters in the EU including those who do, and do not, sell JBM, as well as Jamaican producers. On the market side, Windward has spent time with existing distributors of JBM coffee including Blue Mountain Coffee Group, Oubu Coffee and FA Coffee, who export the majority of JBM into the EU. We have talked to EU traders from Falcon to Rehm & Co and looked at the offers of roasters ranging in size from the small and traditional such as Burg in Germany to new wave such as Huracan in Lithuania and the medium sized such as Union Coffee and Mathew Algie, owned by Tchibo in Germany. We have reviewed thousands of pages of research, 23 separate reports on the Jamaican coffee industry and spent a huge amount of time with coffee experts and on desktop research, most often with a cup of 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee at our side. We have attended webinars on the latest sustainability criteria (ITC) and EU trends (Algrano EU 2022) and on the supply-side we have spoken to a cross section of Jamaican coffee producers including Mavis Bank Ltd, Coffee Traders Ltd, Country Traders, Rock Steady, Sherwood Forest Estate, as well as JCGA and JAWIC in order to understand the challenges of coffee production. Andwe have had discussions with JACRA, JCEA, JAMPRO and JIPRO to understand the roles, rules and support given to producers by these key institutions. Finally, we have engaged with the Coffee Quality Institute and International Women’s Alliance for their view and existing activities to support women farmers in Jamaica. For the most part market conversations and viewpoints are referenced at a supply chain level, not by company or individual unless examples are being provided. As always, the feedback contained in here is buyer-led and represents our best synthesis of the position of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the market.

We have reviewed thousands of pages of research, most often with a cup of 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee at our side.

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Our Approach

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

2.2. Our Deliverables Our brief was to, “conduct a full review of the EU coffee market with the aim of enhancing the competitiveness of Jamaica coffee exporters in the EU markets”. Where market feedback has indicated a focus on specific areas, we have modified content to ensure it is commercially grounded. Prices of green beans in Jamaica, for example, are typically higher than that of roasted despite the additional costs of processing. · JBM inhabits a very specific niche. There is very little direct competition and limited value in comparing it to obvious competitors such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, Colombia or Costa Rica whose coffees sell for a tenth of the price of JBM. We therefore focused on competitors including Hawaii and Panama who command similar premiums. · Neither Japanese nor US markets provide good read-across to the EU. While we have highlighted global trends where they apply, it became clear from discussions with buyers and roasters that distinct cultures and history with Jamaica (particularly for Japan) and distinct distribution dynamics (for the US) provides limited learnings. Whilst organic certification will buy ‘shelf space’ it does not pay a premium in the EU, and it cuts production yields by up to 45%. This is something that Jamaican producers can ill afford given low yields and profitability at a smallholder level. Likewise, and in common with the rest of the specialty sector, other ethical certification is almost irrelevant, other than for much larger mass-market roasters.

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3. Jamaica and the Coffee Market

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

3.1. A story of resilience and decline Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) coffee is a highly successful global brand, sold as ‘the Ferrari of the coffee world’ to discerning consumers from Tokyo to Texas. While this success was rooted in a strong post-war partnership with Japan importers who took over 80% of Jamaica’s volume prior to 2008, exports have more recently diversified with a larger portion going to the US with the remaining volume going into established UK and EU distributors and emerging Asia and Middle Eastern markets. JBM green bean exports alone represented USD15.56m in revenues to the industry in 2021 driven in part by a high sustained price premium over the global market (‘C’) price. However, despite this resilience the Jamaican coffee industry has been in decline for the last decade. Part of this has been driven by natural disasters including hurricanes, drought and CLR outbreaks, but it is also a symptom of a broken business model. Yields are poor, farmers struggle to make a profit, new origins are entering the specialty coffee market and consumer and buyer tastes are changing. This has had a huge impact on the sustainability of the industry and the brand and is illustrated below from JACRA data. This shows a volume decline of 54.9% from 1,275mt in 2007 to 575mt in 2021. Associated revenues in the same period were partly mitigated by upwards pricing but still went from USD30.35m in 2007 to USD15.56m in 2021, a decline of 48.7%.

