Supply Chain

Sourced From Around the World

From Origin to Consumption
Coffee is often traded along multiple points from producers to processors in order to complete the supply chain.  In North America and specifically in Canada coffee is imported through specialized US or International based importers who integrate highly complex supply chains.

Of the traditional importing markets for coffee – North America, Europe and Japan – Canada is showing, by a considerable degree, the fastest sustained growth in the last decade. Canada continues to be the number one source of value added coffee products imported into the United States.


Green Coffee is generally contracted / bought through a US based importing company. At this point, the US importer holds all liability and ownership for this coffee.

Before coffee is shipped from the producing country the buyer requests a pre-shipment sample for approval.  If the pre-shipment sample is approved, the US importer is notified to ship to Canada.

The US importer arranges the loading of the container and vessel details directly with the exporter and advises the shipment contract details of the buyer.

When the container (coffee) is unloaded at the Canadian designated warehouse, the US importer is the importer of record when clearing into Canada. The reason for this is that the coffee must go through an arrival approval process to ensure it meets the contracted specification of the buyer.  The sale is not final until the US importer receives an approval from the Canadian roaster (buyer), thus ownership does not transfer and the US importer maintains title of the coffee until approved.

If the coffee is rejected and since each buyer has its own specifications the importer can sell their coffee to:

  1. Another buyer in Canada or…
  2. Export the load back to the USA to sell to a US roaster (buyer)

If the arrival sample is approved, the sale becomes final. The importer then transfers title of ownership to the Canadian roaster (buyer).

Canadian statistics
Click here for more Canadian import statistics.

Canadian Coffee Imports (CDN$ million) 2013 2014 2015
Coffee, not roasted, not decaffeinated 528.000 713.805 798.255

Interested in importing coffee to Canada?
Imported coffee must comply with both the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations (note: coffee is exempt from Mandatory Nutritional Labelling). The Government of Canada has a wealth of information about importing available on its websites.

Coffee is a major export commodity: it is the top agricultural export for numerous countries. Over 30 developing countries export coffee to Canada. Green (unroasted) coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world.

Fair Labour Practices
The CAC absolutely condemns illegal use of forced and child labor. The Canadian industry does not tolerate this practice. The CAC works with the Canadian Association of Importers & Exporters (I.E. Canada) and the National Coffee Association in the US to continuously monitor this issue.

From a seed to your cup
Click here to discover the journey every bean takes to make it to your cup!