Will's Blog

Your Guide to Choosing the Right Australian Wholesale Coffee Supplier

on Apr 08, 2024

Whether you’re opening a new cafe or have been in the hospo business for a while and are looking for what’s next, choosing the right wholesale coffee supplier is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. 

Coffee is a critical part of many businesses – not only because of the revenue it brings in, but because of the reputation and community it can help build. Just think about how many times you’ve heard someone say, “yeah, they’ve got great coffee!”. 

In Australia, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to coffee. So how do you go about differentiating the ‘right’ wholesale coffee suppliers from the rest? High-quality coffee beans, a competitive price and top-of-the-line equipment are just three pieces of the puzzle – but from our experience, it’s about so much more than that.  

At Will & Co, we believe the ‘right’ roasters are those whose offerings go beyond beans and machines, and who truly care about the businesses they partner with – partnership being the key word.

In this guide, we’ll walk through why choosing the right wholesale coffee supplier matters and five important factors to consider. 

Why Choosing the Right Coffee Supplier Matters 

It’s important to find a roaster whose offering aligns with your unique business goals, from price and quality to marketing and business development. Anyone can supply beans and equipment, but only the ‘right’ wholesale coffee supplier will support the success of your business and coffee community in a way that matters to you. 

Your choice in coffee supplier dictates the quality and consistency of your coffee, the equipment you use, the training and service support your business has access to, and your customers’ satisfaction. 

All that to say, the relationship with your wholesale coffee supplier can make or break your business. That’s why we ultimately believe the biggest reason why choosing the right coffee supplier matters comes down to mutual trust and respect – the basis for any relationship. 

5 Critical Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Coffee Supplier 

From quality and price to equipment and support, there are several factors to consider when choosing the right coffee supplier for your business. Let's break it down:  

1. Coffee Quality 

The foundation of any successful café is high-quality coffee – not even the best barista in town will be able to make a good coffee with poor-quality beans. More and more, customers are after ‘specialty’ coffee, which describes coffee made from the most premium coffee beans grown in ideal conditions and with tender loving care. 

A ‘specialty-grade’ rating refers to coffee that scores 80 or more on a 100-point scale, although some coffee suppliers – including Will & Co – raise the bar higher and use beans with a score of 85 and above. Note only Arabica beans can be labelled as specialty, which are known for their high-quality and sweeter, smoother, more complex flavour profile.

And don’t underestimate the importance of consistency. If your coffee is always excellent, customers will return – and spread the word to mates. 

2. Price

As you gear up to discuss price, make sure you come prepared with three things – your rough budget, anticipated kilos of coffee per week and an open mind. 

When it comes to choosing the right wholesale coffee supplier, price is about so much more than dollars per kilo of beans. Consider their broader value proposition: Do they offer equipment, support, training, marketing or additional market plays? Are there any hidden costs or fees? Do they charge extra for shipping, machine rental or servicing? 

We also recommend having an open mind to agreements. Often, they are a great way for wholesale suppliers to offer a better price and be motivated to support your business in the longer-term. Contracts can also include things like stretch goals, meaning the price goes down as your volume goes up. At Will & Co, we believe in tailoring partnerships to suit your budget and business goals to benefit both parties – the best wholesale coffee suppliers should do the same.

3. Equipment 

If you don’t own your own equipment, consider what the supplier’s lineup includes and whether you can test out equipment in advance. The right wholesale coffee supplier for your business will offer what you need, whether that’s basics like espresso machines and grinders or specialty gear such as Toddy Cold Brew Systems, Moccamasters, or EK Grinders if you offer a single origin program. 

Not only does the equipment need to work – it should look good, too. If the vibe of your space is important, enquire about customisation options. From co-branded panels to going all out with custom group heads and handles, see the following link for Will & Co's wholesale coffee offering.

4. Support and Training 

Alongside quality beans, training is the backbone of any successful coffee business – that’s why it’s important to select a coffee wholesale supplier who cares about your business beyond selling you beans.

Find out about the training programs offered – from equipment and recipe overviews to troubleshooting and advanced latte art classes. Will & Co provides extensive training for your team to ensure your baristas are ready to roll and feel confident working with our blends from day one. If a new team member starts or you need a refresher, you can bet we’ll be there. 

Also consider whether service support is part of the package. As much as we hate to say it, equipment sometimes plays funny buggers, regardless of who you partner with and what equipment they offer. In those stressful moments, service support is a lifesaver.

5. Local Reverence 

Your coffee offering should align with what your community needs and expects. Using the highest quality coffee that comes with a high price tag may not be the most appropriate option if your customers are price conscious. Similarly, going with the cheapest coffee option may not be the right choice if your local community values – and is willing to pay for – quality. 

Ask yourself these things: Does the brand/coffee stand out in your area? Outside of the product, are other things important to your business and local community, for example the roaster’s charity involvement? The right coffee wholesaler for your business will tick these boxes. 

What Questions Should you Ask a Potential Coffee Wholesaler? 

As part of your due diligence, don’t be afraid to ask these questions before making your decision:  

Product Quality & Consistency 

  1. What regions do you source your coffee beans from? 
  2. How do you ensure the consistency of your coffee beans from batch to batch? 
  3. How often do you roast and how do you ensure freshness from roast to delivery? 

Equipment and Extras 

  1. Do you lease or sell coffee equipment? If so, what types and brands?
  2. Do you offer equipment for alternative brewing?
  3. Are there opportunities to customise the equipment?
  4. Besides coffee, do you supply other products like teas, syrups, and merchandise? 

Pricing and Agreements 

  1. What is your pricing structure and overall value proposition? 
  2. Do you charge for processing and delivery?  
  3. Do you require a minimum order quantity? 
  4. What is your agreement structure? If you run on longer-term contracts, what are the terms? 

Support and Training 

  1. Do you offer training for baristas – if so, what types? 
  2. What kind of service support do you provide if there are issues or questions? 

Branding and Marketing

  1. What promotional signage do you have on offer? 
  2. Do you offer any marketing support?
  3. Are there opportunities to collaborate on events or promotions? 


  1. How important is product innovation to your business? 
  2. How do you stay up to date with the latest trends and innovations in the coffee industry?

To give you even more context around why these questions are so important, we’ve written a blog post covering them in more depth and some common mistakes to avoid during the decision making process.

It's All Comes Down to One Thing

Regardless of what stage you’re at in your hospo journey, it’s clear that choosing the right wholesale coffee supplier is a key decision. Coffee quality, price, equipment, support and training, local relevance – these are all vital considerations when selecting the right roaster for you.

While technicalities are important, we believe it all comes down to one thing: a solid partnership. The best wholesale coffee suppliers will care about the success of your business and be in it for the long-haul, supporting you along the way. It’s not a one-way street; their success depends on yours, and vice versa. 

“Ultimately, it’s about being open and honest about your needs, ensuring all your questions are answered, and determining whether it’s a good fit for both parties,” says Josh Passaro, Head of Will & Co. “A good partner won’t judge you for asking questions and being thorough. In fact, they’ll welcome it.” 

At Will & Co, we don’t just supply coffee – we build partnerships. We’re a small, dynamic team with full back-end support which gives us the ability to support our partners a whole lot more; we take pride in going above and beyond for the cafes we work with to help them deliver on their goals. 

No matter the shape or size of your business, if we partner together, we’ll become mates for the long haul. Don’t be a stranger – let’s chat.