Exporting and importing coffee comes down to two very different, but very important parts of the process – logistics and tasting.
Once our roasters decide on the origin of coffee beans to include in a blend, the exporting company begins plans for transporting coffee from the country of origin to the United States. When purchasing green (unroasted) coffee, a small sample from a large batch is roasted and tested by the exporting lab. A small sample is also shipped to the roasters (Westrock Coffee in Arkansas) to test in their own lab.
After the samples are approved, the green coffee is bagged and loaded on trucks to be sent to a shipping port.
Testing is a critical part of the coffee process and multiple samples are taken from both the exporter and the roaster to track the quality of the coffee at each step. These samples are used to ensure the coffee that was chosen at the beginning of the process is the same at the end of the process (we’ll take a closer look at sampling later).
Once the coffee reaches our roasting facility in North Little Rock, Arkansas, it is sampled again to make sure the coffee meets the original tasting sample.
Logistics are key throughout this entire process to make sure both parties (the exporter and the roaster) are pleased with the coffee. The logistics team is responsible for paperwork and timing at every step as hundreds of thousands of pounds are transported across the globe to make your delicious Westrock Coffee.
At Westrock’s operations at origin (Rwanda Trading Company), the production team goes to great lengths to work with the lab team to make sure they provide the exact coffee requested by our roasters.
- Arrival Sample: is tested when the coffee first comes to the exporting plant from the washing stations
- Processing Samples: are tested when the coffee is processed and sorted into the different coffee grades
- Offer Samples: two samples are pulled when the roaster requests a sample of coffee – one for the roaster and one for the exporting team’s records
By the Roaster:
At the Westrock roasting facility in North Little Rock, our team tests the coffee a minimum of four times before the coffee is brought to our plant. The coffee is also tested as it is packaged into either 12oz bags or single serve capsules.
- Offer sample: is sent when the coffee is originally asked for. If accepted by our roasters, the process moves forward
- Pre-shipped sample: is sent to the roaster 15 days before the coffee is shipped out to ensure that the coffee is still up to the standards of our roasting team
- Arrival sample: is sent when the coffee arrives at the agreed upon port in the U.S.
- Delivery sample: the final sample is taken and tested upon the coffee’s arrival at our roasting facility
Other tests are done to check the defects in the green coffee as well as checking the moisture levels. Checking the moisture levels is important for the roaster to make sure the coffee is not too moist or too dry.