HomeCoffeeDo specialty espresso customers really wish to be extra linked to farmers?

Do specialty espresso customers really wish to be extra linked to farmers?


It’s honest to say that many specialty espresso manufacturers base their advertising and marketing methods round the concept espresso customers wish to be extra linked to farmers. These branding strategies largely revolve round disseminating extra details about the place espresso comes from, together with the farmers who develop it.

The vast majority of specialty espresso professionals wish to know as a lot details about origin as attainable. This consists of processing methodology, selection, altitude, and terroir. And whereas many espresso companies consider that buyers additionally wish to know the identical info, is that this actually an correct assumption?

To study extra, I spoke to Kosta Kallivrousis of Algrano, Marianella Baez Jost of Café con Amor, and Pedro Miguel Echavarría of Pergamino Espresso. Learn on to study their insights on whether or not customers wish to be extra linked to origin.

You might also like our article on why extra producers don’t market their very own espresso.

A Brazilian coffee worker winnows coffee cherries to remove debris.

The function of farmers in specialty espresso advertising and marketing

Should you stroll into virtually any specialty espresso store in any nation around the globe, you’re prone to see some form of recognition of or homage to espresso farmers. This could vary from photographs of pickers on farms on the partitions to detailed details about producers and co-operatives on espresso packaging.

In mild of this, it actually rings true that specialty espresso outlets and roasters wish to ensure that their merchandise are linked to producers not directly. However why is that this?

Forging connection to origin: a specialty “particular”

One of many principal promoting factors of specialty espresso is that it’s extra sustainable, traceable, and clear than commodity-grade espresso. Subsequently, it’s important that roasters and low outlets are in a position to bridge the hole between producers and customers with a purpose to talk these attributes extra successfully.

Kosta Kallivrousis is the Gross sales Supervisor at Algrano within the US. He tells me when specialty espresso manufacturers search to set themselves other than opponents, advertising and marketing performs an instrumental function.

“Plenty of specialty espresso branding and advertising and marketing is about showcasing what makes you distinctive,” he says. “It’s an trade that was born from advertising and marketing, slightly than client demand.”

Marianella is the co-founder of Farmers Venture Specialty Espresso and a producer at Café con Amor in Costa Rica. She agrees, saying that specialty espresso manufacturers inform the tales of producers as a means of differentiating themselves from commodity-grade espresso firms.

“It demonstrates that you’ve a direct relationship with suppliers, which suggests as a model you could have extra information and your espresso is extra traceable,” she tells me. “This helps to raise the standard notion of your espresso, and exhibits that you just’re going the additional mile [when sourcing].”

Demonstrating sustainable practices successfully

Displaying photographs of espresso farms in outlets or on web sites, in addition to offering details about a espresso’s origin, permits roasters and different espresso companies to point that they’ve good relationships with their producers.

Pedro is the Common Supervisor at Pergamino Espresso in Colombia. He explains that the majority specialty espresso manufacturers wish to exhibit that they supply and buy their merchandise pretty and sustainably. 

“Translating the complexities related to this right into a easy advertising and marketing tactic is extremely troublesome – even for essentially the most educated and educated customers,” he says.

Lately, a rising variety of specialty espresso customers do wish to be reassured that the manufacturers they purchase from are complying with good environmental and moral practices. On the similar time, nevertheless, it’s honest to imagine that a few of these customers aren’t conversant in what these practices actually entail so speaking them successfully is usually a problem.

Romanticism and fetishisation 

There’s little question that offering customers with extra details about origin is a invaluable means for farmers to obtain worthy credit score for his or her exhausting work. Nevertheless, it could possibly shortly flip into “romanticism” if not carried out successfully. This leads some customers to have idealised views of espresso farmers. Finally, a espresso farm is a enterprise, and customers ought to view them that means, too.

“Advertising and marketing can current a really blurry image of the truth which producers face,” Marianella explains. “It’s troublesome for customers to discern between what’s actual and what’s smoke and mirrors.”

She tells me that she as soon as noticed photos of her farm on a model’s web site. Nevertheless, she had by no means labored with them, and wasn’t even conscious of them. Marianella explains that when she emailed them, they acknowledged that they didn’t all the time know the place their photographs got here from.

“This implies some firms could make false claims by telling a narrative, however they’ve by no means even visited that nation,” she provides.

Furthermore, the usage of sure photos can perpetuate the concept of the “impoverished” or “unique” espresso farmer. Whereas some smallholders throughout the Bean Belt actually stay beneath the poverty line, this isn’t the case for all producers. Pushing narratives like this, in addition to the concept Western customers are “saviours”, typically creates widespread false perceptions about espresso producers –ensuing of their fetishisation

“The vast majority of individuals within the specialty espresso trade wish to make a distinction and do some good,” Kosta says. “Nevertheless, the methods of doing so could be difficult.

“Is there consent from farmers to make use of their photos and tales?” he posits. “They should really add worth to producers, so they need to be compensated, or on the very least, they need to create these advertising and marketing methods in partnership with farmers.”

A barista prepares pour over coffee in a café.

What do specialty espresso customers really need?

According to being extra linked to origin, there are a selection of buying elements which specialty espresso customers are likely to worth essentially the most.

