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Coffee Roaster Business Plan
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Executive summary executive summary is a brief introduction to your business plan. it describes your business, the problem that it solves, your target market, and financial highlights.">.
Beanisimo Coffee is a start up Salem, Oregon based coffee roaster that has developed a line of premium coffees and espressos. Beanisimo Coffee has been formed as an Oregon S Corporation by the founder Frank Jones. Frank has brought old world Italian traditions and recipes to meet the market need for premium coffees.
Keys to Success Beanisimo Coffee has identified three keys that will be instrumental to its success. The first is the need to develop the finest coffee available. The second requirement to develop a top notch customer service organization that exceeds customer expectations. The last element is to employ strict financial controls. The development and implementation of finance and accounting controls will help ensure fiscal success.
Target Market Segments Beanisimo Coffee has identified three distinct customer segments that it will actively pursue. The first group is made up of coffee houses, drive thru establishments, and espresso carts. This customer segment has 187 potential customers and is growing at a 7% annual rate. The second group is restaurants with 107 possible customers and is growing at an 8% annual rate. The last segment is grocery stores that sell unprepared beans to their customers in either whole bean or ground forms. This segment has 97 potential customers and a 7% growth rate.
Management Beanisimo Coffee is being lead by Frank Jones. Frank has a strong educational background and a wealth of applicable industry experience. Frank received his Bachelor degree and MBA from Willamette University. Frank has worked at several coffee shops, and has worked in Italy as a coffee roaster under the wing of an Italian master roaster.
Through a combination of a solid business model, strong educational credentials, and proprietary coffee roasting techniques, Frank will be able to turn Beanisimo Coffee from a start-up business to a significant market player in the high-end coffee market in the Willamette River Valley. Sales for year two are forecasted to be $312,000 rising to $355,000 in year three. Net profit is projected to be 7.58% for year two and will jump to 9.58% in year three.
It is Beanisimo Coffee’s mission to offer the finest selection of coffees. By using the customs from a 54-year-old Italian master roaster, Beanisimo Coffee’s products will surpass all of its competition. A strong customer service ethic will support the fantastic product.
Beanisimo Coffee’s objectives are to build brand awareness and customer service excellence, while increasing sales. Beanisimo Coffee intends to utilize the following strategies to achieve these objectives:
- Develop a high-quality menu of different coffee blends.
- Provide an excellent service experience, anticipating the needs of the customers and delivering the best service.
- Leverage the old traditional Italian roasting methods to increase market penetration with the finest product available.
1.3 Keys to Success
Beanisimo Coffee has identified several keys which will be instrumental in the success of the company.
- Develop the finest product.
- Exceed customer expectations.
- Employ strict financial controls.
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Coffee Roaster Business Plan Template
Written by Dave Lavinsky
Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their coffee roaster businesses. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a coffee roaster business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.
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What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan provides a snapshot of your coffee roaster business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.
Why You Need a Business Plan
If you’re looking to start a coffee roaster business, or grow your existing coffee roaster business, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your coffee roaster business in order to improve your chances of success. Your coffee roaster business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
Sources of Funding for Coffee Roaster Businesses
With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a coffee roaster business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings is the other most common form of funding for a coffee roaster business.
If you want to start a coffee roaster business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. Below are links to each section of your coffee roaster business plan template:
Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.
The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of coffee roaster business you are operating and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a coffee roaster business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a coffee roaster business in multiple markets or regions?
Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the coffee roaster industry. Discuss the type of coffee roaster business you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.
In your company analysis, you will detail the type of coffee roaster business you are operating.
For example, you might operate one of the following types of coffee roaster businesses:
- Retail Coffee Roastery : this type of roastery sells roasted coffee to individual consumers, either online or through a brick-and-mortar storefront.
- Wholesale Coffee Roastery: this type of roastery sells roasted coffee to other businesses, such as grocery stores, restaurants, hotels and resorts.
In addition to explaining the type of coffee roaster business you will operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.
Include answers to question such as:
- When and why did you start the business?
- What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of customers served, number of positive reviews, total number of bags of coffee sold, etc.
- Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.
In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the coffee roaster industry.
While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.
First, researching the coffee roaster industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.
Secondly, market research can improve your strategy, particularly if your research identifies market trends.
The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.
The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your coffee roaster business plan:
- How big is the coffee roaster industry (in dollars)?
- Is the market declining or increasing?
- Who are the key competitors in the market?
- Who are the key suppliers in the market?
- What trends are affecting the industry?
- What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
- What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your coffee roaster business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.
The customer analysis section of your coffee roaster business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.
The following are examples of customer segments: individual consumers, grocery stores, restaurants, hotels and resorts.
As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of coffee roaster business you operate. Clearly, individual consumers would respond to different marketing promotions than grocery stores, for example.
Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. Because most coffee roaster businesses primarily serve customers living in their same city or town, such demographic information is easy to find on government websites.
Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.
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Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.
Direct competitors are other coffee roaster businesses.
Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes coffee shops and grocery stores. You need to mention such competition as well.
With regards to direct competition, you want to describe the other coffee roaster businesses with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be roasteries located very close to your location.
For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:
- What types of customers do they serve?
- What types of coffee do they sell?
- What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
- What are they good at?
- What are their weaknesses?
With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.
The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:
- Will you provide better roasted coffee?
- Will you provide features or services that your competitors don’t offer?
- Will you provide better customer service?
- Will you offer better pricing?
Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.
Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a coffee roaster business plan, your marketing plan should include the following:
Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of coffee roaster company that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, in addition to selling roasted coffee, will you sell brewed coffee, sell teas, provide barista event services, or provide any other products or services?
Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.
Place : Place refers to the location of your coffee roaster company. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your coffee roaster business located in a busy retail district, shopping plaza, mall, etc. Discuss how your location might be the ideal location for your customers.
Promotions : The final part of your coffee roaster marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:
- Advertising in local papers and magazines
- Reaching out to local websites
- Social media marketing
- Local radio advertising
While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.
Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your coffee roaster business, including purchasing supplies, performing inventory, marketing, roasting coffee, and selling and/or delivering coffee.
Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to sell your 1,000th bag of coffee, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your coffee roasting business to a new city.
To demonstrate your coffee roaster business’ ability to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.
Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing coffee roaster businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing coffee roasteries or successfully running small businesses.
Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.
Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.
In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you gain one new customer per month or per quarter (as a wholesaler), or will you sell 100 bags of coffee per day or per week (as a retailer)? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.
Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your coffee roaster business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.
Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.
In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a coffee roaster business:
- Location build-out including design fees, construction, etc.
- Cost of equipment and supplies
- Payroll or salaries paid to staff
- Business insurance
- Taxes and permits
- Legal expenses
Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your roastery location lease or descriptions of roasts you are working on.
Putting together a business plan for your coffee roaster is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the coffee roaster industry, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful coffee roaster business.
Coffee Roaster Business Plan FAQs
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Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Coffee Roaster Business Plan.
What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?
The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of coffee roaster business you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a coffee roaster business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of coffee roaster businesses?
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Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates
- Business Plans Handbook
- Business Plans - Volume 04
- Coffee Roaster Business Plan
VENEZIA COFFEE ROASTERS
14600 Waterfront Drive Kennebunk, ME 04043
Two seasoned coffee roasters found their niche in a seemingly saturated market. This plan illustrates that their specialty lies not only in their roasting methods, but also in their socially responsible business practices. Their mission is to balance the needs of their customers, their environment and the coffee growers. Venezia Coffee Roasters' detailed financial tables showcase the preparation needed to make them a competitive small batch coffee roaster in the New England region.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
Description of business, goals and objectives.
- PRODUCT AND SERVICE
SPACE, EQUIPMENT AND LOCATION
Market information/marketing, competition, financial data.
Venezia Coffee Roasters seeks loans totaling $56,000 to: purchase equipment and inventory, rent working space, and perform the necessary renovations and improvements, and provide adequate working capital. This sum, together with an additional $23,000 investment from friends and family, will be sufficient to launch a profitable small-batch gourmet coffee roasting company. The initial form of organization will be sub-chapter "S" with a buy-sell agreement among the founders. The company's mission is to be known as the premiere small-batch coffee roasting wholesalers in southern Maine.
