Mercanta supplies specialty roasters around the world with the world’s very best green coffees. Founded in 1996 in a small office in Southwest London, Mercanta now sources a huge variety of outstanding coffees from 20 producing countries, which our experienced team of Coffeehunters offer from our 4 warehouses located on three different continents.We are proud to offer impartial and professional advice and efficient deliveries to more than 40 countries worldwide.
Mercanta’s first priority is quality – we only buy coffees that we think are exceptional, and we cup them daily in our state of the art lab.
Relationships are crucial to sourcing high-quality coffee. We pay premium prices, and we treat our producers as long-term business partners.
Mercanta also builds lasting relationships with our customers, large and small. Every roaster is different, and we work to understand our customers’ individual green coffee needs to make sure they have the information they need to make buying decisions, roast and market their coffee.
SUSTAINABILITY & PRICE TRANSPARENCY
Mercanta has been at the forefront of speciality coffee since 1996. All our business is done at a fixed price, above the cost of production, with an eye towards sustainability and outright, reliable prices for producers. This, combined with our diligence in seeking out the best coffees the world has to offer, is how we’ve built our stellar reputation.
Mercanta has long sought to de-commoditise the coffee business. Before this subject was even relevant, we had set a minimum FOB Origin price of US$1.80/lb for Arabica coffee: below which, we will never purchase coffee. We do not trade coffee on contracts connected to the New York C commodity market. These sorts of contracts distort the relationship between supply and demand and contribute to volatility. Above all, they have absolutely nothing to do with the actual cost of producing coffee. The only way to guarantee a fair and sustainable outright final contract price is to only buy at outright prices; this is how Mercanta conducts its business with its partners and suppliers.
Further, while we never pay below US$1.80/lb FOB for Arabica origin purchases, we also track prices globally for all our purchases year-on-year. Our global average purchase price actually ranges annually between $2.25 and $2.50/lb and is currently easily double the current commodity price for coffee, as of 2019.
Our $1.80/lb minimum price is a simple formula. By discussing with our partners at origin and tracking costs year on year, we have calculated the average cost of production to be $1.50/lb. Many producers would produce coffee at less than this cost, and some would be more. To mitigate this, we simply add 20% to cover the higher cost of production countries: simple, understandable, and traceable. On fewer instances where farms cost of production exceeds $1.50/lb, we make that adjustment accordingly and in discussion with the producer.
Unfortunately, Mercanta still does not have all the answers. Having operated for close to 25 years in the speciality coffee industry, to still be talking about the plague of low, unsustainable prices, despite the boom in worldwide interest in coffee and the emergence of a distinct and growing speciality coffee sector, can be disappointing. At times like this, we feel the Mercanta Minimum Origin Purchase Price commitment is more important than ever, as a genuine and tangible commitment to do our part in difficult times, and hopefully an example of one way to address the reality of unsustainable coffee prices.
You can read the complete article on this topic here.