A Guide to Importing Coffee Beans into Kuwait

Kuwait skyline at dusk

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Coffee has always been integral to the culture of Kuwait. While people have drunk traditional Arabic coffee for centuries, the new wave of speciality coffee has well and truly established itself in the country. There are now estimated to be more than 250 speciality coffee shops in the country, and that’s not including the multinational chains that have flooded in over the last few decades.

With this enormous supply providing an endless array of consumer choices, coffee importers are constantly looking for amazing coffee beans that come with own unique origin stories. Here at Those Coffee People, we specialize in sourcing the best coffee beans for buyers in Kuwait and other GCC countries. We’ve therefore put together this guide to importing coffee into Kuwait, to help importers through the process.

Finding a supplier

When done correctly, buying a container of coffee is becoming almost as easy as ordering Nespresso pods from Amazon. However, the ease of the transaction depends on you finding the right supplier. Buyers often find their suppliers using Facebook or Google, or through directory listings in trade publications such as Coffee Talk  

However, buyers need to tread carefully on platforms such as Facebook. You’ll find lots of coffee farmers advertising their products, but they often lack the required export licenses to facilitate the trade. Here at Those Coffee People, we’ve been approached for help lots of times when buyers have paid money directly to growers, only to discover they lack the capacity to fulfil and export the order. 

While some countries now have initiatives in place that allow farmers to directly export small amounts of coffee without a license (often up to 50kg), for any sizable amount you will need to go through a properly established and licensed export company. Therefore, check the company you’re dealing with has all the required documentation.

Looking for a supplier? Discover our range of Colombian direct trade green coffee beans for export.

Arranging shipping

Shipping and logistics are the most complex parts of the process when importing direct trade coffee. As well as the obvious language barriers, most buyers lack the required local knowledge of the export country’s logistics network to do it themselves. 

Therefore, it’s advisable to let the exporter manage all of this on your behalf. As well as the actual shipping, they can also coordinate all the arrangements between farms, mills, packaging facilities, trucking, government agencies, ports and customs.

The International Chamber of Commerce has established International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) that describe both types of shipping arrangements. For example, when the buyer is responsible for arranging shipping this is can be known as Ex Works (EXW) or Free on Board (FOB) and when the seller is responsible to bring the merchandise to a designated place of the buyer’s choosing this is known as Delivered at Place (DAP).  

Shipping costs

If you’re importing coffee into Kuwait DAP, then the seller will calculate transportation costs and include this in the final price. If you’re importing Ex Works, then you’ll need to pay the following additional fees on top of the Ex Works coffee price:

  • Domestic transportation in country of origin 
  • Documentation (e.g. certificate of origin and phytosanitary certificate)
  • Loading and unloading fees
  • Port and export taxes 
  • Export custom agent fees
  • Freight costs
  • Insurance 
  • Export custom agent fees
  • Accreditation with the Kuwaiti Food and Nutrition Authority

Coffee imports product labeling requirements

When importing coffee beans into Kuwait, the sacks need to be clearly labelled with the following information:

  • Country of origin (e.g. “Colombia”)
  • Contents (e.g. “100% Green Coffee Beans”)
  • Net weight (i.e. total weight minus packaging)
  • Gross weight (i.e. total weight including packaging)
  • Production date (i.e. date the coffee was packaged)
  • Expiration date (while coffee beans aren’t perishable, you still need to provide an expiration date, which is usually 3 years after the production date)

This information must be clearly written in Arabic and either printed or sewn onto the sacks, before the shipment arrives and passes through customs in Kuwait. If this is written in English only then the shipment will not be allowed to pass through customs.     

Customs clearance declarations in Kuwait

You’ll need to provide the following documents for the coffee to pass through Kuwaiti customs:

Provided by the exporter:

  • Invoice
  • Packing list
  • Certificate of origin 
  • Phytosanitary certificate 

Responsibility of the importer: 

  • Accreditation with the food and nutrition authority which only takes place with the arrival of the shipment 

Coffee import customs duties in Kuwait 

None – coffee is exempt from customs duties in Kuwait.

VAT on coffee sales in Kuwait

There is currently no VAT in Kuwait, although there are plans to introduce this in 2021.

Discover our range of direct trade coffee beans  

Here at Those Coffee People we’re experts in sourcing the finest direct trade Colombian green coffee beans. We venture off into remote areas of Colombia’s beautiful coffee regions to search for new and exclusive offers, exploring the country town by town to identify the most unique and desirable origins for you and your customers.

Explore our unique Colombian coffee origins here and discover the story of every estate we work with. We can fulfil orders of every size for buyers in Kuwait, contact us for more information.

Featured images photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

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