Jamaica Blue Mountain exports Volume (kg) and Value (USD) 2007-2021


1,000,000 1,100,000 1,200,000 1,300,000 1,400,000 1,500,000




200,000 300,000 400,000 500,000 600,000 700,000 800,000 900,000






2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

Volume KG

Value USD

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Jamaica and the Coffee Market

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

3.2. A Tale of Two Coffees In the 1990’s and early 2000’s the industry was driven by a balance between production of premium Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) and lower priced Jamaica High Mountain (JHM) grown at lower altitudes and outside the blue mountain areas. However, JHM, which once made up almost 25% of total cherry production, has declined to less than 2% of the total. From an export perspective, the problem is one of pricing. Although less expensive than JBM, it still requires a price many times higher than other specialty coffees to be commercially viable. This makes it too expensive as a value offer into major multiple retailers and, for the premium segment, buyer feedback is clear - if they are going to pay substantially more for coffee, they want to pay for the ‘real deal’ in the form of JBM. This, coupled with the dynamics of the EU market, the collapse of production, and lack of profitability at a farm level makes JHM unviable in the EU.

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Jamaica and the Coffee Market

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

3.3. Why the World Price Does and Does Not Matter The branding, rarity, taste profile, heritage and careful distribution of JBMhas effectively decoupled it almost completely from the world market for coffee. The average price for JBM green beans over the last 15 years has been consistent at USD29.61/kg FOB or over 20 times that of the world market (‘C’) price for coffee. Declines in production have helped here – scarcity helps maintain unit prices as volumes decline, but it is also testament to the strength of the JBM brand and the loyalty of its consumer base. When the world price goes over USD2/kg it causes a frenzy in commodity trading circles where sales are price and value based but barely a whisper when it comes to ultra-premium speciality coffees such as JBM that charge more than ten times this. None of this is to say that price does not matter. It very much does and the fact that other origins with better cupping scores and higher media profiles are starting to compete directly with JBM is a huge competitive risk, as is the fact that a higher C-price means higher specialty prices and a greater focus on innovation and quality rather than heritage and branding.

JBM green price USD per kg vs World C-price USD per kg





USD29.61/kg average JBM green bean price 20.5x multiple of average world green bean price




2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

JBM$ per KG

C-price $ per KG

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Jamaica and the Coffee Market

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

The two dominant producer groups, Coffee Traders and Mavis Bank Wallenford, now export over 60% of all beans.

3.4. The Trouble with Roasting If approaching the EU and other export market with a lower price offer is not feasible, adding value through roasting would appear to be a logical upgrading strategy for the industry. However, there are a number of structural barriers, outside the domestic and regional tourism markets, to this. Due to the price premium commanded by JBM for green beans and the limited demand for direct sales of roasted product, the green bean equivalent price of roasted JBM (in red below) is often higher than that of green beans (in blue below). When you factor in the average cost of roasting (USD5/lb or USD11/kg) this made roasted exports less profitable than green bean sales in 9 of the last 14 years. In addition, the primary route to EU consumers is through established EU roasters who sell to coffee shops, retailers and direct to consumer online. This is difficult to circumvent as a single origin because end customers (e.g. retail multiples and coffee shops) require a range of origins. Without a portfolio, the logistics, packing, quality standards, marketing and distribution costs do not make commercial sense for JBM.

Roasted vs Green bean export prices USD/kg (green bean equivalent)








2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

Green USD per KG

Roasted USD per KG

Roasted USDminus cost per KG

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Jamaica and the Coffee Market

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

3.5. The Chosen Few With consolidation in recent years, production and EU export of JBM is dominated by large and influential actors relative to the size of the industry. The two dominant producer groups, Coffee Traders and Mavis Bank-Wallenford, now export over 60% of all beans. This is positive in the sense that it provides commercial sustainability, economies of scale and the managerial expertise to drive marketing and exports of JBM. However, it also gives enormous domestic influence to the two main producers on both domestic and export prices. In the EU, a merger of the two largest distributors in 2017, who themselves have investments in JBM, estates means that supply, pricing and end market activities are closely monitored and controlled. Additionally, all exports must pass through JACRA for strict quality control, with export and import licences required for relevant parties to ensure visibility and monitoring of sales and legal use of the JBM brand in end markets. Whilst investment over time and quality controls are the reason that the JBM brand is so valuable, this concentration of power has also stifled innovation both domestically and in export markets.

