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  • QA 065
    Question:
    How to find buyers in Europe or North America for Malawi specialty grade coffee?
    Background:
    We produce good quality Arabica Coffee and the coffee has been classified as Specialty grade in the Malawi "Taste of Harvest" conducted by East African Fine Coffees Association. We would like to find buyers for these Coffees from Europe or North America so as to establish direct links with buyers. How can we contact buyers who would be interested in Coffee of Malawi origin?
    Asked by:
    Grower - Malawi
     
    Answer:

    Your question is rather similar to that responded to in QA 059 in the Q&A Archive and our first reaction is to recommend you to read this carefully, as well all the other QA's that are mentioned in that answer.

    Having said this, you are somewhat ahead in that you have already had your coffee evaluated through the East African Fine Coffee Association (EAFCA) 'Taste of Harvest' panel. As such you have the taste profile and the assessment that your coffee is indeed of specialty grade. Of course there are many quality profiles and price levels under that heading but, also based on our personal knowledge of Malawi coffee generally, your coffee could indeed find takers amongst the specialty coffee trade in either continent. You have the further advantage that in February 2006 EAFCA holds it's Annual Convention and Trade Show in Tanzania where you can no doubt exhibit your coffee on the Malawi Chapter's stand.

    Our recommendation is to try and get a little ahead:

    1. Produce a fact sheet listing all necessary information regarding your coffee: location, altitude, variety, soils, irrigated or rainfed, acreage grown, how grown (shade, organic …) harvesting and shipping season, tonnage produced, export procedure and port of exit, current availability and the cup description as per the Taste of Harvest reports.

    2. Prepare a number of samples of not less than 300 grammes each that are representative of your 2005 production.  

    3. Verify which specialty buyers are registered (and are still registering) for the event and start sending them advance samples, together with the fact sheet and any other information you may have, including pictures of your fields etc. Tell them you will be at the event and ask for them to meet you during the event.

    In this way you will be able to obtain their assessment of your coffee in face-to-face discussions without the need for expensive travel on your part… We think this is a good first step along the road to entry into the specialty market. Good Luck!

    Posted 19 December 2005.

    Related chapter(s):
    Related Q & A:
    QA 059 QA 036