Our Driving Principles

Quality

Cafe Imports stands behind every bean we sell. If you are not satisfied with the quality of your coffee upon arrival, we want to hear about it.

Cafe Imports has been sourcing, developing, testing, playing with, and selling high end coffees since 1993. We take pride in consistently partnering on top-quality green coffees with our clients. Our success in our development and sourcing efforts at origin would not be possible without clients like you that have a home for them in their roastery. We view our development work as a long term investment that must be beneficial for both the producer and us. Our goal is to be able to pay fair prices for high quality coffee, and as much of it as we can get our hands on, with every new project. Innovative quality incentive programs, educational initiatives, and support of financial and health projects, are some of the ways we focus on improving the lives of the producers, in turn, empowering real coffee quality advancements on the ground level.

To ensure that individual lots meet our expectations of bean quality and flavor we cup, cup, and cup again. Any given coffee is at least cupped three times: offer sample, preshipment sample, and arrival sample. More often than not, that same lot is also cupped over the life of its time with us once again so we can track the progression of the cup quality over a period of time. Don’t believe we love to cup? Check out these videos.

Visit our “How We Cup" Page  to learn more about our cupping standards and get some insight into our sensory analysis department. Or, better yet, give us a call!

Service

We believe that our team has been assembled and trained in a way that allows us to provide the industry’s best experience in buying a bag coffee. We have more support staff and specialized members of our team here than any other importer, and the reason is, so you leave every interaction with us happy you reached out. We are committed to hospitality and service around here in a way that will make you understand the real meaning of “Minnesota Nice”

We are also one of the very few importers left that owns and operates our own warehouse. Why does this matter? Because every pallet you get from us arrives tightly wrapped, strapped, and palletized in a way that speaks to quality of the contents of those bags underneath. Our own warehouse also allows us to send your orders out same day and get you your coffee faster than anyone else in the business.

We consider the direct connection Cafe Imports provides between the farmers and the roasters an essential service. The experiences of the coffee-growing areas, of each individual farm, and of each type of coffee are shared to help roasters make the best decisions for their business. Our education page now gives us the platform to better share all that we have learned over the years across the globe. Visit the education page HERE to learn more.

As always, call or email us anytime. Cafe Imports' experienced staff will find the perfect coffees for your needs and leave you with a smile on your face.

Education

Education is at the core of everything we do. Our role in the specialty coffee industry allows us to be students and teachers in every facet of the chain of coffee from the producer level to the barista level. We share education because we believe that paying forward experiences and lessons is the key to our industry progressing as a whole. We have seen producer partners from Kenya light up at the opportunity to collaborate and speak with producers from Brasil, we have seen our staff jump at the opportunity to share knowledge of green coffee with other staff and customers, we have seen baristas travel to origin and freely share fundamentals of coffee brewing with producers, and in each of these moments there is something truly special that goes beyond just a job; we believe it is core personal fulfillment. 

Our staff are extremely involved in volunteering with the SCAA, BGA, Roasters Guild, and Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE). Our staff have held various executive level positions within each organization over the years, and we have contributed in developing a lot of the core curriculum these organizations currently use in their programs. We also have launched the MPLS Coffee Mill, which is our collaborative SCAA accredited training center in Minneapolis where we host many classes and sessions throughout the year. 

Sharing knowledge and providing a platform for education is a big deal to us and our team. It will continue to be our core driver moving forward for the advancement of specialty coffee. 

Progress

"Progress" is the act of moving forward—seeking ways to improve, new avenues for growth and development, and not simply stopping at "good enough." We think of progress as the journey, not the destination: There will always be something else we can do better, something we can strive toward, and something we can contribute to the betterment both of the world within and around Cafe Imports.

Everyone at Cafe Imports is committed to continuing on that journey: As individuals and on teams, we all work and ceaselessly on projects, contribute and nurture ideas, and challenge each other in pursuit of creating and maintaining real positive impact both at home and abroad.

We work alongside our producing partners to improve the quality and the marketability of their coffees, ensuring long returns for their families and communities; we strive to improve our own quality of life with local initiatives like composting organic material in the office kitchen, and utilizing solar power for the majority of our energy needs. We buy and sell coffee responsibly; we make efforts to minimize our carbon footprint; we bike and carpool to work; we foster a culture of support and empathy in the office and in our dealings with our customers. Acts like these—big and small—are some of the many which push us toward progress, and we hope to keep that forward momentum rolling as we learn, develop, and grow as a company.

We classified our activities that we believe reflect our image of progress into three categories: community, development, and environment. The examples of those categories and projects can be thoroughly explored by visiting our progress page.