How We Buy Coffee

“Buying the best coffees means buying coffees better”

We are all in specialty coffee because we are in pursuit of the very best coffee, but what does “the best” mean? Is it a minuscule but high-cupping lot of super-special coffee, or a versatile workhorse that can play multiple roles—or maybe those two in concert? We are constantly seeking higher quality, more interesting varieties, meticulous farm practices, and innovative processing techniques that will result in that mind-blowing beverage.

But we are also looking beyond the taste, searching for both coffees and buying practices that fit into our worldview as businesspeople who are passionate about doing better through our deeds every single day.

That last idea is what we believe at Cafe Imports Australia: That buying the best coffees means buying coffees better.

In order to maintain the integrity of the supply chain and reinforce the relationships we aim to build with our producer partners, we knew we needed to design a completely holistic sourcing strategy, one that incorporated the needs not only of our roaster customers, but also of the farmers. To do this we ground our relationships on two key pillars:

First is the Cafe Imports Impact Standards; a set of guidelines that we and our producer partners co-develop and agree upon that outlines the minimum ethical standards that are to be upheld for the duration of the relationship. This ensures the needs of people, the economy, and the environment are considered and respected. This also gives us a baseline understanding if we are good long-term partners together and have the same goal of uplifting specialty coffee in all facets.

Second is our stratified buying approach; rather than simply “coming in, taking the best, and leaving,” we have created a network of products and market options for coffees that cup along a spectrum of quality levels, buying and paying for them accordingly. In practical terms, what this creates is a tiered pricing structure for any producer participating in the program, either as an individual or within an organization, with the price basis on the cup: Buying this way allows us to offer a wide range of coffees on the Cafe Imports Australia menu.

The coffees we buy in this manner range from show-stopping microlots and limited-release coffees to a generous selection of hardworking and versatile bigger-lot coffees that cup between 85–88 points (sometimes marked as “Regional Select” or another similar indication), all the way to solid-but-not-spectacular options that are less expensive but still maintain the integrity of 80–84 points—good-quality blend options and less-expensive bulk coffees that are easy on the roaster’s wallet while also helping fill the producers’ bank accounts.

Download and read about the Cafe Imports Impact Standards here, or explore our quality-stratified options below, and know that by supporting this sourcing strategy you are directly contributing to a holistic, sustainable, and fair cycle of coffee commerce.

Stratified Coffee Offerings

80–84 points

85+ points

88+ points