Managing Inventory 101: Reserving green coffee

Managing green coffee inventory can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. At Royal New York, we have reporting and projection tools that help guide you to make good inventory decisions. Your trader works with you to ensure a proper green coffee inventory level based on your needs and growth factors. Communication with your trader is probably the most important tool. Your trader will keep you informed on what is available, when it’s available, and any possible replacement opportunities.

Getting started with reserving green coffee

First, we need to understand your customer base and your overall burn rate, or deliverables per coffee on a weekly/monthly basis. This will allow you and your trader to plan for shortcomings between harvests and any other unforeseeable variables. Coffee is a seasonal product and arrivals will cycle in and out of availability. Because of this, reserving your green coffee requires planning and forward thinking. Your trader will guide you and partner with you to make the best decisions for your business. We are here for you as you work through various factors like delays in transit, lower yields than expected, and even higher prices. In the end, from you, the roaster, all the way back to the producers, the success is shared. It’s not said enough, but we are all on the same team here to maintain that sustainability together.

Important questions to ask yourself and your trader:

How many bags of a certain coffee that you’re contemplating reserving have you been using over the last “X” months?

When is the next harvest arrival scheduled for “X” origin? Did you know we have an origin arrival guide here and a blog post on 2022 origin arrivals here!

If I can’t get a certain coffee or the pricing currently is out of my budget range, are there other coffees that we can substitute in that position?

First, we need to understand these key components regarding managing inventory and projections. Then we can start talking about reserving coffees to maintain your inventory and pricing consistency so that you can better support your customers and understand your margins even before you deliver the coffee to your customers!

It is imperative to be mindful of your current position and stay in communication with your trader as you place orders from your reserves and draw down your inventory. Contracts are binding, but even in not so great situations, your trader is here to talk through issues and offer advice to create solutions for your business.

In the end, there are many advantages to reserving green coffee. You will be able to ensure quality consistency and set pricing over a certain time discussed with your trader. For our customers with wholesale accounts with locked pricing, reserving coffee is a great option so you can lock in pricing of your green coffee and maintain your consistency basis the quality you require!

Reserving Green Coffee and the “C” Market

The “C” Market is the underlying commodity pricing for coffee. Navigating the “C” market can be a challenge and has become even more challenging over the last few years. Many factors have caused the pricing for coffees to be much higher year over year. In some cases throughout this last year, the “C” Market even reached 10-year highs. Understanding your costs from roasting, packaging, shipping, and labor will allow you to have a more meaningful green coffee reserve conversation with your trader. This will also help to ensure that you have coffees that are both within your price range and that meet the cupping expectations that you have.

Did you know we have a monthly series highlighting the “C” market, RNY Market Watch? Check out our blog for the most recent article here.

Words of advice

Whether you’re new to reserving green coffee with us or are a seasoned reserves expert, we want to pass along some helpful words of advice:

Communicate with your trader frequently. Over time, your trader will understand your habits and guide you on making good decisions for your business.

Sample coffees! Make sure you QC and provide good or even the not so good feedback to your trader. When you provide “bad” feedback on why a particular coffee didn’t work for you, it will help train your trader on your needs and expectations. While sampling is crucial, it’s also important to be mindful of timing. You don’t want to lose out on coffees by taking too long to evaluate things on your end!

Plan ahead with your own customers and know what is working for them. Knowing their needs/projections will help to better understand your own growth and pick the right coffees at the right times for your business.

Finally, communicate *even* more with your trader 😊! Allow us to show you the tools we have to show your projections on certain coffees. Let us know when you’re looking for certain profiles/cup characteristics to see what’s cupping best so that you can offer your clients excellent coffees that are available at the right time!

But wait, there’s more! Introducing Tea Reserves

Royal Tea New York will now offer the option to reserve select pure teas and tisanes!  Similar to coffee, purchasing high volumes of tea has many factors to consider when planning for your business. 

Unlike coffee, tea does not have an equivalent of the “C” Market that will cause daily or even hourly fluctuations in pricing.  However, tea prices can change throughout the year as tea producing countries continue to navigate COVID-19, rising costs of fertilizer and labor, port congestion, and socioeconomic events. 