We have over two years experience in the specialty coffee roasting business. Venezia coffees will include only the best ingredients roasted to perfection with pride and careful attention to detail. Venezia's service will be unparalleled offering weekly interaction with its customers. Venezia will guarantee seven-day-a-week maintenance and repair service. Not only will our packaging be environmentally sensitive but it will ensure optimum freshness which surpasses our competitors. In keeping with our environmental ethics, Venezia will be the only roaster in Maine to employ an afterburner to reduce the air pollutants normally associated with the roasting process. Venezia will be able to offer all these advantages and remain competitively priced.
With the ever increasing demand for specialty coffee, Venezia will fill a specific niche in the market. Venezia coffees will appeal to the discerning coffee drinkers who insist on quality, consistency and affordability. Venezia coffee roasting company will be successful due to steady growth with profitability by the third year accomplished by providing a superior coffee with unequalled service to our customers.
How did we choose the name Venezia? Venezia draws on the Italian influence and history in specialty coffees. It lends itself well to a more sophisticated audience such as our target market.
Venezia Coffee Roasting Company will small-batch roast only the finest, top grade beans from around the world. Careful attention will be paid to all stages of the product's development, beginning with purchasing the highest quality beans. We will small-batch roast to assure the optimum peak of flavor when roasted. We will blend coffees which complement each other in acidity and body. We will flavor coffees using the best available extracts and flavorings. State-of-the-art packaging will be used to assure a long shelf life (approximately one year) and attractive and informative labeling will be used to entice and educate the consumer about our product.
Our concern is that we be as environmentally conscious as possible. We will use an afterburner on the roaster to reduce the amount of air pollutants normally associated with the roasting process. Our packaging will be recyclable or made from recycled materials. Our packing material too will be recycled.
We will become involved with the Coffee Children Association to help promote a greater return, financially, to the countries from which the coffee originates.
We want to have a working environment that promotes a feeling of pride and enthusiasm.
Venezia will target four markets:
- Retail Specialty Shops - Gourmet, Gift
- Coffee Brewing Establishments - Bakeries, Coffee Shops, Restaurants
- Office Coffee - Schools, Offices
We will provide coffee to the discerning coffee drinkers. We will be environmentally and socially conscious which will appeal to that same market. We will provide the necessary brewing, grinding and display equipment for the relevant businesses. We will contact a roasters' authorized repair service company to provide the maximum service ford that equipment. We will deliver weekly to provide the end user with the freshest product possible. We will place the expiration date on each bag to further insure freshness. We will roast only what we will sell within that week.
Each account at Venezia will enjoy seven-day-a-week service for all mechanical concerns. Along with the regular weekly contacts with each account by our sales representative Venezia will have a service contract set up with CSX of Portland, Maine, to cover weekends and holidays.
As a seed company, Venezia has secured six accounts averaging 300 pounds per week. Our goal is to close ten accounts by the end of the first year. The total amount of sales per week will be 500 pounds or better. We will do a mailing in the Portland area offering introductory specials to give our name exposure and to entice consumers. We will participate in as many community functions as we can possibly handle in an effort to get name recognition and to educate the consumer about our coffee. Initially, tastings in all retail locations will be held regularly. A mailing for office coffee will be sent to surrounding schools and offices. We will capture some of the Christmas business at the gift shops by offering one-pot portions, ground and whole bean, which sell well in customized gift baskets. We will increase our sales by the end of the second year by approximately ten percent. Our name will have greater recognition by that time providing us with more referrals. By the end of year two we will be able to offer our own gift boxes and baskets for all occasions. We will target several of the surrounding businesses for their Christmas gift business. We will increase business by another 250 pounds per week by the end of the third year. At this time we will have hired an additional sales/delivery person to reach that goal through all the avenues previously described. Special emphasis will be placed on capturing corporate gift business.
Both Maria and Jennifer hold college degrees. Maria owned and operated a successful house painting business for five years. She has strong production skills. Jennifer was head chef and kitchen manager at Pineland Farm Restaurant for six and a half years. She has strong organizational skills. Both Maria and Jennifer have over two years cumulative coffee roasting experience. Jennifer was manager of sales and production at Pawtucket Coffee Roasting Company. Maria was the coffee roaster for ten months at the same place. While employed at P.C.R. both Maria and Jennifer learned all of the different facets of running a coffee roasting wholesale business. Within the fifteen months that Jennifer was manager of P.C.R. she tripled sales, bringing sales up to an average of 750 pounds per week. Maria and Jennifer attend Specialty Coffee Association of America Seminars when possible. They confer with experts such as John Collers, President of the Coffee Association and owner of Collers Office in New York City, and Daniel Krull, owner of Sam Coffee Company in Brooklyn, New York. Jennifer is an active member of the East Coast Women's Network and uses that organization as a business resource. Kim Bonn, office manager of Cromwell Financial Services in Portsmouth, NH, consults with both Maria and Jennifer. Don Shute, a retired executive of IBM and EDS also consults with both women. Both Maria and Jennifer have a working knowledge of IBM and Apple Computers. They have taken adult education classes to better familiarize themselves with these platforms. They feel confident, since they have already successfully run a coffee roasting business, that they can make Venezia a profitable and long lasting business in the area.
We have the required technical and marketing skills to get this company up and running. We have experience in ordering, roasting (production), delivery and most importantly, sales. We anticipate hiring one or two employees in year three. The first position would be as a sales/delivery person. We will split the work duties as it demands. Maria will primarily be responsible for the production end and Jennifer for the service and sales end. Each will fill-in where necessary. Bookkeeping will be shared. We have hired Karen Allen, an enrolled agent to handle taxes, and general accounting-strictly part time. We will consult with lawyers concerning incorporating issues.
Maria and Jennifer have worked together for the past two years in varying degrees. They share similar philosophies about work and life and have discussed in depth where they envision Venezia to go and how it will get there. Between us we have the necessary labor skills. When it comes time to hire new employees we feel confident we can train for any position. We continue to further our skills and knowledge by attending roasting and cupping seminars given by John Ewell, president of the Coffee Corner in Boston, MA.
PRODUCT & SERVICE
We will offer coffee roasted weekly to locations within the New England area. We will offer numerous varietals, blends, and flavored coffees along with nearly as many decaffeinated coffees and blends. Our product will be packaged in an airtight, heat-sealed, one-way air valve, polypropylene bag which will either be produced from recycled plastic or be recyclable. The bags will be hand stamped. Labeling will include information concerning contents about artificial and natural flavorings, origin of beans, and type of roast. Each bag will be freshness dated. We will give our suggestions for best brewing and storage. We will offer one pot portion bags along with half-pound, one-pound and five-pound bags. For brewing establishments we will provide brewers which we will install, maintain and repair as needed. We will offer promotional items such as tee shirts, paper cups, ceramic mugs, travel mugs, home grinders, French press pots, bumper stickers, etc. We will offer a money back guarantee. If for any reason the customer is dissatisfied with our product they need only return the unused portion and we will refund all their money.
Our product is extremely reliable, and safe. Any pesticides or residues from the decaffeination process are burned off in the roasting process.
With all the careful attention paid throughout the development of our product we know that Venezia coffee will yield the best cup of coffee for the end user. Freshness will be our number one concern. We are proud to be a Maine based company and feel it should add to the overall appeal of our product.
We feel that we have developed our product experience during our employment at our packaging, will be radically different from that of P.C.R.'s. Although we have not yet tested this new packaging we know through reading and observing the competition that it will be the future of packaging. We will be using a different kind of roaster than our competition, however, the process will be similar. We are confident that the roasting experience we have will translate to this other kind of roaster. As part of the service provided upon purchasing the roaster we will receive training on the new machine.
Jennifer will contact each account early in the week to determine amounts and types of varietals to be roasted. Maria would then roast the coffee for those orders, blend, flavor and package the product. Then Jennifer will deliver via a delivery vehicle within the three day turnover that we allow to process an order. Orders that would fall outside of the hundred mile radius will be delivered by UPS.
Once the plant is fully equipped with the roaster we will start production immediately. Generally it takes about three hours to fill an order from raw bean to packaged product. We have five standing accounts waiting for our production facilities to open.
Jennifer will be purchasing the beans, enabling her to have a first hand knowledge of what will be roasted. A small-batch roaster, such as the one we will be using will allow us to keep a close eye on the development of the bean during the roasting process. Each varietal and each crop within that varietal has a different moisture content. It is that water content that determines the amount of roasting time needed. Since we will not have an automated roaster we will be able to adjust each roast accordingly, yielding an even roast which has been allowed to develop to its optimum flavor peak.
