Frequently Asked Questions to Cafe Imports Europe

Frequently Asked Questions to Cafe Imports Europe

We understand that navigating the world of specialty green coffee sourcing can be both exciting and complex. To assist you on your journey, we’ve compiled a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page that covers various aspects of our operations. Whether you have queries about our company, the diverse offerings we provide, the sampling process, contracting details, logistics, ordering procedures, or accounting matters, you’ll find valuable insights and guidance here. Explore each category to gain a deeper understanding of how Cafe Imports Europe strives to deliver highest-quality green coffees in the world . If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for, feel free to reach out to our dedicated support team, we are happy to help.

Our Company

Our Company

Who is Cafe Imports?

Founded in 1993 by Andrew Miller, Cafe Imports began it’s coffee importing journey in Minneapolis, MN. We have since grown to a team of 73 employees based in 6 countries with 4 offices across the world; Minneapolis US, Melbourne Australia, Berlin Germany and San Jose Costa Rica. If you would like to see more about our Team, please click here.

Where is Cafe Imports Europe located?

Our European team is primarily working out of Berlin, Germany.

Who do we work with?

Currently, Cafe Imports sources coffee from 25 countries, with 112 active partnerships in coffee producing countries. We are proud to say that 26% of these partnerships are 10+ years in length. One of the core values of the business is the aim to increase quality of life for all those involved from tree to cup, prolonged business partnerships are key to achieving this goal.

What does a Cafe Imports customer look like?

You, potentially! In 2022 alone we collaborated with 1949 roasters. 78% of those 1949 roasters were Small-Medium sized roasters with the remaining 22% being Medium-Large roasters. Cafe Imports Europe is a wholesale business and is therefore not permitted to sell coffee to the general public. If you are interested in working with us, please contact our Sales Team, we are excited to hear from you: europe@cafeimports.com

What does Cafe Imports offer?

We offer specialty grade green coffee.

What else can Cafe Imports offer?
  • We offer an extensive open-source education library found on our website. Education materials here include detailed information regarding producing countries, varietals, processing methods and more. Our blog is additional source of coffee education with articles speaking on current news in the industry and investigations of our own.
  • Coffee Rose’ is our Sensory Analysis program/software/different term? Currently in a public Beta release period. It is a user-friendly interactive cupping tool with tasting at the forefront – not cupping scores. The Coffee Rose demo is currently available on our website.
  • Coffee storage and financing with warehouses in Belgium and London.
  • Freight arrangement.
  • A firm quality assurance: We stand behind every bag sold. If a coffee arrives in discrepancy with what was sampled, we will replace that coffee.
I'd like to read more about Cafe Imports business practices!

Find here our 2023 Progress Report, this reports explores the quantitative actions that Cafe Imports takes to be a positive driving force in the industry.

We can summarise in three short points: 

  • Increase the quality of life for those involved from the tree to the cup, through the commerce of coffee.
  • Decrease our negative impact on the earth through responsible and proactive business practices that emphasize environmental sustainability.
  • Share our passion for great coffee through education and example.
What certifications do you hold?
  • Organic certified
  • Fairtrade certified
  • B Corp certified

Our Offerings

Our Offerings

Can I access your cupping scores?

Every company cups coffees differently and we feel that it can persuade/dissuade our customers to lots if based purely on score. We are happy to share our scores, please speak to your Sales Rep if you’re interested but we love it even more when you simply ask us what coffees we are loving or if we could suggest you lots based on what you’re looking for!

What kind of coffees do you offer?

We break down our offerings into 3 categories:

  • Signature

Affordable bulk offerings available almost year-round.

Brazils: Serra Negra, Colombia: Gran Galope

  • Regionals

Lots that highlight the individual profiles of particular coffee-growing areas around the world, from a departmental or provincial level all the way down to a specific community.

These are labelled, Regional Select & Community Coffees

  • Micro-lots (ML)

Lots sourced with great care and attention to detail and that offer the highest traceability level. These include competition lots, variety specific separations, innovation projects as well as high-end scoring coffees with limited availability.

Can I use the marketing material on the website and Customer Portal?

One of the benefits of being an active customer of Cafe Imports is the ability to use all of our accompanying written and photographic marketing materials to support your coffee. Please be so kind and credit us when you do.

Do you offer Cascara?

Currently no as we are not yet authorized to sell it due to the status of Cascara in the EU. We are working towards being able to do so!

Do you offer Canephora?

No, at this current time, we only offer specialty grade Arabica coffee.

What size are your coffee bags?

Our regular bag sizes are between 59 and 70kg, depending on the origin. You can find a lot of our offerings in smaller bag sizes too. At the moment, we feature some of our Kenyas, Colombias and El Salvadors in either 30 or 35 kg bags.

Do you sell your coffees in smaller bags?
We offer a few selected origins in 30 or 35 kg bags. Ask your sales rep for their favorite selection!
How is the quality of your coffee assessed and maintained?

