Clarifying the role of the coffee importer

Clarifying the role
of the green coffee importer

The journey from cherry to cup is complex. Coffee flows through many places and stages before it reaches your roasting plant. A green coffee importer plays a vital role in this journey. It’s the job of an importer to discover and deliver coffees to roasters on time and in the right quality.

This is what we do at Trabocca. But that is just the synopsis of our role. As a green coffee importer, we want to deepen out and clarify the position we take in the supply chain. Learn all there is to coffee importing.

What does Trabocca do for coffee roasters?

As Trabocca, we find ourselves on both sides of the spectrum. In coffee origin and consuming countries. We are the link between coffee farmers and roasters.

Discover, develop,
and deliver

The work we do can be summed up in three words: discover, develop, and deliver. We discover specialty coffee, we develop the quality while working alongside growers, and we deliver it to you.

Here you find a breakdown of everything we do as a green coffee importer to make sure you get the finest specialty coffees.


Trabocca’s customer service is really great. They always put the time and effort to ensure we are getting the service we need. Trabocca’s approach to business is also very transparent and clear. This is something we value quite highly in our relationships with our suppliers, especially in challenging supply chains such as Ethiopia. Trabocca shows a lot of commitment to our relationship and a genuine interest in getting to know us and understanding what we need. They also make these opportunities unique by linking roaster and farmer, which again is something we highly value and appreciate. Trabocca’s whole team has a clear focus on being close to your supply chains and working to continuously improve your service. Something that fits well with our way of working too. When challenges or issues arise, Trabocca’s always prepared to support and get the information and engagement we need from origin, such as regular updates and information on the status of our shipments. This can make a huge difference, especially in challenging times.

Krisztina Szalai, Coffee Buyer at Taylors of Harrogate

1. Sourcing your coffee

Sourcing is all about knowing your way around in origin. With over 20 years of experience in discovering new profiles and coffees, we know that relationships are key. That is why we travel extensively to connect with existing and new potential exporters and coffee growers.

We have a strong focus on Ethiopia, where we hold an office. But we also source coffees from Kenya, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and Sumatra. It is our goal to match your need to exact profiles and quality levels you seek. That is sourcing done well.

We source the so-called ‘back to back’ coffees. These are coffees that you specifically request ahead of the season. We also deliver ‘spot coffees’. Coffees you find in our warehouses and which you can immediately call off for delivery. We offer our spot coffees through MyTrabocca – an easy to use webshop for coffee roasters.

2. Delivering coffee to your doorstep

Specialty coffee originates from often obscure and rural locations across the globe. Additionally, harvest cycles and processing times can vary per origin. You catch our drift; the coffee supply chain quickly becomes complex.

That is why we take care of your logistics. We arrange the shipment and delivery of the specialty coffees you select. From tree to port and straight to your roasting plant. We leverage our network of proven and reliable transportation partners to deliver your coffee when you need it.

Our Logistics team works directly (as opposed to via third parties) with ocean lines, transport providers, and warehouses. This is why we can negotiate fair prices and timely service. And because we have an office in Addis Ababa, our logistics team is able to supervise the prompt loading of containers in Ethiopia.

3. Checking the quality of the coffees you choose

Coffee is a natural product and each batch will have its own unique cup profile. We are committed to making sure that all coffees are evaluated by our cupping teams. We have cupping teams in the United States, the Netherlands, and Ethiopia. A certified Q grader leads each team.

Our cupping teams measure the cup score, profile, moisture, green grade, and screen size, to check if the batch meets the specifications of a coffee contract. We cup a specific coffee up to four times over a period of time to see how the coffee develops. Type, stock, pre-shipment, and spot coffees all find their way to our quality labs.

As Trabocca, we are also responsible for selecting suppliers that are able to deliver a safe product. That is why our Quality department has set up a robust food safety protocol and vendor approval procedure.

4. Financing the movement and storage of your coffee

Moving green coffee overseas is a high-risk business. Just imagine financing the shipment and insurance of a full container of green coffee. That’s where we can help. As a green coffee importer, we can finance the movement and storage of your coffee. You can spread the delivery of your coffee. This saves you storage space and releases pressure on your liquidity. Besides financing the movement and storage of your coffee, we oversee the coffee market and specialize in coffee futures, hedging, and differentials.

5. Storing your coffee in 15 warehouses spread over the globe

We work together with 15 coffee warehouses spread over the globe. You can find warehouse locations in Europe, the United States, and Australia. We are efficient in developing new warehouse relationships, so please let us know if you are interested in a new storage location. Each new warehouse location undergoes a thorough QA/FSMA vetting process before we start operations.

6. Initiating projects in origin that improve community life

 We are aware of the needs of communities in origin because we work closely with growers and suppliers. That is why we have set up relevant projects that address the primary needs of coffee growers we work with. It is our mission to contribute to thriving coffee communities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Peru, Colombia, and Sumatra. We offer you the possibility to help communities.

7. Sharing the stories of growers and the coffee facts you need

 We are able to share the fascinating stories of growers and the facts of their coffees with you. This is because we are in direct contact with our suppliers and growers. We strive to update stories each season as growers develop quality and volume. Transparency and traceability are important in this day and age. It is our task to provide you with valuable information that helps you market the coffee better.

8. Organizing educational field trips

Every year we schedule trips to origin to educate ourselves and coffee roasters. Meeting with growers changes your perspective on coffee. We see this happen every year. That is why field trips and education are an important aspect of our work in origin. When we involve people and see their knowledge of coffee and trade grow.

Meet the teams behind Trabocca

We hope you have a full grasp of what a green coffee importer can do for you. Curious who we are and where we are located? Meet the people who assist you in sourcing great specialty coffee.