Coffee roasting is an exciting and wonderful process. It is simple in theory. The beans must be heated, kept moving so no burning or tipping occurs, and they must be cooled, or quenched at the precise moment to stop the roasting process. Under-roasted coffee tastes pasty, coffee roasted too long and at too high a temperature will be thin-bodied, burned and industrial-flavored. The roaster that we will be using has a drum which rotates above a gas flame. Typically the air in the drum will be heated to about 500 degrees fahrenheit and by manipulating the air flow the temperature can be steadily maintained throughout the roasting process. For the first five minutes or so the beans will tumble around and lose water weight which accounts for the 15%-18% total weight loss. When the internal gases in the beans heat up and the pressure becomes too much for the bean, they will explode creating the first of two snapping sounds heard during the process. Later when the internal temperature of the bean reaches about 400 degrees fahrenheit, the oils in the beans will begin to develop, a process known as pyrolysis. The beans will then begin to show a marked darkening in color and the second snapping will be heard. Allowing a small amount of time for the beans to cool, they will then be emptied into a metal bin where they will be air cooled. The last few minutes of the process can make the difference between a full city roast, a French roast, an espresso roast, or sadly, a worthless roast. By roasting as close to that amount which is actually ordered each week we will be able to maintain the freshness factor. By expiration dating the bags, we will be able to rotate stock accordingly.
Coffee beans can be bought through a number of brokers. There are ports in New York, Louisiana, and California. We will be using Express Freight Service, Inc. for delivery of the beans from port to our business. The average turn around time for delivery of beans is five working days. Labels, flavorings and most other supplies can all be delivered within ten working days. The initial printing of any advertising or labels will take longer to allow time for proofing, but once it is all set up delivery time is reasonable. We will have all the basic printed material ready to go before we open for business.
Orders will generally be delivered in the delivery vehicle, or by UPS. We will have routes to cover the various areas. Generally Jennifer will make the deliveries, since she will be acting as the sales representative. In so doing she can field any questions or problems the customers might have on a weekly basis. While making deliveries she can make sales calls along the way to try and increase the volume for those routes.
Venezia understands the importance of a good working relationship between ourselves and our customers. The service begins the moment we introduce and educate the consumer about our product. We are willing to customize our displays and equipment to accommodate the different space limitations and needs of each customer. We feel it is important to give the customer a working knowledge of specialty coffee and the specific brewing equipment they will be using.
In whole bean retail locations we will conduct regular tastings to introduce our product and educate the end user. We will offer attractive and informative promotional items and strategies to help establish a new customer base for the retailers.
Venezia knows that any down time for our customers due to mechanical problems of our equipment can be expensive for both parties. Venezia will have a regular maintenance program in place to troubleshoot and predict possible problems and take appropriate precautions. In the event that a mechanical problem does arise Venezia's service contract with a Conley authorized repair company will insure prompt attention to and resolution of the problem. In addition to the service contract with Conley, Venezia will employ back-up brewers as a temporary solution. Either way our customers will be provided with round-the-clock service. This service coverage is unrivaled by our local competitors.
Each week the sales representative from Venezia will contact each account not only to take orders but also to field any questions, promote new products and listen for problems.
Initially we would need the space provided by a two car garage (approximately 320 square feet). We would need plumbing with a two bay sink. We would need a gas hook-up, and the ability to vent a six inch pipe. We would require zoning for light industrial.
We will need a small batch roaster with an afterburner, scales, a delivery vehicle, shelves, work tables, a telephone, a computer, seven brewers, five grinders, a heat sealer, and office furniture.
We are considering another location somewhere between Portland and Acadia, Maine. We would prefer easy access to the main freeway. The location needs to be zoned for light manufacturing. We have looked at a place which fills all of our criteria while meeting our budget qualifications.
The trend in the coffee business now supports Venezia's plan. A big emphasis on gourmet and specialty coffees has been increasing and is reflected in a rapid increase of coffee shops. The West Coast's influence on the coffee market has effected consumer's appreciation of fine coffees making super-market coffees much less appealing. This statement is supported by various newspaper and trade journal articles.
Coastal Coffee Company, which has enjoyed huge success on the West Coast, has recently shown interest in expanding their operations to the East Coast (Boston) thus supporting our conclusion that the gourmet coffee trend is here to stay.
For servicing reasons we will initially focus on the local market, that would encompass an area of approximately one hundred miles in radius extending from mid-coast Maine to the Vermont/New Hampshire border and south to the southern metropolitan Boston area. Over time we will target regional and national markets through a mail-order strategy.
Like some of our competitors we will be using the finest beans and flavorings available. It would be senseless to invest all the time and money into such a fine product and then not protect it. That is why Venezia's one-half-pound, and one-pound bags are constructed of high barrier laminates with a one-way air value to allow the natural by product gas, carbon dioxide, to escape while preventing oxygen, and water contaminates from entering. The bags are heat-sealed but can be easily opened and have resealable zippers. All of these features combined will lengthen the shelf life appreciably. Typically the shelf life of coffee stored in the popular, less expensive, plastic-lined, paper bags only retain their freshness for about six weeks. Venezia's packaging will extend the shelf life to a full year. None of the other local roasters offers such packaging. From a retail perspective, the bag will retain a cleaner appearance over time since no natural oils will seep through and stain the bag.
Venezia's labeling will be very informative, offering advice on brewing and storing techniques as well as describing the type of beans, the flavoring extracts, and the type of roast. Unlike our competitors our coffees will have an expiration date affixed to each bag. This added information will further guarantee freshness to the end user.
In this time of environmental awareness we are proud to be able to offer state-of-the-art packaging that uses 80% less material in its production while offering the consumer a reusable container.
Venezia Target Markets
- Donut Shops
- Gourmet Food Shops
- Upper-End Gift Shops
- Offices with an average of twenty five employees
Venezia will operate in the southern Maine area targeting high volume upper-end bakeries, restaurants, and specialty food shops. The geographic area includes coastal New Hampshire, and southern Maine. As quoted from "The Basis Business and Industry Profile of Specialty Coffee House/Cafes" supplied by Cleveland State University, "according to a recent National Association of the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) report on the specialty food consumer, gourmet coffee consumers are an educated, affluent group. Overall, 22.1% of Americans purchased specialty coffee. Most gourmet coffee consumers live or work in large urban communities. However, their most significant attribute is education level. Persons with some college education are 11% above average in their consumption of gourmet coffee. Consumers that have completed college are 49% above average in their consumption. Since education is highly correlated to income, it is not surprising that specialty coffee consumers earn above average salaries. Most specialty coffee consumers are affluent, earning above $35,000 per year." We contacted the Bureau of Census whose latest statistics show that the median family income in Portland, ME. is $34,837 and $34,344 in Portsmouth, NH. The percentage of people holding Bachelor's degrees or more in Portland, ME is 29.6 and in Portsmouth, NH is 26.6. According to a researcher for the Maine State Department of Tourism, their major target market is people over fifty five, college educated, and earning over $55,000 per year. This influx of consumers of this profile increases our target market pool.
Our direct competitors are Pawtucket Coffee Roasting Company in Jamesville, ME, Colling Roasters, in Portsmouth, NH. Also breaking new ground is Mecca Coffee Roasting Company, in Portland, ME and to some extent, Valley Coffee Roasting Company, in Stowe, VT.
Since Venezia is the newest coffee roasting company we obviously lack the name recognition that all the other competitors now enjoy. However, to our advantage, we have learned from them the crucial importance of producing consistent high quality products and delivering superior service. We model ourselves after Coast Coffee Company because they insist on using only the best grade beans with careful attention to every other aspect of the coffee roasting and distribution process. It is evident in all their marketing that they are constantly aware of the value of their excellent image and reputation.
The small roasting companies in this area with whom we are in direct competition have taught us the importance of the service end of the coffee roasting business. It is not enough to produce a good coffee. It is imperative to pay close attention to the needs of the retailers, and to the consumer.
