Through the case study of specialty coffee, this paper examines the role of different kinds of standards in determining the governance features of international trade. The specialty coffee industry is the most vibrant and fast growing segment of a global coffee market that is otherwise marred in a deep crisis. Has this growth been beneficial to coffee farmers? To what extent? For which groups of farmers and in what countries? What has been the role of standards in this process? What kinds of specialty coffees have more potential to promote a more equal distribution of value added along the marketing chain?.