Opening an Account

If you are not yet in contact with an Ally Coffee Account Manager in your region, please fill out the Contact Form or the Sample Request Form on our website and the Ally rep nearest to you will get in touch to learn more about your business, your coffee goals, and how we can work together.

To become an Ally Coffee client, your Account Manager will ask for the following to complete your account set up:

  • Legal Business Name and DBA where applicable
  • Legal Business Address
  • Green Coffee Delivery Address
  • Primary Contact Name, Email, and Phone Number
  • Accounting Contact Name, Email, and Phone Number
  • Release/Ordering Contact Name, Email, and Phone Number

Companies that have been in business for less than a year and would like to apply for credit terms may be asked to provide additional information in order to complete a credit check.

Yes, we offer terms to our clients based on your needs and qualifications. We run a quick credit check to see what length terms (Net 15 or Net 30) and what credit limit your company qualifies for. While terms are being determined, coffee can be released CAD (Cash Against Documents). We reevaluate and adjust these terms as your account builds a business history with us. This can mean a reduction or elimination of terms if invoices are consistently past due or an extension of credit limit as your company increases its ordering volume.

Financing is one of the services we provide as a green coffee company. Please note that we pay all of our coffee supplier partners up front in full as soon as coffee ships. Your timely payments ensure that we can continue to invest in sustainable purchases at origin.

Green Coffee Terminology

  1. Offer Sample — Sample supplied by the producer, cooperative, or exporter to offer a particular lot of coffee for sale, whether it is a microlot of a few bags or large community lot of several hundred bags/full container volume.
  2. Pre-shipment Sample — Representative sample gathered prior to shipping coffee. Sample is blended with coffee from each bag in a lot to represent the coffee that is being loaded onto the ship.Sometimes, an Offer Sample may also be a Pre-shipment Sample, representative of the lot that is ready to ship. In the case that significant time has passed between the evaluation of the Offer Sample and the container stuffing (ie more than a month) or in the case that a lot has been blended or subdivided and is meaningfully different than the Offer Sample, the Pre-shipment Sample serves to confirm that the coffee that will ship still meets quality expectations.
  3. Arrival Sample — Representative sample pulled from coffee after it has landed in the warehouse.
  1. Type Sample — Sample indicative of the generally available quality from a given supplier.
  2. Representative Sample — Sample pulled from all (or a set percentage of) bags in a lot of coffee as a homogenized representation of that lot.

The trade organization the Green Coffee Association sets standards and mediates disputes related to the coffee trade. Their contract document offers the following:

In classical economic terms, price is a function of the four primary economic utilities; quantity, quality, time, and location. A good contract will clearly define all these contract parameters.

In the specialty coffee trade, the “quality” utility of price is determined by sensory descriptors, which often includes cupping notes and scores, rather than the physical descriptors, like screen size and defect count, used to indicate quality in commercial contracts.

Contracts involving sample approval bear one of the following approval terms:

‘SAS-NANS’ — Subject to approval sample, no approval no sale (the approval sample can be either a Pre-shipment or an Arrival Sample, as specified by the contract)

‘SAPS’ — Subject to approval pre-shipment sample

‘SAPDS’ — Subject to approval pre-ship and arrival sample

‘SASR’ — Subject to approval sample — replacement

Talk to your Account Manager when requesting samples and when contracting coffees to make sure you understand the approval terms and the steps involved in complying with those terms in order to get green coffee as efficiently as possible!

 

Coffee Evaluation

Quality control. Assuring quality through sensory evaluation — the main reason for cupping — means confirming that a coffee is free of major defects and has not lost its baseline quality (by tasting stale, sour, papery, stewed).

Know your needs. Sample evaluation must always begin with the end in mind. It is exciting to cup samples to explore and learn, but the primary function of sample evaluation is to determine if a coffee will fill a need either as a stand-alone product or as part of a blend.

Cup scores, while widely used in the specialty coffee industry as an indication of quality, are still a subjective metric. We cup coffees at the offer, pre-shipment, and arrival stages (see Green Coffee Terminology); at each stage different members of our buying, quality control, and sales teams cup coffees depending who is present for each session based on seasonality and travel. See the tasting notes for each coffee on our website.