Valley Coffee Roasting Company has shown us how quickly a company can expand. They effectively canvassed the entire New England area. There is hardly a person in the New England area who has not heard of Valley Coffee. Valley was once the exclusive coffee drinkers' coffee, now you can get a cup in any Mobil Gas Station or convenience store in New England. The fallout from their indiscriminate expansion has given companies such as Venezia a new niche to fill. Venezia will offer a quality specialty coffee for retailers catering to a more sophisticated and informed audience. In light of the rapidly expanding specialty coffee market and although there are several coffee roasters in the immediate area there still remains a void Venezia can fill. Our goal is to produce a consistent high quality product and provide our customers with reliable, friendly, and expedient service. We want to protect our image and so we will be discerning about the establishments with whom we will do business. We will have written guidelines to ensure that our image is that of a reliable coffee roaster. Venezia will operate as an environmentally and socially responsible company. We will use an afterburner in the roasting process to reduce air pollutants, a step which none of the aforementioned local competitors have taken. We will recycle and re-use any product possible in producing and shipping our coffee. We will not compromise on quality to reduce costs, that would defeat our mission.
Venezia plans a controlled, and methodical, growth process. In our gradual growth we will be able to fully integrate each new business into ours with as much attention as may be needed without having to sacrifice service to the existing accounts. It has been to our benefit to watch Valley Coffee Roasting Company expand too quickly and show us the downside of unbridled growth.
Capital Equipment List
Breakdown of Variable and Fixed Costs
Monthly Breakdown of Cost of Goods Year One
*Raw Bean Quotes Given as of Sept. 1, 1994
Colombian Supremo 154 lb. bag $2.50 lb. Total $385.00 Costa Rican 132 lb. bag $2.63 lb total $347.00 Ethiopian 132 lb bag $3.25 lb Total $429.00 Kenya AA 154 lb bag $2.85 lb Total $440.00 Sumatra Mandehling 132 lb bag $3.30 lb Total $435.00 Decaf Colombian (Meth. Chlor.) 132 lb bag $2.66 lb Total $351.00 Decaf Costa Rican (Meth. Chlor.) 132 lb bag $3.03 lb Total $400.00 Decaf Sumatra Mandehling (Swiss Water) 132 lb bag $3.42 lb Total $452.00
Monthly Breakdown of Bags, Labels and Flavorings — Year One
1/21b Bags = .26, 1 lb Bags = .32, 5 lb Bags = .35, Labels = .06
Pricing Analysis - Calculating the Break-Even
S = FC + VC
FC = Fixed Costs in Dollars VC = Variable costs in Dollars X = Projected pounds sold $6.50 = Average pound selling price
Calculating Break-Even For Year One
S=FC/GM Where GM= Gross Margin Expressed As A Percentage of Sales
Cost of Unit ($6.50 - VC of Unit ($2.83)=Gross Margin Per Unit ($3.67)
(17,084) ($6.50)=$111,047.00=Break-Even Dollar Sales
* Note: a 5% increase due to an estimated 5% increase in cost of goods in year two.
Calculating Break-Even For Year Two
S=FC/GM Where GM = Gross Margin Expressed As A Percentage of Sales
Cost of Unit ($6.50) - VC Per Pound ($3.00)=Gross Margin Per Unit ($3.50)
Break-Even lbs. = FC $63,668.00= 18,191
Gross Margin Per Unit $3.50
Break-Even Sales in Dollars=(18,191) ($6.50)=$118,241.00
Venezia Monthly Sales Projections in Dollars
Income Statement Three Year Summary
* Includes Pre-Start-Up
Explanation of Categories
Cost of Goods = Raw Beans + Pick-Up Charges + Bags + Labels + Flavorings Rent/Utilities/Insurance = Rent + Electric + Water + Telephone + Gas + Fuel + Health Insurance + Car Insurance + Business I Professional Services = Legal + Accounting + Maintenance + Outside Services Taxes + Federal + Medicare + Social Security + State + Other Interest and bank loan is based on a $56,000.00 loan at 10% over seven years. Operating Expenses = Supplies Capital Purchases = Roaster + Brewers + Grinders + Scales + Heat Sealer + Delivery Vehicle + Computer Miscellaneous = Subscriptions + Start-Up Costs Information On Worker's Compensation Class Code # 8006; Sale of coffee, tea or groceries Per $100.00 of Payroll = $4.67 Also add 20% surcharge For year three one part time employee at $7.00/hour 20/hours/week with surcharge = $632.00
Employee #1 = Managerial/delivery/sales position
Employee #2 = Production
Employee #3 = Delivery/sales position
Employee #4 = Production position
Employee #5 = Bookkeeping/administrative position
Employee #6 = Production position
Anticipated Estimated Sales In Pounds Per Week and Month Year One
Balance Sheet Month One Year One
Balance Sheet Month Twelve Year One
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Coffee Roasting Business Plan Example
Do you want to start a coffee roasting business?
Starting a coffee roasting business is one of the best decisions you can ever make given the increasing popularity of coffee uptake. According to statistics from the National Coffee Association, the number of Americans consuming coffee has reached the peak since 2012. Figures indicate over 64% of Americans aged 18 and above have a cup of coffee on a daily basis with a further increase expected which is attributed to the popularity of gourmet drinks. A business plan coffee roaster is a superb business idea that is poised for success so long you plan adequately. Coffee roasting is more than just a business, it’s an art. Being passionate about your craft and having a good business plan coffee roaster is the secret to succeeding in this business.
2.1 the business.
The coffee roasting business will be registered as Blonch Coffee and will be located in Harlem neighborhood of New York City. The business will be managed by Maria Rodriguez who is a professional and licensed Q Grader.
2.2 Management Team
Maria Rodriguez, Owner and Proprietor of Blonch Coffee is a licensed and experienced Q Grader with extensive experience in the U.S coffee industry. Prior to starting coffee roasting business , Maria worked for high profile coffee brands across the United States and participated in numerous local, regional and international coffee tasting events.
2.3 Customer Focus
In order for the business plan coffee roaster to succeed, Maria has carefully studied the market and relied on her vast industry experience to come up with an appropriate approach that Blonch Coffee will use to reach out to the target market.
2.4 Business Target
Before starting her own business plan coffee roaster , Rodriguez did extensive market research coupled with her intricate knowledge of the business to identify the right business target. The key is to find creative marketing approaches to effectively reach out to the customer target.
3.1 company owner.
Maria Rodriguez is an experienced Q Grader whose successful career in the coffee making and tasting industry spans over two decades. Having worked for various top brands across the U.S. and participated in high profile events, Maria definitely has what it takes and hands-on skills of how to start a coffee roasting business .
3.2 Aim of Starting the Business
The coffee culture is constantly evolving for this reason, the demand for roasted coffee has increased significantly. Not only is coffee taken as a daily beverage, specialty coffees have now become the norm. Discerning coffee lovers are keen on quality coffee which lays a huge emphasis on how people drink and perceive coffee. To be part of this new exciting culture change, Maria Rodriguez thought of starting a coffee bean business that adopts a unique and transformational approach of coffee roasting.
3.3 How the Business will be Started
With over 20 years of experience in the coffee industry, Maria Rodriguez has a deep understanding of emerging coffee roasting trends and customer expectations. Given her involvement in the industry on a day-to-day basis, she knows what is required to start a successful business plan coffee roaster . To actualize her plan, Maria has worked closely with a team of experienced financial experts to formulate a comprehensive financial analysis and business plan coffee roaster that will guide the entire setup and operation of the business.
Services for Customers
Blonch Coffee has specialized in sourcing, roasting, packaging and organizing delivery for uniquely customized and specialized coffee products. The business offers a wide array of blended and roasted coffees which have been prepared from different kinds of coffee beans. Starting a coffee roasting company poised for success depends on how well blending is done for various kinds of beans.
Blonch Roasters intends to offer a wide range of coffee specialties which include:
- Bistro Blend
- Espresso and Decaf Espresso
- African Roast
- French Roast
Marketing Analysis of Coffee Roasting Business
Coffee is the second most popular traded commodity in the world after oil. The worldwide coffee retail market is a whopping $56 billion industry. Nowadays, coffee consumers prefer taking high-grade coffees with increased focus on quality and unique blending of beans. In the U.S. the coffee market industry has reached unprecedented levels of growth and for this reason, Blonch Coffee plans to rely on an objective coffee roasting business plan to set up its operations. To succeed in this business plan coffee roaster , extensive market analysis has been carried out to identify opportunities available to support business growth. Studying local trends and having a deep understanding of the local coffee roasting market will help Blonch to strategically position its brand.
5.1 Market Segment
In order for Blonch Coffee to achieve its targets, the coffee roasting business will focus on offering various kinds of products and services. Identifying the targeted customer segments is an important step Blonch Coffee has to deal with before as part of the plans to start coffee roasting business . After identifying the right market segment, the business plan coffee roaster can then come up with creative marketing strategy for business in order to woo customers.
