Home » Blog


To be able to make Agiblocks the best solution it can possibly be, our developers and business specialists draw on their extensive knowledge about Commodity Trade Risk Management in general as well as about the business practices associated with particular commodities. On our blog page they share their knowledge with Agiblocks users and with the CTRM community at large. Updates on the Agiblocks solution will be announced and explained here.

16 most interesting facts about coffee

Posted by Markos Gkogkos
Comments Off on 16 most interesting facts about coffee

7 minutes to read




The coffee lover


There are people who can’t start the day without having a freshly brewed cup of coffee. They love coffee so much that sometimes they call themselves “coffee addicts”.


Well, drinking a cup of coffee every day is not necessarily a bad habit. On the contrary, it’s proven to be healthy, scientist say. Your daily morning coffee provides you with more things than just an energy boost. It’s also shown to protect us against type 2 diabetes, liver diseases and lowers the risks of heart failure.  But, besides health there are even more interesting facts about coffee.



Coffee is culture


Going back in time, we’ve seen that coffee is not just a drink. It is actually a lot more. In the past, people gathered in houses to share a cup of coffee and exchange information.


In North America and a lot of western European countries, Starbucks and other coffee chains have dominated the market because they are providing to the customers a complete experience around coffee. Coffee and friends, coffee and work, coffee and snacks and coffee to go! The Irish mix coffee with whiskey and they call it “Irish coffee”. In Italy the espresso and espresso machine were born and made it the favorite whole-day beverage of Italians. In Greece, there is the “kafenio”, an old fashioned coffee shop for old gentlemen, where they drink Greek coffee and exchange political ideas or they play cards and a board game called “tavli”. Then also, in some countries, like Colombia or Brazil, the whole economy is based in coffee.


So this makes us really curious to know more interesting facts about coffee as a commodity itself but also as a beverage.



Interesting facts about coffee


1. Second in the World

It’s the world’s 2nd largest traded commodity.  Crude oil is first. Yes, it is not a typo. Coffee is consumed in great quantities, making it the most beloved beverage after water. It’s worth is over $100 billion worldwide.

around the world


2. Hawaii is the only American state that grows coffee

Good coffee growing conditions require high altitudes, tropical climates, and rich soil. There is only one state, Hawaii, which is able to grow coffee.  It has been producing coffee even before it was a state. (Only recently, though, farms in California started growing coffee bushes!)



3. Coffee was discovered by a goat herder

It was said that coffee was discovered by a goat herder in Ethiopia in the 1500s.  He saw his goats eating coffee cherries. Afterwards, he observed a change in their behavior. They gained a high amount of energy and they didn’t sleep at night.  The herder shared his findings with local monks and then after they made a drink with coffee beans, they realized they could stay up all night and pray. Then, they spread the word to other Ethiopian monks and it reached across the civilized world.



4. Coffee helped Olympic athletes

Brazil couldn’t afford to send its athletes to Los Angeles  for the 1932 Olympics, so the government loaded them in a ship full of coffee which was sold on the way to finance their trip.



5. Mecca banned coffee

Coffee was banned in Mecca in 1511. It was believed to stimulate radical thinking and idleness.



6. Add cream, keep your coffee warm

Coffee stays warm 20% longer when you add cream.



7. Divorce because of terrible coffee

In ancient Arab culture, a woman could only divorce her husband if he didn’t like her coffee.



8. Italian “expresso”

The word espresso comes from Italian and means “expressed” or “forced out”. Espresso is made by forcing very hot water under high pressure through finely ground, compacted coffee.

Italian gesture



9. Coffee is a fruit

Coffee beans grow on a bush. They are actually the pit of a berry, which makes them a fruit. There are two main varieties of beans, green and red. Red beans have a


nicer smell and are less acidic. Red beans are used to produce lighter coffees. The longer that coffee beans have been roasted – the healthier they are. Decaffeinated coffee comes from a chemical process where the caffeine is taken out of the beans.  The caffeine is then often sold to Coca-Cola.



10. Beethoven loved coffee

Beethoven was such an ardent coffee lover that he’d count 60 beans per cup before making his brew.



11. The most expensive coffee is made by cat poop

“Kopi Luwak” is the most expensive coffee in the world.  It comes from Indonesia and is made from beans digested from the Asian Palm Civet. In other words, it comes from cat poop.  It sells for €350 and up per kilo!



