How to choose a coffee supplier for your cafe - Hilton Smythe

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How to choose a coffee supplier for your cafe

Deciding on a coffee supplier can be confusing, there are many coffee suppliers in the UK, so how can you choose the right one for you? Jay Patel, owner of Cafe Moods, takes us through how he decided on the right coffee supplier for his business.

Think of your requirements

“When I started looking for a coffee supplier, my main requirement was to have 100% arabica coffee, I knew this was the best coffee around and that’s what I wanted for my business. I also knew I wanted coffee that was Fairtrade and Organic, as this was really important to me.”

Set out some clear requirements you need, however, some coffee suppliers won’t be able to meet your requirements, so by having a check list you can easily go through and narrow down your search.


“I knew taste was extremely important, I wanted a coffee that was sweet and around a 7 in strength. I invited three suppliers in total to sample their coffee. I had five customers (four female and one male – through a survey I found 80% of my customers were female) and my staff to taste the coffee. I took on their feedback and there was one which was a clear winner, this is the coffee we serve today.”

When searching for the perfect coffee, always ask for a sample. People judge coffee by the taste not the branding or price, so make sure you taste the coffee before you buy.

Buy Local

As coffee already has a massive carbon footprint, you can look to local coffee suppliers to reduce the miles your coffee has to travel, this means you’ll be doing good for the environment and can use ‘locally bought’ as a unique selling point as you’re helping local businesses.


“It was important for the staff to fully understand how to create the perfect coffee and to use the coffee to its full potential. We ensure we provide our employees with regular training from a trained barista.”

Make sure you ask the supplier about any additional services they can offer. Additional services could include supplying you with point of sale material to sell the coffee. Or add-ons such as syrups to go with the coffee.

Learn About the Product

Some customers might like to know where the coffee has come from. Knowing your stuff can really prove you’re an expert, there’s nothing worse than being sold a product that the seller clearly has no idea about! Learn the history, where it’s from and how it’s best served.


  1. Know your requirements.
  2. Always sample the product.
  3. Buy local products.
  4. Ask for add-ons.
  5. Learn about what you’ll be selling, knowledge is power.

Hopefully, this has covered some aspects of choosing a coffee supplier and makes your decision a little more informed! Don’t own a café/coffee shop but looking to buy one? Click here to find out more about purchasing a café.

To find out about all the cafés for sale with us, give our team a call on 01204 282 219 where we’re here to help with any enquiries.

Own a café? Why not see how much your café, tea room or coffee shop is worth by leaving your contact details with us below for a FREE no-obligation business valuation or alternatively call us on 01204 282 464.

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