Importing Coffee from Africa – A Guide

Importing coffee from Africa can be a rewarding and exciting experience for coffee lovers and entrepreneurs. With its rich history, diverse growing areas and unique taste, African coffee is highly sought after on the world market.

In this blog, we walk you through the steps of importing coffee from Africa, including finding reliable suppliers, dealing with international trade regulations, and storing and shipping your coffee properly.

Find reliable suppliers

The first step in importing coffee from Africa is to find reliable suppliers. There are several ways to do this.


Visit international coffee fairs like the World Coffee Events (WCE) or the Africa Fine Coffee Association (AFCA) fair to meet African coffee producers and exporters in person.

Online directories

Search online directories such as the International Coffee Organization (ICO) or the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) for directories of African coffee producers and exporters.

Use networks

Ask other coffee industry professionals for recommendations on reliable African coffee suppliers.

When choosing a supplier, it is important to consider their reputation, track record and prices. You might also want to visit the coffee plantations in person to see what’s going on there.

Understand international trade regulations

Once you have found a supplier, you should find out about the international trade regulations for importing coffee. These regulations may differ depending on the country of origin, country of destination and the type of coffee imported.

Regulations of the country of origin

The country of origin may have regulations governing the export of coffee, such as B. License requirements and documents required for export. It is important to check with the supplier and the relevant government agency to ensure all required documents are in place.

Regulations of the country of destination

The country of destination may also have regulations for importing coffee, e.g. B. Customs duties, quotas and labeling requirements. It is important to check with the relevant government agency that you have all the necessary documentation and that the coffee is compliant with import regulations.

Regulations for the type of coffee

Special rules may also apply to the type of coffee imported. For example, different labeling requirements may apply to specialty coffee than to standard coffee.

Negotiating the terms of purchase

After finding a supplier and knowing the relevant trade regulations, you need to negotiate the terms of purchase. These include the price of the coffee, the terms of payment and the terms of delivery.

The price

The price of coffee can depend on various factors, e.g. B. on the type of coffee, the quality and the quantity. It is important to negotiate a fair price with the supplier that takes these factors into account.

Terms of payment

Payment terms may include prepayment, payment on delivery, or a combination of both. It is important that you agree on payment terms that are fair and reasonable for both parties.

Delivery terms

Delivery terms may include mode of transport (e.g. air, sea or land), port of entry and delivery time. It is important to agree delivery terms that are practical and efficient for both parties.

Ensuring proper storage and transportation

Once the purchase is negotiated, it is important to ensure that the coffee is properly stored and transported to its destination. This includes:

Storage of the coffee

Coffee should be stored in a cool, dry place with little exposure to light and air. It is important to store coffee in airtight containers to preserve its freshness and aroma.

Transportation of coffee

The type of transport depends on the distance and duration of the transport as well as the type of coffee to be transported. For longer trips or specialty coffee, it may be best to ship the coffee by air to minimize the risk of damage or deterioration. For shorter distances or standard coffee, it may be cheaper to transport the coffee by sea or land.

Regardless of the mode of transport, it is important that the coffee is properly packaged and insured to prevent damage during transit. This may include using protective packaging material such as bubble wrap or foam, or using sturdy containers to prevent crushing or spills.

Import and customs clearance

Once the coffee arrives at the port of destination, it must be imported and declared. This process may vary depending on the country of destination and the type of coffee imported.

Import of coffee

The coffee must be introduced through the appropriate channels, e.g. B. via a customs broker or freight forwarder. This usually involves filling out the import documents, paying the applicable duties and taxes and obtaining the necessary permits or licenses. Customs clearance:

The coffee also has to go through customs, which can involve inspection, testing and certification to ensure it conforms to the rules and regulations of the destination country.

It is important to work with a professional customs broker or freight forwarder to ensure the import and customs clearance go smoothly.

Why import coffee from Africa?

There are several reasons why coffee lovers and entrepreneurs choose to import coffee from Africa.


Africa is home to some of the best coffee growing regions in the world, producing coffee with a unique flavor and aroma that is highly valued in the world market.


There is a wide variety of coffee growing regions in Africa, each with its own combination of factors such as soil, climate and elevation that give a region its distinctive flavor. This allows for a wide variety of coffee flavors and profiles.


Many African coffee producers value sustainability by using environmentally friendly cultivation methods and fair working conditions. By importing coffee from Africa, aficionados can support these efforts and contribute to the economic development of coffee-growing communities.

Trading opportunities

Global demand for African coffee is increasing, giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to import this high-quality coffee and sell it in their own markets.

Africa’s best-known coffee-growing countries

Africa is a diverse continent with a wide range of coffee growing regions. Some of the most famous African coffee countries are:


Ethiopia is the cradle of coffee and is known for producing some of the best coffees in the world. In the different regions of the country, coffee is produced with a wide range of flavors and profiles, including fruity and floral ones.


Kenyan coffee is known for its strong acidity and body, as well as its wine-like aromas.


Tanzanian coffee is known for its complex flavors and aromas, including citrus and chocolate notes.


Ugandan coffee is known for its body and fruity flavor with notes of peach.


Zimbabwean coffee is known for its strong acidity and complex flavor with notes of fruits and nuts.


Importing coffee from Africa can be a rewarding and exciting adventure, but it requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following these steps, you can successfully import coffee from Africa and bring the unique tastes and flavors to your customers.