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Canadians are big coffee drinkers, making it one of the largest coffee consuming countries in the world. Imports of green beans into Canada reached 209 million Kgs in 2019 (CAD$805 million), more than 60% of which were organically certified beans. On a per capita basis, Canadians consume more coffee than the United States or Britain.

Latin America (Colombia and Brazil leading the way) is the most important exporting region of green coffee beans to Canada (180 million Kgs or 86% of the total volume in 2019), followed by Asia (Indonesia and Vietnam lead) and Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda lead). Over 40 countries exported green coffee beans to Canada in the same year, making Canada an extremely competitive marketplace. Most of the roasting, blending and packaging occurs in Canada once the green beans have been imported and cleared. There are several large roasting companies and many smaller roasters, totalling close to 300 roasting facilities.

Like in so many sectors of the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse effect on coffee imports, processing and consumption in Canada. It is obviously difficult to predict when these sub-sectors will return to any form of normalcy and growth. Assuming it eventually will, exporters should expect to find opportunities in smaller batches along with specialty coffees provided they offer distinctive or unique green beans that stand out from competing suppliers.

Consumption in Canada is highly influenced by the palate and it is all about the bean itself: how it’s been farmed, the social ethics behind the brand, its sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, and what certifications the exporter has in place; in addition to taste, aroma and other coffee bean attributes.

The exporter should focus on developing a product that is distinctive and unique. The Coffee Market Report produced by TFO Canada, as well as the resources made available on the internet are great tools the exporter can use to prepare and develop an export offer that will incorporate these factors. The Coffee Market Report identifies many of the tools available to exporters form TFO client countries.

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