For Small-Scale Roasters
We have broken down some key categories for small-scale roasters. Click the links below to jump to details on any category listed.
Did you know we have a wealth of free education on our site? It can all be found on our Education page.
Learn about the different varieties of coffee, how coffee is processed, global coffee-harvest seasons, and how we at Cafe Imports evaluate coffees with our nifty Sample Roasting and How We Cup videos.
We share as much information as possible about the coffees we sell: Look up individual coffees’ profiles, or “Beanologies,” for more information about specifics about things like who grew the coffee, what the farm as producer or producers, farm, variety, altitude, processing, and the other coffee-nerd facts you need and love.
Many of our Beanologies feature rich media—photos and even videos that you can download to use or embed on your own website, free of charge.
Our Minneapolis office is a hub for coffee education, and we love to welcome visitors who travel here to taste coffee, meet the team, and learn from us. We also hold events around the world to spread coffee knowledge, foster community, and make new friends. Check out our upcoming events here.
You’ll want to read and watch all of the educational material we have on the rest of the site, but here are a few basics to get you started right away.
FLAVOR AND CUP CHARACTERISTICS
All coffee tastes like coffee, but then again, all apples taste like apple, even though varieties like Granny Smith and Red Delicious taste super different from each other. The biggest things that affect coffee flavor are: variety, terroir or environment, processing, and, of course, roasting. (You’re in charge of the last one.)
First let’s talk about flavors you may find in coffee: You can search by flavor characteristic on our website if you’re looking for something in particular, but here’s a good “cheat sheet” to get you started.
Nutty: Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hawaii, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua
Chocolate: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua
Sweet Fruit: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Peru
Tart Fruit: Burundi, Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda
Berry/Cherry/Raisin: Brazil, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, Sulawesi, Yemen
Floral: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia
Earthy/Savory: India, Java, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Yemen
If you’re trying to build a blend, it’s a good idea to think about what flavors you’d like to combine in that coffee, and then find the types that match.
Coffee’s seasons will vary by geographic location, just like any other agricultural product. Coffees grown above and below the Equator, for instance, will be harvested at different times of year—just like how our Australian colleagues will hit the beach when we are having snowball fights in Minnesota.
Broadly, coffee’s seasons are split into two semesters by harvest, “First Semester” and “Second Semester”
- Most Central American, Mexican, East African, Sumatran/Indonesian, and many Colombian coffees arrive fresh the first semester.
- Coffees from Brazil, Burundi, Congo, Ecuador, Peru, Rwanda, Sulawesi, Tanzania, and more Colombians all show up in the second semester.
This info comes in handy while you’re planning your year. Select fresh single-origins to feature on your menu as soon as they begin to arrive from source. If you’re building blends that you want to keep consistent on an annual basis, we can work with you to find fresh coffees to swap into your recipe while keeping the flavors the same.
Our sales reps are pros at making sure your signature blends always taste fresh, delicious, and consistent, even as the components change throughout the year.
For more information on the seasonality of coffee, view our Coffee Harvest Schedule.
Now we have an idea of what’s fresh when, so the next step is figuring out how much coffee you need.
- Coffee is generally sold in bags ranging from 60–70 kgs, or 133–155 lbs.
- Roasting coffee typically causes about 12–20% loss of weight by volume—so if you buy 100 lbs of green coffee, you’ll end up with somewhere between 80 to 88 lbs roasted.
Consider how much of each flavor you’ll need during each semester, and talk with your Cafe Imports sales rep about which coffees will be the best match.
If you are a brand-new business, keep detailed records of your weekly and monthly usage, as a way of generating predictions for your growth and fine-tuning your buying strategy.
“STOP EVERYTHING! It would take us forever to roast 150 lbs of coffee!”
TYPE, QUALITY, TRACEABILITY
Now we’re really getting somewhere! Let’s talk about the types of coffee we offer to meet your needs.
We have several different quality and price categories of coffees.
- Microlots: Generally 88+ points, highly traceable, fewer than 100 bags available, premium price (static priced, not tied to the C market)
- Program Coffees: Generally 85–88 points, micro- or maco-regional traceability, 100 – 250+ bags, mid-price (typically dynamic)—price includes a premium toward a collaborative effort between the producer/s and Cafe Imports
- Signature Coffees: Generally 82–84 points, sourced primarily for profile and quality, macroregional traceability, competitively (and dynamically) priced
- Certifications: 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 levels of traceability—Fair Trade USA, Fairtrade International (FLO), Rainforest Alliance (RFA), certified Organic, Non-GMO
Our experience is that most successful coffee roasteries build a menu that draws from a few of these different categories, depending on the application – for instance, using microlots for featured single-origin coffees, and program coffees in cornerstone products and house blends, and signature coffees as high-quality base support in a blend or a darker roast.
View our full menu of offerings by warehouse here.
Betcha can’t wait to get your hands on some coffee to try. Awesome! We hoped you’d say that.
Ordering samples is easy: You choose what you want, and we’ll send you a little box with complimentary 1/2lb (~300g) samples of green coffee, labeled with their product number, (e.g. P10022), which you can use to identify and track on our website, as well as when placing your order.
- Head over to our Offerings page and click on the little “+” sign by the coffee you are interested in.
- This will build your sample cart, adding coffees as you click, click, click.
- Once finished, fill out your company contact info and hit submit. Voila! Our team has the rest and samples will show up within five business days (usually even faster).
(See also: Coffee Ordering F.A.Q.)
Once you’ve roasted and tasted your coffees and are ready to buy something, we’re here to help!
Give us a call to speak with our customer-service team, and be connected with a sales rep.
- For our Australian office, call +61 (03) 9428 6956
- For our European office, call +49 30 69534436
- For our North American office, call toll-free at 1-800-278-5065, or 651-209-6102
Tell us the coffees you’d like to order, and confirm price and shipping information.
For our customers in the U.S.A., enjoy the extremely competitive freight we offer rates across North America!
- If you are ordering a full pallet (10–12 bags) of coffee, you may qualify for a flat shipping rate of $0.10/lb or $0.15/lb, depending on your location.
- For less-than-full pallets, let us run a few quotes for you to find the best shipping rate with one of our reliable freight partners—after all, you can’t roast freight!
Customers in Australia and in Europe also enjoy competitive freight, pallet flat-rates, and usually next-day shipping: Find out more by e-mailing either email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coffee roasters throughout Asia can also take advantage of our expertise in shipping and logistics: E-mail email@example.com for more specific information about shipping coffee to Asia from one of our international warehouses.
Sit back and wait for that delicious coffee to come rolling in! It’s that easy.
We always want to hear what you think about the coffees, what you’re doing with them and how your customers respond, and we love getting to know each and every one of our customers better with every order and every contact.
Consider us your partners. Contact us today to see how we can best partner with your company moving forward!