Brunner co-founded Algrano in Brazil early in 2015 and started developing a platform to support a direct trade model, making them one of the early pioneers in the market. Almost 5 years on they have established themselves as a leading business for direct trade in Europe.
They now work with over 527 European roasters, 563 Producers and 74 Cooperatives, and their focus in purely in Europe, which according to trade statistics, is the largest market in the world, accounting for 33% of global consumption in 2018, according to the CBI, part of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.
The growers on their platform are a mix of established growers with many years of experience, an export license and good understanding of shipping and logistics, to the smaller growers who need t a lot of assistance in getting a foothold in the export market.
Algrano, is able to offer a support network to those small growers, promoting some who would otherwise unlikely ever get their beans to the export market.
Having this knowledge of how much a roaster pays for coffee in his market (sic) helps the grower to understand where to price his coffee.
Gilles Brunner, Algrano
The minimum order varies between the growers, but it might be as little as 60kg, making it very easy for even a small roaster to get started with the platform, Brunner explains.
The platform itself is simple and elegant in design. Using it felt robust and immediately instilled confidence.
If I sound enthusiastic about Algrano, it’s because I genuinely feel that way. Brunner comes across sincerely, as you’ll hear in the interview. He knows his business, and with his partners, they’ve built a web application that is a joy to use.
I’ve spent considerable time going through the profiles of their different growers and kept discovering new features of the site which I appreciated.
A valuable feature is an ability for Algrano to give you a fixed and complete price to your roastery. It’s a fully automated and built-in function, so you can see your total investment before placing an order, and without having to talk to someone. I loved it.
They have recently added the ability to calculate the road transport costs as well. This obviously comes in the second stage, when you have ordered the coffee and know when it is arriving, as transport prices here fluctuate wildly. This is no small task, and no doubt represents a lot of work that must have happened.
Brunner went further in the interview by saying
This is the core of Algrano, (sic) this price calculation is complex to be able to tell to any roaster wherever he’s based in Europe how much they will pay for the coffee no matter if it’s one bag, ten bags, etc.
Gilles Brunner, Algrano
Brunner describes the important process of quality checking and verification in detail during the interview. Everyone I know who has done Direct Trade in either coffee or cocoa beans has at some point received a shipment that does not match the quality of the samples. Paul Picton from Maverick Chocolate describes his first experience of this in our interview with him.
Brunner describes in detail how they check the samples at every point before the roaster receives them, effectively removing one of the most pernicious problems in the Direct Trade model.
Listen to the full interview on the Interviews page underneath the Podcast menu.