Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world today. It’s consumed in virtually every corner of the world, which means knowing how to start a coffee roasting business could be your entrepreneurial ticket to success. Almost every community has enough room for another roasting shop, but this type of business needs to be started in the right way for it to have the best chance to succeed.
Nothing is more important than a solid business plan. Some entrepreneurs see a business plan as an old-fashioned approach to starting a business, but a solid plan will help to guide you through some of the ups and downs of owning a coffee roasting business and allow you to wind up in the black. Part of that business plan is including your unique concept that will help you stand out from the other roasters in your community.
Good Coffee Will Eventually Equate To Good Business
There are three things that the average consumer thinks about when they are purchasing coffee, whether it is roasted whole bean, roasted and ground, or a cup of coffee that a barista makes for them.
1. What was the roasting process of the coffee?
2. Was the coffee grown and sourced in an ethical way?
3. How consistent is the final product?
If your coffee roasting business can create positive outcomes as answers to these three considerations, then you’ll always have a core base of customers in your community. To accomplish this, you’re going to need to speak with a wide variety of coffee importers. Talk to them about what your expectations are for the incoming coffee and what your goals are as a final product. Together you’ll be able to find the right coffee at the right price.
Approaching other roasters about how they’re creating a final product can also be important. Not only will this allow you to know for certain that you’re differentiating your product, but it will also help to build a business network within your community so that all roasters can benefit from one another’s experiences and potentially make more profit.
Change in the coffee markets is constant. It’s often considered a commodity. Your network, your producers, and your importers are the constants upon which you must rely.
Be a Coffee Genius As Soon As Possible
For an entrepreneurial spirit to find success, there must be a certain level of passion that exists for the product being offered. If you aren’t drinking coffee on a regular basis, then how will you know which roasting techniques to use? Or which grinding method is the best? Or which beans are the best, for that matter? The flavor profile of your coffee is what will drive customers into your business or drive them away from it.
To make sure that you’re getting the perfect profile, you’ll need to test roast your coffee beans in a wide variety of ways. Each roasting level will create a different aroma and flavor result. Make sure to brew coffee from your roasted beans as well so that you can accurately communicate the experience from start to finish for your customers.
Never burn your beans. Burnt coffee beans leave a bitter taste in the mouth that nothing can remove. It will ruin an entire pot of coffee if just one or two burnt coffee beans are in a batch. That’s why testing your roasting methods and becoming a coffee genius are so important to this business niche.
You’re Going to Need Some Specific Supplies
You will need two pieces of equipment: a coffee roaster and supplies for cupping. Having a way to record a roasting profile may also be an important part of your business plan. If you can know why a batch of roasted beans doesn’t taste like it should, then you’ll be able to learn from the mistake and avoid repeating it and losing the profits from the mistake again.
Although local equipment searches can sometimes find some amazing deals, make sure that you check your online resources for some roasting equipment as well. You can find some great used equipment on auction websites and other discount locations that will provide you with a more consistent, personable roast than new equipment.
Going with new equipment has the advantage of a warranty and ongoing support. You won’t have to clean the equipment like you will need to do with used equipment either. Used equipment is usually supported by other roasters who love coffee as much as you do, so that passion is often translated into a well maintained machine that you can get a discount.
Make Sure You Have the Necessary Space to Begin
When you first get your coffee roasting business started, the space you have will be your #1 priority. You’ll need room for incoming and outgoing coffee shipments. You may wish to have scalable features that will allow 18 wheeler traffic, even if you’re starting with van deliveries right now. It’s better to be bigger instead of smaller, but the temperature of your facilities is more important than its size. Green coffee needs to be in a climate-controlled area. If you don’t have that, then you don’t really have a business.
As a final step in the business, after you’ve secured any licensing and permits that you need, make sure to secure a good social media presence and a domain. This will allow you to engage with your community of followers and help you distribute the knowledge that you have about coffee roasting. Passion is very contagious, so if you are able to engage with others who are equally passionate about coffee, you’ll be able to create a core group of repetitive customers who will crave your product.
Knowing how to start a coffee roasting business is one part passion, one part experience, and one part consistency. If you can put those three parts together, then you’ll have created a recipe for coffee roasting success.