5.1.1 Coffee Brewing Premises
One of the largest potential customers for Blonch Coffee is coffee brewing facilities which heavily rely on coffee products on a daily basis to serve their customers. These customers buy roasted coffee beans for the purposes of preparing and selling coffee and espresso drinks. This category includes Coffee Shops , Restaurants, drive-through and Bakeries. With the increasing uptake of coffee, selling directly to various coffee businesses is a sure way of boosting revenues for the coffee roasting business. Because these businesses require coffee products on a daily basis, this is a lucrative market Blonch Coffee must make an effort to reach out to.
To start a successful coffee roasting business, you cannot afford to ignore the corporate market which is one of the biggest consumers of coffee products. New York City is a corporate and financial hub with thousands of organizations plying their trade in the city. Office coffee is a popular trend in offices and Blonch Coffee is positioned in a strategic New York neighborhood with easy connections to New York’s Financial District whether a majority of corporates have their offices. Aside from catering for offices, other institutions include schools, hospitals and factories among others.
5.1.3 Retail Specialty Shops
Coffee is a popular item that is stocked in various gourmet and gift shops. People nowadays love and appreciate coffee products as gifts which creates a great opportunity for Blonch Coffee to make unique products that are attractive to retailers focusing on selling specialty and gourmet coffee.
5.1.4 Mail Order
Mail Order coffee is increasing in popularity as many people now order for coffee online. This is an incredible way of boosting revenue for Blonch Coffee as the business can produce coffee for shipping to various places across the U.S. and worldwide. When you start your own coffee roasting business , you must be willing to go beyond the traditional market.
5.1.5 Grocery Stores
Grocery stores buy beans from coffee roasters in bulk for the purposes of resale or prepackaging to their customers. Unlike coffee shops, grocery stores don’t prepare coffee drinks for their customers.
5.2 Business Target
Blonch Coffee has an excellent opportunity to offer its services in the greater New York area thanks to the changing perceptions about coffee. New York is a large city with many coffee bean roasting business establishments, but that doesn’t prevent Blonch Coffee from making an impact. Using a diversified product range and a good business plan coffee roaster , the business hopes to realize an annual sales increase of 20-30% per annum.
5.3 Product Pricing
Before coming up with product prices, Blonch Coffee has carried out an extensive market research that takes into account the prices of competitors. In order to stay afloat, the business has carefully priced its products to compete favorably.
With the right marketing strategies in place, Blonch Coffee has an exceptional chance to appeal to customers and consistently grow revenue margins. Each marketing strategy is aimed at reaching the target customers with awesome products that exceed client expectations. When planning how to start coffee roasting business , there must be an effective marketing strategy in place in order to remain relevant in a fast growing industry.
6.1 Competitive Analysis
Blonch Coffee plans to come up with a business model that will effectively guide its day-to-day operations and ensure customer expectations are fully met. Even though there are numerous coffee roasting businesses in New York, Maria Rodriguez knows how to start a coffee roasting business and put in place the right mechanisms to remain ahead of competitors.
6.2 Sales Strategy
For Blonch Coffee to meet its sales and revenue goals, the following strategies will be implemented to help advertise the business.
- Print Advertising Campaigns is one of the most effective sales strategies that reaches out to a mass target audience. The business intends to print brochures and put advertisements in local dailies as well as local coffee trade publications and journals. By doing this, the local community is made aware about the coffee roasting business.
- Get the word out and organize an opening party to introduce the business to customers and industry stakeholders. A cupping event is ideal as it allows guests to taste, compare and analyze different varieties of coffee. This is a perfect opportunity for prospective customers to sample what Blonch Coffee has to offer.
- Digital advertising is the new kid on the block. Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram among others are excellent ways of sending out word about the coffee roasting business. Online advertising such as Google Ads allow for localized advertising which is aimed at the local target.
- Attend industry related trade shows and exhibitions with an aim of marketing the coffee roasting business. This is an effective sales strategy that connects the business with right people who will be instrumental in growing revenue margins.
6.3 Sales Forecast
To achieve its goals, Blonch Coffee has come up with a sales forecast to show the coffee roasting business intends to meet its financial goals. Using a comprehensive business plan coffee roaster , the business knows which areas to focus on to achieve financial success.
In order to realize its goals, Blonch Coffee intends to hire a team of qualified and experienced staff to manage day-to-day operations of the business. How to start a coffee roasting company and run it successfully depends on the caliber of staff hired. A good business plan coffee roaster should incorporate a personnel budget to enable the business plan coffee roaster know how much will be spent on salaries.
7.1 Personnel Plan
To effectively run business operations, Maria Rodriguez who is the Owner and Proprietor of Blonch Coffee will be in charge of running the coffee roasting business on a daily basis. To ensure smooth running of the business plan coffee roaster , the following staff will be employed in various departments.
- Business Development and Sales Manager
- 2 Support Staff
- 1 Admin Assistant
- 1 Shipping Executive
Successful applicants will undergo training to familiarize themselves with business plan coffee roaster operations.
7.2 Average Salaries
Blonch Coffee plans to pay its staff the following salaries within the first three years of operation.
Blonch Coffee has come up with a comprehensive financial plan that will be instrumental in driving success and business growth. In this business plan coffee roaster of how to start coffee roasting , Maria Rodriguez will use her savings to start the business but will be assisted by two investors. In addition, a business plan for a bank loan will be secured to help finance the budget deficit to meet expenses. For a business to be successful, there must be a good plan to guide operations and finances. Below is key financial data for Blonch Coffee.
8.1 Important Assumptions
The financial forecast for Blonch Coffee is based on the assumptions below.
8.2 Brake-even Analysis
Blonch Coffee Brake-even analysis is illustrated in the graph below.
8.3 Projected Profit and Loss
Profit and Loss information for the coffee roasting business is calculated on a monthly and annual basis as shown below.
8.3.1 Monthly Profit
8.3.2 Yearly Profit
8.3.3 Monthly Gross Margin
8.3.4 Yearly Gross Margin
8.4 Projected Cash Flow
Below is a summary of Pro forma cash flow, subtotal cash spent, subtotal cash received, subtotal cash spent on operations and subtotal cash from operations.
8.5 Projected Balance Sheet
Below is a Projected Balance Sheet for Blonch Coffee that shows capital, assets, liabilities, current liabilities and long term assets.
8.6 Business Ratios
The following is the Ratio Analysis, Business Ratios and Business Net Worth for Blonch Coffee.
Download Coffee Roasting Business Plan Sample in pdf
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How to Start a Profitable Roasting Business | Bellwether Coffee
Is Coffee Roasting Profitable? How to Start a Coffee Roasting Business and Make a Profit
- Research on average profit margins for roasters vs cafes
- What to expect for startup costs (+ how to save big in the beginning)
- Reasonable expectations for coffee roasting ROI
- How to start a coffee roasting business
A Breakdown of Coffee Roasting Profit Margins
- Coffee retailers (shops and cafes) have a solid average gross margin on each item sold (54%), but the added expenses of operating a retail location make it the least profitable business model of the bunch (6.86% profit).
- Roaster retailers roast and serve their own brand of coffee, naturally giving them the highest gross margin on each item sold (65%) and a relatively high profit margin (8.79%).
- Wholesale‑focused roasters have the lowest gross margin (44%), but they also experience significantly higher sales ($750,000 annual) due to large, frequent, and long‑term customer relationships.
- At the end of the day, roasters who offer both wholesale and retail locations fared the best when it comes to business profit margins‑by a wide margin‑at 11.92%.
Startup Costs: How Much Does a Coffee Roaster Cost?
Training, waste, and hidden costs of roasting, coffee: how much do green coffee beans cost, how to price roasted coffee beans, cost breakdown: wholesale coffee per pound, cost breakdown: retail coffee per 12 oz bag, traditional vs bellwether roasters: a profitability comparison.
- All electric, no gas. The Bellwether coffee roasting machine plugs directly into a standard outlet. No gas line installation means you can put it anywhere (no extra warehouse space needed!).
- No ventilation required. You can start roasting without installing ventilation and an afterburner, or waiting on permits from local health departments.
- Create revenue before you train. Coffees sourced in the Green Coffee Marketplace come with roast profiles created by our in‑house industry veterans that you can download and use right out of the box. Rather than needings months of training and waste, you can start selling high‑quality coffee immediately, then learn to develop your own roast curves over time (while you're already generating revenue).
