Europe has a large market for coffee and offers interesting opportunities to suppliers from all over the world. To know which market is best for you, it is important to know the quality and volumes of coffee you can offer. Unique, high-quality coffees are best suited to the specialty market. Producers of larger volumes of good quality coffees may find the most interesting opportunities in the mid-range markets, where certification plays an important role.
What makes Europe an interesting market for coffee?
Europe is a large coffee market, accounting for about one-third of global consumption. Even if consumption is expected to stabilize in the long term, Europe will remain attractive for coffee exporters. In particular, the growing specialty coffee market in Europe offers interesting opportunities. In this segment, you can compete by focusing on quality and building long-term relationships, rather than competing on price. The statistical analysis presented in this document focuses on green coffee beans that fall under (Coffee, unroasted, not decaffeinated).
Europe is the world’s largest coffee market
Europe accounted for 35% of the world’s coffee consumption in 2020/2021, representing an estimated 3.444 million tons of coffee. This makes Europe the largest coffee market in the world. Asia and Oceania ranks second with a market share of 24%, followed by Latin America with 20% and North America with a market share of 18%.
Between 2019/2020 and 2021/2022, the European coffee market is expected to grow only slightly, at an average annual rate of 0.8% in volume. In general, demand in Europe is expected to remain stable over the long term, as the European coffee market is saturated. Nevertheless, consumer demand for specifically premium coffees is expected to increase in Europe.
Europe is the world’s leading destination for green coffee suppliers
As the largest coffee market in the world, Europe is also the largest importer of green coffee. Total European green coffee imports amounted to more than 3.6 million tons in 2022, showing an average annual decline of -1.5% between 2018and 2020. This decline is likely due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to disruptions in the supply chain and the closure of establishments such as coffee shops and restaurants across Europe.
The value of green coffee imports decreased by -2.1% year-on-year over the same period, reaching €7.9 billion in 2020. This decline in value is also partly due to the pandemic, but it also reflects fluctuating coffee prices due to unforeseen events in global market supply and demand, volatile currency markets, and investments in coffee commodities by hedge funds and pension funds. For example, a frost hit damaged coffee plants and affected production in Brazil. These and other factors mentioned above affect the New York and London coffee futures markets, to which most coffee trading is linked. The exception to this rule is specialty coffee, traded at a differential above futures market prices, which absorbs most of the volatility of the bulk market. Specialty coffee can also be traded at a fixed rate negotiated between buyer and seller, where the futures market price is completely removed from the equation.
European importers purchased about 87% of their green coffee beans directly from producing countries in 2020, which equates to 3.1 million tons. The largest direct importers from producing countries are Germany (35% of total European imports) and Italy (18%). Belgium (10%) and
(10%) and Spain (8.4%) follow as the third and fourth largest direct importers in 2020. Intra-European trade accounted for 13% of European supplies in 2020, or 454 thousand tons.