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  1. #1
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    Question Farmer's Market Roasting

    Hello All!

    I am looking to roast this season at local farmer's markets in CT and need some advice from anyone who has gone this route.

    • I am roasting at the market, will this be an additional draw? Or will it just consume my time?
    • How many 1lb bags should I expect to sell at events (on average)?
    • What sort of challenges should I expect in this venture?


    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Personally, I can't imagine trying to roast at the same time. If you have staff or someone else to run the table/booth while you are roasting that may be a little different story. I would think smoke would be an issue with the other vendors as well. Number of bags depends on the market - I would sell 20 bags on a slow day at one market / 60 bags at a busy market. Of course fees to vend also were significantly higher at the busy market. The biggest challenge for me was a) finding a market with power to run grinders/brewers b) finding one that is sheltered - with as much stuff as i brought it wasn't easy to break down quickly when a storm or bad weather hit otherwise you risk losing sales/spoilage if the weather goes south c) finding the right market that specialty coffee can fit in... one local market has such an older client base I sold very little. Whatever you do - treat the farmers good and it will pay off. I always had coffee at my table to sample... always gave the farmers free brewed coffee in trade for fruit/veggies. d) getting up at 5am to haul everything to a market becomes old. Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Musicphan View Post
    Personally, I can't imagine trying to roast at the same time. If you have staff or someone else to run the table/booth while you are roasting that may be a little different story. I would think smoke would be an issue with the other vendors as well. Number of bags depends on the market - I would sell 20 bags on a slow day at one market / 60 bags at a busy market. Of course fees to vend also were significantly higher at the busy market. The biggest challenge for me was a) finding a market with power to run grinders/brewers b) finding one that is sheltered - with as much stuff as i brought it wasn't easy to break down quickly when a storm or bad weather hit otherwise you risk losing sales/spoilage if the weather goes south c) finding the right market that specialty coffee can fit in... one local market has such an older client base I sold very little. Whatever you do - treat the farmers good and it will pay off. I always had coffee at my table to sample... always gave the farmers free brewed coffee in trade for fruit/veggies. d) getting up at 5am to haul everything to a market becomes old. Good luck!
    This was very helpful. Thanks musicphan!

  4. #4
    Seb
    Seb is offline
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    Most roasters are noisy, require constant attention and that mean having someone roasting and someone else taking care of your customers so financially it is not worthy. The smoke as mentionne above is a big problem! The wind can affect your roast too. I had one roaster that could have done this automatically that i sold. The CTE Solar roaster with the air filtration unit, perfect for this kind of event but it is electric so it require two 220V outlet! Honestly i do not see that as a high value, better to try saying that you have freshly roasted coffee and do some pour over to attract the visitors to go at your booth and while you prepare the coffee, you explain your business to them and try to sell them some bags. In a two days market last year i was able to sell 112 bags of coffee by offering a special for two bags. $12/340 or $20 for two bags and almost everyone where buying two. If you can sell drinks this is even more profits. Here some markets i can't and some yes, better of course when i can offer everything.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.GreenBean View Post
    Hello All!

    I am looking to roast this season at local farmer's markets in CT and need some advice from anyone who has gone this route.

    • I am roasting at the market, will this be an additional draw? Or will it just consume my time?
    • How many 1lb bags should I expect to sell at events (on average)?
    • What sort of challenges should I expect in this venture?


    Thanks!
    Hello Mr. GreenBean,

    If I were exploring a Farmer's Market, and I came upon a vendor who was selling roasted coffee, I wouldn't expect to see him actually roasting the coffee on site. And if he were to be roasting, I would question the quality of the end product, because of all of the factors that go into roasting the coffee and all of the things that can go wrong. Unless you're in an enclosed location, the temperature, humidity, wind, and especially dust and dirt flying around the market would be a big turn off for me.

    Instead, I would look for a clean, nicely displayed booth that has tables full of rows or bins of half-pound or one-pound bags of freshly roasted coffee (roast date on the bag.) I would prefer to buy half-pound bags of several kinds of roasted coffee, instead of a full pound of something that I may or may not like. That way, I could go home and try several kinds of coffee, and then go back the next week and buy more.