- Risk‑free green buying. Don't spend months figuring out how to even evaluate and purchase unroasted beans. Our green coffee team has decades of experience sourcing quality beans from reputable farm partners. Each coffee includes transparent reporting, quality assurance, and marketing materials.
The Verdict: Is Coffee Roasting Profitable?
How to start a coffee roasting business, create a business plan, define your coffee roaster brand and target audience, prepare to launch your coffee roasting business, market your roasting business, sign up for our newsletter.
Coffee Roasting Business Plan in Just Seven Words
Fifty years ago, when most people in the U.S. could name only three or four coffee brands, large national companies competed with each other primarily on price and through advertising. For most people, the ground coffees from large roasters were nearly indistinguishable from each other. If the mega-roaster of that era had a seven-word coffee roasting business plan to support retailers, it might have been: “Listen to our jingle and compare prices.” Because they could not necessarily depend on the differentiating quality of their product at the time, roasters relied on surprisingly similar advertising.
It seems like every large coffee company, at one time or another, had a kind elderly character pitching their product. There was Cora, who owned a small general store where only one brand of coffee was on the shelf, and it was not only “good to the last drop,” but in the '50s and '60s it could apparently cause a coffee percolator to play a tune . There was a gray haired, mustachioed coffee bean buyer pitching a coffee that had a wide variety of jingles and tag lines over the years, but most frequently consumers were encouraged to “head for the hills,” because the coffee was “richer, stronger, outlast longer.” There is nothing in the record to explain what that means. Perhaps the queen of elderly coffee pitch women was Mrs. Olson , everyone’s Swedish neighbor, who rescued countless housewives by instructing them to serve coffee that was mountain grown, which everybody knows is the richest kind and, “the best part of waking up.”
For decades, the apparent centerpiece of the coffee retail and coffee roasting business plan was advertising aimed at housewives. Sometimes hapless, sometimes cunning, sometimes keeping her eye on the Joneses, always loving and eager to please even the most critical and whinny husband, the housewives featured in coffee advertising wanted nothing more than to make a good cup of coffee and everybody happy at the same time.
While these ads may seem as quaint to us now as advertising from 1917 might have looked to the “Mad Men” of 1967, these brands remain strong and are still a significant presence in the coffee world. Aside from the outdated social norms depicted in these ads and commercials, what stands out is how hard they were all working to sell coffee in the same way, using the same words and scenarios. The coffee was always “rich.” This seems so foreign to today’s specialty coffee roasters because they recognize there are many ways to differentiate one company from another apart from price and a clever jingle. Even the large coffee brands who gave us all those fretting housewives years ago have invested in quality and diversification within their product lines, to the extent that one can no longer say the only thing distinguishing one big company from another is their tag line and the color of their packaging.
Today, Roasters are Differentiating Beyond the Packaging
It has taken years for the idea to take root in the public mind, but even the most uninterested coffee drinker now knows that coffee is not a commodity that varies only slightly from brand to brand, but a highly differentiated product. Along with this increased awareness among consumers, and not unrelated to it, has come an increase in the number of companies roasting coffee over the 30 years since Mrs. Olson retired from giving neighborly advice, and most dramatically over the last 15 years. Even as the roasting industry experiences some consolidation and relatively smallish roasters become part of larger beverage companies, their brands and operations remain intact as part of a diversified coffee universe.
Want to explore green Colombian Coffee?
With so many companies roasting coffee in a retail setting, seemingly one in every neighborhood in some cities, how can they compete, especially in a market where an increase in overall consumption is apparently driven primarily by population growth, at least in the United States? In 1966, the year Mrs. Olson first knocked on our door with the ever-present can of coffee in her bag, 109 million adults were drinking coffee on any given day - about 72% of the adult population. Today, 205 million adults drink coffee on any given day, or 62% of the adult population. If we had not lost 10% of the population as regular coffee drinkers, the number of adults drinking coffee on any given day would be 238 million today. That’s approximately 70 million more cups a day at the current daily cups per capita.
The good news is, the specialty coffee sector can be credited with bringing coffee consumption out of a deep valley. In the 40 years between 1954 and 1994, regular coffee consumption among adults dropped from 78% to 47%, but then began to climb again, albeit with some volatility due to a variety of economic conditions and changes in research methodology.
Due in large part to the rise of the specialty coffee roasting and retail sectors, we understand that coffee quality (and so, coffee marketing) is not an “us or them” proposition. There are not only many different coffees between good enough coffee and amazing coffee ,but there are also many different coffee drinkers and each coffee drinker may have different preferences at different times and places. Every coffee has a market, the saying goes. And every market requires coffee that meets its needs and therefore roasters who can serve some or many segments of the coffee quality continuum.
Nevertheless, this fanning out of coffee consumption niches, and the stunning growth of coffee retail, continues to create more and more coffee roasters. For some, the answer to competing in this environment is to be unique, different from all the rest, to rise above using every tactic imaginable, from clever graphics to unique and oblique coffee taste descriptors. Roast darker. Roast lighter. Offer discounts on equipment. Supply no equipment whatsoever. Buy award winning green coffee. Buy coffee from farms nobody else buys from or countries nobody knew grew coffee . Roast a wide variety of coffee at a wide variety of price points . Roast only a small selection of expensive coffees that score above 90.
All of these decisions and others like them matter at some level and yet it would be difficult in most instances to draw a straight line from any one of them to business growth. As necessary as all these tactical business and branding decisions are, a specialty coffee roaster has no business trying to hang their hat on any of them.
The 7-Word Coffee Shopping Business Plan
The strategy, the seven-word coffee shop plan for roasters that can inform and inspire these decisions and a dozen others, from the mundane to the most complex, every single day, is simple. But first, the boring stuff. For those who are just starting out we should touch some business basics, actionable steps you can take when creating your coffee roasting business plan, and those include:
- 1. Plan your business. Create a business plan and consider all factors such as costs/budget, target market, ongoing expenses, profitability, etc.
- 2. Take care of the legal and tax stuff. This includes setting up your business structure (are you a sole proprietorship? LLC? Partnership?) as well as applying for an EIN for state and federal taxes.
- 3. Get your finances in order. Open a business banking account and apply for a business credit card. This will make it easy to stay organized come tax time.
- 4. You’ll need proper permits and licenses, too. The health department keeps a close eye on food and beverage-related businesses.
- 5. Make sure you have business insurance. This is required to legally operate your business
- 6. Advertise and market your business! Tell people who you are, what you do, and why they should believe in your business by building a top-notch website, frequently updating social media channels, getting good reviews on sites like Google and Yelp, and taking out digital and print ads.
Now, back to the seven-word coffee roasting business plan, which is …
“Meet our people and taste our coffee.”
There are many things to get right as a specialty coffee roaster retailer, but those who make every effort to ensure these two experiences are memorable before everything else are working at an advantage above those who seek uniqueness for uniqueness sake. You can have an award winning logo, hire Don Draper to make a coffee pot sing, but if your coffee and your people aren’t right, it won’t matter, not in specialty coffee.
Moreover, your people are the only part of your business that is guaranteed to be always and utterly unique. Nobody else has them. That’s why, at Covoya Specialty Coffee, we value every variety — and every customer. Our seven-word business plan depends on it.
Explore our coffee and see pricing when you sign up for free!
Purchasing Wholesale Green Coffee Beans: Here’s What You Need to Know
So, You Want to Be a Wholesale Coffee Roaster
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How to Start a Coffee Roasting Business: 9 Steps to Success
Coffee beans are actually the pit of coffee cherries. They’re green, hard and un-brewable in their raw state. A coffee roasting business roasts green coffee beans to light (city), medium (full city) and dark (full city+) roast levels so that they can be brewed. Roasters may sell their roasted coffee directly to individuals, or through coffee shops, grocers and other retailers. If you want to find out how to start a successful coffee roastery business, this article covers the basics you'll need to know, from crafting a business plan, to startup costs, to common business licenses required in the coffee industry.
Recommended : Read our full, in-depth How to Start a Coffee Shop Business guides, inspired by coffee professionals, they will help make your coffee dreams real, from sourcing beans to hiring baristas, choosing the best POS system , forming an actual company, and everything in between.
Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services .
Learn how to start your own Coffee Roasting Business and whether it is the right fit for you.
