Dear Joe,

Dear Joe,

My customers are asking for high-priced coffees I don’t normally stock, like Kona and Jamaica Blue Mountain. Do you offer these coffees? How should I handle this demand?

Thanks,

Penny Weiss


Penny,

About this time every year, retailers start asking about Kona and Jamaica Blue Mountain coffees. Consumers recognize the names, and these coffees’ high prices suggest that they are high-end, premium varietals. This means that there is usually a lot of demand for these coffees as gift items for the holidays. This puts you, the retailer,  in an awkward position, though. These coffees can easily cost more than $30.00 per pound wholesale, they can be hard to find, and the supply is very limited.

Believe it or not, this is an excellent opportunity to educate your customers and enhance their perception of your regular coffee selections.

The key point is that Kona and JBM are very often the only single-origin varietals that people are familiar with. Sure, everyone has a vague idea of “Colombian coffee,” but the way the two coffees in question are represented in the marketplace does a very good job of conveying that these coffees are produced in smaller lots with more care and that location has a significant impact on a coffee’s flavor. With this groundwork laid, you can explain that there are specialty coffees grown in the same way all over the world.

I recommend two origins in particular as alternatives to Kona and Jamaica Blue Mountain: Costa Rica and Guatemala. I find that the two have very clean Latin American flavor profiles, which Costa Rica and Guatemala obviously provide. Our current varietals are excellent arabica coffees at a much more affordable price point. Our Customer Care Associates can provide you with samples. Just give us a call at (800) 835-5943.

Best,

Josephius A. Graham