• The European Union - Cross-border trade

    Clearly, over the past ten years or so there has been a noticeable rise in the cross-border trade in processed coffee between European countries. Indeed, the markets and coffee industries of the EU member countries have become even more closely related following the creation of the single market in 1992. Many believe that this has made it much more difficult to distinguish between individual country markets. Germany, for example, has seen its re-exports of processed coffee (both roasted and soluble) rise from just over 45,000 bags GBE in 1964 to 5.9 million bags GBE in 2009, over 80% of which went to EU destinations. The country also exported 2.1 million bags of decaffeinated green bean. Likewise, Italy has seen its re-exports of processed coffee rise from around 20,000 bags to 1.9 million bags while Belgium/Luxembourg has seen spectacular increases as well.

    The blends, methods of preparation and overall usage of coffee in Western Europe, varies from country to country depending on such factors as habits, tradition, taste and historical ties. Up until the mid 1970s robusta coffee, primarily from African origins, constituted the major component in most coffee blends available in Belgium/Luxembourg, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom, whereas the majority of blends available in the Scandinavian countries, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Spain generally incorporated a much higher proportion of arabica coffees. Today, however, while former traditional links are still fairly important, the import statistics suggest that with the increasing availability of cheap robustas there has been a noticeable rise in recent years in the inclusion of these coffees in many of the major blends.

    Even so, there can be little doubt that regional variations are becoming less pronounced and that coffee blends are becoming more universal throughout Europe.

    Updated 11/2010 
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