Coffee of the Americas – What you need to know for the import

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and the demand for high-quality coffee beans is correspondingly high. If you’re considering importing coffee from America, it’s important to learn about the different regulations and certifications in different producing countries.

General steps for importing coffee from North and South America

Considerations to keep in mind for your coffee import business:

  • Find a reliable supplier
  • Negotiating the terms of the contract
  • Organization of shipping and customs clearance
  • Calculation of customs duties and other import costs
  • Ensuring that the quality of the coffee is preserved by storing the beans in the right conditions

Also remember that it is important to check if your country has trade agreements with any of these countries as this may affect tariffs on imported coffee.

How do you import coffee from Brazil?

Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer and the country is known for producing high-quality Arabica beans. In addition, it is important to comply with the certifications required by the Brazilian Coffee Institute (IBC) for exported coffee beans.

How do you import coffee from Colombia?

Known for its balance of acidity, sweetness and aroma, Colombian coffee is one of the major producers of Arabica coffee. For the export of coffee beans, the standards and certifications prescribed by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC) must be complied with.

How do you import coffee from Costa Rica?

Costa Rican coffee is known for its unique floral and fruity flavor. When exporting coffee beans, the regulations and certifications of the Costa Rican Coffee Institute (ICAFE) must be followed.

How do you import coffee from Guatemala?

Guatemalan coffee is known for its rich, chocolaty flavor. It is important that you comply with the National Coffee Association (Anacafé) regulations and certifications for exporting coffee beans.

How do you import coffee from Honduras?

Honduran coffee is known for its full body, low acidity, and chocolatey and nutty notes. It is important to comply with the standards and certifications required by the Honduran Coffee Institute (IHCAFE) for exported coffee beans.

Import regulations and customs

When importing coffee, it is important to find out about the tariffs that apply to the product. Customs duties may vary depending on the country of origin and destination. For example, if you import coffee from Brazil into the United States, the HTS code is (Harmonized Tariff Schedule) for coffee 0901.11.00, and the rate of duty is 1.4 cents per pound. However, this value can vary depending on trade agreements between countries, so it is important to find out about current tariffs before importing.

Aside from customs duties, coffee is also subject to import regulations. These regulations may vary by country of destination, but generally include labeling, packaging, and food safety regulations, such as: B. Sanitary and phytosanitary measures, to name just a few. It is important to know and comply with these regulations to avoid delays or problems.

Many countries also have specific certifications that coffee exports must meet, as explained above, e.g. B. Certifications from coffee institutes and regulators in each country.

Cost-benefit analysis

When analyzing the cost-effectiveness of importing coffee, it is important to consider all the costs associated with the process. This includes aspects such as:

  • Transportation Costs: This includes the cost of freight, insurance, and any other costs associated with transporting the coffee from the supplier to your warehouse or facility.
  • Customs Fees: These are the fees charged by the destination country for handling and clearing imported goods.
  • Customs duties: As explained above, duties vary depending on the country of origin and destination; these fees apply to coffee imports.
  • Storage and distribution costs: These costs include e.g. B. Storage and handling fees associated with the storage and distribution of coffee after importation.

While these costs can be significant, it is important to remember that importing quality coffee beans can also have significant benefits.

For example, if you offer quality coffee, you can attract and retain customers who are willing to pay more for a better cup of coffee. This can contribute to higher sales and yields, which in turn can offset the cost of importing the coffee.

In addition, importing coffee direct from the source often yields better prices than buying from a middleman or distributor. This can help reduce costs and increase profitability. It is important to weigh the costs and benefits of importing coffee and ensure that the benefits outweigh the costs in order for it to be a viable business opportunity.

Example of a cost-benefit analysis for importing coffee

Suppose a coffee company is considering importing coffee from Brazil. The company estimates the total cost of importing a container of coffee beans at $20,000. This includes freight and insurance ($8,000), customs ($1,000), duties ($2,000), and warehousing and distribution costs ($9,000).

The company estimates it can sell the imported coffee beans at $18 a pound. The container to be imported will hold 35,000 pounds of coffee for total proceeds of $630,000.

In this case, the company calculates a benefit from importing the coffee of $610,000 (total revenue of $630,000 – total cost of $20,000). That means the company will make $610,000 in profit by importing the coffee. Additionally, by importing the coffee directly from the source, the Company has access to higher quality beans, which can help attract and retain customers and enhance the Company’s reputation as a quality coffee provider.

However, this is just an example and costs and benefits may depend on various factors, e.g. B. from the cost of the beans, the imported quantity, the type of coffee, the market prices and the production conditions.

It is also important to note that this is a simplified example and that a more detailed cost benefit analysis would consider aspects such as variable costs, expected demand and potential risks. It would be important to monitor and adapt to market trends to ensure the company remains profitable.


Importing coffee from North and South America can provide access to some of the highest quality coffee beans in the world. However, it is important to know the specific regulations and certifications that apply in each coffee producing country. By learning about and complying with each country’s regulations, certifications, customs, and trade agreements, you can ensure a smooth import process and deliver a quality cup of coffee to your customers.