Coffee Buying

Why We Traded the Classic Jute Coffee Bag for a Box

October 20, 2016

At the Genuine Origin Coffee Project, we do a few things differently, to make buying (and roasting) green coffee beans a lot simpler for roasters.

For instance, we offer online shopping and flat rates that don’t fluctuate with the C market price. And on the logistics end, we sell our green coffee beans in 65-pound boxes, inside of which the beans are sealed in GrainPro bags. (GrainPro is pretty much the industry standard and does a great job of hermetically sealing the beans and protecting them from pests, moisture, molds and odors — even the smell of the jute bags that the GrainPro often goes inside.)

While they’re a romantic symbol of coffee buying, jute bags are easily punctured. When a forklift scoops up a pallet, it’s easy to tear any bits of bags that are hanging down through the pallet’s slats. Even just moving and stacking jute bags can result in puncturing the GrainPro bags inside.

Tony Auger, one of our regional partnership managers and a former roaster at Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Co., explains:

Jute bags weigh between 132 and 154 pounds each, and 10 fit on a pallet. And, they don’t arrive via FedEx or UPS — you’re using warehousing companies or freight companies to move your coffee around for you. Sometimes, they also have to unload your coffee from truck to truck.

When I was accepting green coffee orders … maybe three times a week we would have a pallet delivered with a coffee bag that had fallen off and had to be restacked. Or someone would drive the forklift through the bag and puncture it, so you’d have to rip the bags off the pallet and weigh each one to figure out how much coffee you’d lost and then report it. It was such an extra headache to deal with.

With the boxes, you don’t have the problem with the forklift — they just sit neatly on top. And, they’re less likely to fall over. If you have boxes on a pallet and they shrink wrap that pallet, it’s not going to move, in the way that bags will still roll.

A Fresh Bag More Often

Additionally, for smaller roasters with 15-kilo machines, who roast around 10 pounds of beans at a time, a 65-pound bag is a lot more ideal. Opening a 150-pound bag to roast 10 pounds at a time, it could take months to go through the beans, which are starting to get stale.

“It’s the difference of roasting three to six times and then opening a fresh, sealed bag, versus roasting 10, 15, 20 times before you can start fresh again,” says Auger.

He adds, “With green and roasted coffees, the more oxygen that hits it, the more stale it becomes. That’s why it’s also great that we pack our 300-gram samples at origin. Other companies will have to open the big bags in the warehouse, in order to cup them. They have to stick the trier in to grab the beans, and that means puncturing or breaking the GrainPro seal.”

Simpler Logistics

As for the mess of dealing with logistics and warehousing companies, at GO we ship boxes via UPS Ground, and you can choose your shipping date. Flat-rate shipping prices and tracking numbers also help to keep it stress free. Roasters can order as little as one box at a time, it will arrive with the mail, and it’s easy to stack or stick in a corner (even when you’re working alone). Taken together, we think it makes green coffee buying the simplest it’s ever been — with access to the best coffees. •


Still have questions about what we do? Email us at info at genuineorigin.com or call Jess Hobbs, the world’s greatest client services expert, at 646.828.8585 between 10 and 6 p.m. EST.  And, yet another perk: Samples are always free. Just click over to our store and let us know what you’d like to try.

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