I am from Yemen, one of the world's best location for coffee.

I want to start the coffee business and start a coffee export business but I have no experience in exporting and no customers to export to. Can somebody help how to start this coffee export business? What should I know and how to start?

I am good with business (export process and LC and so) but I have no idea who buys coffee and how to approach them?

Please help.

  • We haven't had many questions about "the business of coffee" yet, so we'll see if this topic sticks! I added the business tag and changed your title to fit the recommended "question" style. Welcome to Stack Exchange.
    – hoc_age
    Sep 11, 2015 at 14:39

3 Answers 3


As another dimension, I see a few trends that you might wish to consider.

  • Green beans. More people are getting into home roasting, and green (processed but un-roasted) beans are the vehicle. Also, green beans store better for longer time (e.g., freezing) so you can capture a particularly good "year" or crop of beans for a longer period of time. Even whole, unprocessed cherries might be an interesting notion.
  • Skins and pulp. People make beverages out of the (usually discarded) fruit skin and pulp, called cascara, qishr, or other names. These are difficult to find dried, and perhaps impossible to find fresh.
  • Direct marketing. Another trend is (broadly) the "farm-to-table" strategy, where roasters or cafes will purchase beans directly from farmers. There might be good business in brokering "direct" deals like this, by helping responsible farmers with good beans get good prices by selling directly to the end user (e.g., a local roaster) instead of through an aggregator or warehouse. You could seek out some exceptional beans with unique qualities and get those farmers into the specialty direct trade market.

Just a perspective from a "consumer" standpoint.


The answer is going to depend a lot on what you already have and what you are trying to do, and it is hard to give a solid answer without knowing the specifics.

  • Are you a coffee producer?
  • Are you planning to broker the coffee buying it from producers?
  • Do you have an empty field where you intend to grow coffee, or a
    warehouse full of green beans?
  • Are you looking to sell the coffee to brokers, roasters, micro roasters, or retail?
  • What quality of coffee do you have? Specialty coffee, or commodity?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you may want to reach out to green coffee importers, to specialty coffee shops & roasters, or coffee buyers, or you may want to take your coffee to auctions like the cup of excellence, or start by becoming a Coffee taster ...

There is more than one way to get into the business of exporting coffee, getting the right coffee and known when you've got it, and how to take care of it once you have it (supply) are as important as getting the right buyers and making sure they know they are getting the right coffee and keeping them hungry to buy more of your coffee (demand).

Most countries that grow coffee have institutions aimed at helping producers succeed at exporting their crops, so looking around your local landscape for such institutions, other exporters and producers, etc... would also be a good way to start. A quick google search yieled some interesting pages like Yemen coffee that could give you a few hints on where to get started.


I'd recommend firstly mapping your local market in order to identify your local competitors and focus on for example: What they have to offer? What makes them unique? What products they sell? Who are their suppliers and their clients?

With that in mind you'll need to think about what products you wish to sell? Anything and everything? Or specialise on a bespoke/specialist range?

With that focus source the products/prices and then the hard work of business development/marketing begins!

Good luck!

  • I'd say, that's not specific to coffee at all -- any business would have to be started this way. Sep 11, 2015 at 15:05

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.