12. A year drinking coffee or an iPhone X?

An American spends on average $1,092 a year on coffee. That’s around $20 a week. That is also close to the price of the newest iPhone. Young people generally spend more on coffee than older people.



13. Fairtrade coffee improves quality

Fairtrade coffee costs more, but coffee farmers spend at least 25% of this Fairtrade Premium to enhance productivity and quality. Over the last three years, Fairtrade-certified coffee products have won 28 Great Taste Awards.



14. There are 2 types of coffee

Arabica coffee was originally cultivated on the Arabian Peninsula, hence the name. Robusta coffee is a more hardy plant but contains double the amount of caffeine.



15. Europe loves coffee

According to International Coffee Association, Europe imports more coffee than the USA. Also, Brazil is the lead exporting country in coffee.



16. The big spenders

The “Big Four” coffee roasting companies – Kraft, P&G, Sara Lee and Nestle – buy about 50% of the coffee produced worldwide.




Old facts, new facts


So many interesting facts about coffee, but yet which facts concern the present time?


A love of all things connected with coffee has brought both large and small companies into the world of coffee production and trading.


Technology and improvements in coffee trading industry are two of the major factors which  help a lot of those companies to  compete in the volatile environment of coffee trading.


Coffee culture is constantly changing as coffee drinkers seek new ways to enjoy their favorite beverage  Production, trading and distribution methods have evolved to meet these new needs but there are a lot more improvements yet to be made. So further coffee research and development will need to be an on-going activity..


As a coffee trader you need to make the right choices in setting up your business for continuing growth and profit. Organizing all your procedures from the beginning is definitely going to assist you in the future. Even if you didn’t have the sufficient budget when you started and now want to adopt your existing business  to use specific software in order to handle all your coffee trading activities, you still can. It is never late.


Agiblocks is a Commodity Trading and Risk Management software, designed specifically for managing coffee commodity trading transactions. It is designed to be your friend for your business and helps you make a mark by adding your own “interesting facts” in the coffee industry!





A historical building filled with cocoa!

Posted by Markos Gkogkos
Comments Off on A historical building filled with cocoa!

4 minutes to read





A retrospective of the Chocoa 2018 festival


Some days ago Agiboo was at the Beurs van Berlage Amsterdam Conference Center. There, the Chocoa festival took place offering the opportunity to its audience to meet cocoa producers, specialists and associates from all around the globe.


The smell of chocolate gently hit your face when entering the trade fair from the entrance. It made you feel warmer and eager to explore all trade stands. To touch cocoa beans and try out some fine chocolate bites.


Cocoa farmers and chocolate producers from Ecuador, Peru or Mexico exhibited their finest cocoa products. We also met cocoa associated companies who look after the quality and selection of cocoa beans and work as well as a one stop cocoa storage. Family businesses and young entrepreneurs showed their passion for cocoa to the visitors at the trade fair.



The location



Beurs van Berlage hosted the conference right in the center of Amsterdam, some steps away from the Dam square. The twentieth-century Dutch architecture of the historical building combined with the cocoa exhibitors traveled you back in time when the Dutch setting up the base for the commodity trading.


Agiboo at the Chocoa festival 2018

Agiboo at the Chocoa festival 2018

Some historical facts


The Beurs van Berlage was the third stock exchange building in Amsterdam in a row. In 1884 Amsterdam announced an international competition for the design of a new stock exchange building. Among the contributors was HP Berlage (1856-1934) who, together with his then associate Th. Sanders delivered a design.


Berlage was appointed as a member of the Stock Exchange Commission on the initiative of Treub, from which it almost automatically followed that he would also design the new stock exchange. On Berlage’s advice, the building would be erected on Damrak, which was filled up to the Oudebrug. This allowed a costly and lengthy expropriation procedure to be avoided.


The construction started in May 1898. Five years later, on May 27, 1903, Queen Wilhelmina officially opened the new Koopmans fair. The Goods Fair moved there together with the Grain and Stock Exchange, the Schippersbeurs (ship traders) and the Chamber of Commerce that took over the hall above the main entrance at the Beursplein.


Since 2008, the Beurs van Berlage offers its historical atmosphere and location for inspiring events, cultural and social activities and conferences. The building also hosts various trade shows and expositions or festivals, like the Chocoa festival 2018.



The chocoa festival 2018



With the phrase “Good cocoa, better chocolate”, the Chocoa Festival opened its doors on 24th of February and offered various conferences, speaking notes, workshops and a true multinational trade show.


