What makes a commodity, a … commodity?

While working in the field of commodity Trade and Risk Management (CTRM) software, I am obviously getting often the question of people elsewhere about ‘What do you actually do’. That is sometimes rather a challenge to explain to people outside the commodity industry. Many times I noticed that the concept of a commodity is for many not as obvious as for people within the industry. However when you start to talk about it within the commodity industry it appears that many have their own slightly different definition on it. When someone asks and I have the luck to be in our office, I will try to explain it using coffee and tea. I would put some green (of course Arabica as I prefer the taste compared to Robusta) coffee beans on the table and let the person puzzle about the question about which one is the commodity.   The answers vary from none, both, tea or the correct one … the green coffee beans. However when I swap the tea for some roasted coffee beans it appears that the confusion on the subject usually increases as many indicate the roasted beans also to be a commodity. So what makes a

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Source: CTRM Center

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