• Quality in relation to marketing - the target market

    Quality and availability determine the target market

    The trouble with the pursuit of quality is not just that the term itself is a somewhat nebulous concept. First of all, the vast bulk of world coffee exports consists of medium to average quality coffee: mainstream coffee. Secondly, the extra effort to produce top quality may not always be adequately rewarded and, thirdly, there is also a lively and substantial world trade in coffee of poor and inferior quality.

    Quality discussions are further complicated when one separates coffee by species or by type of processing. There are arabicas and robustas, both wet and dry processed, and each with different quality aspects. Then there is also the question of whether the coffee will be sold as whole bean, as roast and ground, or as soluble. Appearances can also cause some confusion. It would be a mistake to think that quality means only exceptionally good looking (visually perfect), bold beans: small bean coffees can also show excellent quality. Conversely, visually perfect, bold beans could in fact hide very unpleasant cup characteristics. The pursuit of quality is therefore not restricted to top or exemplary coffee.

    This is probably just as well, because not everyone is capable of producing exemplary quality. In reality there is a market for almost everything, from expensive top quality to qualities at the other end of the spectrum. There is room in the marketplace for just about anyone who honours their contractual obligations and who adequately satisfies the market's quality expectations for the type of coffee they produce.

    Different markets have different preferences. Producers and exporters should therefore know where their coffee is likely to receive the best response and, as far as possible, tailor the quality to the requirements of the buyer.
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