I am a professional in the coffee industry who has left the routine 9 to 5 so I can utilize my experience working for myself.
How Do You Get Started in the Roasting Business?
This article will explain the basics of starting a small coffee roasting business. This is how I started. I don't own a company, and I'm more of a contractor, but I make enough to get by.
The easiest way to start is to break the business down into two core areas:
- Coffee supply
These two areas will be the focus of your initial planning. After you have decided what type of coffee roasting business you want, the steps you will need to take to fulfill your coffee supply and customer needs will be apparent.
Be Cautious and Realistic
When starting out, you may just be happy with earning a bit on the side, or perhaps enough to quit your day job. Either way, you want it to be an operation that is worth your time. Things went well for me when I started. I had had enough of my 9 to 5 job. I quit, but not until after I had done the ground work to start a new business.
Be cautious when starting out and realistic about your business requirements. The idea may seem sound, but you can quickly find that there are many expenses you hadn't planned for. The more research you do, the more hurdles you will discover—but this is a good thing! As you discover what you will need, it will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Questions to Ask Yourself About Sourcing and Supply
Remember, keep your vision simple. Start with how you want to source your coffee supply (do you want a contract roaster at the start, or do you want to roast your own coffee?). Remember to factor in elements such as the green bean variables; you lose 20% of the initial coffee weight because of the moisture content in the green beans. Every 1.2 kgs of green beans you roast will result in 1kg of roasted coffee. Most green beans come in 60kg sacks. How many origins will you want in your blend? How many sacks of coffee will you need to buy?
After you decide what type of coffee supply you want to sell, then think about your customer base. There are many questions to ask here, so don't rush. Take your time. Go out to a cafe and watch how the operations work. Will you sell your coffee to a cafe, or online? To friends and family? Your target market should eventually be cafes. Remember exactly what you are selling and to whom you are selling it to.
Contract Roaster vs. Roasting Your Own
This decision depends upon your budget, but more importantly what you are actually selling.
My first (and lame) attempt to enter the coffee distribution market was half-hearted, and I was sure I would fail. After working on the numbers, it was clear to me that it would save a lot more time and energy if I uses a contract roaster.
What Is a Contract Roaster?
For those who aren't familiar with this term, a contract roaster will roast in a wholesale capacity for your business. They provide coffee for you to sell with your brand or logo. Using this method you can go around to cafes with a nice website and business cards to introduce your coffee. My first visit to a contract roaster was exciting. I got to see the roaster and the machinery and find out how it all works. The price was really good: 1kg of roasted coffee in my choice of packaging started at $8. The top quality stuff was around $15 per kg.
I wasn't totally happy with the blends I tasted because I was looking for the cheapest price. My original plan was to undercut all of the big roasting companies and charge around $18 per kg, which is quite cheap where I live in Sydney. The price was good, but there was too much robusta in the blend which left an unpleasant aftertaste. Taste is a big factor in coffee so I decided I would try another contract roaster. I was happy with the second factory I visited and took a few samples to cafes.
Pros and Cons of Using a Contract Roaster
- Money. Money is the big pro here. You save big because you don't have to outlay capital/rent for the equipment. You have no overhead.
- Time. You save time roasting the coffee, which entails choosing the green beans, roasting and packaging the coffee. You have more time to speak to customers and pick up business.
- Space. You don't need a warehouse or commercial rent to operate. You can just have the coffee delivered to your house or pick it up from the factory and deliver it to your customers.
- There are a bunch of negatives, but the they all boil down to attraction marketing. The coffee industry is fiercely competitive, and you can lose a customer/cafe in a heartbeat. There is little security and if you are just selling coffee, that may not be enough. You need an edge. That edge could be inviting people to sample your coffee and show them the roasting equipment. You can explain how your equipment and technique affect the taste of the coffee. Gone are the days of just selling coffee. You need to offer more. The big roasting companies offer coffee machines and grinders, free machinery servicing, 24-hour service, umbrellas and wind barriers, and more support for their customer cafes.