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Jamaica and the Coffee Market

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

3.6. A European Problem Although it is difficult to separate exports and final destinations, according to JACRA statistics and information from key EU exporters and importers of JBM coffee in the EU, JBM green bean sales there are only between 10-15% of total or 50-80mt annually (83mt in2021). A recent contract securedbyCoffeeTraders with Nespresso for their pods globally, has created an additional opportunity to supply a similar volume again per annum, subject to supply. This is excellent news for JBM given the awareness that the Nespresso deal will drive in end consumers. However, this remains a small volume relative to sales into Japan and the US despite the fact that the EU represents the world’s largest single coffee market by a long way with a high value consumer base. This reflects the difficulty of achieving the price premiums that JBM commands elsewhere in the EU and will requires significant investment and time to correct. This is particularly important given the need to diversify beyond the two main import markets, to shore up pricing and because trends in the EU market are typically picked up in others. These export trends are highlighted below:

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4. The European Union Market for JBM Coffee

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

4.1. The Size of the EU Prize Globally the specialty coffee market (80+ cupping score products) was worth USD53.67bn in 2019 with a projected growth rate of 12.32% annually. Of this, the EU specialty market was worth $16.68 billion (almost one third of the global total) and is projected to grow by 9.0% annually in the period 2020-2026 due to rising demand for on-the-go coffee and a strengthening premium coffee shop segment, despite COVID-19. The market has three core segments – 80-84.99 grade, 85-89.99 grade and 90-100 grade coffee. The middle of these, where Jamaica is typically present, was by far the largest segment accounting for almost 40% of the market. In the EU itself, consumption is dominated by Spain, Italy, France and Germany as illustrated below. However, when it comes to specialty coffee and the shop, café and out of home infrastructure that drives this, other markets are much more interesting for JBM’s premium niche. Specifically, Scandinavian countries including Finland and Norway have some of the highest per capita coffee consumption in the world and Eastern European markets including Romania and Poland (in red) have a growing café culture based on high participation:

EU coffee consumption Total and per capita (kg) 2019




























Por tugal





Czech Republic

Coffee consumpti on (kg)

Coffee consumpti on per capita

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The European Union Market for JBM Coffee

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

4.2. The Complexity of Coffee Shops The EU is a relatively mature, sophisticated, and constantly evolving market, partly driven by the growth of out of home coffee shops and reflected in the growing number of coffee bars and chains, small roasters, small local brands and baristas. The EU branded coffee shop market grew by 3.4% in 2019 reaching a total of nearly 38,000 outlets. The leading brands including Costa Coffee (8.4% share), Starbucks (7.4% share) and McCafé (6.8% share). While these large-scale companies do not always offer speciality coffee products, they have set a consumer trend towards coffee shop and other out-of-home purchases. This consumer trend spills over to smaller and more specialised roasters and coffee shops offering high-quality, speciality coffees, showing that EU consumers are happy to pay more for high quality coffees. Between 2010 and 2018 sales at coffee shops selling speciality coffee in Western Europe increased by 140%. However, whilst Germany and France, for example, are well established in the Speciality Coffee market and continuing to grow rapidly, and include the majority of JBM sales in EU, it is exponential growth and increasing coffee culture in Scandanavia and Eastern Europe that offer new opportunities moving forwards. The below illustrates the number of cafes (food and drink) and specialist coffee shops and independents (non-chain coffee shops) as part of this total:

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The European Union Market for JBM Coffee

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

To identify potential high-value, high growth markets in the EU, we have taken this data and overlayed it with population, imports and per capita coffee consumption from ISO, CBI and the EU Specialty Coffee Association. This forms the basis for a ‘Specialty score’ per country that suggests a focus on core markets in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe to expand JBM sales in the EU in addition to existing sales channels in France & Germany

Coffee shops per million people

Coffee consumption per capita (kg)

Coffee shop network

Coffee shops as % total

Independent coffee shops %

Total specialty score (index)

