A coffee buyer stands at the center of the buying process within a coffee importing company. All contracts, from containers to micro-lots, find their way to the buyer’s desk. Matthew Harrison takes on the role of the coffee buyer within Trabocca. A task with a tremendous amount of responsibility and skill to perform successfully.
In this blog, Matthew breaks down his day-to-day work to give you a short but comprehensive overview of the coffee buyer’s job.
As the Trabocca coffee buyer for Ethiopia, it is my task to find exceptional coffees for our global customer base. I am responsible for the success of the procurement process and the management of our suppliers. In addition to these responsibilities, I make purchasing decisions for our spot position which are based on the parameters of price, quality, and uniqueness.
A large proportion of my role involves planning and forecasting our needs, and the needs of our customers. This involves a lot of communication between suppliers. But also tight communication with our trader team who manage our customer accounts and provide me with information about our customer’s needs. This is a constantly evolving balancing act and requires regular adjustment and fine-tuning.
In addition to this, I am constantly receiving information from our suppliers at origin. But also from my colleagues in Ethiopia who give me crop forecasts, political updates, logistical updates, and weather updates. All these factors can impact the supply and delivery of our coffee. Prepared with this information, I can then make strategical purchasing decisions to minimize the risk of delays or cancelations.
Besides keeping in touch with customer needs and suppliers, a big part of my daily routine involves joining the quality team as a member of the sensory panel. We analyze coffee samples from suppliers. Based on the quality results, the information about the supplier, and the price point, I have a good position to make purchasing decisions.
On top of this, I also coordinate the customer visits to origin as I am the primary contact with the majority of our suppliers. This requires putting together itineraries and coordinating dates with several customers and suppliers all at the same time.
Alongside these responsibilities, I also have a good knowledge and understanding of the ongoing projects which we are running with suppliers and customers. I am usually integrated in the communication of such projects. The projects are usually integrated into our purchasing needs and commitments for the year.
Every season, Matthew makes sure we can import the best coffees from Ethiopia and Kenya. We announce these coffees within our weekly newsletter. The newsletters give you all the essential information so you can request free samples from specific coffees. From cupping score, profile, process, to coffee grades. And besides coffee announcements, you will be the first to enjoy new content like coffee maps and in-depth origin updates.