- If you use a contract roaster then you are limited in your growth potential. Yes, you can supply tonnes of coffee if you find the customers, but who wants to use coffee in their cafe that doesn't have a story or isn't popular? The cafe owners want coffee that will attract people. You want people to love your brand. That's when you will get customers. Coffee is more than just a product. It's a story and it starts from the green bean origins.
- From my point of view, using a contract roaster means you will need to have perseverance. Without a story of how you became a coffee roaster, you will need to visit cafes and talk around the subject of who actually roasts your coffee. While using a contract roaster will save you money, but it will be harder to sell to cafes and selling to cafes,carts,bakeries, and restaurants is how you grow your brand and business.
My First Roast on the 1kg Electric Coffee Roaster
Coffee Roaster Equipment: What Should I Buy?
The the biggest question for anyone starting out on their coffee roasting journey is "What coffee roaster should I buy?" The answer depends on a number of factors, but these are the big ones:
How Much Coffee Do I Intend to Roast?
This sounds like a silly question, but it is very important. Everyone intends to roast as much as possible, but the reality is that the majority of people who purchase a coffee roaster won't use it in a commercial setting and won't need the capacity these machines offer. If you are currently working your 9 to 5 day job and want to start a roasting business on the side, think about this seriously: If it doesn't work, what size roaster would I be happy with at home? If you are looking to start your coffee roasting business because you enjoy coffee, then the question above is still important.
Whether or not you sell any coffee, you will be happy with your coffee roaster. I always recommend that people start small. It's hard to pick up customers and accounts, so why invest $20,000 in a 10kg roaster when you may only need a 1kg roaster? Remember, you will need to invent your blend, so working with 10kgs and getting it wrong means you will be burning money. If you are still learning, then you will need to become familiar with a new roaster. This means going through green beans. If you purchase your beans at around $6 per kg, then you will go through coffee quite quickly. This all adds up.
The roaster size is important. Don't try to get a 5kg because you want something in between, because you might grow. Start with what customers you have and work upwards. If you have no customers, then start with 1kg until you outgrow it. When it's time, sell the 1kg roaster and get a 5kg. If you outgrow the 5kg, then upgrade again. It will give you time to learn and develop on a smaller scale while also expanding your knowledge base while you grow with your business.
Gas vs. Electric?
I always thought this was a no-brainer. It's always going to be gas, right? Well that depends on what size roaster you choose, how much it costs to install, whether you have a gas line available, and whether you need a gas fitter or can connect the gas yourself. Are there laws or restrictions in your state regarding gas connections? Does it need to be certified by a registered fitter?
I am finding it more and more convenient to go with electric these days, for the smaller-sized roasters of course. Just plug in and play. There are many regulations around gas in Australia and it pays to do your homework. I went with an electric 1kg coffee roaster to begin with and it worked out perfectly. This was very important because the roaster was placed in a cafe and that's where I started roasting.
Where Will I Operate?
This question is hard to answer. You would think a garage at home would be the best place to base your operations, but you may want to consider other options. I don't have all the answers.
I sold a brand new 1kg electric roaster to a barista who was given the task of overseeing the coffee supply for the cafe where he worked. He figured that he would buy a roaster and install it at the cafe. He planned to roast the coffee and prepare it as well. After speaking with me, he realized that this would not be feasible, so I offered to roast the coffee for him. Now I am getting paid per kg to roast, sharing his roaster, and also advertising my roasting ability to every customer who walks through the door.
If you do buy a small electric roaster, could you approach a cafe and offer to roast their coffee for them? Of course you can. Negotiate a price that suits both of you and let him know that you want to roast coffee out of his shop. He will get the beautiful aroma of freshly roasted coffee in his cafe. Just the fact that he has a coffee roaster in his cafe is sure to increase his sales. Just make sure there is enough room in the cafe.
