For many people, coffee is just an everyday beverage, but for a growing number of coffee consumers, it is much more. It’s an experience. Like wine, coffee has a complex aroma and taste, heavily influenced by the climate, soil, cultivation techniques and even the history of the place where it’s grown.
In a mountainous region of Brazil, some 600 kilometres west of Rio de Janeiro, lies Andradas. With a climate ideal for coffee, small-hold farmers have been growing coffee beans in the area for generations. But despite the high quality of their coffee, the farmers of Andradas still sell their crop on commodity markets at very low prices.
In an effort to improve the lives of local coffee farmers and their families, the Andradas rural cooperative decided to create a Coffee Flavour Map to showcase the excellence of their coffee – and tell the stories behind it. The hope is that the flavour map will help draw attention to the Andradas community and its coffee tradition, and enable the farmers to sell their coffee at specialty prices that reflect the quality of the product.
Many in Andradas believe the Flavour Map can help improve their future. But others remain skeptical and worry that the area’s small-hold farmers have neither the experience nor the financial resources to break into the specialty coffee market. How can the Andradas rural cooperative develop the right marketing and branding strategy it needs to be successful?
This teaching case is part of the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)’s case series on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It discusses the current situation of Andradas and how the flavour map was developed, and describes the global coffee industry and changing consumer preferences that lend themselves to the project’s goals.