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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Your First Roasting Location

    I'm just setting up a new roasting business. I have everything lined up but the location. I was going to start this out of my garage but food regulations here will not allow that. So here I am looking for a small location (very small as this is all I can afford). Where did you start out? When and how did you expand?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    I started out in a small 16x 16 warehouse. It was cramped but was able to prefect my roasting skills to the roaster I am today.
    I Moderators

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Northern California
    curious to see how my response goes over...
    Are you just roasting, con771? If so, I'm right there with you. I researched all the proper avenues, and decided to go without liscensing and inspections in the beginning. I swear the authorities don't want new businesses. I met with an accountant looking for advice on the topic, and he said the IRS doesn't care about the local business licence, and the local authorities will leave you alone unless you really grow. Every roaster I've talked to say no one has ever asked for their license. I decided to roast out of the garage, package my beans and label them(without identifying my location, or me), and give samples out to the local businesses I'd like to work with. I don't bring up my lack of legal credentials. Nobody seemed to even think about my location. I've got two good little shops wanting to buy from me, plus about 10-15 friends who are excited to drink my coffee. I get the sense we new roasters overthink it, and established roasters can't think outside of their "legit-ness".
    Granted, if I have enough business to pay for a commercial space, I guess I'll have to do it. But for now, it just doesn't make sense to me to sink so much money into something that isn't paying for itself yet. So I'll be roasting after 10pm for now, trying to stay on the down low.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Boca Raton
    I don't understand your comment, "established roasters can't think outside of their legit-ness" In my years of being in the business no one has ever gotten sick off coffee..that I know of. Lets just say someone did. How are they covered by you not being legit? There is a reason we are inspected. To make sure that you am doing everything you are supposed to that will assure the safety of your customers. Have you taken any food prep or handling classes? It is required if you are going to run this sort of business. It might sound silly but you would be surprised on things you didn't know. I can understand if its a hobby..but if you are in it as a business I suggest being "legit" I set my place up 2 years ago. I didn't make money at first. I can't think of a business that made money straight out the gate. If you know of one let me know because I'm in!
    "Wine is for aging, not coffee."
    Ken Hutchinson, Starsky and Hutch

  5. #5
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Near Philadelphia, PA

    You are asking for a boat load of trouble if one of your neighbors decides to turn you in!

    When you were roasting beans and selling them to family and friends, it was a hobby. Now that you're selling your beans to local shops, you have a business that needs to be registered, licensed and inspected. Packaging your beans without identifying your business is basically shouting to the world that you know you're doing something that's wrong.

    Are you at least following proper sanitation procedures? Proper handling and storage, etc.? Do you wash your hands or wear food service gloves when handling and packaging the beans? I'm betting you don't have a sink in your garage.

    What about insurance? If your house and property (and you're neighbor's house) burns down because you were roasting beans, the insurance company won't pay when they investigate and find out what you've been up to.

    I certainly wouldn't buy beans from anyone who wasn't licensed and inspected.

    Now that you're turning your hobby into a business, it's time to play with the big boys and go legit.


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Thomaston, CT
    Kudos to PinkRose and Topher. I wholly concur with all of their thoughts posted. I started out as a hobby, like many did. Encouraged by family and friends, and pushed by my
    better half. The business venture began. CT LLC, local and state requirements(health departments, scale calibration,sales tax, Fica ,a long list), zoning,
    neighbors,(PinKRose brings up a very valid point regarding neighbors.)building codes, inspections(electrical and plumbing). Thankfully because of the small operation
    I was officially exempted from some of the above. But it took a while for all LEGIT approval. My neighbors even provided letters of approval. Although the
    zoning board was not quite sure how to handle me. No one ever approached them for a coffee roasting business. This I thought would be my hardest part for approval.
    (since it was at my residence-lost my garage for coffee!)It worked out fine. I can not do over-counter sales, no retail on my residence, which is fine with me.
    Internet, shipping and deliveries. Some today. So going legit is truly the way to go. If not, you may not have trouble, but expect some headaches at least down the road.



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