4. Importing

hands cupping coffee beans Getty Images

The United States is the largest importer of green coffee worldwide with approximately 2.5 million bags per month. Germany was the second largest, then Italy, Japan, and France (“The Coffee Industry’s Supply Chain”). Once the coffee beans have arrived, the beans are visually inspected. They are then taste tested in a process called “cupping” (“Overview of the Supply Chain”) Cupping involves three steps. First, weigh and grind the beans. Second, smell and brew. Third, Taste (“Coffee Cupping: How Professionals Taste Coffee”). After this process has took place, the coffee beans are stored in a warehouse before being shipped to the roasters (“Overview of the Supply Chain”). When coffee is imported to the United States, three government agencies are involved. These include: Customs Border Protection (CBP), Food and Drug Administrations (FDA), and US Department of Agriculture (USDA). These agencies check for the origin of the coffee and inspect the coffee(“How to Import Coffee into the United States-Flexport”).Once the coffee is imported, “cupped”, and inspected it is ready to be roasted.

Mexico is the largest source of US Coffee imports (“Frequently Asked Questions”).

The United States imported more than 21.5 million bags during the 2008/09 coffee year, accounting for more than one quarter of global coffee imports, making it the world’s largest single buyer.Brazil, Colombia, and Vietnam account for 21%, 19%, and 11% of those imports (“Specialty Coffee Facts & Figures”).

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