We aim to be thorough and consistent when sharing coffee quality information, and, because different members of our participants in each cupping session due to travel schedules, we are not able to provide cup scores that reflect the scores of the same evaluators (and sample stages) for each coffee we offer.

Your Account Manager can provide a score range or the notes from the most recent session in which a coffee was cupped, but we do not assign singular point values to our offerings on our website.

Requesting a Sample

There are two ways to order samples from Ally Coffee, the first is by contacting your Account Manager. The second is to fill out a Sample Request form by selecting coffees from our website, and the Account Manager in your region will follow up regarding your request.

Ally Coffee ships the industry standard 200g green samples; if your needs differ, such as larger sample size or roasted samples, please inform your Account Manager. We ship 100g samples for our most special limited edition coffees, like Geisha microlots.

Yes! Please indicate this to your Account Manager or in your Sample Request form. See also our helpful guide to types of green coffee samples.

Yes, our Quality Control teams in the EU (Gothenburg, Sweden) and the US (Greenville, SC), along with your Account Manager, can help advise on the best profiles for roasting green coffee samples you receive from Ally. In our labs, we roast on Probat barrel sample roasters and also on the Ikawa fluid air electric roaster.

Let your Account Manager know which coffees you require sample roasting advice for and we will help you nail a sample roast reflective of the coffee’s cup profile. Please note, however, that all sample roasting equipment is different and sharing roasting profiles is a form of guidance rather than a recipe for the sample roasting process.

Take notes and practice!

It is just as important to record the roast used to evaluate a sample as it is to record the final results of cupping it. Sample roasting is part of the evaluation process; beans will tell you a lot about themselves during the roast process as well as during their cupping.

Roasting in small volumes is different than roasting a full production batch. Green coffee sample material is very expensive, as it often includes air-freighted offer and pre-shipment samples and expedited arrival samples sent at high costs to producers, exporters, and to us. Please do not waste precious green coffee sample material learning to use your equipment. Take a coffee you are familiar with and practice roasting it on your sample roaster to see how it is affected by small changes such as higher or lower charge temperatures or extended/reduced roasting times of even several seconds.

Contracting Green Coffee

The first step to ordering coffee is to open an account with Ally Coffee. If you are not yet in contact with an Ally Coffee Account Manager in your region, please fill out the Contact Form so we can connect you to the right Account Manager for your region.

Minimum order is one bag. Please note that bag weights vary from 25–70kg (55–154lbs). You will find this information displayed on each product page.

Our “full” bags vary in weight depending on origin. Most coffees from Brazil are packed in 60kg (132lb), Ethiopia in 60kg (132lb), Central America in 69kg (152lb), and Colombia in 70kg (154lb) bags.

Typically, our Gesha or unique microlot coffees are in “half” bags which range from 25–35kg (55–77lbs).

We do! Ally Open is our platform for roasters to purchase a curated selection of green coffee in small boxes. There, you will find:

Core Coffees (50lb boxes) are consistently available regional community lots.

Microlots (50lb boxes) are limited edition coffees from our partner farms.

Reserve Lots (25lb boxes) are super-special coffees ideal for competitions and other showcase occasions.

Ally Coffee EU publishes a spot price list it circulates to clients. Ally Coffee US has coffee warehoused in more locations and therefore a larger inventory that fluctuates more day to day. In order to avoid confusion and to quote clients most accurately given their location in the US, all pricing for Ally’s US coffees is quoted directly to you by your Account Manager based on the specifics of your order.

Please contact your Account Manager for pricing. Don’t have an Account Manager yet? Please fill out the Contact Us form with what you’re looking for an the Ally rep nearest to you will be in touch soon.

Yes, most coffees are eligible for a reduction in the price per lb or kg when contracting larger volumes. Most discounts begin at 10 bags and at levels of 50, 100 bags, or full container volumes, but these levels vary for certain offerings. All pricing is dependent on the coffee, volume, and period over which you will release that coffee. Contacting your Account Manager is the best way to get an accurate quote for your interest.

If you are interested in 5 bags or less, our small box website may be a better fit for you. Please visit Ally Open at allyopen.com

The delivery period is the period of time over which your company expects to release the full volume of coffee contracted, expressed in calendar months. For example, coffee contracted on October 25th, 2018 could have a delivery period of six months, or Nov 2018 – Apr 2019.