EU Country General café network

Poland Finland Norway Sweden Ireland Denmark Romania

4,068 1,108 2,047 1,114 1,645 1,832 3,705 7,964

710 159 375 810 328 129 390 394

15% 13% 15% 42% 17%

19% 21% 64% 52% 30% 22% 37% 35% 16% 48% 73% 52%



23.8 17.4 16.8 15.6 10.9 10.2

28.66 68.61 79.72 65.09 22.19 20.39


9.9 7.6 4.4 8.0 7.6 7.1 6.2 4.7 2.6 6.1 5.7 5.4 4.0 4.2



9.6 9.4 8.8 8.4 8.2 6.8 6.6 6.3 6.0 4.9


5% 7% 5% 4% 3% 4% 1% 0% 1%

22.9 26.3 36.4 56.5




Czech Republic


390 544



Belgium 2,740


6.4 9.6 9.1


16,082 57,209 44,769 36,473

630 549 200 329

0% 0%








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Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022 4.3. Markets Old and New Each European market is different and the analysis above, coupled with an understanding of culture and trends across key EU markets is important when targeting growth for small volumes of a niche brand like JBM. Commentary is from the EU SCA:


Market Profile and Key Consumer Insights

Germany (existing)

Germany has the largest coffee focused shop market in the EU introducing high-quality coffees and educating German consumers. This is being accompanied by the expansion of small-scale roasters, with established speciality importers buying small volumes of high quality, single origin or FairTrade coffees. These include Berlin’s Supremo, The Barn, The Elephant and Flying Roasters. Germany also has some specialised importers including Rehm & Co and Touton Specialities Coffee (high-quality coffees), El Puente (Fair Trade) and Slokoffee (Organic). Falcon Speciality Coffee based in the UK, also has an office in Germany. Falcon Speciality have launched Falcon Micro, with speciality micro lots delivered in 5KG boxes targeting nano roasters who would otherwise buy one coffee bag at a time. InterAmerican, the speciality arm of the green coffee trader Neumann Kaffee Group is also based in Germany. From SCA: ‘Coffee is one of the country’s most-consumed beverages, and it is enjoyed mainly at home as filter coffee. However, the popularity of filter coffee has decreased slightly in recent years as the preference for single-serve pods and capsules increased. With more young people getting into the habit of consuming coffee, there’s an array of coffee shops and coffee places that have opened in the last few years to serve this need.’ France also has a fast-growing speciality coffee sector, mainly in larger cities. The sector is currently at 2-3% coffee market but expected to grow to 10% by 2025. Speciality shops include Matamata coffee and Alter Ego, with Belco, a speciality trader based in Bordeaux focused on medium specialty blenders and micro-lots, with a presence in El Salvador and Ethiopia. ‘The general public’s understanding of coffee could be compared to the one they have of wine… Although, there is a clear upward trend in home consumption of coffee in the form of pods and capsules… the most popular brewing methods seem to be filter and espresso, and the quality has improved significantly in the last five years.’ Scandinavian Countries are focused on high-quality coffees, with Denmark, Norway and Sweden registering the highest growth in high-quality coffee shops since 2010. In Sweden, about ten new small roasteries open each year, and Denmark registered the highest growth rate of new coffee shops at 14.5% in 2018. The largest chain operating in Scandinavia is Espresson House, with approximately 350 shops. Examples of speciality roaster/ coffee shops include), Kafferäven and Drop Coffee Roasters (Sweden), Coffee Collective and Sonny (Denmark), and Solburg & Hansen (the largest speciality coffee roaster in Europe), Nordic Approach, Lippe and Fuglen (Norway). Nordic focuses on sourcing the absolute best micro-lots and blends with full price traceability for a demanding, complex market. ‘Nordic countries register the highest per capita coffee consumption, but general public’s understanding of coffee is very low. Specialty coffee is consumed by young people, 20-45 years old. There’s a noticeable increase when it comes to specialty, and drip coffee is back in style.’ Eastern European markets are small but with lots of potential, with numbers of coffee shops growing exponentially. The number of speciality coffee shops in Romania, for example, rose from only three to more than ninety between 2013 and 2019, with Hungary having over 150 speciality shops. Examples of specialised coffee shops include Rebel Bean, Plato Café and Misto Café (Czech Republic), Two Minutes and The Urbanist (Romania), Black Sheep and The Goat Herder (Hungary), and Java Coffee Roasters and Hayb Coffee (Poland). Coffee festivals in Eastern Europe also reflect an opportunity, including Bucharest Coffee Festival and Prague Coffee Festival. Many Eastern European countries now also have their own SCA chapters. ‘South-Eastern Europe is witnessing dynamic coffee scenes, with Greece, Romania, and Turkey seeing a lot happening with a really strong connection of coffee to tradition and culture. Here, you have a strong cezve/ ibrik tradition in tandem with the third wave coffee scene.’

