The Wholesale Coffee Market 

An insight into what is happening and the price of coffee

From the cost of fuel to energy bills, the cost of living in 2023 is definitely crazy! Over the past year there has been a 90% price increase in the world coffee market. This month we had a look into why the price of wholesale coffee is rising more than ever before.

Wholesale Coffee

There are many factors including; climate change, inflation prices, logistics and COVID-19. At Bristol Twenty we source the very best green beans from around the globe including Brazil, Columbia, and Costa Rica.

Global coffee production is concentrated in a small number of countries, in relation to the number of countries that actually produce coffee. Brazil and Vietnam combined to account for half of the world’s coffee production. The third largest coffee producer in the world is Colombia, alongside Indonesia and Honduras. As a result, this alone explains how the following factors have been so significant in the way the global coffee market is moving forward. 


How climate change affects coffee growing:

  • Higher Temperatures damages beans
  • Droughts reduces how much coffee can grow
  • Higher risk of pests damaging crops in warm weather
  • Too much rain can kill crops
  • The quality of soil is then impacted

Many of the places we source our wholesale coffee from have had extreme weather from rising temperatures, droughts and frost. This has caused a significant decrease in the amount of coffee grown. This is a result of climate change, which has ruined many coffee harvests and reduced suitable areas for coffee production. 

This therefore means that the amount of coffee available has decreased. If there is not enough coffee for everyone, people who want to secure the supply are willing to pay a higher price. Overall, prices will go up until demand reduces or there is more supply.

In 2022, we saw an 11.1% consumer price inflation due to the strong demand from consumers and supply chain issues. This has affected the prices of pretty much everything from fuel prices to energy bills. For that reason, this has also meant that each stage of the production of coffee is more expensive. This includes:

  • Fuel & Fertilisers
  • Packaging materials
  • Transportation
  • Labour Costs

The biggest cost for coffee farmers is selective harvesting which requires specialist-trained manual labour in order to only select optimal crops in the form of perfectly ripened coffee cherries. In other words, this is the foundation of speciality coffee, in which determines the sweetness, consistency and flavour profiles. This in turn is why full traceability has become more poignant in the market place and price transparency has come to the forefront, adding additional admin and documentation costs to the entire process.

Wholesale Coffee
Wholesale Coffee

Another reason the price of coffee is rising is due to logistics and shipping costs increasing, they have been on the rise since the start of COVID-19 pandemic. There is a shortage of shipping containers which has led to increased freight costs. Above all, the cost of shipping a container from its origin to the UK has increased by 5 time and in some cases more!

In normal circumstances, once a container has been emptied it will then go back directly to the source country ready to be refilled, and the process starts again.

However, as there are constant changes in the marketplace, containers are getting stuck on ships, meaning the shipment is then unavailable and creates major delays in the whole process. For instance, shipment companies are exploiting higher prices by faster turnaround times and not waiting for empty containers to be returned empty to the ports.

All in all the wholesale coffee market is having to adapt to factors beyond its control. However, we remain loyal to our small-scale coffee farmers who consistently deliver coffee for each season over the year.

In conclusion, here at Bristol Twenty, we are committed to promising flavour and quality to out customers, and we are not willing to compromise on this, continuing to strive for change and more sustainable ways to move forward.