Once coffee is sold to a roasting company, it belongs to the business who contracted it. Ally sends an invoice each time contracted coffee is released from the warehouse, whether that is the full volume at one time or smaller volumes over time. Because you might not need the full volume of contracted coffee delivered all at once, the delivery period is crucial information included in the green coffee contract. It indicates the period of time during which coffee will be released from the warehouse.

Warehouses charge Ally Coffee a rate per lb or kg per month, known as carry charges, for all the coffee we own that is stored at their facilities. When you contract coffee, those carry charges are embedded in the price for the duration of the delivery period you define at the time of contracting. When coffee reaches the end of its delivery period, you are responsible for taking delivery of the remaining volume of contracted coffee. If you choose to leave it in the warehouse beyond the delivery period agreed to in the contract, carry charges continue to accrue and are now the responsibility of the roaster who owns the coffee and will appear as a separate line item on invoices.

Releases and Deliveries

Ally Coffee’s spot coffee offerings (inventory available for immediate purchase and release) are warehoused at the following locations. Talk to your Account Manager about other import services and forward contracting with direct delivery to US/EU/UAE warehouses near you. Don’t have an Account Manager yet? Fill out the Contact Us form to start the conversation.

Canada

Metro Logistics
541 Kipling Avenue
Etobicoke, Toronto, ON M8Z 5E7

Europe

Schwarze & Consort. GmbH
Afrikastr. 4, 20457 Hamburg GERMANY

United Arab Emirates

DMCC — Coffee & Tea Centre
Plot No. S10814, Sheikh Zayed Road
Jebel Ali Freezone Extension
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

United States

Continental Terminals International, New Jersey
200 Middlesex Ave Carteret, NJ 07008 USA
Port city: New York/New Jersey

Continental Terminals International, South Carolina
201 Luken Road Goose Creek, SC 29445
Port city: Charleston

The Annex Warehouse
1345 Doolittle Drive San Leandro, CA 95477
Port city: Oakland

East Bay Logistics — EBL LA
18924 S Laurel Park Road Compton, CA 90220
Port city: Los Angeles

We use the term “shipping” to refer to the process of loading a container of coffee on a boat at origin and shipping it to a port destination in the US, EU, or UAE. We use the term “freight” to refer to the process of delivering a bag, pallet, or full container of coffee from the warehouse to your roastery.

There are three ways you can schedule freight pickup and delivery.

Option 1: Book the freight yourself using your preferred carrier. In this case, we issue a Delivery Order (DO) directly to you and to the warehouse, indicating to the warehouse that you will schedule freight. Then, you can forward the information to the carrier you choose for them to coordinate warehouse pick up.

Option 2: Pick up the coffee yourself! We issue the DO directly to you and to the warehouse. You can pick up your coffee during the warehouse’s will call window, typically the next day (provided that all delivery requests have been made before cut off times).

Option 3: Ally books freight on your behalf and passes along the actual cost as a line item on your green coffee invoice. In this case, we issue a quote request to the various carriers we work with and select the option that best meets your specified needs, either in terms of lowest cost or fastest delivery. Ally issues the DO to the warehouse and the carrier, passing the responsibility for delivering the coffee to the freight carrier.

If you choose to pick up your coffee, you will receive the Delivery Order from Ally and instructions from the warehouse regarding their will-call procedures and times. If you choose to book your own freight, you will be in direct communication with the freight carrier. If you choose to have Ally arrange freight, we will forward the tracking number for the shipment.

We can advise which option works best for you based on your roastery’s business model and location.

  1. Can your business receive deliveries by a 53-ft truck?If your business is located in a neighborhood that cannot accommodate a 53-foot truck, such as a historic downtown district, please communicate that so that your order can be sent in a smaller vehicle.
  1. Address of the roastery facility — please clearly indicate that this is the address where you will receive full bags of green coffee. If this address is different from your business office or the location where you receive samples, please inform your Account Manager.
  2. Is this a residential address? If so, there may be an Accessorial Charge.
  3. Hours of Operation and Delivery Receiving Hours

If you have any other instructions related to receiving deliveries at your facility, such as the location of a driveway or door on the side or back of a building, a missing street sign, or a shared facility such as a co-roasting space, please share these with us ahead of time! We can save these notes on your profile to pass along to the driver each time we arrange freight. We can also add special one-time instructions for a single order.

