An emerging group of coffee enthusiasts chose to do things differently and developed the specialty coffee industry to get away from the world of commercial commodity coffee.
The specialty coffee industry has been fighting for the last 20-25 years to offer sustainable supply alternatives to the world’s greatest coffee roasters.
RELATED: The World’s Largest Coffee Traders
This article will use “specialty coffee traders” to refer to those companies that focus on the high-quality segment (84+), whether it’s “high commercial”, specialty-grade, or micro-lot only.
However, “specialty coffee” is a term that means different things to different people.
Large Specialty Coffee Traders
The coffee consists of large coffee trading houses and small importers.
Now we’ll talk about the specialty coffee trading divisions of large international traders.
It’s long been rumoured that Ecom would launch Keynote Coffee, a new specialty coffee importer in the UK headed by Jamie Marler, who’s currently at Mercanta. In fact Keynote/Ecom was searching for a graduate trainee for this project until recently.
Independent Specialty Coffee Traders And Importers
While not the largest coffee sourcing companies in the world, these companies buy and trade only the best beans available.
Belco is a french roaster and green coffee importer located in Bordeaux. Focuses on medium-range specialty blenders and a few micro-lots, and has a solid presence in El Salvador and Ethiopia.
Falcon Specialty is the specialty arm of Falcon Coffees in the UK, competes in the middle range specialty coffee, more aggressive pricing.
Falcon has also launched Falcon Micro, with specialty coffee micro lots delivered in 5KG boxes, targeting nano roasters who would otherwise buy one coffee bag at the time.
Red Fox Coffee Merchants
Red Fox Coffee Merchants are a North American green coffee sourcing company.
One of the pioneers of the Scandinavian coffee style, Nordic Approach is a high-end specialty coffee importer based in Oslo, focusing on sourcing the absolute best micro-lots and blends with full traceability and price transparency.
Tropiq is Nordic Approach’s Specialty coffee sourcing partner focusing on delivering great service for larger specialty customers who want to buy FOB or over 100 bags.
Mare Terra is a middle range green coffee imported based in Barcelona with good connection to the Central/South American sourcing plus Eastern European destination market.
Almost extinct, Collaborative Coffee Source (CCS) is former Scandinavian green coffee importer focusing on premium coffees with full traceability.
Algrano is a newcomer to the industry with an innovative coffee sourcing model: shared coffee sourcing through an online platform.
Rehm is a low/medium specialty coffee trader based in Hamburg. They offer a mix of origins and qualities with emphasis on the under 6 EUR/KG category.
Touton Specialties Coffee
Touton Specialties Coffee, based in Hamburg, is the specialty division of the giant coffee trader Touton headquartered in Bordeaux, France.