What Size Coffee Roaster Would You Buy?
Who Are My Customers?
Your best customer is a cafe owner. A cafe owner will need to buy your coffee every week and that will keep your business going. A cafe that needs 25kgs of coffee per week will pay roughly $20 per kg (underestimated). Over one year, that comes to just over $25,000. If you can manage to get four customer cafes then you will be making over $100,000 per year.
It all depends on your marketing, and the market is usually split up into four categories: top, middle, bottom, and boutique.
The top category are cafes that use the best coffee machines with Mazzer coffee grinders: La Marzocco, Synesso, Slayer, and Kees Van Der Westen-inspired machines like Spirit, Speedster and Mirage. These cafes will have atmosphere and a vibrant feel to them. They are filled with happy staff and have a large regular following that contribute to the overall spirit of the cafe. Coffee is a major focus in the cafe and they either serve a reputable brand or roast their own.
If there is a cafe in the middle of the worst part of town with a big sign that says they are now using your coffee, your brand is now associated with that type of cafe/shop. This is the bottom of the market. When enough people get used to seeing your brand name outside of that shop, you will attract other shops of the same calibre. Coffee isn't the main focus in this type of shop, it's just another way to make a buck. The equipment is usually poor and not maintained well.
The middle category is somewhere in between these two—not the greatest but not the worst. This is where the majority of most cafes sit.
The boutique section can include someone roasting beautiful coffee at home, or in a tiny space, serving brilliant cups of excellence. The boutique/speciality/micro-roasting type can hold up quite well in the industry, but as you grow you may out-grow this area and move into one of the three general categories. If you carry on roasting immensely good coffee, and choose your cafes well, you can end up in the top category. If you get lazy and accept a few middle-level cafes, then you can easily slide down and disappear.
This is where you decide at what level you want to play. Here in Australia, examples of top-quality roasters are Allpress Espresso, Coffee Alchemy, Campos Coffee, Single Origin Roasters, and Toby's Estate. This doesn't mean that their coffee is the best, it just means that they have excellent marketing strategies. They will only put their coffee in great cafes with the best machinery.
Think about the type of cafe that you would like to represent your product. Once you know, then think about all of the things that this type of cafe would want. Are they currently using La Marzocco level coffee machines or standard coffee machines? What coffee are they currently using? Look at your branding and ask yourself if the branding matches the category of the market where you are trying to position your coffee.
There is always room in the top category for more coffee roasters because the top usually has all of the best cafe owners. These cafe owners are the type that always pay their bills on time and are happy people who like to chat. The top category maybe hard to enter but once there it will make the rest of your marketing a lot easier.
The middle category is just so hard to enter. This is where most coffee roasters position themselves and they struggle while battling to hold their accounts (cafes). The problem with the customers in this category is that these cafe owners want free stuff. They will leave you in a second if they can get extra freebies from someone else. The freebies I talk about are umbrellas, wind barriers, "buy 5kgs of coffee and get 1kg free" offers, and new coffee machines and grinders that includes free servicing. This is why it's so hard to survive in the middle bracket; it comes down to how much money and perseverance you have.
The bottom category is easy to enter but isn't good for your brand unless you want to be there. The chicken shops, kebab shops, small rough bakeries, convenience stores, and old train station stores will not have much competition, but once entering these shops, your brand will be seen as average or below average.
On a personal note, I have worked for three coffee roaster companies and by far the best was the company in the top bracket. Not only were the people friendlier and happier but the wages were better.
To sum up the question, I believe it has a lot to do with where you want to establish your business as a coffee roaster in the overall market.
Final Note on Coffee Roasting
Starting a business as a coffee roaster is not easy. Each step takes time. It can take three to six months to get your first customer. Along the way there are times where you just need to be patient and hang in there. Getting your first customer is hard, but then you get some momentum going and you will begin to see some results. You can save a lot of money if you take your time and plan things carefully. My advice is to be patient and persevere.
