As a coffee importer, you’ve certainly noticed an increase in demand for natural green coffee beans, and you always want to ensure you’re meeting clients’ expectations.
You want to offer your clients high-quality green coffee beans. But you can’t do it on your own.
You rely on wholesale coffee suppliers to provide you with the best unroasted coffee beans grown within the most popular countries and regions in the world.
You know the basics of buying wholesale green coffee beans already.
You understand how elements like processing, elevation, harvest times, and climate can influence the taste of the beans. They can also determine which roasting methods will help them to truly shine.
However, you want to be certain that you’re working with the best wholesale coffee suppliers possible — those that are true innovators within the industry.
What should you look for when you’re buying green coffee beans from a wholesaler?
Read on to find out.
A Variety of Countries and Regions
When you’re buying wholesale coffee beans for your clients, the keyword you look for is variety.
Your clients need to get ahead of the next big trend in coffee and try beans from all over the world to create distinctive blends. They even use the fact that their coffees have a variety of origins as a selling point to their customers.
The last thing you want is a green coffee bean supplier that restricts the possibilities of your clients — and by extension, limits the amount of business you’re able to do.
In addition to classic coffee-producing countries like Colombia, Ethiopia, and Indonesia, your supplier should also have connections with countries that aren’t just “giants” in the world of coffee production.
Look for suppliers that work in places like Tanzania, Hawaii, and Panama.
Additionally, ask if they provide specialty blends and single-origin coffees. These are two things that are sure to give you an advantage over the competition.
Having something more to offer than “just the basics” gives you and your clients a competitive edge.
Finally, we strongly suggest that you work only with suppliers that conduct frequent farm visits. You don’t want your supplier to take someone else — someone that might not have good intentions — at just their word.
You want to know that your supplier has relationships with farmers and producers across the globe.
Be sure that they conduct on-the-ground research and reports about crops, and that they’re happy with the farmers’ working conditions.
Evaluate Their Partnerships and Memberships
When you’re buying green coffee beans from a wholesaler, you also want to ensure that they’ll be able to continue to provide you with the best possible beans far into the future.
Especially in today’s world, you also need to investigate how they support Fair Trade, sustainability, and organic coffee production.
For example, we’re partnered with World Coffee Research and are a charter member of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge Committee created by Conservation International. This allows us to help microfinance small coffee farms and understand the future of the coffee industry.
It means we support sustainable, ethical farming practices.
These should be values that your supplier stands for, as well.
Additionally, any wholesale coffee suppliers worth their salt will belong to a variety of organizations committed to helping support coffee businesses worldwide. They will want to learn more about how to get the best beans possible.
Look for memberships to organizations like the National Coffee Association, the Specialty Coffee Association, and the Coffee Roasters Guild.
You should also ask about both Fair Trade and organic coffee certifications.
It sounds basic, but you’d be surprised by how many importers don’t even bother to read reviews of wholesalers they’re considering working with. Then, they are subsequently shocked to receive poor service and delayed shipments.
Always take the time to not only read online reviews and testimonials. Also, speak with past and current clients directly.
Know Their Logistics Experience
What’s something that far too many importers and coffee connoisseurs overlook when they’re learning how to buy unroasted coffee beans?
The logistics of how the beans will actually get to them.
You can order the best and most flavorful beans in the world — but if the logistics process is a mess, none of it will do you any good.
Ask how many warehouses they have, and where those warehouses are located. Understand how they monitor their shipments and keep you in-the-know about where your beans are in the shipping process.
How will they account for weather delays? If they don’t have the beans you need, do they have relationships with other warehouses or suppliers so that you can still have them delivered?
Make sure that they’re able to arrange the type of shipping you need, understand when to order your beans so they’ll arrive on time, and ask about things like minimum purchases and filing shipping claims if needed.
Ready to Work with Wholesale Coffee Suppliers You Can Trust?
We understand that selecting from a list of wholesale coffee suppliers can feel incredibly intimidating — even if you know what to look for.
In addition to all the things we mentioned in this post, you also want to ensure that you can monitor inventory levels of available coffee beans, that creating an account with a supplier is an easy process, and even how the prices for green coffee beans are set.
At ICT, we can do all of that and much more.
We treat our buyers like members of our family — which means that we’ll make sure you get what you need even if we lose money making it happen.
We can also connect you with some of our on-staff master roasters, who can offer invaluable advice on how to make the perfect cup of joe every time.
When it comes to something as important as your long-term business success, don’t settle for anything less than the best.
Instead, reach out to us today to make sure that you can build a profitable and well-respected business for years to come.