The Role of Coffee in the U S Economy

Coffee is the US’s largest food import and second most valuable commodity only after oil. According to the International Coffee Organization, the US imported 2.72 billion pounds of coffee from September 2001 to September 2002.

The US primarily purchases coffee from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Vietnam. The U.S. also buys coffee from Indonesia, Costa Rica, Peru, El Salvador, Ecuador, Venezuela, Honduras, Uganda, Thailand, Nicaragua, India, and Papua New Guinea.

In the U.S. alone, over 130 million consumers are coffee drinkers. In recent years, new caf├ęs have been opening at an explosive rate, making specialty coffee mainstream and increasing profit margins for specialty coffee roasters and retailers.

The Specialty Coffee Association of America estimated that there are 10,000 coffee cafes and 2,500 specialty stores selling coffee. Chains represent 30% of all coffee retail stores, but the majority remain in the hands of independent owners or small family businesses.

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