- Get professional advice. You want to start off on the right track, you don't want to get so far along and realise you've made some basic errors that can cost you a lot. Ask those with experience for help, work smarter not harder.
- Save up and buy a small roaster. Don't get a loan because you will need the cash-flow. Also if you buy a large roaster, what will you use when you need to roast samples to decide on your blend?
- Hone your skills. Become a master on your roaster and learn about green bean origins and the roasting process.
- Optional: Find a customer or partner. My advice is find a cafe that will be happy to show off your roaster or you could look at partnering with someone who needs/benefits from you being around - perhaps contribute to a lease or help look after the shop in exchange for retail space.
- Decide on your position in the market. Create your brand and focus on growing your network of cafes that you roast for. This can take time.
You can do all of this while working at a full time job until you are getting enough to support yourself. When you are ready, cut your ties with your job and start enjoying your lifestyle. Just remember to choose your customers/cafes/accounts wisely. Make sure they are in it for the long term...
If you are looking for a snapshot list of sample roasting equipment under 1kg or tips to avoid when starting a coffee roasting business, you should consider searching on the internet for sample roasters and as much information as you can about how to start a coffee roasting business.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Vibha on September 26, 2019:
Thankyou for article, it’s was really helpful
Jayanta on August 08, 2019:
Hi! The information is very good. Would like to contact you. Thank you very much !Kindly send me your email id to firstname.lastname@example.org
Priscilla on January 18, 2019:
And thanks huge for this information. It's priceless!
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on January 17, 2019:
Hi Priscilla, if you leave your email address in this comment section then I will contact you. I will see it but no one else will.
Priscilla on January 16, 2019:
Thanks for the information. How can I get in touch with you?
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on October 29, 2018:
Thanks Kelsey! I hope you do well, just let me know if you need any help :) Cheers!
Kelsey on October 25, 2018:
This is a great article, thanks so much! It's really helpful to know step by step how you got your start, and I appreciate all of your advice.
Jabir pk on February 21, 2017:
Iam from indai kerala that was an excellent piece of advice. Thank you i have hector coffee tree because iam a farmer of the coffee tree so thank you man i will start the bussness
Anthony on January 10, 2017:
This is one of the best start up articles I have read - thanks
Joe on December 06, 2016:
Great information exactly what I was looking for. My family own a coffee farm, I'm trying to start my own export/import business. Any advise much appreciated.
JOEL on December 03, 2016:
Hi Coffee Roaster
Thank you so much for providing me with this information. I'd better get a q grader to grade my coffee and will advise you on my improvements. Would be more interested to chat with you more but your time may not permit. Thank you once again.
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on November 22, 2016:
What a great idea! I will make some time to write a post on blending coffee. It also ties in with q grading as well because the sensory aspects are required for both. In regards to green bean supply, I would suggest using an importer or a broker - sourcing direct is so much hard work, pricey and time consuming!
There definitely is a noticeable difference between washed and naturals but i find it harder to differentiate when it comes to honey process. First of all you need to cup the coffees against each other to find the difference in characteristics - this will highlight the advantages/disadvantages of each processing method. Record these differences using a SCAA cupping scoresheet. Even though you are a producer, I would expect you to have access to people/visitors who can cup for you? Otherwise you can submit green samples to a qualified q grader for honest review/feedback. Once you have the scoring of the coffees you grow, you know what areas are lacking therefore you can source to fill the void in your coffee blend.
Joel M on November 09, 2016:
very well versed and real life experience on coffee roasting is said and m so blessed with this piece.
If you have time then please I have two questions.
I grew up in a small Arabica coffee farm and I have been producing green coffee beans using WASHED COFFEE method only and m now trying to do HONEY COFFEE and will finally do NATURAL processing. Is there any differences in taste between those three methods? If so, how do I really get the taste from my blend and do I need to mix several coffee from different origins and process in which green coffee beans are made to get a required taste?
