5 Things to Consider When Looking For a Coffee Supplier

Coffee being roasted by Gento coffee to ensure freshness and flavor profile

If you don’t serve delicious coffee, why will customers buy from you? To assure you are getting the best coffee, select specialty-grade coffee beans that have been freshly roasted. Everyone has a budget and must consider price vs. quality, but the more flavorful your coffee the more loyal customers you will have. This means more sales! Whether looking for roasted coffee beans or green beans to roast yourself, make sure you buy quality beans from the start. Specialty coffee will guarantee you get good flavors, a low defect count, and fresh coffee. Don’t spend your money on old coffee with defects!

1. Ensure ethically and transparently sourced beans
Now more than ever, consumers are conscious about sustainability and, as a result, they are demanding products that are ethically sourced and environmentally friendly. While many products may have one certification, these certifications don’t always represent holistic sustainability throughout the value chain (social, environmental, and economic). Do you know who grows the coffee? Beyond flavor, cheap coffee comes at a social and environmental cost, and it will certainly mean you are purchasing bad quality beans.

There are many certifications out there: Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, etc. But companies that have made it their mission to promote sustainability beyond certifications are worth supporting and partnering with—especially if you are committed to making a difference with your business. Consumers appreciate and will want to support your company when they hear your commitment to do better.

2. Not all coffees are the same
Even coffees from one same farm may have different qualities and taste profiles. Does the supplier have a robust quality control system in place? Are they sharing information and details about your beans? Whether looking for roasted coffee beans or green beans there are many factors to consider beyond the flavor of the coffee: variety, region, humidity, cupping score, flavor profile, process, harvest year, etc. Not only will this help you choose your beans, but it will also give you information you can use in marketing materials to see your coffee.

3. Packaging and freshness
Whether looking for roasted or green coffee beans packaging is very important. Packaging can assure to preserve the flavors and aromas of your coffee for longer periods of time. Using low-barrier packaging (such as kraft paper bags) or leaving them exposed to oxygen will rapidly degrade coffee flavors causing your beans to oxidize more quickly and become stale.

Roasted Coffee Packaging
When purchasing roasted coffee, look at suppliers that use high barrier packaging that will prevent oxidation and that have a two-way degassing valve so you know the coffee was freshly packaged. Roast date is also key for bean freshness, target purchasing coffee within 4 weeks of being roasted.
Green Beans Packaging
While roasted coffee packaging gets the majority of the attention, green bean packaging is also worth paying attention to. High barrier bags that preserve the freshness of green beans is a new technology that avoids faster aging and coffee flavor decay. We use Grain Pro or Ecotact that has specific technology to preserve freshness and longevity of flavors. Also, make sure to know what harvest season those beans are from. You would not want to buy a past crop (old coffee) that is losing flavors and getting a musty taste.

4. Minimum Order Quantity
Pay attention to the minimum order quantity when selecting a coffee supplier. If you are starting out or trying new beans, you won’t be able to order too much coffee at a time. Big order minimums typically mean those suppliers have trimmed smaller clients to streamline their operations via a smaller partner list. Also, if you are new to the world of coffee, you may not have a lot of money to invest in large quantities of coffee. It is helpful to make sure that you and your customer enjoy the coffee before buying too much.

5. Customer Support
Partner with a coffee supplier that is willing to work with you and assist you as a new coffee buyer. If you are a new coffee shop, you might need guidance in picking the right beans and machines for your shop. If you are a new green bean coffee buyer, you will need guidance on finding the best beans and roast for your espresso, drip coffee, or cold brew. Personalized attention is critical when making fist time purchases.

Choosing the perfect coffee supplier can be difficult, but with these tips, you should be able to select the right coffee supplier in no time! Be sure to find a high-quality and ethical supplier that is willing to grow with you.

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