The Green Coffee Buyer: Myths and Realities


by Rob Stephen, InterAmerican Coffee & Mark Inman, Olam Specialty Coffee

If you ask someone who is new to the coffee industry what job they’d like to have, one of the most popular answers is that of the green coffee buyer. This job has been written about, envied, glamorized, and mythologized since coffee became a popular beverage in the U.S.. If you look back through the historical record, you’ll see black-and-white photos of dapper men in ties, sitting solemnly around a New York City or New Orleans cupping table, making what look like serious decisions. The job of coffee buyer was a serious undertaking that took decades to learn, and was passed on from generation to generation through the tradition of apprenticeship.

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