Buy my coffee!


New member
Feb 14, 2008
Los Angeles, CA
OK, that was a joke! 8)

I hope some of you will be kind enough to answer a couple questions for me :) I am in the process of starting my own roasting company (leaving where I'm at after 7 years of roasting/managing/etc..) If a man contacted you by phone or walked into your coffee shop and said he is a roaster and would love to sell you his coffee, what would be the best way to accomplish this?

1. Bring samples to brew up
2. explain the benefits of my company (i.e. 24 hour service, etc..)
3. Offer 10% lower cost than currently paying (same grade/quality coffee beans)
4. Bring a cheerleader
5. dont bother?


I have never worked in a coffee shop before, but have roasted coffee for them for some time now. I think I know how tuff it is for you guys/gals to deal with solicitors all the time, so I am curious what is the best way to even get my foot in the door?

Thanks in advance for the comments or suggestions :)

I do not know too much about the US market, but in NZ, Australia and Asia unsolicited roaster visits to cafes are quite rare,pretty much unsuccesful. Roasters generally get invites from new cafes based on the roasters exhisting reputation. For a new roaster this of course poses problems. My recommendation for a new roaster would be to perhaps try and secure 1 major, important, high profile client to use as a foundation for your portfolio. How you secure that client will probably be the bggest challenge. When we started roasting I worked for a year until I secured such a client, once we had them on board we found everything else followed pretty quickly. For city/statewide accounts, generally cafe and restaurant owners gossip amongst themselves- so if your coffee is good, service is as promised, word of mouth generally is the best way of getting the invites in...once you ave that 1 big fish hooked in :grin:

On another note, established and succesful cafe businesses are not often keen to swap their coffee supplier- for the obvious reason that their success is in part built on the coffee they are currently using. From experience, any established cafe looking at jumping may be dong so because of reasons other than their coffee quality (maybe, for instance, they have not paid their coffee bill for months and their supplier is fed up and put them on stop credit!)

I am not a big fan on competing on price, because in many ways it ropes you into a pattern that is difficult to break. Its all very well roasting 10,000kg of coffee a month, but if you can roast 5,000kg for the same revenue...? Also, again, owners talk. Once you have discounted your coffee for 1 cafe, you may need to do it for the rest. Also, as a newby, the bigger roasters out there with high volumes will most likely always be able to beat you on price!

OK, hope this 2cents worth, or what its worth!!!!


New member
Apr 13, 2008
Fort Myers, Florida
I would go with #4 Bring a Cheerleader
They always bring a smile to my face and that's what customers like.


Ask for the samples, use a mini roaster or air popcorn popper to roast the beans right then and there, grind them, make a pot of coffee, have the salesman explain what the coffee offers and then negotiate the price.



New member
Feb 14, 2008
Los Angeles, CA
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4
Thanks for the feedback! Regarding Mr. Evans comment on getting 1 nice account, I actually have that :) He has been hounding me for years to start my own roastery and when I told him last month he was ecstatic. This kind gentlemen has offered to talk to a few 'buddies' of his as well in the business to get me going. As far as price with higher volume, this may pose a problem, however, I am hoping to 'piggyback' green for a while with a friend up north, hopefully saving some money there. Luckily I have no problem working 16 hour days, now my girlfriend on the

It seems it is truly word of mouth in this industry, which is a good thing!

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
Seattle,Washington USA
AE is right try to find yourself an anchor account, but also look for smaller accounts to pad your customer base. You are fortunate in the case that you are not in a big competitive market as I am here in the Seattle area where it seems like there is a new roaster coming into play almost every other month. There is no substitute for good old fashioned door knocking in the beginning. And if you are lucky enough to build a small but loyal customer base, you will be on your way. Good luck!


Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
Boca Raton
Wow..isn't that weird...we were just wondering about you today..look at that you show up the very same day! :wink: glad to hear all is well!


New member
Apr 12, 2006
St. Peace
be cool

good luck with your coffee. I know that I was always happy to meet a local roaster. But I would never work with people who degraded other local (or any other) roasters. I figured if they had to build themselves by trashing others, they didn't have much to work with.
rock on!
Hey JoEllen, 100% agree with you. At the end of the day we are all in the same business, slagging each other off (as fellow, albeit competitive roasters) helps no-one and actually is detrimental to building specialty coffee understanding in a market. At the end of the day all coffee roasters have their own way of roasting, their own way of blending. A coffee that one cafe owner swears by, might not suit another. Thats why there is so much room (still) in the market in the US.

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