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The Green Coffee Buyer: A Key Link in the Coffee Supply Chain

By The specialty coffee chronicles

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Green coffee buyers essentially operate right in the middle of it all: we serve as intermediaries for the coffee bean, standing between growers and final consumers. Despite the bad rap “middlemen” have received in the coffee trade over the years, speaking from the middle as a green coffee buyer myself—I love it here. Operating smack in the center of the complex journey from coffee-producing to coffee-consuming country as a green coffee buyer is a fascinating perspective to work from. And, frankly, it’s a really important job.

The road coffee takes from a shrub on a farm to a beverage in a consumer’s cup is long and convoluted. A lot of folks have their hands-—figuratively and literally—on the beans during this passage. Green coffee buyers, both importers purchasing directly from origin, and roasters (who may purchase from origin and/or from importers), have exciting opportunities and enormous responsibility. Although the complete job descriptions of the importer-buyer and the roaster-buyer are different, the essence of their work is similar. This issue is devoted to looking in detail at some of these important responsibilities and opportunities.

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