What is the Added value that Boutique importers bring to the Specialty Coffee Value Chain?
What is a Boutique Importer?
For the most part, boutique specialty importers have some sort of relationship to the producers of their respective country. Whether they were producers themselves or have family/friend relationships (Like Republica) to coffee producers of a specific country. Due to these relationships, small boutique style coffee importers add a great deal of value to the supply chain. They are better able to communicate with producers about market tendencies, processes, varieties, prices, and quantities. They are also able to better help producers with their own challenges and still communicate clearly to roasters and buyers why certain decisions need to be made.
Why are they necessary?
Due to the cultural and linguistic barriers between consuming countries versus producing countries, there may be a strain on communication between producers and buyers. There may be more misunderstandings about what is needed for producers to succeed, what buyers are looking for, the buyers’ theoretical ideas about how to improve quality and the ground reality of the producer.
The value of the boutique importer is that they can easily connect both worlds. They can better understand the producer while at the same time, being able to clearly communicate with buyers. This relationship allows everyone in the supply chain to specialise in their trade. Producers can focus on producing better coffee without having to worry about how to market it in a foreign country with a foreign culture and a foreign language. Roasters and buyers are able to focus on roasting coffee and their day-to-day operations while having to spend less time on sourcing, logistics and customs. Importers are easily able to coordinate with both producers and roasters alike to get product from origin to destination, and taking charge of that what both the producers and buyers simply are not specialised in.