We’ve talked before about picking the best beans for your roasting shop.
Now we’re going to talk about the most important factors when choosing a wholesale coffee supplier.
Choosing a Wholesale Coffee Supplier
Ask A Lot Of Questions
When it comes to choosing a wholesale coffee supplier, you’ll want to vet them as much as possible before you decide to work with them. A great way to begin this research is by asking them about their standards pertaining to quality, logistics, communication, and client satisfaction. Visiting their website, reading reviews, getting references from current and former clients should also be a part of the research. You can cross-reference their answers with your research and ask any pertinent follow-up questions.
Here are some valuable questions you can ask…
How many years have you been in business?
The length of time a supplier has been around can reveal a lot about how they run their business. The longer they’ve been around, the higher the likelihood they’re running a reputable operation.
What is the minimum grade of coffee beans you accept?
The grade of coffee can immediately reveal what type of supplier you’re working with. If you’re a high-end restaurant that cares about quality, you’ll want to know that your supplier shares the same standards.
Do you sell direct-trade coffees? Are you Fair Trade certified?
Direct trade coffees benefit the farmers’ well-being and ensure a high-quality product. Fair Trade certification ensures that you’re dealing with an ethical company that treats the coffee industry with the respect and dignity it deserves.
Is your coffee certified organic?
This is another potential indicator of high-quality. Organic coffees also help the environment.
Do you have any independent reviews or industry awards?
This might be a question you can answer for yourself after reviewing their website, so keep note of any badges or certificates you see.
What are the estimated shipping times?
This is important in order to see if their shipping times will work with your schedule. It also shows if they’re a well-run business and can ship their product to you consistently. It would be wise to follow up with questions about guarantees, or what happens if there are delays in shipping.
Do you offer blind taste tests?
A blind taste test is important to note. This shows that the supplier can stand confidently behind their product. There are psychological aspects that can affect your perception of taste. From the label of the bag, the source, the grade, and even what the supplier is telling you can greatly affect how the coffee tastes.
Do you offer training and consulting services to help my business grow?
This last question is optional, as you may want to receive these types of services from other companies. However, it shows how much of a commitment they have to the industry as a whole.
If they offer such services, they understand that in order for them to be successful, everyone else they work with has to be successful.
Do you have any customer reviews or references I can reach out to?
It’s important to get a gauge on their reputation from their current and past customers. A good supplier should be confident and stand behind their reputation. If they’re hesitant to do so, they may be hiding something.
Keep Note of How They Answer
Business partnerships are like a marriage, you’ll be working with them theoretically for a very long time. Their answers should be confident, clear and concise. If there’s any hesitation you’ll want to take note of it. If they bad mouth other companies or customers, for example, what’s to stop them from bad mouthing you? In your ensuing exchanges, keep note also of how quickly they respond to e-mail or handle scheduled phone calls. If they’re constantly slow to respond or continuously rescheduling your appointments, it could be a red flag that they can’t their current customer base or take on new clients. Imagine trying to get a hold of them for a missed delivery or a bad batch of beans?
Don’t Feel Pressured
Take note of any underhanded, high-pressure or “time-sensitive” sales tactics they try to employ. This may show signs of a toxic and stressful work environment, where management only cares about quotas and hitting sales goals, as opposed to the quality of the coffee.
Learn More About Us
With the hundreds of wholesale coffee suppliers out there, we understand the overwhelming feeling you must have when deciding who to go with.
Hopefully, this list of questions and concerns have helped you narrow down your list of suppliers.
We’ve been in business for 10 years and understand what it takes to supply direct-trade coffee beans. If you’re interested in learning more about us and the passion we have for our coffee, please don’t hesitate to contact us.