With a simple search on the internet, you can find many coffee suppliers. With all kinds of services, but to be able to choose a coffee supplier that best suits your purposes, here are some criteria you can refer to find a coffee bean supplier.
1: Decide on your Flavor Profile and where you want to go.
Choosing the flavors you want to show off in your coffee shop should be the first step in your search for the best beans to make them. For example, do you want to serve an espresso with a fruity taste? Then look for blends or single-source coffees from places like Ethiopia or Colombia.
Also, it’s important to know how the way coffee is made affects the flavor of the drink. It can be natural, washed, or semi-washed/honey. There are three types: This can change based on the climate, the farmer’s choice, or tradition. For example, in Brazil, the natural process is the most common because of the climate and tradition.
Recommended: Check out our guide for more information on how roasting works.
So, how does processing affect the taste of a coffee? Here’s a quick look at the three most common ways to process coffee beans, and how they affect the flavor of the green beans that come out of them.
Once the coffee cherries are ripe, farmers pick them from the trees, place them on drying racks, and sun-dry them to remove all of the pulp and mucilage. This method is called natural or unwashed (the fruit surrounding the bean). This usually takes three to six weeks, and it has been known to make the food taste better and have more body. A lot of people use this method in places that are dry and warm, like Ethiopia, Brazil, or Yemen.
Before sun-drying, farmers remove the skin of ripe coffee cherries but keep the sticky mucilage and flesh inside. This process is called “pulped natural/honey.” This process, which usually takes two weeks and requires a lot of attention to the beans, makes them sweet and well-balanced. It’s used the most in Costa Rica.
After picking ripe coffee cherries, farmers put them in a vat of water and skim off any that float to the top. This makes sure that all of the coffee is clean. Farmers then use a lot of water to remove the pulp and mucilage from the rest of the cherries. They either ferment the cleaned beans or use a machine to wash them, and then they dry them, which is the last step.
This process usually takes about four weeks, and it lets the coffee keep the flavor profile that comes from the bean itself instead of taking on a flavor from the way it was made. It’s used mostly in countries with wet climates, like Kenya, where there isn’t enough sun to dry clothes. However, washed coffees are becoming more and more common in any country that makes high-quality Arabica beans.
Beyond your favorite flavors and countries, you should also think about a lot of other things when you buy coffee beans. These factors include how much it costs, what kind of business ethics a farm or importer has, and even how politically stable a country is. In terms of availability, some areas or farms may not be able to produce coffee for a while because the coffee plant is very sensitive.
This means that you may not always be able to get the same type of coffee beans from the same supplier. Other things to look out for when you buy green coffee beans are changes in flavor profiles and a lot of beans that aren’t good or don’t match your taste preferences. If you need help putting together a logo for your coffee shop, check out our Free Coffee Shop Logo Maker. If you want to make your small business stand out, you can use our free tool to make your coffee business look unique.
2. Make a choice about who you want to work within
Now that you know which coffee beans from which countries will make your drink taste the way you want, it’s time to choose a coffee supplier. If you want to roast your own beans, there are two main ways to get them: through coffee importers or directly from the farms. Here are some things to keep in mind as you think about which direction your business should go:
There are a lot of people in the coffee business who import coffee. They are middlemen who buy and sell green coffee beans that haven’t been roasted. Importers are in charge of setting up a profile for each coffee and making sure it’s good. This gives you more control and consistency over your product. This is very important because coffee beans can be very different from lot to lot and season to season.
There is a good chance that an importer will charge at least $4.50 a pound for the beans they bring in and then sell to someone else.
When you buy food from a grocery store, you don’t have a relationship with your farmer, and the prices are higher than when you buy food from a farm directly. Check out this complete list of green coffee importers as you look for new business partners.
You don’t need to buy coffee beans from a farm to make your cafe successful. However, many specialty coffee shops keep in touch with the farms from which they buy their beans. A lot of business owners keep in touch with their supplier farms. For some people, it means going to the farms, bringing them supplies, and getting to know the farmers on a more personal level.