Nicko Maxwell on October 29, 2016:
What a great article!
I've been growing coffee, chocolate and many other tropical fruit trees in a climate & light controlled poly tunnel for a few years in the UK. So I understand the horticultural side of producing cofffee.
I'm trying to align my life over the next 5 years so that I can move to Costa Rica and produce on a micro-lot, high quality coffee and chocolate. I want to be able to control the quality from the absolute start.
Before I move I have decided to start a small micro-roasting business (as well as artisan chocolate!) to learn this aspect of the business and be able to gain contacts and build my brand in a the western world, before I leave it.
I've been doing a few months of reading every evening and have gained much knowledge. I am about to move onto my next stage and roast coffee for family and friends.
Can you please give me some advice on locating organic single source green beans, learning how to blend coffee and q-grading.
Also can you provide me with the link to your hub for supply of green bean business, as I will need to know this aspect as well!
Please feel free to contact me on : email@example.com
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on October 29, 2016:
I can reply to your questions on this thread as it can help other people as well... How can I be of assistance?
Paul P on October 14, 2016:
Very Informative...One question I have is why do Cafe's not roast on site? Does the roasting process not provide a great coffee smell to add to the Coffee Shop experience for the customers? Thanks, Paul
Dimitris on October 03, 2016:
Nice work coffee roaster!!
2 years article and find you still update! still on! Really nice to meet you by your writing! Just started to search some things about roasting and found you on my way! I thing you could answer some of my questions! I am owning a 3 years coffee business, the last 2 years I am running a cooperation with a "contract roaster' (as you call them) from Italy, the last months I started preparing a brand name (and also a coffee brand) to accompany it with my coffee business, and the last weeks started thinking (because of my passion for the coffee) if it's suitable with tiny steps to start making my blend my coffee for my shop (with a shops expanding plan if all goes well) to reach a taste and a character that I want!
I know you are busy but I'd appreciate if sometime you find time to answer me and get to know each other better!
Thank you very much coffee roaster!
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on October 03, 2016:
I just want to say that there are so many ways to make this work but its up to you to find your own way. Don't take this passage of writing as gospel, its just how i view the market through my own eyes.
Life is about finding your own way, whether it be in your career, health, relationships or coffee roasting!
Ceej on September 30, 2016:
I already have the coffee roaster, but i have not use it ever. i had a hardtime starting to roast. i already have a green bean supplier. but i am stuck on my next step... this article gives me a push now. great advice!
hope to hear more from you
anton on September 30, 2016:
Hi, thanks for such detailed advise, we got a small roasting machine and we are off to our roasting journey....yours is the most comprehensive advise we found in the net. a hundred thumbs up to you ! - anton & cj
Sumit on September 26, 2016:
Hi, I am planning a roaster in India and is thankful to you for your great advice...There are certain small things that i want to discuss...can you send me you mail ID ???? I am presently in brisbane and will be there for next 7 days...need your assistance to set up the business in India...big market with absolutely no competetion...
my mail Id is firstname.lastname@example.org
luke on September 02, 2016:
Hey, I loved it (and I was very surprised) that you didn't approach it from the "oh hey I've been a coffee roaster from the day I was born" perspective.
Alicia on August 18, 2016:
I am wanting to start a ecommerce coffee business where i roast myself. I am starting off small until i can generate enough to open a coffee retail shop. I have seen small roasters for about $400USD. Would this be a good place to start? Im new. Currently a student and would like to operate small, due to my limited resources, but i want to produce quality. Thank you. (Freckledturtle@aol.com)
Rij Gurun on August 11, 2016:
Hi, thanks for a wonderful and complete information that is so very useful. I am planning to start up ecommerce coffee beans business in USA and having a real tough time getting step by step operational plan to help me get off the ground, despite a very concerted effort to scour the internet. All they have is generic business plan and not very much of help. Could you guide me please ? Thanks a lot indeed.