Freight costs depend on several factors, most importantly weight, distance, and time. How many kg/lbs are on the pallet? How far is it from the warehouse to the roastery? How fast do you need the coffee? Typically, a full pallet is the most efficient per kg or per lb than a half pallet. Additional services like lift gates and fuel surcharges add to the total cost and guaranteed next-day or two-day services are generally more expensive than non-guaranteed timeframes. Costs also vary between carriers.

Your Account Manager can give you a custom quote based on the specifics of your delivery needs.

Each stage in the delivery process incurs charges. These charges are made by warehouses and freight companies. Ally communicates these costs as part of the service we offer, but we do not earn anything by providing freight-arranging services to our clients. We have no influence on fees set by warehouses or carriers.

These piecemeal charges, called Accessorial Charges, are for services like pre-delivery phone calls, delivery appointments, delivery to a residential address, and use of a liftgate. If these services were not ordered ahead of time and included in the freight quote, they will be billed retroactively.

Even though call-ahead, appointment, and lift gate services involve fees, sometimes they are the right fit for a business. The better you know your business needs the better you can plan for the cost of delivery services.

This depends on the distance between the warehouse and the roastery, the carrier, and the calendar. Delivery times are longer during busy holiday seasons when there is more demand on carriers. Some carriers offer guaranteed next-day or two-day services, provided your roastery is within a feasible radius of the warehouse and release requests are submitted to Ally prior to cut off time.

Each warehouse sets their own cut off time before which all Delivery Orders (DOs) must be submitted in order for releases to be processed — and coffee to be available for pick up — by the next business day. Contact your Account Manager for local warehouse cut off times for receiving releases. Submitting release requests well before this cut off time helps assure that your coffee will be ready for pick up, either by you or by freight carrier, the next business day.

Please remember that warehouses each have their own schedules and policies, and they strictly observe their stated cut off times for processing release requests. Warehouse policies are beyond our control, and we must work according to each warehouse’s policies to provide you with the best service. Closures for national holidays impact cut off times, so please remember to request releases as early in the day and as far in advance as possible to avoid delays in delivery.

Guaranteed transit times do not guarantee pick up from the warehouse. Sometimes, the driver comes to the warehouse ready to pick up the coffee, but the warehouse does not have the coffee ready. Other times, the warehouse has the coffee ready, but the driver does not make it in time to pick up. Guaranteed transit times mean that an order will be moved up in the route. There are many conditions beyond drivers’ control, such as weather conditions or construction that can impact drivers’ ability to deliver coffee as planned.

For this reason, we encourage you to place your release request as soon as you are running low on coffee. Do not wait until you have run out of coffee to place your next order!

Yes! Another complimentary service Ally offers is consolidating your order with coffee from other suppliers. This often takes the form of a mixed pallet, with coffee from both Ally and other suppliers combined. In the case of consolidations, you must provide the Delivery Orders for the other coffees; Ally cannot request release of coffee that belongs to another importer or to you. Please note that pick up may be delayed until the warehouse receives Delivery Orders for all coffees in the combined order.

In the case of consolidations, Ally is not responsible for lost or damaged coffee from another vendor.

When your coffee arrives at your facility, a driver will present you with a freight delivery receipt, also known as a proof of delivery (POD), to sign. The POD indicates that you, as owner and new recipient of your coffee, acknowledge and accept delivery, including the condition in which the coffee was delivered. If there is any damage to the coffee or loss due to ripped bags, you must record it on the POD and report this loss or damage to your Account Manager.

When your shipment arrives, inspect your delivery prior to signing the delivery receipt (POD). A signature on the delivery receipt indicates you accept ownership of the goods as-is and you release the carrier from any liability for loss or damage to your property. Drivers are obligated to wait while you complete a full inspection. If there are issues, take color photos and be sure to include full bag marks in the photos. Write any issues describing the loss or damage and the number of bags affected on the delivery receipt before signing. Notify your Ally Account Manager immediately.

Depending on the situation, Ally may be able to credit your account for a loss of coffee. However, we can only do so if loss or damage was both visibly apparent and noted at the time of delivery. The nature of the loss or damage must be recorded on the POD.