One of our main reasons to start a coffee import from Central and South America was to open new doors for small and middle-size coffee producers to expand their exports market to Europe, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia. We like putting our producers first so we believe working with fair prices is a prerequisite to contribute to achieving more sustainable and prosperous livelihoods.
Casa Labranza Coffee is dedicated to the sale of Central and South American Specialty Coffee. We will start with the German and Dutch speaking countries: The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium. As we keep expanding, we will progressively add other countries of Europe and Scandinavia. This way, the company will adapt safely to its growth and will be able to keep the quality of the products high. The same approach will be applied to our sources of Specialty Coffee in Central and South American countries. Initially, the focus will be on Guatemala, El Salvador, and Colombia. Subsequently, our partnership will be expanded to other Latin American coffee-producing countries as selling grows.
In this pandemic time, we consider that the main focus should be placed on e-commerce. The European market for coffee has grown by 14% in the last years, but the Eastern European market shows a particular potential for growth. E-commerce sales are expected to grow by 20%, so all together we expect healthy growth for our new company. Firstly, we will start selling through an online method and to specialty coffee bars. When this sector of the company has been successfully established, we will expand our sales to companies with more than 100 employees, coffee roasters, and Specialty Coffee Wholesale Companies for green beans.
Our first coffee customers will therefore be the coffee gastronomists. For this segment of customers, we will focus on roasted, mauled, and packed Specialty Coffee from Guatemala, Colombia, and El Salvador. They will be able to access our products through our Specialty Coffee web, which will also offer Specialty Coffee machines, Ice coffee machines (in a later stage), and specialty Dutch Cheese for non-Dutch customers. After an agreement has been reached with an investor, we will start the promotion of our products to attract future customers to our specialty products and our brand. In the meantime, the office will be inaugurated and the online-selling website for our customers (https://casalabranza.coffee) will be developed.
In the second phase, the website will also have a wholesale department with a rich variety of Specialty Coffee Green beans. The marketing company we are working with will bring us in contact with coffee gastronomists through Internet, the social media, and other sources. We will import green beans and store, roast, and pack the Specialty Coffee ourselves. In the first years, we will bring all our attention and effort to choosing the right coffee and to building our customers’ network. This is the reason why the import activity of coffee itself will be initially outsourced to other coffee importers. When our first focus has been resolved and established, we will handle the import ourselves.
The distinctive coffees that Casa Labranza chooses to sell, will delight customers with their complex flavours. We see Casa Labranza Specialty Coffee as becoming a reference in Europe as an importer of Central and South American Specialty Coffee. We envision to be the “door” for the small- and medium-sized specialty coffee producers to the European Continent, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom.
We envision starting the business relatively small to keep the required investment amount and risk low. Our first selling phase conforms to the current specialty coffee market condition, in which the majority of sales go through the online channel in the short term. The main reason behind this is that the current COVID-19 pandemic has led specialty coffee shops in Europe, through which a part of the sales takes place, to be closed for longer periods of time. However, we believe that after our company is well-established and has achieved good selling results, we could expand our scope to become an import and wholesale firm. Although this phase will require a larger capital investment, we expect our current or new investors to be attracted to the results of our first successful years. This way our company will take advantage of the recovery of the economy and the coffee market in particular.
All tasks will be initially performed by the founding members and contractors with various skills. When the firm grows bigger the company may need to hire employees for particular functions. In order to grow, we expect to be spending 10% of our sales on marketing in the first year and 5% in the years that follow. Casa Labranza will help European specialty coffee roasters and web shop customers to access rare beans from farms in the region that are achieving unique flavours through innovation. Most specialty coffees sold in Europe offer “safe” flavours that do not deviate from what most consumers want, such as low acidity. With the coffees we will offer in Casa Labranza we seek to bring more innovative flavours to our customers. The buyers will be able to have access to two types of Central and South American coffees: one type of good quality, from 80 to 85 SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) points and another type of very good quality, with 85 to 90 SCA points. These distinctions are made to offer products that are ideal for two separate markets, although the high-quality characteristic of specialty coffee is central for both of them.
Additionally, fair price will be at the core of all the coffee beans’ transactions that we will work with. This way, we will tailor our company vision to consumers that are conscious about the need to appropriately pay farmers for their efforts of cultivating and processing high-quality beans. Coffee from the brand “Casa Labranza” sold through the online shop, will be roasted every week to assure that customers receive freshly roasted beans. This is a key element for specialty coffee since our customers will be very conscious of flavour quality.
Finally, it is worth noting a logistical aspect that will make this firm, located in Arnhem (The Netherlands), more competitive. Coffees ordered by German residents will be shipped from Emmerich Germany, just on the other side of the border. As these shipments will not go through international Dutch mail, there will be a substantial difference in shipping cost that the German consumer pays, making our products more attractive. The added cost of sending these orders using the German local post will be minor for our firm since our location in Arnhem will only be a 30 minutes-drive from German towns with post service.
Slowly, when the sales grow, we will add new countries to our sales market until we cover the EU, the UK, and Scandinavia. As the sales increase, we will add new central and South American coffee-producing countries to our collection of Specialty coffees, with the aim of including the best suppliers from all those countries in our catalog. We will take cautious but solid steps because we pursue a steady growth that remains stable in time, rather than a fast growth that brings quality or delivery issues. During the growth process of the company, more languages will be included on the website and on the coffee packings, in an attempt to match the growth of our market.
In our second stage, we will start with the delivery of green beans to coffee roasters and Specialty Coffee Wholesalers in Europe, as well as acquire companies with more than 100 employees as customers of roasted and packed coffee. During this phase, the growth of Casa Labranza will get a strong boost.
Casa Labranza will offer constant support to their Specialty Coffee producers. Firstly, by offering them a fair price for their supply; and secondly, by offering guidance to improve the quality of their coffee and to acquire the needed certifications. The coffee director will visit our producers regularly to strengthen and maintain positive relationships, as well as for choosing the coffees for the next season and to assist the producers in any help they require.
The two founders are able to communicate with business partners and producers in Dutch, English, Spanish, Portuguese and basic German. They can rely on excellent professional knowledge and years of experience in the business world.
Paul Dufour & José Takayoshi (founders)