The service providers making direct coffee sourcing easy
With the growth in relationship-based trade, intermediaries are called to reinvent themselves and give control to roasters and producers. This is where The Guat Lab and Algrano come in. With a service-provider approach, coffee buyers - like Hoppenworth & Ploch in Germany - can build relationships without taking new risks.
A new type of trade calls for a new business model. To give roasters full control of their supply chain, intermediaries must embrace the role of facilitators. Learn how German roaster Hoppenworth & Ploch is making the best of it!
Five years in trade
According to Friedrich Radi, Sourcing and QC at Hoppenworth & Ploch, the roastery’s co-founder Julian Ploch met Mario during an origin trip to Guatemala. Mario explains that this happened by chance and that the pair enjoyed each other’s company and maintained a friendship when Julian returned to Germany. Eventually, Mario sent samples to Julian and this led to a business relationship.
Today, Hoppenworth & Ploch has been buying coffee from Mario every season for five years - the last two through Algrano - and Friedrich and Mario keep in touch via WhatsApp and Zoom, checking in with one another around two times every season. Friedrich prefers not to use the term “direct trade” to refer to this partnership because they haven’t been able to visit each other much. However, both agree that by working closely together they can focus more on quality, the bedrock of their work.
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The new role of intermediaries
Making transactions safe
How new intermediaries add value
“It would be great to visit each farm we work with regularly but how would we afford it? The costs of each trip in either direction would have to be added to the price of a bag of coffee, we just can’t do it all. But if there were a trusted intermediary, they could visit many farms in one day, or the producer could come and visit several roasteries, or speak directly with consumers – it’s easier to justify the cost of that and a better way to work together.”
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