Start a coffee roasting business by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Coffee Roasting Business
- Form your Coffee Roasting Business into a Legal Entity
- Register your Coffee Roasting Business for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Coffee Roasting Business
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Coffee Roasting Business
- Get Coffee Roasting Business Insurance
- Define your Coffee Roasting Business Brand
- Create your Coffee Roasting Business Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your coffee roasting business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas .
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
How much can you charge customers?
What will you name your business.
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a coffee roasting business?
The startup costs associated with opening a coffee roasting business are significant. In addition to commercial space, business owners must also purchase:
- A coffee roaster, which can cost up to $25,000 or more
- Green coffee, which usually costs ~$3.00 to $4.50 per pound but is bought in large bags (e.g. 50-kilogram (110-pound) sacks)
- Packaging supplies (a few cents per bag or box)
- A POS system
- Labels (a few cents each)
- A heat sealer, which may cost anywhere from $30 to $300 or more
- A coffee grinder, which might cost between $500 and $1,000
Businesses will also need a computer and internet access to accept orders, and a vehicle to make deliveries.
There are two ways that business owners who have limited capital can significantly reduce their startup costs.
First, business owners can “contract roast.” In contract roasting, a business pays a rental fee to use a more established roaster’s facilities. The roaster of the established company may also be involved in the roasting process. The roasted coffee is sold under the renting roaster’s brand, regardless of whether another roaster is involved. This solution not only greatly reduces startup expenses, as there’s no need to purchase a roaster, heat sealer or coffee grinder, and it lets inexperienced business owners lean on the expertise of more experienced roasters.
Alternatively, roasters can start with lower-priced equipment. Driftaway Coffee is an established commercial roaster that roasted its first commercial batches with a Behmor 1600 -- a roaster that’s marketed to hobbyists and typically sells for far less than $1,000. Businesses can also purchase less-expensive grinders and heat sealers.
What are the ongoing expenses for a coffee roasting business?
The ongoing expenses for a coffee roasting business include:
- Purchasing green coffee
- Purchasing fuel for the roaster (which may use propane, natural gas, electricity or another fuel source)
- Buying packaging supplies
- Rent and utility costs
- POS System monthly/annual fee
- Employees’ wages
- Shipping and delivery costs
- Equipment service calls
Who is the target market?
A coffee roasting business’ ideal customer is a business that sells a lot of specialty coffee. Coffee shops, certain grocery stores and a few boutiques may go through a lot of coffee. While these types of wholesale customers won’t pay as much as individuals who pay retail prices, wholesale customers provide a more stable income stream.
How does a coffee roasting business make money?
A coffee roasting business makes money by selling roasted coffee to individuals (retail) and businesses (wholesale).
Retail prices for roasted coffee are often between $12 and $20 for 12-ounce bags. Wholesale prices are often $6 to $12 per pound. The quality of coffee is one of the main factors that determine where within these ranges a roaster’s prices fall. (A few roasters have prices outside of these ranges.)
Lots of roasters offer retail bags in sizes other than 12 ounces, but most roasters use 12-ounce bags as their main retail package. They do this because about 25 percent of green coffee’s weight is lost in the roasting process, so 1 pound of green coffee becomes approximately 12 ounces of roasted coffee. Prices can be varied based on the reports generated by the POS system . If there is a significant demand for a product, the price may be increased.
How much profit can a coffee roasting business make?
A coffee roasting business’ profit potential depends on how many outlets into which it can get its coffee. A roaster that has coffee in lots of retail locations may earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more, each year. However, many don’t make quite this much, but bring in closer to tens of thousands of dollars annually.
How can you make your business more profitable?
A coffee roasting business can increase its coffee sales and add additional revenue streams by opening up its own coffee shops.
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Coffee Roasting Business Name Generator
If you operate a sole proprietorship , you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.
When registering a business name , we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability .
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
Find a Domain Now
Powered by godaddy.com, step 2: form a legal entity.
The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship , partnership , limited liability company (LLC) , and corporation .
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your coffee roasting business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You
Two such reliable services:
You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services . You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
- Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
- LLC vs Corporation
- LLC vs S Corp
- How to Start an S Corp
- S Corp vs C Corp
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil .
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Open net 30 accounts
Net 30 accounts are used to establish and build business credit as well as increase business cash flow. With a net 30 account, businesses buy goods and repay the full balance within a 30-day term.
NetMany net 30 credit vendors report to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended : Read our best net 30 vendors , guide and start building business credit.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from Divvy and build your business credit quickly.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Establishments that prepare or work with food are randomly inspected by the local health department on a regular basis. These inspections will check for compliance with local health laws, typically related to prevention of contamination. Here are some tips for faring well on a health inspection .
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses .
For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources
Certificate of Occupancy
A coffee roasting business is generally run out of a regulated location (e.g. Any location that passes a local health Inspection). Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location for Coffee Roasting
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a coffee roasting business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
Fair Trade Certification
In order to be qualified under an Fair Trade certification , the company must submit to fair trade supply chain audits as well as paying fair trade price premiums for the quality of bean supplied.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance . This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance .
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance . If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
Recommended: Learn what business insurance for your Coffee Roasting Business will cost.
Business Insurance for Coffee Roasting Business
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners , we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
Recommended : Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker .
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator . Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market a coffee roasting business
One of the most effective ways of marketing a coffee roasting business is by offering cuppings. Cuppings are professional coffee tastings, and they provide a great opportunity for potential customers to connect with a roaster and learn more about their coffee.
How to keep customers coming back
A coffee roasting business must be able to differentiate itself from other coffee roasters. A business might do this by:
- Specializing in a certain roast level or coffee from a specific region
- Purchasing coffee via direct trade and sharing the stories of farmers who grew the coffee
- Supporting initiatives by providing exclusively Fair Trade, Organic Certified or Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee
In addition to these strategies, coffee roasting businesses should also emphasize providing freshly roasted coffee. Coffee loses aroma and flavor over time, so freshly roasted coffee tastes better than older, stale coffee. Many roasters state the roast date on their bags to show that the coffee inside has been recently roasted.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business .
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides , the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
Recommended : Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders .
Other popular website builders are: WordPress , WIX , Weebly , Squarespace , and Shopify .
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
Start a Coffee Roasting Business in your State
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Is this Business Right For You?
People who are considering opening a coffee roasting business should be creative, and also passionate about coffee. Creativity helps when coming up with new blends, which requires combining different coffees in unique ways and also inventing blend names.
Additionally, roasters should be comfortable with basic scientific concepts. Roasters don’t need a formal degree in science, but they should be comfortable with biology, physics and chemistry because roasting coffee involves each of these fields:
- Choosing good coffees requires a knowledge of growing conditions, cultivars and varieties of coffee beans (biology)
- Selecting and setting up a roaster requires an appreciation for thermodynamics (physics)
- Deciding which roast profiles are suitable for each coffee requires an understanding of how the heat applied in roasting affects the chemical structure of coffee beans (chemistry)
It’s also helpful if roasters are comfortable multitasking. Roasting a single batch of coffee takes between 10 and 15 minutes. In order to maximize efficiency, roasters often complete other tasks while batches are roasting -- but they must still keep an eye on any coffee that’s roasting to ensure it’s roasted properly.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a coffee roasting business?
As a coffee roasting business owner, you’ll spend a lot of time roasting and packaging coffee. In a typical day, you may:
- Sort and weigh green (unroasted) coffee out into batches (often 5 to 20 pounds)
- Roast batches of coffee
- Sort and weigh roasted coffee into retail and wholesale packages (often 12-ounce and 5-pound bags)
- Accept and fulfill orders using a POS system
- Clean the roastery
Deliveries to wholesale customers are often made weekly.
At least monthly, and perhaps more often, you’ll receive shipments of green coffee and send invoices to wholesale customers.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful coffee roasting business?
Roasting coffee requires a lot of knowledge about coffee and the roasting process. Roasters should be familiar with everything from the cultivars of coffee and growing regions to how to cup coffee and when to increase heat during roasting.
Both the Roasters Guild and the Specialty Coffee Association of America offer classes on coffee and roasting.
Business owners who want to learn to roast coffee without paying for formal classes can apply to work as a profile roaster at an area coffee roasting company. Profile roasters don’t come up with new roasts, but they roast coffee according to the parameters set forth by a head roaster. This can be a good introduction to the fundamentals of roasting, especially if the head roaster is willing to teach and answer questions.
