Purchase Planning for Medium-Scale Roasters

We realize that there are countless options and opportunities for sourcing green coffee, and we appreciate your interest in Cafe Imports. We’d love to help you find the right coffee to grow your business and stand out in the world of specialty coffee.

The following categories are several key services that we offer to benefit your business:


  • We work tirelessly to provide as much information about our coffees as we can. For many of our coffees, that means details as specific as farm or farmer name, varieties, and processing technique.
  • We have a team of full-time coffee buyers who travel the globe for more than 10 months a year each, seeking the most delicious coffees on the planet and sharing detailed information about those coffees.
  • Search our offerings by cupping characteristics on our website, or ask your sales representative to recommend coffees with profiles that match your needs.


  • Our full-time sensory-analysis team evaluates every single coffee that we buy and sell: They cup each Cafe Imports coffee multiple times in order to establish, evaluate, and ensure our high standard of quality.
  • We keep detailed records of vital information about each and every coffee we sell, from cup score and characteristics to dates of offer and arrival, moisture content, and water activity.
  • Cafe Imports’ sensory department cups over 5,000 coffees annually, maintaining calibration and sharing regular feedback with the global sales team.


Check our regularly updated inventory of Spot coffees currently available in our warehouses, coffees that are Afloat in transit to us, or even coffees still Open, which we have contracted from the producer but have not yet shipped from origin. You can visit our Offerings page for a list of current and upcoming coffees.


  • As your partner, we are committed to working closely with you to get to know your tastes and needs. This means advocating on your behalf for certain coffees, paying attention to the volumes your business requires, and acting as your sourcing proxy in negotiation with producers and exporters.
  • Your sales representative is happy to help you forward book into lots of coffee that meet your needs and fill your lineup throughout the year. We are able to contract lots for you on sample-approval basis, and will co-cup coffees with you even before the full lots arrive from origin.


We believe that buying better coffee means buying coffee better—a philosophy that informs a holistic buying approach on our end, allowing us to source more of each producer’s coffee at various levels of quality, pricing it accordingly and finding the appropriate outlet for each type of lot. Due to this buying structure, we are able to offer several tiers of quality, traceability, and price to our customers:


  • Farm, farmer, or otherwise hyper-specific
  • Typically limited quantity/somewhat exclusive (100 bags or fewer)
  • Scores 88+ points on the cupping table
  • Premium, static price that does not fluctuate with the C-market

Regional and Program Coffees

  • Region-, microregion-, or association-specific
  • Displays classic or exemplary regional characteristics that express terroir
  • Moderate availability—between 100–275 bags, on average
  • Scores 85–87 on the cupping table
  • Competitive but fairly priced with tiered premiums related to quality

Signature Coffees

  • Sourced based on standard profiles that represent a particular region or style
  • Widely available throughout the year
  • Scores 80–84 points ont he cupping table
  • Dynamically and competitively priced, a “value” coffee

Certified Coffees

  • A selection of various third-party verified and certified coffees, all of which meet our quality standards and fulfill a range of price points and traceability—Fair Trade USA, Fairtrade International (FLO), Rainforest Alliance (RFA), certified organic


  • We own our own warehouse in Minneapolis, MN, and the vast majority of our U.S. inventory is housed there, though we welcome our customers to keep a position in any of our third-party warehouse spaces in New Jersey, California, Texas, or internationally.
  • Shipping can be arranged to your door from any of our warehouse spaces, and we take great pride in the attention to detail that our warehouse staff shows to your order, every single time.
  • Storage can also be negotiated for longer or larger contracts with us: For just a few pennies per month, we are able to store lots for up to four months with periodic release at your convenience.


Coffee wants a cool, dry environment that is out of the sun and away from areas where water, dirt, rodents, or insects can cause damage (i.e. preferably off the ground and away from food prep or storage). In an ideal world you’d have a dedicated warehouse or storage area with climate control set to 60–70°F (15–21°C) at 50–60% humidity, but we realize that isn’t possible for many small roasters.

If you have limited resources, we recommend the following:

  • Keep your coffee in GrainPro bags and keep the GrainPro closed between uses.
  • Store coffee in the coolest (but not cold) area of your facility, out of direct sunlight and away from anything that affects moisture in the air such as dishwashers, steam radiators, dehumidifiers, etc.
  • If you have multiple bags on contract, consider allowing your importer to hold them in the warehouse over a few months rather than taking delivery of the entire volume at once: You can do this by adding a few cents/pound of carry to the price of the coffee.

How long can I store green coffee?

Different coffees will respond differently to quality degradation over time. Some types of coffee hold up very well in storage; others fade more rapidly. The general rule of thumb is “fresh is best,” and we recommend using up green beans within 6 months of receipt, though up to a year is acceptable in most cases. For additional reading about coffee quality, storage, and age, read our sensory analysis director Ian Fretheim’s Water Activity in Specialty Green Coffee: A Long-Term Observational Study.


  • U.S. customers enjoy same-day shipping from our Minneapolis warehouse on orders placed before 12pm CST, Monday through Friday.
  • Thanks to the volume we ship around the world on a daily basis, we are able to offer incredibly competitive freight rates worldwide.
  • Our savvy logistics team is happy to take care of the details and get you the coffee you need, when you need it.
  • You are also welcome to arrange your own freight with your preferred carrier: We are happy to cooperate with any service or business partner you choose.


Travel with us to meet or visit our producing partners as part of our Resource program, and cup and select lots of coffee in-country. Cafe Imports is proud to make long-term connections between our producing and roasting partners, strengthening the supply chain and bringing more fantastic coffees to a wider market.


We are pleased to invite our customers to contribute to the World Coffee Research check-off fund: By agreeing to participate, you agree to pay an extra 1/2 cent per pound for every coffee purchased through Cafe Imports, who will collect and remit the funds to World Coffee Research on a quarterly basis. Read more and register to participate at our World Coffee Research check-off fund page.

Partnerships are dynamic, and partners grow together. Let us know how we can be your partner, and soon we can taste some delicious coffees, develop a strong relationship in business, and move forward together.