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A couple of years ago, when Bill and I first moved back to Germany, I blogged about Germany’s dreaded Kaffeesteuer (coffee tax).  Roasted coffee beans imported to Germany is subject to a tax, which is why we get those handy ration cards for use at the PX and commissary.

I’ll be honest.  When Bill and I lived in Germany the first time, we used to get coffee sent to us through the APO.  It’s illegal to get coffee that way, but everyone did it.  Besides, even though we had ration cards that included coffee, I don’t remember ever actually hearing about the rule against having coffee mailed through APO.  I honestly think I was ignorant during those years.  We had no Facebook groups back then.  In any case, we were never busted, even though the post office officials could easily smell the beans.

I’ve heard that people still get coffee through the APO, despite reports that customs was cracking down on coffee smuggling.  I decided not to risk ordering coffee through APO because I didn’t want to get in trouble.  For the past couple of years, Bill and I have been getting by on the coffee we’ve been able to find here in Germany.  I really don’t like a lot of the local stuff.  I’m not wild about Starbucks, either.  I drink it only because that’s what’s closest to what I like.  I happen to be a diehard Peet’s fan, despite other people’s efforts to convert me to other brands.

Interestingly enough, Peet’s used to supply Starbucks with coffee beans when Starbucks was in its infancy.  Now, Starbucks is way more popular than Peet’s is.  I remain partial to Peet’s coffee. In our two years here, I’ve really missed having it readily available.  When we were in the States, I would order it directly from the company and it would arrive freshly roasted and smelling heavenly.  I even had a subscription.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally decided I wanted my Peet’s, dammit!  They had a special reserve roasting from Kenya that I wanted to order.  Since I was going to the trouble of ordering coffee from the States and figured there would be a hassle in getting it, along with a hefty duty to pay, I decided to order six pounds.  I actually placed the order a few days before it was sent to me because the items I wanted were roasted after I ordered them.  Postage for this order was $40.  I got an $8 discount on shipping because I ordered more than $100 worth of product.

Today is August 19, 2016.  It took my parcel nine days to get to me from California to Germany.  The actual trip to Germany didn’t take that long.  My coffee left the USA on August 12th and landed in Frankfurt the next day.  From there, another six days passed as my coffee was sent down here to Stuttgart and processed through customs.  I’ve been watching the package’s progress for days, wondering what would happen when it finally got to me.

Would it come to my doorstep?  Would we have to pick it up in a customs office or at the post office?  I was also a little worried because we’re going out of town this weekend.  I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the delivery if it was actually brought to the door…  


A couple of years ago, I ordered a sweater that came to me through German mail.  I ended up having to pay about 20 euros to customs.  I wasn’t prepared when the courier came to my door, so I had to call DHL and arrange for another delivery.  It was kind of nervewracking.  This time, I was determined to be prepared.  I’ve had cash for the anticipated duties sitting in my kitchen all week, even though we had no idea how much they would be.

Bill originally thought it would cost about 9 euros.  I figured it would be a lot more than that.  Turns out, I was right.  The coffee arrived today.  I spotted the mail guy carrying a big box and figured it was for me.  Once again, I was right.  I opened the door and he pointed to the green tag on the box.  That was the price of the duty.  This coffee smells heavenly, but goodness, it wasn’t cheap to get it here…

On that slip of paper is how much I had to pay to take possession of my package…


I definitely think it’s time for a cup of coffee, though.  And now that I know the process, I’d do it again.  Good thing I don’t have any kids in college!

2 comments on “The high price of importing coffee to Germany…

  1. BG Farm says:

    ummmm Pete's. It's the best. I used to order it while deployed and underway. the package took FOREVER to get to me. I savored every cup and never shared.

  2. knotty says:

    I used to send it to Bill when he was deployed. He got a bunch of his friends hooked on it.

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