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The Many, Many People Who Help Get Your Coffee to You

We'd like to thank the roastery... and the mill... and the farm...

by Maciej Kasperowicz | October 23, 2019

A long — but by no means comprehensive — list of the people whose work goes into your bag of beans!

We’ve written quite a bit about the coffee supply chain here at Trade! If you’ve been reading along you know that, because the coffee that gets picked from a shrub goes through so much transformation before it gets to your cup, that chain is pretty complex!

A few small and very new exceptions aside, coffee also isn’t grown in the continental US. So, that chain not only has many links, but is also very long. That distance and amount of people is one of the reasons that most coffee professionals tend to agree that coffee — despite what some latte-focused financial advisors might tell you — is nowhere near expensive enough.

While we’d all love delicious coffee to be affordable for everyone, the current coffee price crisis puts in sharp relief just how important every last cent is. So, here’s a very long — though by no means comprehensive — list of all the people that put in work (and need to be paid for that work) so a bag of coffee can get into your hands:

  • Farm owners
  • People who maintain the farm
  • Coffee pickers
  • Drivers to bring the coffee to the mill
  • Mill owners
  • Employees unloading coffee at the mill
  • Workers who process the coffee at the mill
  • Workers who dry the coffee at the mill
  • Coffee sorters who remove defective beans, likely several times through the process
  • Coffee cuppers at the mill
  • Drivers to bring coffee to a port
  • Unloaders for the shipping container
  • People who load the containers onto a ship
  • Ship crews
  • Unloaders of the containers from the ship
  • People who transfer the coffee from the containers into the warehouse (often a centralized one adjacent to the port)
  • Warehouse owners
  • Warehouse staff
  • Drivers to bring the coffee from a warehouse to the roastery
  • Roastery owners
  • Coffee roasters
  • Roastery staff