Technology in the Coffee Industry: From Coffee Roasting to CRM

Nick Mirev
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    As the coffee sector is one of the biggest subcategories in the beverage industry, there are multiple solutions and technologies that are tailored to the needs of businesses in this field. Technology in the coffee industry can help various types of companies. From local roasters looking for order management tools to online stores that need automation and integration between different platforms. As with other sectors, the coffee market is constantly changing. Some of the latest coffee trends are inspired by technology as well. In this article, we’ll pay special attention to technology in the coffee industry and what solutions do businesses in this sector use. Make sure to also check our articles on the different coffee grades and the concept of coffee blending as well as the popular coffee blends.

    Key takeaway: The technology in the coffee industry helps the sector grow and increases the size of the global coffee market every year. Some solutions focus on aspects such as harvesting and distribution while others are related to roasting and eCommerce.
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    Software Solutions Used by Coffee Businesses

    Inventory Management

    Businesses that trade coffee need to track their inventory and manage par levels. The easiest way to do so is through professional inventory management software. These solutions include functionalities such as automatic reordering, real-time inventory tracking, barcode scanning, and expiration date tracking.


    Customer relationship management software is an absolute must for larger companies. It allows them to manage interactions with existing and potential customers. CRM solutions can also increase sales by improving customer service and automating marketing resources.

    Coffee Roasting Software

    These solutions are an irreplaceable part of technology in the coffee industry. With their help, businesses can oversee coffee roasting, plan production, calculate roasting levels, and track batches. 

    Coffee Distribution Solutions

    With the help of tools like BlueCart, businesses in the sector can automate certain processes and make ordering and distribution much easier for them and their clients. Although coffee distribution software sounds like a tool that is helpful only for large traders, there are other companies that can benefit from its functionalities. Here are a few examples. 

    1. Coffee shops. These businesses can use distribution solutions if they sell coffee blends to other companies or to improve the ordering process from importers.
    2. Roasters. With the help of distribution technology in the coffee industry, roasters can make it much easier for their customers to order coffee and other products. Most distribution solutions also allow businesses to make online catalogs, easily update prices, and offer discounts. 
    3. Wholesalers. Suppliers can benefit a lot from using distribution solutions. With the help of this technology for the coffee industry, the ordering process can be simplified. They also help them with price management, invoicing, and delivery route management. In addition to getting lower wholesale prices, customers also expect wholesalers to introduce such solutions as they can make the ordering process easier.

    Online and eCommerce Solutions

    Modern eCommerce solutions help both retailers and wholesalers. Through them, their clients can easily order products. Most business owners in the sector also offer attractive coffee subscription options. Online solutions are an important part of coffee marketing. With the help of platforms like YouTube or a business’s blog page, customers can learn more about the different coffee grades, popular blends, and efforts in the field of sustainable coffee. This can increase sales as customers will be better informed about the products offered by the business. 

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    Trends in Technology in the Coffee Industry

    Like every other niche, the coffee market is constantly changing. Allow us to share some of the trends in technology in the coffee industry.

    1. Advanced coffee machines. That includes not only coffee-making technology but also coffee-roasting machines. Smart machines guarantee that the end result will be of the highest quality possible.
    2. Improved coffee harvesting. Thanks to technology in the coffee industry, farms have better control over humidity, temperature, and soil conditions. This allows them to produce better quality coffee beans and to increase their quantities.
    3. Latte art. Drinking coffee is not only a way to get caffeine and an energy boost. It’s also an experience. That’s why a growing number of customers visit coffee shops that offer latte art. Technology in the coffee industry allows baristas to create unique latte art on coffee drinks.
    4. Self-service technology. Thanks to self-service kiosks, coffee shops can reduce their labor costs and customers can get a faster service.

    What Is the Coffee Supply Chain

    Modern technology in the coffee industry covers all stages of the supply chain. Let’s examine the main links in the coffee supply chain.

    1. Growing. Farmers grow and harvest coffee cherries in different tropical regions of the world.
    2. Processing. Small farms often don’t have the equipment to process cherries into beans and they sell their products to processors. Large farms usually possess the tools to turn coffee cherries into green coffee beans. 
    3. Intermediaries and exports. The beans are then sold to intermediaries and exporters who transport them to different parts of the world. Some roasters prefer to work directly with coffee farms but that’s rarely the case. Exporters then sell the coffee beans to suppliers or roasters. 
    4. Roasting. Both large coffee manufacturers and small local roasters purchase green coffee beans from different brands and regions. They are then roasted and blended in order to complement their characteristics.
    5. Retailers and end customers. D2C sales from roasters to coffee enthusiasts have increased in recent years as a growing number of coffee lovers have favorite blends and brands. However, it’s more common for retailers and grocery stores to purchase coffee from roasters.
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    Frequently Asked Questions about Technology in the Coffee Industry

    Throughout the years, the process of harvesting and brewing coffee has changed significantly thanks to technology in the coffee industry. In order to stay competitive, a business needs to follow the latest innovations in the sector. Below you will find the answers to some of the common questions regarding the coffee industry.

    What Is the Coffee Supply Chain?

    The coffee supply chain is often complex and unique. That’s because coffee is harvested in tropical areas of the world and is often blended to improve its qualities. This means that businesses in this sector might need to work with importers from Indonesia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Yemen, the Philippines, and various other countries. Thanks to technology in the coffee industry, the supply chains have become more elastic. However, even a single bad harvest or poor climate conditions can have a lasting impact on the supply of coffee and its price as a commodity.

    How Profitable Is Coffee?

    There are various types of businesses in the coffee niche market. The industry is considered to be a profitable one with good profit margins and various ways to scale the business. Here are some of the different types of coffee businesses.

    1. Coffee shop. These businesses have different streams of revenue. On one hand, they sell coffee, tea, soda, seasonal coffee drinks, and food products. On the other hand, they also sell coffee beans and merchandise.
    2. Coffee roasters. They usually have better profit margins compared to coffee shops. That’s because they don’t need to invest in coffee shop inventory.
    3. Coffee wholesale distributors. Suppliers of wholesale coffee beans have the lowest profit margin compared to other businesses but they usually have much higher revenue.
    4. Coffee subscriptions. You can start your own eCommerce business that sells coffee products and coffee bean subscriptions. 

    Is Coffee a Commodity?

    Yes. Coffee is a commodity that is traded at national and international commodity exchanges. In fact, one of the most common grades is called exchange coffee beans. They make up the majority of the global coffee market. Naturally, premium and specialty coffee products are also traded on commodity exchanges.

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