Rij Gurun (email@example.com)
Shaun on July 13, 2016:
Hi Im currently looking at going into roasting as a business alternative to a coffee shop. I have worked as a barista and have over five years experience. Just wondering if you could suggest any green bean suppliers as well as any equipment suppliers who supply to the UK?
kahal on July 08, 2016:
its great article and full of knowledge. its really helpful. i really appreciate for that.
i am in coffee industry from last five years and i have quiet good knowledge about beans and origins. i am working as Barista. and want to set up coffee roasting business. but i am confused how to start ? i have few questions regarding this.
if you have time can you please contact me at my email address
Sudha Shankar on June 27, 2016:
Am from India, karnataka. Just wanted to know where will I get 1 kg roaster machine and what will be the price?
carlos torres on June 27, 2016:
Great advise ,thank you as I starting my own roasting company and as you say its a roller coaster but that is the price of pasion
cafe de Nicaragua on June 25, 2016:
Great advise and well explained keep up the good work
Jason, on June 19, 2016:
Hi mate, thanks for sharing your experience with us. Just a bit confused! When you suggest to offer cafes to roast for them, what do you actually mean? Do you mean to sell them the roaster and then roast onesite and charge them per kilo? In this case, you need to spend al least one full day to roast like 25 kilos onsite! How do you manage a full time day job and a side job like that? That is the part I did not get!
Will be thankful if tou can elobarte on that please.
Char on June 07, 2016:
Excellent article ~ appreciate the time it took to write and your willingness to share.
I am looking at getting some "work experience" with roasting and would like to contact you directly to discuss more options in NSW.
Are you able to send me an email for follow-up discussion.
Ky Hieu on June 05, 2016:
Hi Sir !
From Viet Nam with the Big Thanks for your Advice, very useful , I want to open a coffee Roaster in Saigon - Viet Nam, I need your strong assist about the begining.
my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your Support
NewBeans on June 02, 2016:
I am doing some research on coffee roasting business. Can you advise, other then the roaster, what other basic must have equipment to start with.
David on May 24, 2016:
Hey coffee Roaster,
I have an option of importing green coffee beans and roasting them here (Canada), or roasting them closer to the source (Mexico). I have a direct link to the farmer. When you sell coffee what did you find was a big selling point for people or businesses?
Tim on May 11, 2016:
Fantastic article and advice. Extremely insightful. Thank you.
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on May 04, 2016:
Nice website but its lacking options and the prices are in GBP... I think you would need to aim for something like www.globalbeanshed.com/roasts?
There are a lot more teas than coffees on your website but I can see it has potential :)
Millar on May 01, 2016:
Hi all, I am working on a project to support small start-up roasters to gain market access. I believe there is a ripe market of buyers that value the small roaster to tap into.
The plan is provide a portal for roasters to showcase their beans, so buyers can buy from a selection of roasters from one site: www.ForArtisans.com
Let me know what you think, and feel free to use it. Cheers
Henok on November 19, 2015:
I have Ethiopian coffee all tips ,I will like to Sell to roster without the middle man can I get advice please
Bouctou on October 20, 2015:
I would like to start a coffee business in Canberra where I live.
I would really appreciate it if I can get in touch with you and explore ways we can collaborate.
this is my email: email@example.com
teixeira on October 18, 2015:
Hi,im from Brazil and this is the best advice that i have ever read about it...thank you for sharing and what brand roaster would you recommend and can you blend a lot of different beans to another just to get a different taste ? well i would like to have some more information as i have a lot of questions ,if you could e-mail me would help a lot...thanks
sam on October 12, 2015:
Great post, interesting read
I've just graduated from university and am flirting with the idea of roasting and selling coffee to coffee shops how you described...
I would be interested to know where to look to find suppliers
I am located in London
if you could email me that would be great!
