Importing coffee into Africa

CoffeeZA

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May 26, 2020
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Good day all,

I trust you are all well and healthy,

I am looking to start an importing business, specifically for coffee at the moment.
I have acquaintances in Central/South America, that have claimed to find ridiculously good coffee at cheaper than usual rates.
I would like to import this coffee (either in its bean form, or already brewed) into Africa.

I would just like to know if any of you have advice for me to begin?
I understand that I will need certain documentation to begin importing, but I am not looking to import a HUGE amount of coffee.
I want to first import a small amount, and test the waters here in Africa, so there is no need for me to have a business plan at the moment.

Thank you for your time!
Kind regards,
CoffeeZA
 

topher

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Aug 14, 2003
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Boca Raton
When you say already brewed do you mean roasted? Do you have buyers for the coffee you will be bringing in? Are you a roaster? What is the cheaper than usual price?
 
OP
C

CoffeeZA

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Hi Topher,

Thanks for your response,
From the research that I have done: already roasted coffee will not be an option, as it loses too much of its flavor and aroma, so it will have to be coffee beans.

I do not have buyers at the moment, neither am I looking to re-distribute amongst large retailers - this is aimed at small businesses in the private sector.

I am not a roaster, I will enquire on getting the beans locally roasted in Africa.
 

topher

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Aug 14, 2003
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Is micro roasting big in the area you are in? What was the price for the central/south American coffee? If you are bringing in small amounts I am afraid it will be expensive. Keep us posted. I would love to hear how you do. ;)
 
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CoffeeZA

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Hi Topher,
We are currently looking at green coffee beans at $250US per metric ton.
Roasting is fairly big in my area, but there is a gap in the market.
The market is fairly dominated by Columbian, Brazilian and local coffee.

I will definitely keep you posted.
My acquaintances in Costa Rica are currently trialing coffee beans from different regions, luckily they are native to where I am, so they understand the palette and taste of us Africans :D
 

Mr.Peaberry

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Aug 7, 2013
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I think your pricing is off a bit. That's only 11¢ a lb. I think spot price is around $1.05 a lb before difs.

What is "difs"? It has a bunch of different meanings, but my search results don't bring up anything related to import/export/shipping.
 

Musicphan

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May 11, 2014
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Kansas City
What is "difs"? It has a bunch of different meanings, but my search results don't bring up anything related to import/export/shipping.

Differentials is the 'uplift' above spot pricing that an Importer chargers the end buyer. So say C market/spot is $1.00/lb ... they may have a $.50 diff on that coffee so your cost would be $1.50/lb
 

Mr.Peaberry

Member
Aug 7, 2013
890
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Differentials is the 'uplift' above spot pricing that an Importer chargers the end buyer. So say C market/spot is $1.00/lb ... they may have a $.50 diff on that coffee so your cost would be $1.50/lb

Thanks Musicphan! So there is still the cost shipping and customs...as well as the risk of getting something other that what the samples suggest is being shipped...so Insurance cost must be accounted for as well...oye...how much does that all add to the landed cost per pound?
 

topher

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Aug 14, 2003
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hats off to wmark ;) Thanks Musicphan...I try not to use the computer when I am at home so I missed this yesterday.
Mr.Peaberry...I knew a guy who flew to Africa and watched his coffee loaded on a ship. He met the ship stateside. Opened his container and the coffee was swapped for rocks and twigs. 42000 lbs of Kenya AA gone. I would die. He had such bad luck. He lost a container in Haiti. The driver called and said he wanted more money three times. The last time he put his foot down. Container disappeared.
 

Mr.Peaberry

Member
Aug 7, 2013
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hats off to wmark ;) Thanks Musicphan...I try not to use the computer when I am at home so I missed this yesterday.
Mr.Peaberry...I knew a guy who flew to Africa and watched his coffee loaded on a ship. He met the ship stateside. Opened his container and the coffee was swapped for rocks and twigs. 42000 lbs of Kenya AA gone. I would die. He had such bad luck. He lost a container in Haiti. The driver called and said he wanted more money three times. The last time he put his foot down. Container disappeared.

Holy crap. That would raise my blood pressure a tad..lol!

I know a guy who exports coffee in Guatemala :roll: ! A shipment of microlot estate coffee was being shipped to a client in Australia, but the beans that arrived were rather common co-op beans. That experience, plus a subsequent experience where the shipping was delayed by months as the export company serviced larger "preferred" clients cost him a customer.

Seems the world of coffee is not much different than the world of the internet. Success seems to favor those who establish good relationships rather than chasing a "too-goog-to-be-true" deal.
 

wmark

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Nov 12, 2008
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Well, when I first started looking at doing things independently, I guy I know laughed at me and said that as a gringo you are more or less screwed. You have to know the system and have to be on the ground watching your exact container loaded and unloaded. You also have to grease the exporter and the people on the dock. Nothing in Latin America is transparent. What seems transparent is subject to interpretation by the person with their hand out.

Africa, parts of the middle East and Asia are much the same and maybe worse.

The only (African) country that might be buying decent volumes of (other country) beans is South Africa and it is mostly one buyer
 

wmark

New member
Nov 12, 2008
475
1
Canada
From what I have seen in Guatemala, the whole system is biased toward the large co ops as they control most of the milling/processing.
When they are not busy, they will consider your requests .........which means that you could be waiting a long long time.

Please inform if otherwise
 

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