First high quality, then sustainability

The Nationwide Espresso Affiliation’s 2022 Nationwide Espresso Knowledge Tendencies Specialty Espresso Report report states that:

  • Round 69% of specialty espresso customers say they’re extra doubtless to purchase espresso as a result of it’s contemporary
  • An estimated 64% of respondents acknowledged that paying farmers a good worth is essential
  • Some 57% stated correct remedy of farm staff influences their buying choices

Kosta, in the meantime, tells me that he thinks customers’ curiosity in paying producers a better worth may very well be inherently linked to assuaging guilt concerning financial and social inequity between themselves and producers. 

“Perhaps shopping for some espresso to deal with that, even in a small means, helps to absolve a few of that guilt,” he says.

Constructing belief

Pedro believes that slightly than explaining advanced points, such because the volatility of the C worth, customers need reassurance that the manufacturers they purchase from have moral enterprise practices. 

Finally, this widens the hole between customers and producers, slightly than closing it. Shoppers aren’t in a position to know the complete extent of challenges which producers face in origin international locations. And given the geographical distance between the 2 – and potential broad financial disparity – that is comprehensible.

“I don’t assume that espresso customers wish to be extra linked to farmers, per say,” Marianella says. “Nevertheless, they do wish to be extra educated concerning the product: the place it comes from, the way it’s produced, and whether or not it was grown and sourced ethically.”

She tells me that Café con Amor runs a variety of initiatives which immediately profit the native farming group. Marianella explains that she makes use of social media to indicate her prospects how the programmes are impacting communities. She says this helps to construct extra belief with the patron.

Smaller roasters with shorter provide chains have a tendency to have the ability to do that extra successfully than bigger manufacturers. Typically talking, it’s because they’re in direct contact with producers. In flip, this could create extra of a reference to customers.


Lately, it’s turn out to be more and more obvious that an increasing number of customers wish to know the place their espresso comes from.

“We want actual traceability,” Marianella says. “Clients don’t want certifications and seals that inform them their espresso is sustainable. They need extra concrete info that’s sensible, trustworthy, and particular.”

Pedro agrees saying: “There’s an enormous proportion of our loyal prospects who actually care, and ask about origin, farmers, our sourcing technique, and the way we pay premiums for sure coffees.

“Different individuals, nevertheless, might not have this degree of information about espresso, nor the time or curiosity to dig deeper,” he provides.

Pedro additionally factors out that it’s presumptuous to consider that each client can have an in-depth information of the espresso trade and the way it operates. 

“If we’re going to measure each client by that commonplace, then we also needs to do the identical with ourselves,” he says. “Can we additionally know all the things concerning the coffees we supply? It’s hypocritical in a means.”

Roasters and consumers visit a coffee farm in Costa Rica.

How can specialty espresso manufacturers leverage client behaviour to create actual impression for farmers?

There appears to be considerably of a disconnect between what espresso customers really need and what the specialty espresso sector would really like them to need. 

I requested Kosta, Marianella, and Pedro how manufacturers can create actual impression at origin via their advertising and marketing methods.

Dedication and accountability

“What the specialty espresso trade suffers from essentially the most is the relentless seek for innovation – the most recent roast profile, selection, or processing method, for example,” Kosta says. “However the factor that’s lacking is dedication.

“The truth is that the espresso trade steers the ship,” he provides. “So we’ve an enormous duty to stay accountable and keep true to our social and environmental commitments.”

Know-how and traceability

Know-how helps to resolve an absence of traceability by connecting roasters to origin,” Marianella explains. “For instance, we will join via cell apps and join from our farm with roasters all around the world.

“The chances of getting face-to-face conversations, albeit on-line, add one other layer of forging a direct relationship with origin,” she provides.

Pedro advises roasters to construct their sourcing fashions round how they wish to combine sustainability into their enterprise mannequin. They will then create advertising and marketing methods round that – not the opposite means spherical. 

He additionally urges customers to ensure that the coffees they purchase (notably blends) are sourced ethically. 

“For instance, there’s much more work that must be performed by way of transparency in terms of blends than microlots,” he says.

Forging extra belief 

“For any enterprise, belief is without doubt one of the hardest issues to realize and one of many best issues to lose,” Pedro says. “You add actual worth when customers belief the model they’re shopping for from. 

“Each roaster has to look inside and ask themselves in the event that they be ok with their shopping for practices – and talk that,” he provides. “In an period of knowledge, if there are any malpractices in your provide chain, this belief could be jeopardised.”

On an identical be aware, Kosta explains that portraying an “imaginary” reference to origin is usually a type of fetishising. In flip, it may be a betrayal of customers’ belief. 

“Finally, if a advertising and marketing technique finally ends up benefiting the corporate and never the communities it promotes, it turns into false promoting and is an abuse of buyer belief,” he says.

A coffee farmer holds a handful of ripe coffee cherries.

The problems are advanced and troublesome to interrupt down. Nevertheless, it stays unclear whether or not the specialty espresso trade’s social and environmental objectives are a response to client demand, or whether or not they emerged to affect it.

Both means, it’s clear that almost all of specialty espresso drinkers do wish to know the place their espresso got here from, who grew it, and if they’re being handled pretty.

Transferring ahead, specialty espresso manufacturers must ensure that their advertising and marketing methods stay trustworthy, moral, and honest. For customers, demanding extra traceability and transparency from manufacturers is one of the simplest ways to play a task.

Loved this? Then learn our article on how digitalisation can join customers to espresso farmers.

Photograph credit: Annette McKeown

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