How greensquare is a digitalised solution for roasting businesses


BeanScene speaks with greensquare Co-Founder Caleb Holstein about how the green bean buying platform is a streamlined digitalised solution to elevate roasting businesses.

When greensquare Co-Founders Caleb Holstein, Chris Meier, Marius Naumann and Jan-Hendrik Thieme first suggested creating a platform to source, sample and manage green coffee all in one place, no one thought it would work in a “highly fragmented industry”.

Undeterred by pushback from traders and roasters, the team set out to make a pipe dream a reality.

Scheduled to go live in mid-November, greensquare is a digital foundation for roasters and coffee traders to source, manage and track every stage of the green coffee procurement process.

“Greensquare is a green coffee trading platform that assists roasters in managing their green bean procurement, everything from sourcing and sampling to managing the drawdown of products,” says Caleb.

“The platform allows coffee traders to list coffees that are available for both spot and forward contracts, while roasters can connect with traders with ease and browse all coffees specific to their needs.”

Roasters can shortlist products for future review or request samples or quotes before accepting and digitally signing contracts to order and track drawdowns, all within the greensquare platform.

“We provide roasters with the visibility and notifications for them to have a richer understanding of a coffee in a pre-purchase state along with insight into the status, health of their contracts, and coffee costings,” Caleb says.

In 2021, Caleb and the greensquare Co-Founders conducted a survey with more than 60 Australian roasters. They found that on average, roasters are dealing with anywhere between six to eight different coffee traders, in multiple different formats.

Instead, to streamline the process and connect with all traders in the one place, greensquare invites roasters to undertake a simple online registration process. Once logged on, they can see all the traders on the platform and listed products. To access specific information of each product, such as green coffee pricing and volume, roasters must connect with the trader on greensquare.

According to Caleb, greensquare reduces the resources needed to buy green coffee and allows roaster to make purchases in their own timeframe.

“Roasters have very busy schedules, whether it’s a big scale roaster who can’t communicate across the whole supply chain, or an individual small business who is buying coffee in their spare time or after hours. By streamlining the communication between roaster and trader, we’re freeing up a roaster’s time to focus on their café,” Caleb says.

“We also provide insights about consumption, so roasters are aware of how much coffee they purchased the year before and can adjust the amount accordingly. This gives roasters visibility around their positions, which is going to enhance their autonomy when purchasing green coffee.”

Once purchased, roasters have access to key details about the coffee, whether it’s a special limited release or part of a project the trader is working on within the community. Roasters can use that information to help sell the product.

From owning cafés to roasting and consulting for industry veterans, Caleb has been involved in many aspects of the coffee industry. A common issue he would encounter was the lack of traceability and transparency in the supply chain.

“Through a process of working with the co-founders and our development team, we realised how digitisation could assist farmers and roasters. We see greensquare as the first step in many to create a sustainable and transparent future where we can see and use data and information to enhance not only our purchasing decisions, but also to pass that information back down the supply chain for traders to enhance their producing opportunities and access new markets,” Caleb says.

To create a platform that truly enhances the green sourcing process, Caleb knew they would need to partner with equally forward-thinking and progressive companies.

“We selected and approached three trading partners known for their progressive mindset and outstanding work to take part in our early stages Cornerstone Traders Program: Sucafina Australia, InterAmerican Coffee, and Project Origin, and have been working closely with them to develop greensquare,” he says.

Greensquare also founded a Strategy Advisory Board (SAB) in mid-2021, with the goal to form a network of highly qualified and experienced coffee professionals to work alongside and be in constant communication with about greensquare’s features and logistics.

One such professional is Saxon Wright, Founder of Pablo & Rusty’s Coffee Roasters and Co-Founder of Huskee. Saxon has worked in the coffee industry for more than 20 years and has assisted greensquare with product validation, strategy, and connections to the broader industry.

“Roasters have only in the last few years seen new technology really come into the picture that is specific to the industry and this part of their operations. This software really streamlines a major part of the equation for running a roasting operation. It will reduce labour, errors, handling, as well as improve visibility, planning, reporting and [provide] incredible insights into one of the biggest cost centres for the business,” Saxon says.

Renowned coffee roaster and educator Anne Cooper of Equilibrium Master Roasters is another member of the SAB and has provided greensquare with insights from roasters of all different scales.

Anne says she recogised that greensquare is and will be a valuable tool for roasters and traders to use in their business.

“Greensquare allows roasters to be more consistent and connected to their green bean purchases in all aspects of their business, from sample selection through to purchasing and their ongoing relationship with the trader,” she says.

“With more sustainable purchasing practices in place it will also better serve producers. They can then better support roasters with the coffees they want, and then everyone gets to stay in business from crop to cup.”

At the time of print, almost 100 roasters had pre-registered to access the greensquare platform.

Greensquare is actively seeking expressions of interest from roasters and coffee traders looking to take part in its initial beta launch.

“We strongly encourage anyone interested to reach out, as we will be providing participants with early access to the platform along with exclusive benefits and features moving forward,” says Caleb.

“We are currently running a promotion campaign for the duration of our Beta program, that any roaster who registers for the platform goes in the running to win $10,000 to spend on the platform.”

Caleb says the most rewarding part of starting the business has been seeing the number of roasters and traders who have come onboard to support the project and are willing to take part in a more traceable & transparent industry.

“Once we have established a digital foundation for the procurement and management of green coffee we see vast opportunities for digital advancement and integrations,” he says.

“We look forward to greensquare playing a role in improving visibility, trust and value for all stakeholders along the coffee supply chain.”

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This article appears in the October 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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