Coffee production is set to grow amid rising consumption, according to forecasts from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Production for the coming harvest – 2024/2025 – is forecast to increase by 7.1 million bags to 176.2m, according to a report from the USDA, which pointed to higher output in Brazil and Indonesia. A coffee bag is measured as 60kg.

The combined Arabica and Robusta harvest in Brazil – the world’s largest coffee producer – is expected to reach 69.9m bags, an increase of 3.6m year on year.

“High temperatures at the end of 2023 caused some cherries to drop during the fruit-forming stage, but subsequent adequate precipitation provided ideal conditions for the final stage of fruit development and yields were boosted,” the USDA said.

The largest export market for coffee is the EU and is expected to grow by 2m bags to 47.5m. The USDA is predicting the US market will expand by 900,000 bags, reaching 24.5m.

International producers

In the 2023/24 harvest, Colombian coffee production was 12.2 million bags. While growing conditions were “favourable”, production was 15% below “normal” due to limited fertilizer use amid high costs for nitrogen and phosphate.

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For the coming harvest in Colombia, the USDA forecasts output will rise by 200,000 bags to 12.4m bags “on slightly higher yields but below previous highs due to increased rates of coffee cherry borer insect infestations”.

Following insect and rust fungus damage to harvests in 2008, the industry undertook an “aggressive tree renovation” programme that replaced trees with sturdier variants, the USDA said.

Due to the tree programme, and weather conditions at the time in Colombia, production dropped to 7.7 million bags in 2011/2012. By the following harvest, production of coffee in Colombia had grown to 12.1 million bags.

In Vietnam, the USDA has forecast that production levels will not change, remaining at 29 million bags.

“The rainy season was slightly delayed and above-average temperatures were recorded in many areas, adversely affecting yields. Similar conditions lowered yields and output the previous 2 harvests,” the USDA noted. “Bean exports are forecast to drop nearly 500,000 bags to 24.4 million due to reduced total supply and rising domestic consumption.”

Coffee commodity prices have been volatile in the last few months, as Fairtrade sustainable sourcing manager for coffee Max Milward told Just Drinks in May.

“From the bustling streets of Melbourne to the trading floors of London and New York, the price of coffee has experienced unprecedented volatility, from $1.80/lb in February to a high of $2.45/lb on 15 April, an increase of 65 cents per pound, then going back down to $2.25/lb, a decrease of 20 cents per pound, in just a week,” he says.

A report from GlobalData, Just Drinks’ parent company, showed coffee futures prices surged in March and early April, with cheaper Robusta beans closing as high as $3,700 per tonne and more premium Arabica hitting $2.10 per pound, the highest level in over a year and a half.