This is a list of best practices for sustainable green coffee shipping and efficient logistics strategies from the latest episode of Sourced: The Coffee Podcast. Trader Team member Caitlin McCarthy-Garcia and Outbound Shipping Specialist Evan Gilman shared their tips to ensure hassle free shipping. Click here to listen to the full episode.  


  • Be clear about the coffees you are ordering – utilize the 5-digit reference numbers to specify. Differentiate whether it’s a 50 LB Gem box, 22 LB Crown Jewel, or full-sized bag. 
  • Once the order is placed and shipped, keep an eye out for emails between Outbound and the carrier. Please respond to any questions quickly. 
  • Look out for confirmation from Outbound or your local warehouse.  
  • Make sure the delivery order is the same as what you ordered.  
  • Read your invoices! Look at bag sizes.
  • Before you order, familiarize yourself with our contracts and shipping glossary.  

How to Save on Shipping 

  • The best way to save on shipping is to load up a pallet.  
  • 10-11 bags to a pallet to maximize the efficiency of transportation 
  • 12 bags can be risky depending on weight of bags – some bags are larger than others. Since coffee bag weights vary by origin, check the Coffee bag weights by origin guide to determine the best number of bags for your pallet. 

royal coffee truck

Delivery Address Classification 

  • What is your delivery address classified as? Is it residential, commercial, or a remote location? 
  • Remember, you don’t determine this, the shipping company does.  
  • Understanding your address’ classification will help you understand your freight cost. Mislabeling this can cause you to incur extra delivery fees. 
  • Understanding this can help you avoid unexpected costs and prepares the carrier to handle your shipment correctly. 

Accessorial Charges 

  • Lift gate is a commonly needed accessorial. Even if you order even one bag on a pallet, you can’t take it off the truck by hand. You must allow the driver to take it off to put it in a safe place.  
  • If you don’t have a forklift or dock, you need a liftgate – avoid extra charges by requesting lift gate at the time of shipment.  
  • You will be charged more for all accessorials if they are added after the fact. Mention them early! 

Shipping Quotes and Timelines 

  • When you get a quote for shipment and timeline for delivery, remember: this is an estimate and not a guarantee.  
  • When palletizing coffee LTL freight is most common. FTL shipments can also be palletized. 
  • Your carrier typically stays the same. The first quote is called an indication quote – this will tell you which carriers will serve you the best and cheapest.  
  • Most quotes are valid for 5-7 days only, due to changes in demand and gas pricing. 
  • Shipment dates are not a guarantee – make sure you have enough coffee on hand!  
  • Expect delays, especially around holidays and extreme weather events.  
  • Once the carrier has picked up your coffee, you’ll receive a tracking number by the end of the business day. 
  • Tracking numbers for Crown Jewels and Royal Gems are usually available by the next business day; you will receive an email with your FedEx or UPS tracking number.  
  • The BOL is a document that indicates the transfer of ownership of the coffee to you is complete. 
  • Look for the BOL with signature!  

When You Receive Coffee 

  • Make sure that the coffee delivered includes everything you ordered  
  • Look for bag marks to double check. Our warehouse will mark your bags with their reference numbers. Otherwise, most bags should be marked with their ICO
  • Registration marks e.g. 018/08/XXXX/XX 
  • Don’t sign the Delivery Receipt (DR) until you check! 
  • It can be a pain to unload a pallet and double check, but this is an important part of the process of receiving coffee. 
  • Claims can take 6-8 weeks to be settled. Make sure you have enough coffee to cover claims settlement time if you file one. 

royal coffee warehouse green coffee bag unloading

Are same day shipments feasible? 

  • Generally, no. Warehouses are massive, and there are a lot of moving parts. Especially if you have multiple coffees on your order – for instance five different coffees to build a pallet. 
  • There are five different warehouses, each with their own processes. 
  • Keep in mind there are several departments involved in processing your order accurately and as fast as possible.  
  • Some smaller warehouses don’t have as much inventory and are able to do same day shipping  
  • You can always order a will call, which means you will pick the coffee up from our warehouse. This is a free service.