How to choose wholesale coffee bean suppliers?
Either you decide to open the coffee shop, or you are running the business which sells or serves coffee. You may be wondering how to choose a wholesale coffee supplier. And, that will depend on what kind of business you run. For example, if you run an office and coffee is perk no one pay attention to, then there is no reason to chase high-end coffee supplier, but if you are thinking about opening the coffee shop. Then you should consider prioritizing quality over cost.
Types of wholesale coffee distributors.
Many companies are offering bulk coffee product solutions. There are a few types of wholesalers. And you can consider which one to choose based on your business need.
National Brands that focus on delivering massive volume for the lowest price. Their names you can see at any supermarket. Often they provide all the equipment and a low cost per pound. But it comes with the price of a low grade and stale coffee. Mostly time you will receive coffee, which has been roasted months before you order. Your employee may not be so picky if coffee provided as a perk. On another hand, your customers, if you aim to be a coffee shop, will be very disappointed. To summarize, if the coffee quality is the last thing on your mind, then this option will provide low cost and no hassle.
Next on list companies with Big Name and long history on the market. That type of wholesale bean suppliers mostly rely on established customers. They do provide good quality grade products but for a high cost. They may even offer equipment and tons of promotional material to make their brand stand out while charging almost retail prices for coffee beans. Often they are focusing on marketing rather than improving their skills. Mostly time you will receive somewhat fresh coffee, roasted within two weeks or so. Not bad, but the high price, you’ll primarily for their name. Many Big Name companies will claim awards from coffee associations. These trophies are biased and more to do with marketing than the quality of the product. The truth is many roasting companies don’t participate in these events. Instead, their focus is on improving our roasting techniques. When you choose a coffee supplier, don’t focus on trophies.
Dedicated wholesale distributors
Last but not least is companies that are dedicated wholesale distributors focused on deliver freshly roasted coffee beans to the wholesale market. You are not going to see them at the trade show. Generally, they not highly recognizable to the general public but well known to the business community. They are not chasing to make their brand to stand out instead of helping their clients to grow their brand. Companies like RocKaffe focused on promoting your brand by offering a private label program and supplying freshly roasted coffee beans roasted on the same day of shipping for a very competitive price. These companies focused on one thing to deliver a quality product for the best price. It is still more expensive then the companies we described in the first paragraph, and they not providing equipment — those types of coffee suppliers suitable for high-end coffee shops who interested to promote their brand.
Breakdown what’s wholesale coffee distributors can offer.
Choosing the right wholesale coffee supplier for your business, whether it is a coffee shop, as a complement to your restaurant, or as a business perk, is essential to meet business needs. What should you consider before you make a perfect cup of coffee for your business?
- Shipping policies
- Cost of the coffee beans
- Roasting process and experience
- Offering a private label program
- Relationship coffee distributor and importer
- Variety of the inventory
- How RocKaffe stands out on the wholesale market
How far your wholesale coffee supplier located?
Location is essential. Why? Well, shipping may take up to 10 days to deliver. That, for the most beans, is the expiration date. We highly recommend using espresso coffee beans in 7-10 days. So if your business in Delaware, you shouldn’t order from California due to delivery time.
Shipping policies are significant, especially when you run a high traffic coffee shop. Not only it may affect the freshness of the coffee beans but also the cash flow of your business. You don’t want to end up without coffee. While most companies offer free shipping, not all of them ready to ship the same day you order. Some big companies take up to 72 hours to process your order. So definitely discuss policies before commit to buy it from them.
Cost of the coffee beans on the wholesale market.
Recognition is must.
That probably the most critical question. That’s where you have to figure out whats your business trying to archive. Be highly recognizable by offering big brand then be prepared to pay the highest price on the market. In many instances, cost per pound is closer to the retail market. Somewhere around $12-$16 per pound. Big Name companies may give you a significant boost in the beginning, but your name will fade away over time. In a few years, people will recognize you as more like a franchise. It is a reasonable option for urban areas. Competition in cites is much stronger. So it is easier to be recognized as an established name.
