Food & Fiber » Coffee Futures

We've been brewing up a slew of new futures offerings at optionsXpress, and now we are excited to add coffee to the growing list. Open an account to trade futures at optionsXpress.

Contract Size
37,500 lbs
Tick Size
0.05 = $18.75

The History of ICE Coffee Futures

Coffee first appeared in Ethiopia around 2,000 years ago. Legend has it that an Ethiopian goatherd, who witnessed the energized behavior of his goats after they'd feasted on the berries of a coffee tree, tried the berries himself and discovered their unusual properties. Monks in a local monastery took this discovery and concocted a beverage, and the Ethiopian people apparently seasoned foods with ground coffee beans.

Whatever the actual origins, coffee has been one of the most important commodities over the course of history. By the 10th century, traders had brought coffee beans to the Arabian peninsula, where Muslim monks grew the shrubs and made a beverage (Qahwah in Arabic) from the fermented coffee berries. In about 1300, southern Arabians began roasting and brewing coffee, and shortly thereafter, coffee came to play an important role in religious ceremonies, medical applications, and in general social life. The Arabians initially protected their coffee production and maintained early control over this lucrative commodity, but by the 15th century, coffee had become widely used in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. And by the 17th century, coffee had increased its presence and popularity in Europe.

The Dutch opened the door to European participation in coffee production in 1616, cultivating their own coffee trees, and by 1658, they'd begun production in Ceylon, Java, and Sumatra. In 1723, a French naval officer transported a seedling from a plant given to the king by the Dutch to Martinique. Over the next 50 years, this plant evolved into 18 million coffee trees, and thus a single royal gift became the plant stock from which coffee trees in South and Central America and the Caribbean originated. By the end of the 18th century, Brazil had become a major coffee producer, and coffee had taken its place among the most profitable export crops. Today, the enormous Brazilian coffee industry makes that country the world's largest coffee producer.

Another factor, of course, that helped the global growth of coffee involved the tea monopoly, the tariffs associated with tea, and the rejection by the American colonies of that same tea-based commerce. As coffee became more widely available, it supplanted tea in western culture, first in the workplace and then in the home.

ICE Coffee Futures Specifications

Coffee futures, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), trading symbol KC. The contract size is 37,500 lbs. (approximately 250 bags), and the minimum tick is 0.05, worth $18.75 per contract.

Trade electronically on the ICE platform from 3:30 AM US EST to 2:00 PM US EST.

Primary trading months for ICE coffee futures and options are March, May, July, September, and December.

Please see the disclosures page for additional information regarding this section.