How do I find my coffee supplier?

Some vital questions answered by our Wholesale Manager Ben Riley

It's not just about good coffee.

You probably didn’t expect us to start with that. 

There are loads of great roasters out there, but before getting carried away with taste notes and flavour profiles, there are some practicalities to consider. 

Whether you’re opening a new restaurant or wanting to upgrade your café coffee supplier, here’s what’s important.

Find a supplier that fits you and your brand

Getting this bit right is key.

Pick a like-minded supplier who gets your business. 

Don’t just choose your roaster based on their nice packaging. Look for one that shares your values and who you feel confident partnering with.

Imagine you’re a conference centre catering to different kinds of clients. Thirsty clients. Caffeine-loving clients. Clients from all around the country. In this case, choosing an established, experienced roaster rather than a start-up might be a priority. You’ll want to team up with experts who can provide reliable deliveries to your clients every week.

So start your search by thinking about the kind of supplier you’d like to work with. 

What’s important to your company that should be important to them as well?

What kind of philosophy and values would you like your supplier to have? 

Supporting local suppliers is great, but it’s not everything

Unpopular opinion? Maybe. But we’re going to say it anyway: 

Don’t settle for a supplier simply because they're local.

Getting your beans from an independent, local roast-house might seem like the thing to do but don’t let the “local” label overshadow the rest. 

Focus on finding an independent roaster that has the capacity and experience to provide you with the beans you need, and more.

Because here’s the thing: beans are just the beginning. 

Not every local wholesale roaster will be in a position to go beyond the beans and help with other important things, like advising on the exact type of coffee machine best suited for your needs. Or giving you the option to be trained on those machines for free (like we do!).

Find a roaster that is the full package and helps make you stand out. 

Don’t get us wrong, we love local. Supporting local businesses is very close to our coffee-bean-shaped-hearts. 

Our independent roast-house is located in Nottingham and we supply beans to many Notts-based businesses, big and small. But we also look after companies further afield and so we know how important all-round care and fit is. 

Pay your suppliers a visit

An Instagram page or website can only tell you so much. Paying a visit to any potential suppliers is the best way to see what each one is really about. 

So why not visit one of their coffee shops? 

We roast for wholesale, but we also have 15 of our own coffee shops around the UK. We love when potential buyers come in to have a chat about our wholesale set-up. It gives visitors the chance to see, feel and experience what we’re all about. 

The least you’ll walk away with is a good cup of coffee!

Try and arrange a meeting at your potential supplier's roast house. 

Visiting the roastery is a great way to see how a supplier runs things and our roasters love showing-off what they do.

Ask your suppliers these questions

How can you help me get the most out of the beans?

Consistency is key when it comes to good coffee. Your customers won’t want the flavour to fluctuate every time they drink your coffee, so ask your potential supplier how they can help you serve a consistent cup every time. 

The right kind of supplier will be able to provide you with the tools and training to do this. 

They should give you guidance on everything from brewing temperatures to grind size, and kit you up with quality equipment.

How do your supply agreements work? 

A supplier needs to fit with your budget. You don’t want to pick the cheapest wholesaler but also want to make sure the numbers work for you. 

We have a range of machines to suit all types of businesses and budgets. And if you’re not immediately sure about the amount of coffee you need, a supplier should be able to help you forecast volume. 

Find a setup you feel good about.

What kinds of businesses do you provide for regularly?

Ask the roaster who they supply for. It makes sense to go after trustworthy, established roasters who already work with businesses like yours. 

There’s also no harm in doing your own investigating. 

Dig around and ask other local coffee shops and baristas what they know about the suppliers you’re eyeing up. 

What kinds of extras do you provide? 

A question like this can help you discover what special things set one wholesale coffee supplier apart from the next. 

In our experience, even if they all seem to offer the same thing, every coffee supplier is different. While some focus on providing a huge range of speciality beans, others put more attention on areas like free barista training, coffee cups, or even the option to become a pro at latte art. 

How often do you deliver beans?

This question is fundamental if your roaster is located some distance away.

You never want to be in the position where you’re running short of beans because a delivery plan isn’t meeting the demand of your coffee sales. 

So find out early on about the supplier’s delivery setup. We offer free next-day delivery Monday-Friday for orders over 5kg. 

Try their coffee

Finally, the coffee itself. 

We know we said that choosing your supplier shouldn't just be about good coffee, but really, it should also always be about good coffee. 

Let’s say you find a like-minded supplier offering a great partnership package - if you don’t love their coffee, keep looking. We promise a better roaster is out there. 

So taste everything and have colleagues, family, and friends also taste the product to make sure you’re not just catering to personal tastes. 

(Top tip: Make sure you're trying their coffees on the water and equipment you’ll be serving in your shop, workplace, restaurant or pub; otherwise, you’re not comparing apples with apples)

200 Degrees Wholesale Coffee

We couldn’t let you leave without showing off our own pretty special wholesale offering.

From beans to machines - we do it all.  

Our partnership packages suit businesses and budgets of all shapes and sizes, and we’re very flexible with the setup.

Our wholesale team is always around from day one to answer questions and support everything from ordering, machine maintenance and advice on service style and marketing. 

We also give free barista training classes that turn our wholesale customers into experts. You can make a day of it and visit one of our purpose-built barista schools, or we can train you on-site.

When it comes to the beans, Brazilian Love Affair is our classic roast. It’s the signature espresso blend we serve in all our coffee shops (it’s sourced year-round, making it great for consistency). 

And because we do supply to our shops, we have a pretty good understanding of the buyer-supplier coffee world. 

If you’re left with any questions and would like to chat more about the ins and outs of choosing a wholesale supplier - give us a call, drop us a line, or swing by for coffee.

Find out more here.