Finding a wholesale coffee partner can be a bit overwhelming, because coffee’s not just another offering on the menu or a little thing in the office that people don’t pay attention to. It’s the great energizer and comfort of the United States—and getting it wrong tends to be a mood-killer.
And we all know what it’s like to get a bitter, lifeless mug of coffee when you were really hoping for something smooth and rejuvenating.
Thankfully, avoiding a not-so-great partnership isn’t difficult when you know what you’re looking for. So here are four things you should consider when trying to find your perfect wholesale coffee supplier.
1. How Important Are Flavor And Freshness?
Coffee’s never been more delicious and tasty than it is today, thanks to advances in roasting and brewing science of the last couple decades—and it’s no longer a secret. Hip cafes and fresh beans aren’t hard to find anymore, and stale, low-grade beans are becoming a thing of the past.
We strongly suggest selecting coffee that’s freshly roasted and specialty-grade. Skip the “premium” and “gourmet” marketing lingo and go straight for the official “specialty-grade” coffee bean rating.
It’s no longer acceptable or normal for offices, restaurants, or churches to serve low-grade, bitter coffee. It feels cheap and uninspired, and that’s not the message you want to send to guests of your business. You want your coffee to soothe and refresh them.
2. Relationships: Not All Suppliers Value Them
There’s no good replacement for a person who takes the time to listen to your needs. Sure, you could order out of a catalog and get a box of beans next week, but what happens when they stop carrying your favorite blend? Who do you contact when you get a bad batch of beans and who’s got your back when the invoice is incorrect?
Even in simple partnerships, things go wrong, but no problem is too big when you and your partner are working together to solve problems, not against each other.
To identify coffee suppliers who are going to be easy to work with, shoot an email to your entire supplier list with your questions about partnerships. Record how long it takes each person to respond to you and try to determine by their language if they’ll be your advocate or if the whole thing will purely be transactional. The relational partners should be pretty easy to find.
3. Minimum Commitments And Orders
One easy way to knock some coffee roasters off your list is to ask them about their monthly order minimums. If their order minimum is bigger than what you need, scratch them off the list and don’t look back.
Big order minimums typically mean those suppliers have trimmed smaller clients in order to streamline their operations via a smaller partner list. Even if you could work something out with a smaller minimum, you’d almost certainly be undervalued compared to their bigger clients.
4. Does Sustainability Matter To My Organization?
The trend is clear: consumers are gravitating more and more toward sustainably sourced goods—coffee included. If you value sustainable and ethical business practices, it’s important that this is evident in every realm of your organization.
Here are a few certifications you can look for that indicate sustainability:
- Certified Organic
- UTZ Certified
- Rainforest Alliance Certified
- Bird-Friendly Certified
- Fair Trade Certified
Of course, these aren’t the only ways you can determine whether a coffee roaster is doing everything in their power to make a positive impact on the environment and coffee growing community. Ask how each supplier makes their roasting facility green, packages each bag of coffee, and promotes sustainability in other areas.
Driven Coffee: A Wholesale Coffee Partner You Can Trust
At the risk of sounding too salesy, we’d like to demonstrate how we can put your search for a wholesale coffee partner to an end.
- Specialty, Fresh Roasted Beans — Bad coffee be gone. Our small-batch roaster is the perfect tool for highlighting the rich, balanced flavors of beans we source from family farms all over the world. We ship directly from our roastery to your doorstep, so you don’t ever have to serve stale beans again.
- A People-First Approach — We’re not in the coffee business. We’re in the people business. Our relational mindset enables us to become your advocate for great coffee, no matter the size of your organization.
- Low Minimum Orders — We’re not afraid to invest in smaller partners. In fact, we love it! No matter how big or small your organization, we’ll work to find an agreement that helps you thrive.
- Globally-Minded Practices — The world faces enough problems as it is, and we’re committed to not making any of them worse by sourcing sustainably grown and ethically priced coffees from smallholder farms around the globe. Many of our offerings are Fair Trade Certified to ensure farm workers are paid empowering wages abroad.
We’d love to hear about your unique coffee needs. Reach out with what you’re looking for and we’ll give you more information about pricing, shipping, and anything else you need.