Frequently Asked Questions
What is the NCA?
The National Coffee Association is a non-profit trade association that represents and serves the interests of compaines, both domestic and foreign, that operate in the U.S. coffee industry.
Where is the NCA headquartered?
The National Coffee Association headquarters are in New York City, USA
45 Broadway Suite 1140
New York, NY 10006
What does the NCA do for its members?
NCA's value to it's members can best be summarized by its Core Purpose and Mission:
NCA's core purpose is To champion the well-being of the U.S. coffee industry within the context of the world coffee community.
NCA's mission is To be the foremost trade association representing the entire coffee industry in the United States. We are committed to the growth and well being of the industry through our roles as:
- A proactive advocate for the industry, acting as the industry’s recognized spokesperson and voice for promoting consumption
- An educator for our members and consumers who leads the industry in facilitating research, and gathering and disseminating relevant research data
- A forum for interaction that addresses key issues confronting the domestic and international industry
Who are NCA's members?
NCA's membership consists of both domestic and foreign companies that conduct business in the coffee industry in the United States. A current listing of NCA members can be found on the NCA website by clicking here.
How can I join the NCA?
To learn more about member benefits and how to join visit the Become a Member area of our website by clicking here.
Where is the next NCA Annual Convention?
The next NCA annual convention will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana from March 20-22, 2014. For more info visit the convention homepage by clicking here.
Does the NCA have any publications?
The NCA publishes the Coffee Reporter Newsletter containing the latest news from NCA and the industry. The Coffee Reporter is included with an NCA member ship or a subscription can be purchased from the NCA website by clicking here.
The NCA also publishes the annual National Coffee Drinking Trends study as well as supplemental reports. The NCDT is the longest running continous trend analysis of coffee consumption in the U.S. More info about the NCDT and our other market reserach publications can be found on our website by clicking here.
What government agencies impact the coffee industry?
Multiple U.S. government agencies touch the coffee industry including:
- The Food and Drug Administration
- The United States Department of Agriculture
- Homeland Security
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Department of Defense
Where can I find the latest news from the FDA?
General information from the FDA can be found on the FDA homepage.
The latest news and events from the FDA can be found at the FDA Newsroom.
Where can I find the latest news from the USDA?
General information about the USDA can be found on the USDA homepage.
The latest news from USDA can be found at the USDA Newsroom.
Which U.S. government agency has jursidiction over imported coffee products?
The Food and Drug Administration monitors all coffee products sold in the U.S. and inspects them to ensure no potentially harmful ingredients are present. The FDA examines all coffee brought into the country. A minimum of six bags is investigated per 100 lots as part of an import field examination. This physical inspection of the beans allows inspectors to determine if any insects, excrement or other potentially harmful materials are present.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection works with FDA to monitor food imports (including coffee) into the U.S.
What government programs or laws have significant impact on the coffee industry?
Programs and laws that currently impact the coffee industry include:
- The Food Safety Modernization Act
- The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (The Bioterrorism Act)
How does the Food Safety Modernization Act impact importers of coffee and coffee products to the U.S.?
FSMA directly impacts importers in these important areas:
New controls over imported food
New requirement that importers verify the safety of imported goods entering the U.S.
New powers for the FDA
New fees on importers
For more in-depth information regarding FSMA refer to the slide deck from NCA's FSMA webinar by clicking here.
Information for importers is also available on the FSMA website by clicking here.
The complete FSMA FAQ is available by clicking here.
How does the Bioterrorism Act impact the coffee industry?
The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (Bioterrorism Act) directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as the food regulatory agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, to take additional steps to protect the public from a threatened or actual terrorist attack on the U.S. food supply and other food-related emergencies. To carry out certain provisions of the Bioterrorism Act, FDA has established new regulations requiring that:
1. Food facilities are registered with FDA
2. FDA be given advance notice on shipments of imported food, better know as Prior Notice
Prior Notice requires that importers provide FDA with advance notice before food is imported or offered for import into the United States. Advance notice of import shipments allows FDA, with the support of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to target import inspections more effectively and help protect that nation’s food supply against terrorist acts and other public health emergencies. More information about Prior Notice can be found on the FDA website by clicking here.
Who do I contact if my coffee shipment is held up when entering the U.S.?
If you recieve a notice from FDA or CBP that your shipment has been held up at the port you can contact the FDA Prior Notice Center. The center answers questions about Prior Notice policies, procedures and interpretations The center is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The toll free number to reach the Prior Notice Center is 1-866-521-2297.
How much do Americans spend annually on coffee?
Americans spend in excess of $40 billion a year on coffee. Source: Food Industry® News June 2013
How much coffee is consumed globally per day?
The world consumes close to 1.6 billion cups of coffee per day. Source: Food Industry® News June 2013
What is the legal limit for the presence of methylene chloride in decaffeinated roasted coffee or in decaffeinated soluble coffee extract (instant coffee)?
The level cannot exceed 10 parts per million (ppm). Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration
From which country does the U.S. import the most coffee?
Mexico is the largest source of U.S. coffee imports. Source: National Geographic Society 2010
Coffee Exporter Inquiries
What are the IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) standards for lots of Coffee “C”?