France (existing)

Scandinavia (existing)

Eastern Europe (existing)

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The European Union Market for JBM Coffee

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

4.4. Coping with Competition The EU imported over 3.6mn MT of green beans in 2020, at a value of US$8.2bn (€7.9bn). This showed a decrease of -1.3% between 2016 and 2020 due primarily to the COVID 19 pandemic with supply chain disruptions and closure of out of home establishments. Most origins have established national speciality coffee bodies, and/ or solicited external support to invest in the development of high-quality, climate resilient coffee, as well as creating brands and marketing their speciality coffee internationally, including in the EU market. While the figures here are for all coffees, not just specialty, all of these origins have niche offers that have the potential to compete in time with JBM and have been referenced by buyers. Some key examples are included below, and on the following page.¹


EU Imports (MT)

Specialty Focus

Largest Producers increasing supply of speciality coffees:

95% Arabica, largely standard quality. Brazil Speciality Coffee Association elevating quality and marketing.





Mainly robusta for the instant coffee market but innovational and new varietals for high quality specialty robusta are growing. Increasing focus on specialty robusta such as Monsoon Malibar which is starting to compete with high quality Arabica origins. Washed Arabica. Colombia Growers Foundation strategically promotes and markets Colombian coffee. Café de Colombia trademark is a registered Geographical Indicator in the EU. Ethiopian government focus on quality Arabica with high-end varietals such as Yirgacheffe dominant in specialty markets. EU imported 46,000 MT National coffee brand Cafés del Peru : unique origin, high quality varietals increasing.





Largest Organic Producers:







EU imported 10,000MT organic coffee within this total. No national coffee institute but AMECAFE association to boost speciality coffee.

90% Robusta, but speciality coffee is exported such as Gayo 1 (Satu) from Sumatra .



¹ European Coffee Federation Report 2018/2019

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The European Union Market for JBM Coffee

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022


EU Imports (MT)

Specialty Focus

African Great Lakes (distinctive speciality coffees):



Speciality coffees promoted through Intercafé Burundi Association. Also promotes Café Burundi internationally. Mainly Robusta coffee. CORE institute: research, quality and marketing of coffee. Works with Coffee Quality Institute.





Kenya’s grading system makes it easy to source high quality coffee. Coffees highly rated for flavour and quality.



Most coffee traded at central auction. Speciality coffee has direct relationships. Mount Kilimanjaro known for unique tase.

Central America (high-quality speciality coffees):



Honduran Coffee Institute (IHCAFE) promoting value-add coffees through certification and/ or quality. Also shipped 37,000 MT organic coffee to EU market.



Good reputation for high quality coffees.



Most exports go direct to the key US market. Producers export micro-lots such as the high value Gesha varietal and unique processing methods such as wine naturals.

20 | Time to Wake Up and ‘Cup’ the Coffee

The European Union Market for JBM Coffee

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

4.5. Riding the Coffee Wave This section explores the concept of coffee waves, which define developments in the EU market and the type and quality of coffee sought in each wave. In short, each wave refers to increased demands for higher quality coffees, with different experiences and coffee outlets that emerged to shape and satisfy consumer demand. The five waves of coffee are outlined from the Allegra World Coffee Portal below. The second wave saw the emergence of higher quality coffee corner locations including Costa Coffee and Starbucks in the mid 1990s, with the third wave focusing more on taste attributes with a ‘coffee like wine’ consumer attitude, and direct sourcing, usually traceable to farmer level in the mid 2000’s. Jamaica Blue Mountain, for generations far ahead of the coffee curve, was a key beneficiary of these waves. However, the Fourth and fifth waves that are now washing over the EU and other markets mark a shift towards science and excellence, with new technologies and brewing methods from in-house roasting activities, and smart boutique concept stores emerging to sustain demanding and knowledgeable coffee drinkers. 5th Wave implies scaling up consistent high quality to achieve a highly successful, customer-centric and sustained business outcome. Whilst Speciality buyers acknowledged fourth and fifth wave trends as aspirational and quite influential in terms of ‘hype’ and reach on social media, it is currently a very small share of the speciality market. It is an important consideration for future proofing brand and growth strategies, whilst continuing to fulfil third and fourth wave clientele. The risk for JBM is that if it doesn’t ride these new waves, it may flounder in the surf.

