Germany’s Taste for Specialty Coffee

Messe Berlin
World of Coffee 2019 in Berlin

The specialty market in Germany is slowly (but surely) growing, with the market being the second largest in Europe (just after the UK). 

In 2018, 12% of Germany’s total coffee consumption was ‘out-of-home consumption’ (an increase of 5% from the previous year). Additionally, approximately 50% of German coffee drinkers expressed a willingness to pay more for a higher quality cup of coffee. 

The positive trajectory of coffee consumption and demand for quality has introduced opportunities for specialty importers, who purchase small volumes of single-origin or fair-trade coffee to distribute to various intermediaries. Besides, it has also allowed for the growth of small-scale roasters across the countries. 

The German coffee market is known for its focus on specialty coffee. The term ‘specialty coffee’ is given to a coffee that receives a cupping score of around 85 and above. Germany is also strongly focused on maintaining a sustainable supply chain, through keeping close contact between farmers and buyers, maintaining price premiums of coffee beans, and establishing traceability systems. 

Some intermediaries advocate for certification, so as to legitimatise any ‘specialty coffee’ that is grown by the producers. However, such advocacies have received criticism, as they would be an additional expense to the farmers; some of who are already experiencing financial strains. Yet there is a growing interest in organic coffee; a product which requires certification in order to verify the absence of any chemicals (i.e. herbicides and pesticides) that would otherwise be used in more typical growing practices.

The specialty coffee segment is reliant on the unique origins (or ‘terroirs) of the coffee, as a clear origin provides a more authentic reflection of the source. For example, a ‘single origin’ classification is given to a coffee that has been produced in a particular country or region. Similarly, a ‘single farm’ or ‘single estate’ classification is given to a coffee that has been produced from a particular coffee farm. Such coffees not only showcase the unique results of the region’s climate and soil quality but also provide the end consumer with a transparent description of how the coffee was grown, harvested and processed. 

Some producers have strived to limit their production, in order to increase the focus on quality, thereby strengthening demand for their exclusive product. This kind of production is known as ‘micro-lots’ or ‘nano lots. Micro lots involve the production of an extremely high-quality coffee, but will only yield less than 75 bags. Nano lots are much smaller, as they will yield less than 5 bags. While this kind of production is extremely expensive (for both the producer and the customer), a successful micro and nano lot have the potential to showcase the quality of the coffee, thereby strengthening the producer’s name, skill and brand.

Needless to say, German coffee aficionados are experiencing two benefits: the production of exquisite coffee from all across the world being made available to Germans, and the booming of small-scale coffee roasters and cafes across Germany.

Rozali Coffee is excited to be a part of this offering, has made strong connections with key producers in order to import and deliver a specialty product, to a sophisticated market. Stay tuned for some exciting news.