This article analyzes the division of the total income and surplus generated along the coffee commodity chain during the period 1971–1995. Until the late 1980s, coffee growers and producing states retained over a third of the total income and about half of the total surplus that was available. This was due in part to the collective actions of coffee-producing states, which led to the imposition of a regulatory regime involving export quotas, creating rents for the producing countries. By the late 1980s, coffee TNCs had consolidated their control over core markets, and began to use their market power to increase their shares of both income and surplus. This shift was greatly accelerated by the breakdown of the export quota regime in 1989. The article concludes that these results necessitate a reformulation of commodity chain analysis.