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Single-origin specialty coffee can cost over $30 per pound

The video discusses the production, pricing, and challenges faced by the coffee industry, particularly in regard to single-origin coffee, and emphasizes the importance of fair sourcing practices and direct-trade partnerships to benefit coffee producers.

Watch the video or read our summary below

INSIDER Business
  1. Single-origin coffee can be expensive due to its high quality influenced by altitude, climate, soil, and sun.
    1.1 Single-origin coffee can cost over $30 per pound due to its high quality, which is influenced by factors such as altitude, climate, soil, and sun.
  1. Single-origin coffee is difficult to produce in Kenya due to uneven terrain, while mechanized production in Brazil can hurt quality control, but it is often rated the highest for its distinct flavors.
    2.1 Single-origin coffee ensures distinct flavors, but achieving quality is difficult due to the uneven terrain in Kenya, where farmers must pick the coffee by hand, while mechanized production in Brazil can hurt quality control.
    2.2 Specialty coffee, rated by expert tasters, has unique attributes, and single-origin coffee is often rated the highest due to its distinct flavors, despite both specialty and commodity coffee coming from the same Coffea arabica plant.
  2. Coffee prices vary based on flavor and harvest size, with some single-origin coffees selling for over $6,000 per pound, and Kenya’s coffee processing involves shared centralized facilities and the washed process.
    3.1 The price of coffee varies based on flavor and harvest size, with some single-origin coffees selling for over $6,000 per pound, and defects can lower the price.
    3.2 Coffee processing in Kenya involves shared centralized facilities, with the most common method being the washed process which includes de-pulping, fermentation, and grading to separate high-quality beans.
  3. Coffee prices rise due to increased costs in farming, packaging, and relationships with producers, but companies like Metric invest in high-quality single-origin coffee.
    4.1 Coffee beans provide important income to producers and are processed and sold as blends or single origin, with consumers seeking specific flavors or aromas and paying for the costs of processing and transportation.
    4.2 Coffee prices have gone up due to increased costs in farming, packaging, and relationships with producers, and companies like Metric invest in these areas to provide high-quality single-origin coffee.
  4. Roasting coffee is an art that requires skill and precision to bring out the best flavors, with different roast levels highlighting the unique qualities of the raw product.
    5.1 Roasting coffee involves heating green coffee evenly to develop its flavor, with the ideal roast level being determined by a roaster’s skill in using tools like the trier to track the coffee’s color and smell.
    5.2 Metric roasts coffee for 11 minutes to bring out the best qualities of the raw product, while light roasts highlight the unique flavors of a region, but processing can impact flavor and price.
  5. Recycling wastewater and hand-processing coffee are important steps in the industry, but farmers may not always receive fair compensation for their efforts.
    6.1 The challenge of disposing wastewater is being addressed by recycling water, while coffee is processed by hand to achieve uniform beans free of defects before being milled to remove the parchment.
    6.2 Coffee grading varies by country and the price of arabica coffee is determined by the C Market exchange, but farmers may not know if they’re being cut out of potential profit.
  6. Coffee farmers face poverty despite high-quality coffee and demand for specialty coffee due to volatile and stagnant commodity prices.
    7.1 Coffee farmers struggle to operate sustainably due to the volatile and stagnant commodity prices, with many living in poverty despite the high quality of their coffee and the demand for specialty coffee at a premium price.
  7. Roasters aim for direct-trade partnerships to benefit coffee producers and prioritize transparency in pricing and education for consumers to ensure fair sourcing practices.
    8.1 Roasters are working towards direct-trade partnerships to benefit coffee producers, and transparency in pricing and education for consumers is important to ensure fair sourcing practices.
    8.2 Coffee producers are paid significantly less than the retail price, and even when paid a premium, there is still a markup, leading to a need for more transparency and better pay for producers in the specialty-coffee industry.

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