    I know someone who used to sell roasted coffee at Farmer's Markets - along with cups of brewed coffee. It got to the point where packing up (and breaking down) the setup for the brewed coffee and keeping an inventory of cups, sweeteners, milk, etc. to go along with it wasn't working for him. It was just too much work for a small amount of profit. He eventually switched his game-plan, and just had a booth displaying bags of roasted coffee (roast date on the bag) and he did quite well for many summer seasons - until the Farmer's market went out of business, and that was the end of that.

    Rose

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Mr Green Bean I don't think there is any added value at a farmers market to roast on site. Too many factors to tend to. If you wanted to you can have a nice display of your roasting set up etc very nice pictures etc to show where the coffee actually gets roasted. A date on the bag will always help and make sure you source very good green. Where in CT is the market located? I worked in Greenwich for 3+ years and they have one near the train station off exit 3 via i95.

    Good Luck!

  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    [QUOTE=JoeConiglioArmenia;101849]Mr Green Bean I don't think there is any added value at a farmers market to roast on site. Too many factors to tend to. If you wanted to you can have a nice display of your roasting set up etc very nice pictures etc to show where the coffee actually gets roasted. A date on the bag will always help and make sure you source very good green. Where in CT is the market located? I worked in Greenwich for 3+ years and they have one near the train station off exit 3 via i95.

    Thanks JoeConiglio... I am looking at the Old Saybrook Farmers market. I was definitely going "date on bag" route. I just see a novelty to roasting on site that will tap into the enthusiast/image seeking consumer market. Yes... I know the beans must gas off for a day or two for peak taste, but 99% of the consumers do not. Perhaps comparing sales from a few roast days with a few non-roast days is all I need as proof.

  8. #8
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    CT
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkRose View Post
    Hello Mr. GreenBean,

    If I were exploring a Farmer's Market, and I came upon a vendor who was selling roasted coffee, I wouldn't expect to see him actually roasting the coffee on site. And if he were to be roasting, I would question the quality of the end product, because of all of the factors that go into roasting the coffee and all of the things that can go wrong. Unless you're in an enclosed location, the temperature, humidity, wind, and especially dust and dirt flying around the market would be a big turn off for me.

    Instead, I would look for a clean, nicely displayed booth that has tables full of rows or bins of half-pound or one-pound bags of freshly roasted coffee (roast date on the bag.) I would prefer to buy half-pound bags of several kinds of roasted coffee, instead of a full pound of something that I may or may not like. That way, I could go home and try several kinds of coffee, and then go back the next week and buy more.

    I know someone who used to sell roasted coffee at Farmer's Markets - along with cups of brewed coffee. It got to the point where packing up (and breaking down) the setup for the brewed coffee and keeping an inventory of cups, sweeteners, milk, etc. to go along with it wasn't working for him. It was just too much work for a small amount of profit. He eventually switched his game-plan, and just had a booth displaying bags of roasted coffee (roast date on the bag) and he did quite well for many summer seasons - until the Farmer's market went out of business, and that was the end of that.

    Rose
    Thank you. I appreciate the feedback with a friend's best practices as an example. This is the best form of feedback. Since there is a coffee shop in the vicinity of this market, I can not sell cups of coffee. So that was not an option right out of the gates.

    Also, one thing that I did not state on my original post was that I would be roasting/bagging most of my beans before the market, and only doing a few pounds throughout the day at the market for image purposes. Smoke would be minimal with my custom shop vac bean cooler that has a filter.

    Nonetheless, I still have to find a commercial kitchen by this weekend. So there is still hurdles to jump between now and market season.

  9. #9
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    I think it definitely a huge benefit if you can roast onsite. The smell would draw people in. Is it a pain in the ass to lug it around? Sure but so many people have never experienced coffee being roasted and think you would draw a crowd! Good luck and let us know how you do. As for degassing. I have people come in the roastery and buy fresh coffee from me. When I tell them they can't drink it for 2 days so it can degass they light up knowing they have the freshest coffee around.
    "Wine is for aging, not coffee."
    Ken Hutchinson, Starsky and Hutch

  10. #10
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    CT
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    Much appreciated topher!

 

 
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