Our offerings are continuously cupped and assessed prior to approval.  We are cupping and analysing our offerings across the delivery of a coffee, ensuring the quality is accurately described and that it does not fall below our minimum requirements. This includes cupping and analyzing our pre-shipment samples, cupping, and analyzing the arrival samples and then continuously cupping our inventory whilst in the warehouse. Each arrival sample that we receive is cupped blind a minimum of 3 times. We have sensory teams across three different continents that we are able to leverage data and analysis from in order to deliver accurate and high-quality assessments to you.

Where are your offerings warehoused?

We currently utilise two warehouses:

1) Vollers UK – this services our UK customers

2) Antwerp, Belgium – this services our EU Customers and those who get in touch from outside of the EU. 

Our main stock is located in Belgium. We facilitate regular shipments between Belgium and the UK to store contracted coffees for our UK customers in Vollers. We have a decaf position for UK customers located in Vollers at all times to avoid unnecessary tax charges.

How do I sign up to receive up to date offers and prices?

We send out a bi-weekly price sheet email, which you can sign up to by clicking here. Due to the seasonality of coffee, our Sales Offerings are constantly changing. Please sign up to the Customer Portal where you will have the most up to date information on availability, pricing and future arrivals.

How do I access the offerings in the Customer Portal?

Please fill out our EU_Cafe_Imports_Customer_Information_Form.pdf, which is an editable PDF that you can fill out and send back to us. One of our reps will be in contact with you shortly to advise you further and oboard you onto the Customer Portal.

Where can I find out the details of a coffee?

We share all the information we have in our “beanologies” which can be found by clicking the little magnifying glass next to your coffee in our offering list online. You can search for your P# or specific farm name as well in the main search bar on the homepage of www.cafeimports.com/europe.

Contracting

Contracting

How does contracting work?

Contracting coffees is done through your sales rep. You either approve a coffee sample or book based on our description and recommendation. We provide you with the current price and for dynamically priced coffee with the current market level as well as exchange rate for your chosen currency (EUR/GBP). You decide how long the coffee should be contracted for you. Since we are financing and warehousing the coffee for the requested time, storage months will factor into this price. We kindly ask you to return the sales contract to us signed, even though the e-mail agreement is already binding for the contract.

What happens if I don't draw down all the coffees in my contract before the contract ends?

You will be charged 1.5% per month per kilo of coffee. We call this charge “Carry”. This is not a fine – simply a charge that is passed on to you to hold on to the coffees for you in our warehouse.

How long can I contract coffee for?

We try to have fresh coffees come in throughout several months in a given harvest, we typically recommend a maximum contract length of 4-6 months on a given lot. So you may want to book several months on an early arrival and several more months on a later arrival. This also helps save you some carry fees. However, if you absolutely love a specific coffee and know you want to roll with it for the next 6 months, then let’s just get you the bags you need based on your projections over that time.

I changed my mind, can you cancel my contract?

When booking in contracts, we need to emphasize that a lot goes on in the background. Typically involving; hedging currencies, securing market levels, blocking out certain quantities of coffees and so forth therefore we would need to assess the implications and the reasons for cancelling said contract. Please reach out to your sales rep – we will find a solution together!

How long can I store coffee for?

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. In the end, it is your decision how many bags you would like to contract but please keep in mind that you make a commitment to buying what you contract. 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.

What is the standard contract offered by Cafe Imports Europe?

The most typical contract for an approved coffee is free storage for the current month. Following that, storage is charged 1.5% of the coffee price per month per kilo.

Logistics

Logistics

Where is my shipment?

If we arrange freight for you, we will provide tracking information as soon as we receive it via e-mail.

You can also check tracking through your portal login!

How do full bags of coffee ship?

Full bags of coffee (59–70kg) will be stacked, wrapped, and strapped onto a wooden pallet. Even single-bag orders will typically need to be shipped on a pallet. The coffee is palletized in our warehouses, and we routinely inspect the quality as well as provide customer support upon receipt of the pallet.

Can I arrange my own shipping?

Sure! Simply inform your sales representative that you would like to elect your own freight carrier when placing your order.

What size are your pallets?

Orders are processed on standard EUR-pallets, which are 120cm x 80cm x14.4cm and weigh 20-25kgs each.

If you have a small order, we can also offer half pallet rates – those pallets are 60cm x 80cm x 14.4cm and weigh 10-12kg

What should I do when the delivery arrives?

Before you sign off on the delivery release for any shipment of coffee, thoroughly inspect the pallet and the bags on it. If there is any damage or any discrepancies between what is delivered and what is on your delivery order, do not sign the driver’s paperwork. Simply e-mail your sales representative or europe@cafeimports.com for assistance. When in doubt, take a photograph of the damage as soon as possible. Additionally, be aware that extra services and accessories provided by the driver may result in additional fees: The use of a lift gate upon delivery, for instance, can incur additional costs. Be sure to communicate with the delivery person, and confirm that the documents you sign list only the accessories you authorize.