The positive: tea has a long shelf life!  When stored properly, tea, and many spices, are good for up to two years.  Reserving tea and tisanes can help you lock in the best rates and ensure that you have the volumes your business requires for longer periods of time.

Communicate with your tea trader to discuss your burn rate, projections, and target pricing for tea on a monthly/yearly basis.  Your trader can assist with finding the volume you need at the best pricing possible!

Trader Pick Upcoming Arrivals

Now that you’re well versed in reserving coffee and tea, we wanted to share some of our traders’ picks for upcoming coffee arrivals! Contact us today to reserve some of these awesome coffees arriving soon!

Andrey Blyth – RNY # 51239 Brazil Natural Legender Especial 17/18

Legender Especial is a blend of coffees grown in the unique micro-regions of Machado, Poco Fundo and Campestre, located in Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Most coffee regions in Brazil are well known for large coffee farms, but Legender Especial goes in the opposite direction. This lot comes from small farms called sitios. All lots are purchased directly from growers that are committed to quality and willing to provide detailed information about their sitios, harvesting methods, drying techniques, and more.

NJ Warehouse Andrew’s Pick

WI Warehouse Andrew’s Pick

Rick Borg – RNY # 51290 Organic Colombia Cauca Perla De Inza

One of my favorite Colombian coffees during this time of the year is the Organic Colombia Cauca Perla De Inza. This is our third year, and it has become a favorite of mine because of the smooth notes of apple, tangerine, and pear.

Perla De Inza is from 200 small farms in the Cauca region surrounded by volcanoes and rivers with altitudes ranging from 1800 to 2100 meters. Give it a try!

NJ Warehouse Rick’s Pick

FL Warehouse Rick’s Pick

Joe Borg – RNY # 50864 Organic Flores Bajawa Ngura Wet Hulled

This coffee is sourced from family-owned farms on the slopes of Ngada of Flores. Ngura, or wet hulled, is the processing method used in Flores similar to Sumatra. For me, this coffee cups cleaner and sweeter than a rather normal Sumatra profile with notes of sweet chocolate, licorice and vanilla. The uniqueness comes from the coffee being dried on raised beds rather than patios, which allows for a cleaner cup.

NJ Warehouse Joe’s Pick

Evan Kluender – RNY # 50992 Brazil Natural Legender Especial

This coffee comes from Brazil, a country that produces approximately 40% of the world’s coffee. Coffee from Brazil is a largely commoditized product where quantity can often outweigh quality from a producer’s perspective. Legender Especials are sourced from some a few small mountains towns in Minas Gerais called Poco Fundo, Campestre and Machado. These unique growing regions allow for better quality coffee, so we work with Legender to help promote great quality coffee.

This lot has rich milk chocolate notes with some pleasant nuttiness, but also has a sweet strawberry top note that definitely sets it apart from other Brazilian coffee.

NJ Warehouse Evan’s Pick

FL Warehouse Evan’s Pick

WI Warehouse Evan’s Pick

TJ Salvatore – RNY # 50495 FTO Peru COOPAFSI “Las Damas de San Ignacio”

To say this coffee is special would be an understatement. The cooperative that produces this coffee is unique because one of their primary goals is to empower women-grown coffee. When they founded this cooperative, gender equality was of high importance. They contribute to many operations within the cooperative including managing new products, improving quality of the coffee and even distributing loans to producers.

This coffee is as balanced as they come. With a medium body, it gives it a nice mouthfeel and a bold chocolate flavor. The sweetness level and acidity are perfectly matched, making it a perfectly balanced cup of coffee.

NJ Warehouse TJ’s Pick

Mike Ward – RNY # 50856 Organic Bali Kintamani Natural

Coffees from Bali are typically syrupy and rich with notes of dark chocolate, licorice, vanilla, and molasses. This coffee showcases a more delicate side to the profile and really gives the drinker a unique experience in the cup. Notes in this coffee typically include: Ripened Strawberry, vanilla, blackberry, and cola.

This complex cup is a perfect celebration for the transition into fall. It has a heavy body and some savory aspects that include vanilla and molasses, that pair up perfectly with a deepened strawberry/ blackberry jam type sweetness. To me, this works best in the city plus realm. I think it’s best served as a pour over or as a nice single origin espresso option.

NJ Warehouse Mike’s Pick