Coffee "C" shall consist of one (1) growth, in sound condition, free from all unwashed and aged flavors in the cup, of good roasting quality, and of bean size and color in accordance with criteria established by the Exchange. No delivery shall be permitted of coffee containing more than fifteen (15) full imperfections below the basis for the respective growth, except that in the case of Colombian coffee no delivery shall be permitted of coffee containing more than ten (10) full imperfections below the basis for the respective growth. Imperfections shall be established on the basis of a grading schedule established by the Exchange.
Additional information on quality parameters can be found in the ICE FUTURES COFFEE RULES PDF
Can the NCA recommend any logistics companies?
As a trade organization, the NCA cannot recommend any companies, but a valuable resource would be the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Port Directory.
What is the quarantine time at a US port?
The quarantine time varies depending on the outcomes that occur during each inspection phase. Time can vary between a couple days to a couple weeks.
What are the costs from port to distribution warehouse (including fee, storage costs, handling fees, etc.)?
These costs are contingent upon the contract negotiation with a shipping/logistic company.
Can the NCA recommend a storage bag to use when shipping?
Each company has their own recommendations on certain bags when shipping. The purchaser will have to be contacted directly for their recommendation.
Where can I find the International Trade Centre’s “The Coffee Exporter’s Guide?”
The guide can be found on the International Trade Centre website.
Coffee Importer Inquiries
Do I have to register my facility with the FDA?
If you are the owner, operator, or agent in charge of either a domestic or foreign facility that is engaged in manufacturing/processing, packing, or holding of food for human or animal consumption in the U.S., you must register with FDA. Learn more at the FDA's website about Registration of Food Facilities .
How do I import coffee into the U.S.?
When importing coffee into the U.S., three government agencies are involved: US Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Use these three websites for further information on their requirements and processes.
Resources when importing coffee into the U.S.:
-US Customs & Border Protection's "Importing into the United States: A Guide for Commercial Importers"
-US Customs & Border Protection's "Importing Coffee for Commerical Use"
-US Customs & Border Protection's "Informed Compliance Publication for Coffee"
-US Customs & Border Protection's "Importer Security Filing '10+2'"
-US International Trade Commission's "Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the US"
-International Coffee Organization's "Certificate of Origin"
-US Department of Agriculture's "Application for Permit to Import Plants or Plant Products"
-Food and Drug Administration's "Prior Notice of Imported Foods"
-Food and Drug Administration's "Food Facility Registration"
Coffee Extract/Coffee Concentrate
What is coffee extract?
Liquid Substance made by extracting part of the roasted coffee beans, often by using a solvent such as ethanol or water. Coffee extracts have a super-strong flavor and are used as an ingredient in food manufacturing or production. Essential oils are extracted from roasted coffee beans using expression, absorption, maceration, or distillation.
Is there an industry standard for coffee extract and coffee concentrate?
No. Each manufacturer may use a proprietary manufacturing process, using their own specification of coffee, blended to their particular recipe.
Is coffee concentrate the same as coffee extract?
A concentrate is brewed coffee which has had a substantial amount of water removed. This item can be used as an ingredient, but is mostly used by re-hydrated to produce a coffee beverage. One of the benefits of making a coffee concentrate is to lower the weight for transportation or to reduce the storage area required.
Would you consider coffee solids to be the same as ‘instant coffee’?
Coffee solids are the part of the ground roasted coffee that are dissolved during brewing and create the taste and aroma in the beverage. Based on Golden Cup standards developed by EE Lockhart at MIT in the 1950’s 18%-22% of the coffee should be dissolved during brewing making coffee solids 1.15% to 1.35% of the beverage.
Can I assume coffee solids are manufactured in the same/similar way as instant coffee?
Instant coffee is also called soluble coffee. This is coffee that has been roasted, brewed, dehydrated and turned into powder, using freeze-drying or spray-drying. This powder can be re-hydrated back into a coffee beverage using hot water.
Is there an industry standard for ‘brewed coffee’?
Brewed coffee is traditionally filter drip brewed using gravity not pressure. Typically, the beverage is 100% coffee, however like other food & beverage recipes, sometimes flavors or spices are added to modify the flavor. The Golden Cup Standard was originally developed by the Coffee Brewing Institute by Professor EE Lockhart of MIT in the 1950’s. This ratio states that by controlling the coffee to water ratio, including the coffee grind particle size, and water temperature and quality, an 18%-22% extraction rate of coffee solids can be achieved during brewing, yielding 1.15% to 1.35% coffee solids in the brewed beverage. This standard is still used today by the SCAA.
Would the assumption be that brewing is more than just heating coffee/water since it entails a coffee extraction step?
Yes, the 5 key elements for coffee quality are:
- -Fresh, high quality coffee beans
- -Ground appropriately to the particular brewing method and brewed immediately after grinding
- -Neutral water at the correct temperature, TDS and pH
- -Correct coffee to water ratio to produce a flavorful cup of coffee that is aromatic and sweet
- -Served and consumed immediately without allowing it to hold on the burner or be reheated.