Cost over quality.
If the quality of coffee you serve is not top of your priority, for example, you sell mostly specialty food, but you would like to have coffee without putting too much effort. In this case, options with national brands seem reasonable. These companies ready to provide everything you need to have coffee at your business — the average price between $4 – $6 per pound. Reminder you are going to buy coffee which roasted months before you order. Its a good option for convenience stores, restaurants, small hotels.
Now, if you are a coffee specialty store and like to promote your brand, or you have a restaurant focused on breakfast. Then the quality of the coffee is your priority. Freshness is king. Choosing a dedicated wholesale distributor will be a wise choice, and getting high-quality coffee beans for a reasonable price. Average cost around $6-$9 per pound. You can do simple math if your store sells between 80- 100 pounds a week. And the difference is $2 per pound at the end of the month it is $600 – $800 you can use towards advertise or lease new equipment. I highly recommend trying small companies, give them a call, most of them will send you samples, and if for some reason you don’t like their service or product, you can cancel at any time. This option is bang for your buck if you are willing to put some effort into the process by buying your equipment.
Roasting is the process of transferring heat to the bean. Similar to making popcorn. Many variables can affect the final product. And there is one secret no roaster will tell you. There is no standard rule on how to roast, and many fascinating coffee blends and profiles had accidentally discovered when something went wrong. The biggest challenge for coffee roasting companies is to keep coffee consistent from batch to batch. Nowadays, we have technologies to help roaster coffee, whether it is a manual process of recording everything that happens or a fully automated roasting process. So, what factors affect taste and color in coffee?
Size of the batch. Large quantities are harder to preserve consistency. Many large companies use huge roasters to satisfy their demands, but it comes with a price of beans roasted unevenly. Ask your coffee supplier how big is a batch they usually roast. Smaller orders between five pounds and twenty pounds are easy to inspect and to remove defective beans, which can affect the taste. Smaller quantities equal better-quality control.
Style of Roast.
The degree of roast also affects consistency. For example, darker coffee is not that hard to keep consistent. And it is because, at darker stages, individual characteristics of the origin become less visible. At this stage, coffee loses acidity and flavor and becomes smokier and bolder. Lots of people, mainly from urban areas, love dark roasted coffee. Generally, named “Dark Roast,” ” Italian Roast,” or “French Roast.” On the lighter side, coffee becomes harder to keep consistent — Roasters challenge to bright many of the unique to origin characteristics and keep it the same from batch to batch. As the person in charge of the coffee menu, eventually, you learn what kind of styles your audience prefers. Keep experimenting and from time to time, introduce new origins or flavors. During my time in the retail coffee shop business, we’ve seen customers go from dark roast to light roast, and back in a few years.
To summarize the Roasting process, coffee has to be consistent in each roast, from batch to batch. Pay attention to how big the batch is and what degree of coffee roasting the companies offer. After years of experience at RocKaffe, we perfected our light roasted coffee. Using the latest technologies, we were able to keep it consistent. You don’t want to hear from your client or co-worker tell you, “remember that time this coffee tasted so good.” Coffee should taste the same no matter what time of the year you ordered.
Is a private label solution right for you?
It is something to consider if you run a coffee specialty store. People love local businesses. Especially if you in a small town. It makes them feel that it’s something only they have, and they will actively support your business. My first business was a coffee shop in small-town Rocky Hill in New Jersey. While we were half a mile from another franchise, I had strong support from local people. At some point, you will go through a tough time. Local support will be vital in your business. Make your brand stand out. Your local customers will brag about to other communities. Customers are more likely to grab a pound of coffee for the weekend if they see the name they can trust. Does your coffee provider offer a private label program?It is something to consider if you run a coffee specialty store. People love local businesses. Especially if you in a small town. It makes them feel that it’s something only they have, and they will actively support your business. My first business was a coffee shop in small-town Rocky Hill in New Jersey. While we were half a mile from another franchise, I had strong support from local people. At some point, you will go through a tough time. Local support will be vital in your business. Make your brand stand out. Your local customers will brag about to other communities. Customers are more likely to grab a pound of coffee for the weekend if they see the name they can trust. Does your coffee provider offer a private label program? Click here to find out about RocKaffe private label program.
