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Coffee Brokers:
Innovations in Trading

By Jennifer Magid

For Jose Ureña, being the link between the producer and the consumer encompasses the need for constant communication. But providing a professional and personalized end-to-end brokerage service specializing in the green coffee trade is what defines his company Coffee Brokers as beyond the average.

“We contact and visit our main sellers periodically to constantly update and better understand their business demand, problems and needs,” says Ureña, who is the c.e.o. of Coffee Brokers.

The first Coffee Brokers enterprise was established in 1998; in 2000, an office was opened in New York, in 2002 the company’s “web office” took shape, and in 2003 an office was opened in Costa Rica and finally, Delaware in 2004. The main goal of Coffee Brokers, which is an active member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe, is to focus on intermediating the buying and selling of green coffee, but the company also is present in the spice, cocoa and tea trades.

“Though ours is a relatively new enterprise, our experienced team makes out of it a perseverant, constantly growing, innovative, highly IT developed (almost futuristic in the coffee trade), extremely efficient and dynamic organization. We can proudly affirm that through the years, our senior directors have been involved in the coffee trade, from growing, through exporting, to importing and finally roasting, therefore, we know the coffee business all the way from the land to your cup,” says Ureña.

The company targets markets in the traditional consuming countries: the U.S., Japan, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. However, they also pay attention to the growing East European, Mid and Far East markets, where they have an active and representative share.

“We handle almost all types of coffee, as washed, naturals, organic, for both Arabica and Canephora, in all their quality grades; however, the traded volume for each one depends on the international market situation, our buyers demands and of course our sellers’ offers. We are particularly involved in improving the quality of the coffee consumed in the international market but especially in Eastern Europe; at the same time, we function as a link between the seller and the buyer, in order to cover the demand for any type of coffee, available on the international market,” says Ureña. “Our coffee is special because we are able to source any origin our client needs, from commodity grades to tailor made specialty coffee. Our sources are very diversified, starting from the main producing countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and even from tiny exotic producers as Myanmar, Laos and Nepal,” he says.

However, since Coffee Brokers is not a producing company, it is not the coffee that Ureña feels makes the company unique, but the specialized and personalized service they provide.

“Through our “Web Office,” our customers and partners are permanently informed about the latest news and all other event information, regarding the constantly changing coffee market, while carrying on trading operations or tracking their signed contracts on line in an environment with standardized and comfortable procedures. We supply a complete range of services starting from cupping and analyzing, each coffee sample, from all traded stocks for which we keep sealed and certified reference samples, for at least six months. We have developed a very complete and explicit contract, which covers from the very beginning all the business conditions, in order to avoid any future misunderstandings, which we draw, handle & supervise depending the case, under the rules of the ECF, GCA and SCAA green coffee contracts in force, for the fairness and safety of both seller and buyer,” says Ureña.

As for what the future holds for Coffee Brokers, there will only be more work on diversifying and improving services, as well as constantly updating the technology used. The company is also permanently working on the standardization of all their procedures in order to apply for ISO certification.

“At present, our clients can already benefit from the competitive shipping rates negotiated in our long term service contract signed with Maersk - Sealand. However, we would like to step further and provide our clients with the needed and useful futures fixation and hedging tools, for which we are currently negotiating with two leading future brokerage companies and we hope that for the end of 2004 we will be able to add also this service to our already extensive list,” says Urena.

As for Ureña himself, he has been busy founding the SCAE Romanian Chapter. Ureña’s background with Romania goes way back -- his father was a diplomat who represented Costa Rica in Romania, and Ureña himself spent many years studying there. Romania was also the site of an earlier business venture, a roasting company called Coffee Land Incorporated Srl. As Ureña became more involved in the SCAE, he presented the idea of a Romanian chapter to the group. On top of this large assignment, he also has been appointed as national coordinator for the Costa Rican SCAE chapter. Though Ureña has a hand in many aspects of the coffee industry, his personal immediate goals and the goals of Coffee Brokers are one and the same -- to maintain support and continue cooperation for the growth of the specialty coffee share, in the world market.

Coffee Brokers invites interested readers to visit their booth at this year’s Sintercafe. For more information, visit www.coffeebrokers.us.

Tea & Coffee - November/December, 2004


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