Sweet Marias , an online retailer of green coffee, also has a lot of free resources. These are targeted toward home roasters, but can also be beneficial to novice roasters who are exploring opening a commercial roastery.
What is the growth potential for a coffee roasting business?
A coffee roasting business can be a small, local business or it can be a large national company. Two large companies that both started as small roasteries include Starbucks, which sells its roasted coffee through its cafes and retailers, and Green Mountain Coffee, which doesn’t have cafes.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor.
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
How and when to build a team
As a coffee roasting business grows, there are four key positions to hire people for:
- Sales and marketing, which grows a roastery by seeking new customers
- Packaging, which packages up roasted coffee
- Delivery and customer service, which delivers packaged coffee and answers customers’ inquiries
- Profile roasting, which roasts coffee according to set parameters
The first three positions let you focus on finding new coffees, developing new blends and growing the business. Hiring a profile roaster ensures coffee will still be roasted if you become sick and provides you with an opportunity to take a vacation.
Get more ideas with our Business Ideas Generator .
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Real World Examples
- A Pioneer within the Coffee Roasting Industry
- How 3 Coffee Roasters Got Their Start
- Successful Small Batch Coffee Roasters
- To Roast or Not to Roast
- How to Start a Coffee Shop Business
- How to Break into the Coffee Roasting Business
- Making a Career in Coffee Roasting
- Tips When Starting a Coffee Roasting Business
- Tips from Professionals on Growing Your Coffee Roasting Business
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Perfect Daily Grind
Roaster Life: How to Market YOUR Coffee and Define a Business Plan
So you’ve been dreaming of setting up your own artisan coffee roastery – of a life full of that rich coffee aroma, of cupping specialty beans, of deciding exactly what kind of coffee you want to create, and getting paid for it .
Lee este artículo en español Tostadores: Cómo Comercializar Café & Definir un Plan de Negocios
Welcome to the final part of our series on how to do just that. We’ve taken you through the basic questions, we’ve given you advice on selecting your roaster, and now we’re ready to begin looking at the finer details of becoming a professional specialty coffee roaster. Of course, by this point you should have all your equipment set up and have sourced excellent coffee roasters beforehand.
1. Blends, Single Origins, or Something in Between?
If Hamlet were a coffee roaster, he may have said something like:
“To blend or not to blend – that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler to pursue the single origin
Avoiding generic blends and lure of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against the high street chains
And by opposing them – open minds to great coffee”
Yet there’s also a practical aspect to consider (and let’s be fair, things didn’t turn out too well for Hamlet in the end).
If you’re in a major urban area, with a developed third wave coffee culture, then you might get away with being a single-origin-only roaster. All those independents that pop up in big cities will be regularly seeking guest roasts so as to differentiate themselves. The single origin approach should also work great for online sales, markets, and food fairs.
Single origin or a blend? Both can have some unique characters.
However, for many roasters, market demands will probably leave you no choice but to offer a couple of blends . There are a lot of independent coffee shops out there who want a good, dependable, consistent blend that punches through milk – and you need to be able to accommodate that. We find that about 90% of our business is blends.
Blending is a huge area in itself. Be prepared to spend a lot of time developing your blends, including tasting samples of other blends you’ve ordered in; assembling different bean combinations; testing different roast degrees; and getting feedback from friends, family members, and potential customers.
Why not organize a cupping for friends, family, and coffee lovers? You might get valuable feedback on your roasting.
Offering a blend also has some drawbacks. You’ll need to secure a supply of coffee that keeps your blend tasting consistent. This means you’ll need to stay on top of coffee offer lists and utilise that research you did in part 1 ( you did do it, didn’t you? ) about the timing of coffee harvests. You will also need to make a financial commitment to contract the coffee, maybe looking as far ahead as 12 months. This is not for the faint-hearted.
SEE ALSO: How to Become an Artisan Coffee Roaster: The Basics
Now, there is a middle ground between single origin roasts and blending: seasonal blends . You might rotate three or four different blends over the course of a year. These have become increasingly popular with coffee shops, since it makes their offerings look fresh and their customers will appreciate this. It also keeps your contracting under control and will satisfy your need, as an artisan, to explore different coffees.
2. What’s Your Market Strategy?
The appetite for good-quality coffee continues to grow globally. This is great news for roasters, but it also comes with increased competition. So how will you be different? Where will your customers come from? And how will you persuade them to buy your coffee?
In other words, who are you targeting and what’s your USP?
You need to know this, and consistently convey your message across all mediums, right from the start. For example: Bean Smitten are dedicated to making speciality coffee more accessible, both at home and to independent coffee shops . That’s our message. And whatever you opt for, be unique, be unwavering, and be passionate. Get it right and people will identify with you and your brand – giving you that loyal following you need.
What’s your brand? Define your message and stick to it!
Let me just emphasise one part of that again: be consistent . Having made your pitch, stay true to it. If you claim to make the best espresso blend, you’d better make sure it really is the best. If you’re 100% Single Estate, then you need to select your coffees very carefully. Otherwise, you lose that all-important authenticity that people flock to.
3. Will You Partner with an Espresso Machine Supplier?
One of the things you’ll learn early on is how challenging it can be to sell to a business with an established coffee supply. It’s highly likely that they will have bought a package which included the machine, grinder, servicing, and a contract to supply coffee.
Now, personally, I don’t believe in contracting a customer into buying your coffee. It’s my opinion that an artisan coffee roaster should focus on the coffee and the customer should stay with that roaster because the coffee is good and the service is second to none. However, I did work in finance for many years and I know that the commercial reality can be quite different – especially because people like a “deal”.
You’ll soon realise that you need to capture prospective coffee shop and cafe owners when they’re formulating their plans. If you partner with a machine supplier, then you can offer them the full package of a coffee machine, servicing, and coffee. And if you think they’re going to sell a lot of coffee, maybe you can give them a discount on that machine.
What else do you want to offer? Or do you want to focus on roasting only?
It’s not enough to just offer a package, though. It has to be a competitive package. Remember that coffee machines represent a big investment for a coffee shop owner and so they will be looking at all the brands and all the options. Make sure you can offer some kind of leasing or rental option.
However, you may spend a lot of time chasing a deal that doesn’t come off. Be prepared for that and the inevitable question: would that time have been better spent canvassing for coffee sales? You’ll need to weigh this up for yourself.
4. What’s Your (Contingency) Plan?
In the beginning, you’ll need to be everyone: the marketer, the salesperson, the production controller, the administrator, the accountant, and the web designer. Make sure you’re both capable of and willing to do this. No matter what happens, there will be some late nights and early starts.
Also, make sure that you have a plan and a contingency plan. Schedule all your activities. Work out how you can fit them all into your day (and remember, there might be 24 hours in a day but you can’t work all of them).
And remember, your time is valuable. You want to be working on developing the business as much as possible and as effectively as possible. That means you being selective about how much time you spend on each task.
My tip for the early stages is to outsource at least one or two aspects. The key to this is choosing those areas where someone else is clearly better than you at it. For me, this was design and personal taxation matters. Then as the business develops you can outsource more.
Write down your daily schedule and make sure it’s backed up in case you need someone else to take over for a few days. Credit: kaboompics.com
Put some contingency plans in place, just in case you get ill. Create an emergency file containing all the important information, and start documenting your daily tasks in the form of procedure notes or flow charts. Get someone else trained up on the roaster as soon as possible, and carry a small reserve of coffee should your machine be out of action for a few days.
Finally, if you’re going solo on this, consider taking small steps rather than one giant leap. See if you can start your roastery business whilst still working at your old job; it will be tiring, but will offer you financial security and peace of mind.
Yet if we’ve made this sound impossible, don’t give up. With the right support from family, friends, and colleagues, you really can do it.
SEE ALSO: Micro Roaster: 7 Items to Consider When Choosing YOUR Roaster?
Becoming an artisan coffee roaster is a dream shared by many of us. The difference between dreaming of it and doing it is a little bit of a self-confidence, a lot of dedication, and a serious amount of preparation. While our three-part series won’t cover everything you need to know, it will help you through the major decisions. You’ll be informed, well-prepared, and ready to face most of your challenges.
So what are you waiting for?
Edited by T. Newton .
Perfect Daily Grind.
He used to count beans. Now he roasts them. Former finance exec is founder and head roaster at Bean Smitten.
Perfect Daily Grind Ltd, Webster Griffin, Brooklands Park, Farningham Road, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 2JD United Kingdom
Company registration no. 9673156
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