In the form of green beans, the price a coffee farmer should charge to pay their workers a living wage is about $3.75 per pound, or about $3.75 per pound.The main advantages of this method are that it is more transparent, you can build relationships with your farmer, and the prices are lower.
However, the exporting process is a big problem. You have to do a lot more work than just send beans to your roastery. You’ll need to find an exporter or importer to get the beans from the coffee producer and to figure out how to pay taxes and follow regulations when moving coffee across borders. In order to make this process easier for their customers, some producers work with a single exporter to make it easier for their customers.
Step 3: Try Before You Buy
If you work with a coffee importer or a farm, you need to try their products before you buy them. This is an important part of the sourcing process. “Cupping” is the standard way to sample coffees in the industry. It involves looking at, smelling, and tasting coffee samples to see how they compare to each other.
How it works:
You can get a sample of each coffee you want to try from a potential supplier. You get 250 to 500 grams of each coffee you ask for from the importers and/or the farms. Samples from importers may come ready to grind, or they may be green beans that you need to lightly roast before you can test them out and see how they taste.
As a rule, green beans are the sample food from farms. Samples should be roasted as needed so that you can accurately compare them all. Keep the roast level of each coffee the same across the samples so you can do this.
To look at each sample, follow the “cupping” process. Each type of coffee will need five glass cups and one bowl of water. You also need water, a kettle, glass cups, trays, tasting spoons, and one bowl of water for each type of coffee. When you’re “cupping” your coffee, be sure to keep the same amount of coffee, water temperature, glass cup size, grind, and extraction time for each cup of coffee.
- Prepare the area where you will be “cupping” so that it is ready.
- Smell the smell of the dry coffee.
- Fill the drinking glasses with water, then close them.
- Break up the crust.
- Scrape off the crust.
- Enjoy the coffee.
- Taste the coffee twice as much.
Recommended: If you want to learn more about how to cup coffee, read our full How to Cup Coffee guide.
4. Find Out the Fair Price
How much should you pay for good beans? You should think about these general rules before you buy coffee:
The price a specialty coffee farmer should charge you to pay their workers a living wage is about $3.75 per pound of green beans.
Most likely, a coffee importer will charge at least $4.50 per pound to get the beans to their warehouse and then to you. This is how much they will make.
To get your coffee beans, you should expect to pay the prices shown above per pound, but you should also expect to pay for labor, packaging, energy, and other things. As a last resort, you can use a shared roasting space to cut down on the cost of your own equipment.
Finally, buy your beans!
To buy and ship your favorite beans, work with your favorite coffee importer or farm supplier. You can do this based on your “cupping.”
Roasting coffee beans isn’t part of your business plan, but you can still buy coffee from a wholesale roaster. This way, you can get it quickly and cheaply. In this way, you don’t have to worry about selling a lot of the same kind of coffee, so you can show off different roasters and give your customers more options.
Choose the right wholesaler for your business based on how good their coffee tastes and how easy it is for you to get to them. Suppose you don’t have access to the kind of coffee you want to sell in your area. If that happens, you’ll need to think about the extra costs and time it takes to ship coffee from a roaster in another city or state. You might also want to think about whether a wholesale account with a roaster comes with any training or equipment, which could help you pay for your coffee.
There are a few things to look for when you buy your beans in bulk:
The Roast Types: Do they specialize in light, medium, or dark? Or do they do a mix of all three?
When it comes to the types of blends and single-origin coffees, they have a lot to choose from. Their blends have beans in them.
Origins: What kind of origins do they usually have? How often do they feature coffees from other countries, and can they sell them in bulk?
When you buy something, there are rules. Do they make you use a certain kind of coffee for your espresso? Are there any restrictions or different options for people who buy wholesale?
There are also extra perks for wholesale account holders. Do they come with any training and/or equipment?
It’s important to know what kind of prices or discounts they give to wholesale customers.
It’s called the “Order Timeline.” Due to the delicate nature of coffee, ordering wholesale coffee at the right time is very important to get a high-quality, flavorful product. Most wholesale roasters give advice on how to store and order their coffee. It’s a good rule of thumb to use whole bean coffees within a week of getting them and espresso within 12 weeks of when the coffee was roasted.