How well your wholesale coffee distributor communicates with importer?
Ok, now you know about who you should choose as a coffee supplier based on your business model. What else to consider? The relationship between coffee roaster, importer, and the farmer is essential? First, we should go over how coffee beans end up in a roasting facility in the first place. It will take a long five years of growing the coffee tree to harvest fruits. Trees generally grow in shade areas and require lots of water. In some countries like Jamaica and Hawaii, farmers grow coffee trees on the side of the mountain to keep them away from the bright light of the sun. After it’s collected, farmers separate beans from fruits by drying them and wash after skin removed. Its labor-intense process.
And as you can see, a lot of what can go wrong in this process. And if the importer has a strong relationship with the farmer, it will help to avoid defects in raw coffee beans. On another hand, the relationship between importer and roaster is vital to obtain the highest grade of coffee beans. In some cases, coffee roasting companies choose to communicate directly to farmers, and there is a lot of benefits to having a strong relationship with farmers. But it may limit companies to explore other opportunities on the market. However, it is essential to reward farmers for their hard work.
Variety of inventory your wholesale coffee distributor is offer.
The geographical region of the world plays a big part in the quality of the coffee bean. Arabica, the most popular coffee bean, originated in Ethiopia (Abyssinia) around the 7th century in the southwestern highlands and accounted for a large percentage of world coffee growth. The ten countries in order of world coffee production volume are Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Honduras, India, Uganda, Mexico, and Guatemala. Brazil is the leader in Arabica beans, Vietnam is the leader in Robusta beans. Arabica accounts for 60% of wholesale coffee beans, robusta accounts for 40%. Arabica generally has a very balanced body higher in citrus-like acidity and sweeter, on another hand robusta usually bitter and has less flavor. That’s why the majority of the market is arabica, not to say that recently many coffee roasting companies have been experimenting with blending robusta. Robusta has a full-body, and it doesn’t need to be roasted dark to get a strong flavor. Check your coffee supplier, which origins it offers. Trends are changing very quickly. Be prepared to improve lines of coffee when demand requires. And don’t afraid to experiment.
Where RocKaffe stand on the wholesale coffee market?
We are a dedicated wholesale coffee distributor, located in Flemington, NJ. Serving primarily tri-state area but not limited to the east coast. Our shipping policy is very aggressive. We promise to ship the same day of roasting, to preserve maximum freshness. For wholesale customers, all orders shipped with United Parcel Service (UPS). All orders roasted and shipped the same day if ordered before 1:00 PM. Orders roasted and shipped the next business day if ordered after 1:00 PM. The shipping fee will apply in the invoice on orders below 30LB. Orders of 30LB and more shipping is free. We highly competitive when it comes to cost. Our prices between $6-$9 per pound depending on volume and origin.
At Rockaffe, we understand the importance of your brand. We highly encourage you to grow it. A private label program is available for wholesale customers. Send us your logo, and we will help you to design coffee bags you can display at your shop. We also can customize blends and origins if you wish so. No one knows your customer base more then you do. We always listen to our clients and ready to adjust our product to your style. We roast in five to ten pounds batches depending on order. Our promise to deliver the freshest coffee beans to your business and make sure it is consistent from batch to batch. We respect your business and guarantee not to sell coffee to your competition in your area. At RocKaffe, we communicate with our coffee suppliers daily. Very often, we use green coffee under the fair trade mark to guarantee farmers paid well. Our inventory is growing fast. We are offering single origins in many styles of roast, custom blends, and flavor coffee.
To request samples, click here.