A Guide to Importing Coffee Beans to Australia

Australian flag

Australia’s coffee culture dates back way before the millennial-filled, hipster cafes that line the streets of Sydney, Melbourne, and other cities today. In fact, its origins are associated with a wave of Italian migration that took place after the Second World War. Italian migrants brought with them the newly-invented steam-powered espresso machine, and with it, elements of the European café culture, which would then translate into the relaxed way of life down under. 

With coffee already deeply ingrained into the country’s culture, Australian baristas got to work trialing new styles of coffee. In the 1980s they invented the flat white, a beverage now widely enjoyed across Europe and in the U.S. 

Despite cultivating a small volume of specialty coffee, Australia is among the world’s top 15 coffee importers, importing almost $450 million of coffee beans in 2019. So if you’re looking to join those importing green coffee beans into Australia, keep reading, because we’ve got you covered. 

Finding a Supplier

Just as you would when importing into any foreign country, make sure you track down a supplier that knows the Australian importation rules and regulations well. Don’t forget to ask the necessary questions to assess the extent of their knowledge. 

Even if you do find a supplier that knows the market well, it’s a good idea for them to hire a licensed customs broker. A list of Australia’s licensed customs brokers can be found here.  

Looking for coffee bean importers to Australia? We’re experts at sourcing and shipping green coffee to Australian buyers. Explore our range of green coffee here.  

Arranging Shipping

When thinking about importing coffee beans into Australia, there are a few important preparation steps you’ll need to bear in mind in order to comply with Australian Biosecurity Import Conditions.

  • Ensure your supplier sends your shipment free of contaminant seed, soil, animal and plant debris, and other biosecurity risk material. For more information on biosecurity risks, check out this guidance from the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment.  
  • When it comes to green coffee beans, they must be free of fruit pulp before arriving in Australia. 
  • Ensure each consignment of goods is wrapped in clean and new packaging. Straw packaging is prohibited as it could carry insects or toxic diseases. Second-hand packaging from fruit, vegetables, meat, or egg cartons is also banned for the same reasons. 

Shipping Costs 

If you don’t know how to import coffee beans to Australia, don’t panic, your coffee bean supplier will include shipping costs in the final quote for the service. This will vary depending on the country you’re shipping from and the terms you negotiate. The good news is that in Australia, coffee beans are not subject to any import taxes. 

One thing to bear in mind, though, is that often costs will add up because of logistical costs in the country you’re shipping from. Make sure they don’t catch you by surprise.

Australian Coffee Imports Product Labeling Requirements

According to Australia’s 1905 Commerce Act, any incoming shipments must follow specific labeling requirements in order to be allowed into the country. The two most important points to remember to include on your label are: 

  • Trade description —  a description, statement, indication, or suggestion as to how or by whom the coffee was produced, selected, and packed. This statement must be in clear, legible English.
  • Country of origin certificate

If your coffee is pre-packed for sale, then providing a trade description is optional. However, you must still provide notice of the country of origin. 

If you fail to comply with these requirements, your shipment may be seized by the Australian Border Force. Re-labelling could be permitted upon further examination.

Customs Clearance Declarations in Australia

All coffee bean shipments to Australia must be inspected by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) in order to keep the country free of exotic pests and diseases.

Import permits are required for some shipments of coffee beans to Australia, such as Kopi luwak coffee. This form of coffee consists of partially digested coffee cherries that have passed through the alimentary tract of the Asian palm civet, a viverrid native to South and Southeast Asia. 

We recommend consulting an experienced customs clearance agent to find out whether your shipment requires an import permit or not.

Regardless of whether you need a specific import permit, the following documents must accompany your shipment in order for it to be imported: 

  • Certificate of origin
  • Phytosanitary certificate
  • Invoice 
  • Packing list
  • Airway Bill/ Bill of Lading
  • Packing Material Declaration form (if your shipment is packed in pallets)

Here at Those Coffee People, we export three different types of coffee shipments to Australia. For full information on the Australian Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) for each type of shipment, check out the links below.

Coffee Import Customs Duties in Australia

Although there is no tariff to import green or roasted coffee into Australia, other import fees and charges may apply. Consult an experienced import and customs clearance agent who is well-versed in Australian legislation on coffee bean importation to find out exactly which ones might apply to you.

Sales Tax on Coffee Sales in Australia

Coffee bought in the form of beans or ground beans is also exempt from Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Australia, which is a value-added tax of 10%. However, hot coffee sold as a ready-to-drink beverage in Australia is taxable.

Discover Our Range of Direct Trade Coffee Beans  

Here at Those Coffee People we’re experts at sourcing and supplying the finest direct trade Colombian green coffee beans. We venture off into remote areas of Colombia’s beautiful coffee-growing countryside to search for new and exclusive varieties, with the aim of identifying the most unique origins for you and your customers.

Explore our unique Colombian origins and discover the story of every estate we work with. We can fulfill and deliver orders of any size for buyers in Australia, contact us for more information.

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