We’re moving warehouses! Amazing coffees for clearance prices. See the Clearance Price List, and contact Nico for samples.
Our priority is to deliver your coffee as quickly as possible and in its best possible condition, and we know there have been some problems in this area for customers receiving coffees from our warehousing and shipping provider in Antwerp. We take your feedback very seriously, which is why we are switching our main European warehouse to Vollers in Hamburg, a warehousing company focused on specialty coffee.
Hamburg’s long history with coffee
Hamburg is a substantial sized port, located 86km inland from the ocean on the Elbe River, with a very long history with coffee. The first coffee house in Hamburg opened in 1677, and the warehouses lining the Speicherstadt archipelago in the HafenCity quarter, built between 1883 and 1927, form the longest continuously running warehouse complex in the world. The area was awarded status as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2015.
Vollers' founder, Berthold Vollers, began warehousing coffee in 1932 when he set himself up as a self-employed port inspector and warehouse clerk in Bremen. His first client was his former employer, Roselius & Co (Coffee-HAG).
Last week I spent the better part of an afternoon with Marco Franz, the Department Manager for Commodities, and Finn Börnsen, Group Development Manager, at Vollers. They took considerable time out of their day to show me their facilities and discuss the ways they can better store and ship your coffee in Europe.
We had a long discussion about the issues we hope to solve with storage and shipping, plus our plans for the future. Vollers regards the specialty side of coffee as the most interesting and fastest growing part of the business. Their attitude was refreshing: if we have a request or an idea for a new service, they will try and find a solution.
The Vollers Facility
Marco took me on a tour of the facility; their system is impressive. Vollers have a machine that wraps their pallets in plastic, and another one that straps the pallets. For normal people, that might not seem so exciting, but for a logistics guy like me it means standardized quality when the pallets are wrapped and strapped -- more stable and better security. They have an IT system that is cross-checked with a physical label on each lot. When bags are taken from the lot, name of the person, number of bags and work order number are written on the label.
By the 3rd quarter of 2018 they plan to launch a system that will allow customers to log in and check their current stock, as well as track shipments sent with Vollers' own trucks. They are also working on developing a machine that will allow them transform a 60kg bag into 1-2kg vacuum blocks. This will be a great option for selling smaller volumes which could be sent by courier for quick delivery.
Additionally, Vollers can freeze coffee using services of a third party, and may in the future offer freezing within their facility. As Matt wrote, shipping times are getting slower and slower, so refrigerated transport combined with frozen storage may be the key to keeping coffees fresh and vibrant.
European Transport Network
Vollers offers transport via their own food-certified trucks that service the UK and Germany. Additionally, they have a network of warehouses throughout Europe, linked by daily transport including Bremen, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Bury St. Edmunds, Genoa, Trieste, Riga, Tallinn, Moscow, and by the end of next year they will add Gothenburg. This means we could potentially ship your coffee for collection at a warehouse near you.
Benefits at a glance:
- Unloading of container after arrival to port will take 1-3 days. This means coffee will be available for release maximum 3 days after arrival to port.
- We can organize transport to our European customers via a fleet food-certified trucks.
- For our customers already be buying coffee stored with Vollers, we can reduce costs of mixing pallets and transportation.
- Reduced transport cost for our German, Polish, and Nordic customers and potentially for our customers in larger cities.
- Reduced transport time to German, Polish, and Nordic customers.
- Possibility for freezing coffee
- Better IT systems for inventory management
- An open mind towards improving and adding services
We are really excited by the move to Vollers and the significant improvements it will bring for storing and shipping your coffees. The first shipment to Vollers will be early 2018. If there are any questions about our move to Vollers in Hamburg and how it might benefit you, please get in touch.