150 stands all around the globe waited to greet visitors and cocoa connoisseurs at the Beurs van Berlage. The event gave the opportunity to industry’s stakeholders to connect and understand in depth each part of the supply chain. And when you understand the importance of each player in the “cocoa game”, then you realize how you can deliver your contribution more efficiently.


We met farmers who traveled all the way from Peru just to show us their cocoa products. Family businesses with sustainable plans for making chocolate. Happy cocoa quality testers and cocoa exporters or traders. Even young entrepreneurs offering online platforms to assist the cocoa farmers.


So many people, so many roles, so many different businesses. How can a cocoa farmer be connected with a cocoa consulting specialist? How a small family business could exhibit next to a bigger cocoa company? Well, because each one understands the role of each other. And everyone has the same passion for cocoa.  That is why is growing its CTRM users in the cocoa industry, we understand the industry challenges and have a passion for cocoa!



Structured Commodity Financing: Are you familiar with it?

Posted by Markos Gkogkos
Comments Off on Structured Commodity Financing: Are you familiar with it?

time to read





Structured Finance



There is a number of ways a company can finance it’s business, either based on the balance sheet of the company or on the cash flow produced by the future transactions/utilization from its assets or the specific characteristics of an individual transaction. For different cash flow structures there are different ways to structure finance requirements for companies, amongst others:


  • Project Finance
  • Real Estate Finance (Retail)
  • Buy-out Finance
  • Structured Commodity and Trade Financing


Structured Commodity Financing



Structured Commodity Financing (SCF) is a financing technique to provide assistance in the trade flow of commodities.


SCF was specifically designed for commodity producers and trading companies doing business in the developing markets. Specifically, Structured Commodity Finance provides liquidity and mitigates counter-party risks for the actors in the origination, production, purchase and sale of raw, semi-fined or semi-processed commodities.


For example, let’s visualize how the trade flow of soft commodities should look like below:




Trade cycle of soft commodities

Trade cycle of soft commodities




Starting from the production stage and producers of the soft commodities to the traders, SCF supports the whole supply chain. Common element in Structured Commodity Finance is that there is an asset or a transaction facilitated, not a company or a balance sheet. There are some generic structure components in the financing arrangements, but the precise design of the financing varies with throughout the chain.



Key elements of Structured Commodity Finance



  • Commodity assets with a liquid character (short term\current assets) have a financing based on face value or on market value
  • Assets could comprise of contracts, stocks, guaranteed/secured pre payments, shipments, receivables, hedges etcetera
  • The assets serves as a collateral to provide the financier control (security) over the goods and cash flow
  • Sometimes a portfolio of assets is subject to a financing, thus not only the individual assets but also the portfolio serves as a collateral
  • Depending the structure of the arrangement, hedges allocated to the assets might be an un-separated part of the collateral to the financiers
  • The financier tracks the goods from procurement to sales and sometimes to receivable and/or collection (quantity, quality, location, movements)
  • The financier might assume (temporary) ownership for the goods it finances trough a sale/buy back arrangement (repo)


The unique value Structured Finance can bring to commodities



In industries like the commodity trade, where assets are continuously changing in terms of value and ownership and liquidation risk, SCF is a best practice financing solution.


Moreover, Structured Commodity Finance handles the complexity and risk of financing activities and transactions much better than the common trade finance (e.g. securing payments through letters of credit) or balance sheet based financing (leveraging equity). The asset based approach support the continuously changing locations and market values of assets and can survive ownership transfers.


Structure Commodity Financing can be embedded in buyers\supplier relationships, when such is initiated by one of the trading partners. You can think here in terms of vendor managed inventory or consignment stocks. Also financiers can finance specific buyer\supplier relationships and thus enable very specific forms of supply chain financing.



How to support Structured Commodity Finance ?



For an effective use of Structured Commodity Finance trade desks, logistic departments and finance departs need to work smoothly together to track and trace the composition of a commodity portfolio and the aligned financing arrangements. Tracking and Transparency on the moving components, such as quantities, qualities, asset classes, locations, counter-parties is required to leverage a structured commodity finance arrangement and to efficiently finance an asset portfolio.


As in commodity management itself, one should consider structuring its information management. Key success factor in efficiently financing a commodity business is to have the right information. A state of the art commodity trade and risk management software application will be a great help.