Zaton-Taran from California on September 23, 2015:
Awesome hub...I never even thought about starting a business as a coffee roaster until I perused this. Something to think about...
Addiscoffee on September 22, 2015:
Just updating how things are since I sent you my question last time.
My first order 1 container of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is arriving in about 8 weeks. Exciting!!! But equally nervous!!
Still need to find more rosters and storage is not sorted yet. Finger crossed all will be sorted by then....
MLeb on September 21, 2015:
Thank you for sharing your own experience.
I'm from Lebanon,working in one of the biggest coffee roasteries in Lebanon and the middle East,but lately I'm planning to have my own business and was confused about the start up....
Navin from Canberra on August 27, 2015:
I loved your article, that's some great advise.
I was wondering if I could get in touch with you and have a chat before I go making too many mistakes!!
I live in Canberra and would greatly appreciate if we could have a chat
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on August 01, 2015:
Its a TJ-067 1kg roaster.
I have a friend in Melbourne who is now fitting a bluetooth control system to his model. Its a good accessory if you know exactly when you need to make adjustments to your roast profile.
will on July 30, 2015:
Hi what coffee roaster are you using in your you tube video
Amanuel Yemane on June 16, 2015:
Great input. I have been reading a lot for the past three weeks how to import green beans. But I couldn't find anything. Can you please forward me some info.
my email address is
Jay on June 12, 2015:
Hi.. I m from India and roasting coffee after leaving my job for last 2 years... I am roasting and supplying coffee in various cafe, companies and institutions. Can I get market in Australia? I m looking for your advice....
Libyan Roaster on May 13, 2015:
AAfter your valuable info, I'm in in the business :-)
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on April 04, 2015:
Hi Cafedearcos - I'll start a whole new hub on how to start your own green coffee bean supply business, just so we can keep this thread for comments regarding how to start your own coffee roasting business...
Addiscoffee - Good luck with your plans to start your own coffee business!
If you guys follow me on hubpages then you'll get the notification of when I post the new hub about starting a green coffee supply business... This is my only hub so far because I'm too busy at work but I'll try and get the next hub written up in the next week or so. Cheers
Addiscoffee on April 04, 2015:
Thank you for your response and valuable advice. I thought I knew about coffee until I started to consider it as a business. I still have a lot to learn however, my family who live overseas has been involved in exporting Arabica coffee to several countries for more than 10 years. So I think I just need to organise myself and find buyers in Australia. Hoping the learning process won't be too painful.
Cafedearcos on April 03, 2015:
I am not in the coffee business...yet. I noticed in your last reply you mentioned getting your import/export license and finding a distributor. I'm looking at growing and exporting green beans. Do you have any more advice/info on this side of the coffee business? Is it profitable? Thank you for the article, great info!
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on April 01, 2015:
I would definitely choose to sell green beans. When stored under the right conditions, green beans can last up to 2 years but you wouldn't want to hold more than 1 year old stock as experienced cuppers can usually tell the difference between this years and last years crops.
The main reason I would choose green is because u are only dealing with green beans and its a standard transaction - u supply green beans in exchange for money. Working with roasted coffee has a few more dimensions and there are other factors that need to be taken into account. I'm not sure how much experience u have in the coffee industry but both of these markets are competitive and you will need skills for both.
If you have direct access to origin farmers then all you need is an import/export license (if applicable) and to find a distributor. It's always handy to be Q-grader certified and as long as you keep working on your cupping skills then you've got the basics covered. Theres obviously a bit more involved but if you offer a fair price on both sides and can move some volume then it'll work. Just remember to focus on quality coffees as you can demand a fair price for quality. I wouldn't bother selling anything less than grade 85 arabica unless your volumes are substantial.
Addiscoffee on March 31, 2015:
Great advice! I've been researching a lot in what is involved in coffee roasting, this is by far the most honest piece of advice I've come a cross. Now I feel like I am one step closer to deciding whether to sell the organic Arabica Coffee beans, which I have access directly from the farmers or go through the process you described, to roast and sell it. Will you be kind enough to give me your opinion regarding selling the beans vs roasting them?
steve on March 18, 2015:
appreciate all your advice.