Where do you store your coffee?

We utilise two warehouses:

1) Vollers UK – this services our UK customers

2) Antwerp, Belgium – this services our EU Customers Our main stock is located in Belgium.

We facilitate regular shipments between Belgium and the UK to store contracted coffees for our UK customers in Vollers. We have a decaf position for UK customers located in Vollers at all times to avoid unnecessary tax charges.

How much is shipping coffee to my roastery?

This can vary widely depending on the size of your order and your location. Reach out to your sales rep and ask them for a quote. We pass on freight charges from our logistics partners without additional service fee. Please note that costs can fluctuate from one order to the next. If you want to know exact costs, please always feel free to ask for an updated rate.

Are there specific documents I need to import coffee?

Shipping coffees to European countries goes very smooth. Depending on your location, you might be required to have specific documents. We are here to help you with those!

Why can you only fit 10 bags on a standard EUR pallet?

Our pallets travel all through Europe and need to be stable enough to load and unload them multiple times during transit. Fitting 10 bags of coffee on a standard EUR pallet has proven to be the most reliable solution. If you cannot quite fill two pallets, ask your sales rep – we can also look into larger one-way-pallet deliveries for you. They might be a good solution for you!

Can I consolidate my coffees with other importers?

You absolutely can! If one of your other importing partners also works with the same warehouses as we do, please inform your sales rep about the consolidation request. Feel free to share if you would like us to prepare for shipping or if the other party is taking care of that service.

I am located outside of the EU, can I still order from you?

If you are located in the US, Australia, or Asia, we are happy to connect you with our colleagues in Minneapolis or Melbourne.

For any other countries, please reach out and we will find solutions to get coffee to you as well.

Sampling

Sampling

When can we expect the samples to arrive?

We endeavour to have a short turnaround time with green samples; 1- 3 days. If longer, this will be communicated to you.

With roasted samples, please allow up to a week including delivery. We use DHL Express.

I live in x, can you send samples to us?

Within Europe, majority of the times, it is no problem. Outside of Europe, please reach out to your respective Sales Rep or contact us at europe@cafeimports.com.

Why do my cupping notes from the samples differ to yours?

Coffee is an organic and ever-changing product. Depending on the roast, resting, time of cupping, experience of cupper and many other factors, these factors will indicate your experience with the sample. Our cupping notes are specific to the way we cup and is intended to provide you with an overall description of the quality of the coffee and it’s typical cup profile.

Can you send green or roasted samples?

We can send either green or roasted.

Green we send 100g by default, up to a max of 200gr, roasted 42~ grams.

How much do samples cost?

Samples are free! Sampling out to our customers is part of the service we provide to ensure you find what you’re in need of!

What's the max amount of samples I can order?

We can send you up to 10 samples at a time green, 7 roasted, however your sales rep can work with you to narrow this list down to find the best coffee more efficiently.

Why can't I sample more at the same time?

We want to ensure your sampling process is as effective and non-wasteful as possible. We trust your Sales Rep to guide you with your selection so we don’t waste coffee and you don’t waste your time.

What do you roast your samples on?

We roast our samples on the IKAWA or a Stronghold S7 Pro.

Can you share your profiles?

Sure, but there are many factors involved that replicating our roasts will be difficult. We recommend using our profiles as a starting point, and adjusting as necessary from there.

Link for IKAWA.

Link for Stronghold.

Ordering

What is the minimum size of order you will ship?

There is no minimum order: We’re as happy to ship a single bag as we are to ship 10. (Though shipping rates are more economical on full-pallet orders.)

Is there a limited number of bags I can order through the portal?

Our portal limits orders to 40 bags, but don’t worry. A rep is in touch after each order anyway. So feel free to use the notes section to make any additional comments.

When does my order ship when I place the order through the customer portal?

Your sales rep will confirm your order on the same or next business day, depending on when you place it.

Prepay orders are released once we see payment come through. If you are on payment terms, we can release the pallet right away. In the latter case, your shipment gets on the road within the next 2 business days.

Accounting

Can I choose my preferred currency at the point of booking?

We set up your customer profile with your preferred currency. That way you see the prices in the correct currency conversion and don’t get confused. Your contracts and invoices will automatically reflect the currency of choice. If you need to change your currency, please speak to your rep. We cannot write an invoice with multiple currencies on it.

When do I receive the invoice?

Our accounting department is working out of our headquarters in Minneapolis. That’s why you will see invoices come in throughout the afternoon and not necessarily right after you placed the order.

My address is wrong on the invoice, who do I need to contact?

If your address changed and needs to be amended on the invoice, please feel free to either reply to the invoice e-mail or to reach out to your sales rep. We will help you right away.

What currency can I pay in?

We accept payments in USD, EUR and GBP.

Not seeing the question you need answered? Contact us, and we are happy to help!

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