By Julio Sera, INTL FC Stone
For those of us who wake up each morning in pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee, success often depends upon our ability to control a number of simple variables. We can buy the most freshly roasted beans we can get our hands on. We can precisely calibrate our grind to match our preferred brewing method (press, drip, etc.). And we can make sure our water temperature remains within the optimal brewing range. Of course, there are a multitude of other variables, too. But if we get these basics right, the rewards can make our whole day better.
A similar multitude of variables goes into the ultimate price of our perfect cup. The difference here, however, is that we have nearly no control over any of these variables. Worse, many of them are often highly changeable and unpredictable, which can lead to considerable volatility in world prices. As a result, it can be easy for many folks in the coffee trade, from producers to roasters to retailers, to feel at times that they are at the mercy of the markets – especially lately.
So what are some of the major drivers of this volatility?