Coffee's importance in the global economy cannot be overstressed. As one of the most valuable primary commodities in world trade, coffee in many years has been second only to oil as a source of foreign exchange to developing countries. Its cultivation, processing, trading, transportation and marketing provide millions of people with employment worldwide. Coffee is vital to the economies and politics of many developing countries and accounts for a substantial portion of many of the world's Least Developed Countries’ foreign exchange earnings, in some cases even over 80%. Coffee is a traded commodity on major futures and commodity exchanges, most importantly in London and New York1.



This website discusses various aspects of the global coffee industry, from an early discovery of caffeine's stimulating effects by members of the Galla tribe in Ethiopia to the rise of Starbucks from a modest regional roaster to an international craze. This webpage organized all the most pertinent information under four categories:

Global Value Chain

Read about the coffee production process and the supply chain. Get an overview of the general composition of the production market and the winners and losers in the industry.

International Trade Patterns

View graphical representations of international trade data regarding coffee and coffee substitutes (SITC 071) and persistent patterns in trade. Examine analyses of these patterns and anomalies.

Political Determinants

Brush up on the history of International Coffee Agreements and its focuses. Read up on the politics of Fair Trade coffee and the politics behind top coffee suppliers.

Social and Environmental Factors

Inspect the role that coffee has played in society through an entertaining timeline and contemplate the effects of massive coffee production on the environment and the subsequent implementations of regulations.




Sociology 142D | Duke University | Markets and Management Studies | Spring 2007