Coffee Is One Of The Most Traded Food Commodities In The World

If you are part of the global minority to which the following statement does not apply, forgive the generalization. Everyone loves coffee. According to HowStuffWorks, 400 billion cups are consumed each year, with 450 million of those being consumed in the U.S. alone. We pale in comparison to the Finnish, who consume 26 pounds of coffee per person, drink upwards of four cups a day, and are legally mandated to take two 10-minute coffee breaks during the work day (via World Population Review). Coffee is single handedly the most popular drink in the world. Nothing else comes close.

It should come as no surprise, then, to learn of coffee's popular trading position in international markets. When you stop to take a close look at the grand scheme of global trade, you'll notice that there are two commodities sold more than anything else. The first, according to Economics Help, is crude oil. We use this to power our cars, our manufacturing, and virtually our entire global infrastructure. The second is used to power a different tool — the human tool. The second most traded commodity in the world is coffee.

Coffee as a commodity

What exactly is a commodity? As defined by FXSSI, a commodity is "a raw material that can be used to produce other finished goods." Within this definition are items called raw commodities, of which coffee is one. A raw commodity is something that "cannot be consumed in the form that it is sold." In the case of coffee, you're not consuming the berries fresh off the tree. What you're putting into your cup is the end result of a process that involves picking, drying, shipping, grinding, and brewing the beans to create the drink.

Coffee represents a $100 billion worldwide market (via Death by Coffee). It is so much a part of the daily life of most of the world, that we hardly ever stop to think of just how massively coffee affects global trade. It affects farmers, shipping companies, cafes, grocery stores, and whole countries. Coffee is in the veins of much of the global population and it's for that consumptive reason that coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world.