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Starting a Coffee Importing/Distribution Company

This is a discussion on Starting a Coffee Importing/Distribution Company within the Coffee Industry Forum forums, part of the Coffee Industry category; Hello everyone, I am starting a coffee distribution company, distributing vietnamese style coffee in the US. The coffee will be roasted in Vietnam and shipped ...

  1. #1
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    Starting a Coffee Importing/Distribution Company

    Hello everyone,

    I am starting a coffee distribution company, distributing vietnamese style coffee in the US. The coffee will be roasted in Vietnam and shipped over to the states. I know that this is not going to be a fresh artisan coffee, but that is not my market, the people who will be drinking this cofffee will be looking for a certain flavor profile than a freshly roasted profile. Right now, the only players in this niche market are Cafe Du Monde and Trung Nguyen (both by the way are mass produced), the primary target audience are vietnamese people. I think with our business model, we can claim a significant share of this market. We are not worried about marketing to this market, for we have been successful marketing to this market before. We are, however, new to the food and bev industry and international business.

    For more information about vietnamese style coffee visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnamese_iced_coffee

    My questions are
    1. How to store the coffee packages once they are over here? Are there temperature restrictions?
    2. Since we are importing roasted coffee grounds, is their a need to have a one way valve? The current roaster in Vietnam sells their coffee in packages without the one way valves.
    3. About how much does it cost to ship door to door, assuming that we are shipping a metric ton. We have gotten quotes that are all over the place. We have been talking to a few importers here in the US as well as some exporters in Vietnam. Are their any benefits with going with an american company to go through US customs.
    4. Are there any package and labeling requirements? If so, where can I find that information, FDA?Customs?
    5. We are going be selling coffee directly to consumers via onlines sales and girl scout cookie style sales through student groups. What is the most cost effective way to to send 1/2 lbs, 1lbs, 2 lbs, 3-5 lbs, and 20-100lbs. How about more than 100 lbs?
    6. Any other tips for someone importing coffee for the first time?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated,

    Thank you,
    Duy

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  3. #2
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    Re: Starting a Coffee Importing/Distribution Company

    Greetings Duy,

    There are several resources...check out your local Small Business Administration office for general business help, ask them about SCORE counselors. These are retired people that are willing to use their expertise to assist you.

    Find the local US Customs office - go and talk to them...ask as many questions as you can. The people I have talked to here put me in touch with others if they didn't know the answer to my questions

    Find a good import broker - you will need one to handle all of the paperwork and details. A good broker can save a lot of headaches.

    You asked about the one way valve - depends on how long has elapsed between the roasting and the packaging. I am assuming the packages are sealed?

    There are labeling requirements - not sure exactly where you find that info - start with the state you live in....ask someone in the department of agriculture, or department of regulations.

    The most cost effective way to ship....lots of variables there - how far are you shipping it, how much are you shipping, does the customer need it tomorrow or next week - just a lot to think about.

    Make sure you have a business plan - this ensures you have thought through most of the stuff, and have answers to your questions...it will save money and headaches later on.

    pat

  4. #3
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    Dear Duy,
    How to keep the fresh flavour for long time ? This is difficul probem. For the food, we have two ways flavour and taste. In your situation you have choose the good taste coffee. The flavour will fly for the time but the taste is still in coffee. Vietnamese like " Nuoc mam", because its taste.
    In the summer you can choose the high caffein coffee type. They can serve with ice. But in cup hot coffee you have a low caffein.
    Ngoc Thuan- xcafevietnam

  5. #4
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    Over a year has past. Single post contributors.....

    Has this gone anywhere?

    Also considering import of Green then sale of roasted coffee. Curious what regulations there are with respect to "kitchen, packaging, labeling" etc.

  6. #5
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    Wow...where do you live ?

    Here in southwestern Ontario, there are Asian food stores everywhere and I do mean everywhere. I see a rather large variety of coffee and took time to look. There appears to be at least 3 suppliers. These guys (stores) operate on thinner margins and beat the pants off of the big guys in terms of price and even produce

  7. #6
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    Advice for what it is worth.

    A one product distribution company is almost guaranteed death. Can you imagine having route sales only to go sell a store 3 lbs of coffee ?


    Now it might make sense if you also had tea, sugar and anything else with a margin and volume attached to it.

  8. #7
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    To me or the OP?

    I am not sure the last 2 posts related to my (most recent) post.
    I am in Virginia and am looking to import Green Coffee. I then plan to Roast to order/ package and sell online with some local sales as well.

    Anything to consider?

    If I have to have a certified kitchen then I could rent space/time in one that is already certified. I just wish to get a business off the ground.

    Thoughts?

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJevens View Post
    I am not sure the last 2 posts related to my (most recent) post.
    I am in Virginia and am looking to import Green Coffee. I then plan to Roast to order/ package and sell online with some local sales as well.

    Anything to consider?

    If I have to have a certified kitchen then I could rent space/time in one that is already certified. I just wish to get a business off the ground.

    Thoughts?
    Hello CJenves,

    I currently live in India in the southern state of Karnataka, which is the largest producer of coffee, both Aribica and Robusta coffee is grown here. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance in importing coffee for you into the US.

    Thank you.

    Regards,
    Huli

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huli View Post
    Hello CJenves,

    I currently live in India in the southern state of Karnataka, which is the largest producer of coffee, both Aribica and Robusta coffee is grown here. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance in importing coffee for you into the US.

    Thank you.

    Regards,
    Huli
    Hello Huli,

    I would like to know more about coffee from India. Also, are you in the import/exporting business? Thank you.

 

 

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