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The European Union Market for JBM Coffee

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

4.6. The Nuts and Bolts of EU Exports While buyer, operational, quality, logistics and legislative requirements are typically a key barrier for Caribbean products entering the EU, this is not true for JBM coffee. The restrictions and constraints of the EU coffee market are well known and widely followed by current JBM exporters and the key UK/ EU distributors. Where they are not there is an excellent, and highly detailed document produced by the Dutch CBI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports). The report, ‘Entering the Market for Speciality Coffee’ Report, can be found at: https://www.cbi.eu/market-information/coffee/buyer-requirements).

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5. Moving Blue Mountain to Market

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

JBM has built a strong reputation globally as a scarce, luxury, island coffee, with a sweet, rich flavour enjoyed on special occasions. It commands a very significant price premium in all markets, including the EU. The value chain model below illustrates the primary routes to market for JBM in the EU starting with the Consumer and ending with the Farmer, through Processors, Distributors, Traders and Roasters. It also shows the evolution of a kilo of JBM from farmgate (USD18/kg green bean equivalent) all the way through processors (USD27/kg) to a price to the end EU consumer of up to USD238/kg:

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Moving Blue Mountain to Market

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

5.1. EU Roasters There are a huge number of coffee roasters across the EU, with the larger companies including Nestlé (Switzerland), JDE Peets (Netherlands), Melitta (Germany), Lavazza (Italy) dominating the market. With the exception of Nestlé, who has recently purchased JBM coffee for their Nespresso brand, the majority of EU roasters that carry JBM are small or medium sized. JBM sales peak during occasions such as Christmas and Easter, and buyers are relatively conservative – buying into the reputation and history of JBM rather than a detailed knowledge of varietals or flavours. In Germany JBM sells into roasters and cafes who market to tourists alongside other rare origins such as Kona and in France to roasters that serve the large number of small specialty shops. ‘Fifth wave’ roasters that are now emerging in the EU are not currently a target audience for JBM. They often have a strong online and social media presence and follow cupping and auction trends closely. They frequently offer subscription services to end customers, accelerated by the COVID 19 pandemic driving online purchases. These roasters can be opinion leaders, and are useful to collaborate with as a client, but are not currently a volume business. However, they represent trends that are shaping the future of EU specialty coffee in much the same way that third wave roasters did a few decades ago. In addition to existing customers in Germany and France, roasters in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe have indicated that there is an opportunity for JBM with the right quality and transparency:


Existing EU customers (e.g. Germany, France):

Solberg & Hansen, Oslo, Norway Is one of the largest specialty coffee roasters in Europe with a turnover of USD13.8m, S&H are a key potential partner with a focus on quality and strong distribution across Scandinavia. (https://sh.no) Stiller’s Coffee, Copenhagen, Denmark Is a highly influential, award-winning coffee shop and roaster. (https://stillerscoffee.dk) Kontra Coffee, Copenhagen, Denmark (https://www.kontracoffee.com) Drop Coffee, Stockholm, Sweden Is similarly innovative and sets the conversation on new varieties and quality. (https://www.dropcoffee.com) Huracan Coffee, Riga, Lithuania Is the second largest specialty coffee roaster in Europe with extensive coverage in the Baltic and Eastern Europe. (https://huracan.lt) Java Coffee Roasters, in Poland Is a long-established specialty roaster with distribution

Burg, Hamburg Germany. A highly traditional roaster/ café in line with the customer target group for JBM in the EU (https://kaffeeroesterei-burg.de) Verlet, Paris France. Another small traditional roaster/ café (https://www.verlet.fr/) Union Coffee Roasters, London UK Is a medium sized roaster with distribution into the EU and an exceptional range of specialty coffees. (https://unionroasted.com) Tchibo (Mathew Algie), Glasgow UK, Hamburg, DE Is a large EU roaster and service supplier with a premium sub-brand (https://www.blaknektar.coffee)

Other EU roasters (UK with EU operations):

Eastern Europe:

across Eastern Europe. (https://javacoffee.pl)

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Moving Blue Mountain to Market

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

5.2. EU Speciality Traders The EU’s largest speciality coffee traders are mainly divisions of large commercial trading co-operations. Most of these companies buy directly from JBM Distributors, buying quantities on-demand that are too small to buy directly. A few may hold limited stocks for flexibility, but none stated that they would hold more than 3 barrels.

Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG) Based in Hamburg in Germany, this is the largest coffee sourcing company in the world controlling 10% total coffee demand, with 50 subsidiaries in 27 countries. Neumann is involved in the Speciality Coffee Market through its company InterAmerican Coffee* , who have offices in Hamburg, London and Zug, as well as a network in the US. At time of writing, they are carrying JBM coffee from Baron Estate, Clydesdale Estate, Gold Cup Estate and Wallenford Estates, and their feedback on JBM is included in section X (buyer feedback) below. Olam is one of the top coffee traders worldwide with almost US$20bn in sales. They also have a strong position in other commodities including edible nuts, palm oil, rubber, softs and spices. Olam has also increased its presence in the specialty coffee market acquiring Shluter in the UK in 2016 for US$7.5m, and establishing Olam Speciality Coffee* UK/EU market. Volcafe Ltd*. Volcafe operates as the trading arm for ED&F Man, one of the world’s largest trading firms established in 1783. Volcafe has been established since 1851, and prides itself in being capable of handling both single-origin, small premium coffee, all the way to mass market coffee blends. Sucafina. Sucafina is a leading coffee trader founded in 1977 with its main offices are located in Geneva, Switzerland. In mid 2020, Sucafina consolidated its specialty coffee business – 32cup, MTC Group, and Sucafina North America- into a single team under Sucafina Specialty*. At time of writing Sucafina Speciality are offering JBM from Sherwood Forests Estate.

Rehm & Co*. Rehm & Co. was founded in 1906 and is based in Hamburg focussing on specialty coffees. At time of writing Rehm & Co are offering JBM from Nomlaz Farms, Gold Cup Estate and ‘Blue Mountain Grade 1’. Mercon Coffee. Mercon is on of the biggest coffee commodity trading companies in the world headquartered in the Netherlands. It is a green coffee trading specialist in coffee trading business for over 50 years. Mercon’s headquarters are located in the Netherlands, but the company also runs operations in 9 other countries. Mercon, runs a high-quality speciality coffee division called Mercon Premium Estates, which sources single-origin coffees from Nicuagua, Guatemala, Vietnam and Honduras. Touton . Touton is a French coffee and cocoa trader with more than 150 years of history and coffee production facilities in Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, and Vietnam

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Moving Blue Mountain to Market

Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee in the EU Windward Commodities 30th June 2022

There are also excellent independent speciality traders in the EU including Falcon Coffees* (UK/ EU), Nordic Approach (Norway), Mare Terra (Spain), Belco (France), T his Side Up (Netherlands) and many others who are passionate about quality, origin and transparency, and prepared to invest working in value chains and supporting collaborative market strategies to ensure the success of speciality coffees. They will facilitate engagement with likeminded roasters including field visits and collaborative purchasing, with a focus on farm gate pricing and sustainable practices. Speciality traders have direct sourcing relationships with single origin and micro lot coffees, valuing a whole range of factors that differentiate the coffees. They will also invest in origins working with exporters and farmers to improve quality, reputation and livelihoods. None of the traders were looking for mainstream certifications in their speciality coffees, valuing transparency, social equity and environmental sustainability above any certification. All mentioned that organic certification would ‘create shelf space’ but does not command a premium in the market. This makes it challenging for producers who can lose up to 45% crop through adhering to strict organic practices. All were clear that they would work with established exporters to ensure efficient logistics from Jamaica into the EU market. There are also excellent independent speciality traders in the EU who are passionate about quality, origin and transparency, and prepared to invest working in value chains and supporting collaborative market strategies to ensure the success of speciality coffees. 5.3. EU Distributors The majority of JBM EU sales are through the Blue Mountain Coffee Group Limited (BMG), a merger between Blue Mountain coffee (Europe) and Edmonds Group in 2017. Both companies had been competing in the EU market and have longstanding joint ventures in farming and processing with the key producers including Stoneleigh Estate, and are JBM specialists. As a result of the merger BMG offers the widest range of JBM estate coffees EU buyers including contracts with Blue Baron, Cinchona, Flamstead, St Clouds, Stoneleigh and Clifton Mount Estate. Whilst there is relatively high demand in the UK market and Western Europe, volume is also exported to Turkey, Israel and Russia (pre conflict in Ukraine). BMG’s model is to hold stock in Antwerp and the UK and offer clients Just-In-Time fulfilment of orders as small as 15Kg

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