Catalyst Buyer Groups

The Future of Coffee Buying

With coffee pricing continuing to rise and the economy increasing in volatility, many small & specialized importers are being forced out of the business or consolidated into the larger industry landscape. This leaves specialty coffee buyers in small to medium size range stuck without the innovative, origin-connected sourcing partners that will support their needs. 

Introducing: Catalyst Buyer Groups

For roasters who are serious about sourcing high-quality coffee from ethical partners but not able to source FCL (full container load) volumes, we are proud to announce a new model: Catalyst Buyer Groups!

Qualified buyers join small groups of roasters with similar profiles, including size and coffee needs, geographical area, and preference. Each group is handpicked by the Catalyst team, and lovingly supported through the annual process of forecasting, choosing, and purchasing their beautiful coffees from Ethiopia and Peru. These groups will be paired with an importer partner who will purchase the coffees FOB-basis from Catalyst Trade and sell FOT to roasters on their preferred terms.

Not only are there significant cost savings for roasters through this method due to improving efficiency with logistics and finance, but roasters get more origin access and peer support. 

roasters cupping together

Shout out to buyers from Publik Coffee, Blanchard's Coffee, and Feast Coffee in our PDX lab!

How to Join a Catalyst Buyer Group

This approach doesn't work for everyone, but for the right roaster it's perfect. To join a Catalyst Buyer Group, just fill out this application, and we will be in touch. 

Once you pass the vetting process, you'll be paired with a group of other coffee roasters, each of whom will have happily consented to you joining them. At this stage, you're among friends who feel your pain and share your goals. Remarkable, long-term partnerships take time and care to develop, and we are here to support that.

The Annual Purchase Cycle

Each Catalyst Buyer Group will go through a clearly-communicated annual purchase cycle. For 2023 and 2024, the program is in Beta Mode, and your feedback will be critical to its long-term success. There are certain key markers for the year, for each origin (Ethiopia and Peru). The 3 critical communication/decision points for roasters are:

  1. Forecasting
  2. Contracting 
  3. Sampling

The Catalyst Buyer Group Experience

Each Buyer Group is carefully chosen, and ideally will have a group coordinator who makes sure that the group moves ahead on the above action points on time and in sync. 

Ultimately, the vision for the Group experience is that it transcends just transactions, becoming a true peer mentorship group where coffee business owners can support each other without direct competition; put their collective weight behind chosen producers; make buying decisions together; and travel to origin together. 

Origin Trips

Thoughtful origin trips are part of the Catalyst Buyer Group Experience, for those who want to participate. At Catalyst we don't travel luxe, and we compensate coffee farmers for hosting our buyers. Origin trips are for people we like and want to spend time with, who we know will represent specialty coffee buyers well to coffee producers. 

On an annual basis, we will make a limited number of "seats" available for origin trips, doing our best to support Buyer Groups to travel together when they want to. The trips will be full of joy, real-life exposure to Ethiopian and Peruvian culture, and a bone-deep knowing that you belong. 


I don’t need a Buying Group because I buy FCL coffee - how can I work with you?

Sounds like you're a perfect fit for our FCL Purchase Program! Hit us up at so we can get started putting together your container strategy!

I don’t want to join a Buying Group but I still want your coffee - how can I do that?

If you have the capacity to buy a minimum of 50 bags of a single coffee type, we can coordinate to add you to one of our anonymous groups without you joining a Catalyst Buying Group.

Otherwise, right now, the only way to buy full-sized (60- or 69-kilo) bags from Catalyst Trade is through our Buying Group Program or our FCL Purchase Program, but you can buy 50-pound bags of our beautiful coffees through our Small Bag Program. Super easy, check out with a credit card, and we'll mail it to you! (This works best for North American buyers, sorry friends!)

Can I create my own Catalyst Buying Group with my friends?

Yes, we'd love that. Ideally your volumes together make up around a FCL (Full Container Load), or approximately 300 bags for Ethiopia / 275 for Peru. Reach out to us at so we can discuss the details.

How do I join a Catalyst Buying Group?

Apply here! 

Can I join an anonymous buying group?

If we have enough demand, we can work with an importer partner to put together a container where the roasters don't have visibility on each other, and we are happy to do this for you. Reach out to us at so we can discuss the details.

How can I go to origin with y’all?

First, you need to be part of a Buyer Group. Second, let us know! Third, sign up for a slot when we announce one of our thoughtful origin trips. Fourth, join us in the cloud forests where coffee grows. Bring a wide-open heart and a thirsty palate. We can't wait to host you!

peruvian coffee farm with view of mountains