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on March 18, 2015:
No I don't sell wholesale branded coffee pods but I do have some ideas on how to approach this. If you are in Australia then let me know (leave your email) and I'll contact you with a few ideas to help.
steve on March 16, 2015:
Hello, thanks for the article. Do you sell wholesale branded coffee pods etc. If not would you have any recommendations?
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on February 05, 2015:
Alexander on February 05, 2015:
I was wondering if I can get in contact with you over the phone. I'm in Queensland and would greatly appreciate your feedback on a particular subject on coffee roasting.
Please email me at email@example.com
I look forward to getting in contact with.
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on January 28, 2015:
Air vs drum roaster is a good question... Air roasters do provide cleaner tasting coffees as there is no constant contact with a conductive surface but they produce coffee's with less body. My only experience with an air roaster is limited to a 120kg German Neuhaus Roaster which I roasted on for just over a year - this would obviously have no comparison to a smaller air roaster so I can't recommend air.
Drum roasters develop the coffee better and there is more control with a drum roaster so I would use a drum roaster. I probably am biased towards a drum roaster though because I have more experience on one.
Regarding recommendations for a small roaster - it absolutely must have adjustable controls! You need to be able to adjust the airflow and heat in a variable manner, not just a on/off button for heat & airflow because this is how you will be able to set a profile for the green beans you will be using. Also having a roaster with a tryer helps and its good if you can read the bean temp at all times so you can plot a graph of the data to analyse when you are cupping.
Fabio on January 12, 2015:
(Sorry, could you please delete the post above where I have displayed my whole email?)
Great article, thanks for sharing your experience.
Which 1kg roaster brand would you recommend? I saw the whole discussion about Chinese ones and seems a lot of work to bring and meet the Australian specifications.
Michael Isaksson on January 05, 2015:
Hi and great piece of writing you have done, very thorough and rich in advice! Thanks! Two questions:
Air flow roaster vs drum roaster as a starter in the business?
Second some recommendations when it comes to a small roaster?
jay on January 05, 2015:
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on November 08, 2014:
Also remember that cafe owners don't know how to roast coffee, they don't know where to get a green bean supplier, green bean storage, source packaging, and they don't know how to construct a blend, etc...
Cafe owners usually work and manage their cafe, they start at 6-7am in the morning so they are probably waking up at 5.30am and they have paperwork, reconciling cash flow, managing staff issues, managing stock levels, ordering stock, dealing with cafe problems and not to mention that they probably have to work in the cafe as well... They are on their feet all day and they don't really have the time to source a roaster and roast coffee
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on July 21, 2014:
Don't work with cafe's who need to be convinced of what you are offering. Find cafe's that have already identified the advantages of onsite roasting facilities and provide the solution.
Talk to sales reps in the coffee industry and ask questions about the market. It might be hard if your not in the industry but its worth it if you love coffee and roasting!
Max on July 20, 2014:
I'm confused about one thing... how can I convince a top customer to use my roasting services, in place for him to just buy a roasting machine ? Because let's face it, it would not be a problem for them to invest an extra 5k in their...
I would appreciate to know me how you did it.
Beauregard's Beans on July 15, 2014:
Thank you so much for this honest advice! I'm going to be hitting the San Francisco, California market soon (heavily saturated but no shortage of high-quality coffee lovers). Let's keep in touch, coffee-roasters!
Jackie on July 14, 2014:
Excellent, Excellent, Excellent!
Thanks a lot.
Kenny on July 04, 2014:
What is a sample roast? Is it just a test roast?
coffee roaster (author) from Sydney, Australia on July 03, 2014:
Thanks, you are welcome.
Kent on July 03, 2014:
Man... that was an excellent piece of advice. Thank you