Help Please: Need advice on selecting green coffee beans

Creekside

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Dec 17, 2020
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Hello everyone! I am new to the forum but have been home roasting on a pop-corn popper now for 2 years. I am looking to take my hobby to the next level by purchasing the Mill City 1 kg roaster and start selling coffee at a couple farm markets I have connections with. Up to this point I have been purchasing green coffee in 1-2 lb bags from sites like burman coffee & sweet marias where I have bought some coffee that I've loved and some that I didn't care for. Now that I will be looking to buy green coffee in 50lbs and bigger I am really feeling like I need to know what I am buying before I pay for it. Does this really all come down to experience? I know that large wholesalers will send out green coffee samples for you to try before you buy but the wide selection of green coffee to choose from is really extensive and I am not too sure where to start. Any advice or suggestions on where to start would be appreciated, Thank you so much!
 

PinkRose

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Staff member
Feb 28, 2008
5,221
3
Near Philadelphia, PA
Hello everyone! I am new to the forum but have been home roasting on a pop-corn popper now for 2 years. I am looking to take my hobby to the next level by purchasing the Mill City 1 kg roaster and start selling coffee at a couple farm markets I have connections with. Up to this point I have been purchasing green coffee in 1-2 lb bags from sites like burman coffee & sweet marias where I have bought some coffee that I've loved and some that I didn't care for. Now that I will be looking to buy green coffee in 50lbs and bigger I am really feeling like I need to know what I am buying before I pay for it. Does this really all come down to experience? I know that large wholesalers will send out green coffee samples for you to try before you buy but the wide selection of green coffee to choose from is really extensive and I am not too sure where to start. Any advice or suggestions on where to start would be appreciated, Thank you so much!

What kind of beans have you been roasting on your pop-corn popper for the past two years? Assuming you've been happy with the results, you could roast those kinds of beans on your new roaster at first and see how it goes. Since you'll already be familiar with the beans, you'll know what to expect and you'll know the end result that you need to shoot for.
 

Musicphan

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May 11, 2014
1,485
1
Kansas City
Yes - it all comes down to experience. While you're starting out stick with basic crowd-pleasers - Guat / Colombian washed, Ethiopian natural. At first, don't overwhelm yourself with a ton of variety. You have to kinda find your voice/style of roasting and what YOUR CUSTOMER base wants.
 
OP
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Creekside

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Yes - it all comes down to experience. While you're starting out stick with basic crowd-pleasers - Guat / Colombian washed, Ethiopian natural. At first, don't overwhelm yourself with a ton of variety. You have to kinda find your voice/style of roasting and what YOUR CUSTOMER base wants.

Thank You for the response Musicphan! I totally agree with you on delivering what you customer wants! I appreciate the general origin & processed type I should look for. Very helpful.
 
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Creekside

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What kind of beans have you been roasting on your pop-corn popper for the past two years? Assuming you've been happy with the results, you could roast those kinds of beans on your new roaster at first and see how it goes. Since you'll already be familiar with the beans, you'll know what to expect and you'll know the end result that you need to shoot for.

Thank you PinkRose! I have been all over with the beans I have roasted on the pop-corn popper to try and get a feel for all of the variety out there. I find a lot of the coffee I like has more acidity then others seem to like when I share. I definitely plan on roasting some beans I would enjoy to start out and develop the craft of roasting beans on the MC 1KG. Thank you for the input!
 

shadow745

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Aug 15, 2005
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Central North Carolina
Sounds like a plan, but I'd say be prepared for quite a bit of experimenting/testing to get a new setup dialed in good enough to sell on a regular basis. Yes roasting is roasting to a degree, but what you currently use and what you intend to move on to will be a drastic change. I've been home roasting about 4.5 yrs now and currently do upwards of 10 lbs. monthly just for personal consumption, but of course have no intention of ever pursuing anything more involved. If I was going the route you are I'd likely buy from places like Genuine Origin as they have quite fresh offerings, at great wholesale/bulk prices and shipping cost is really good in my opinion. Regarding coffee choices, of course demographics definitely play a part as many people are creatures of habit and often buy what they are familiar/comfortable with. When operating a mobile espresso setup we offered something to appeal to the majority of people and I'd take that approach if I was roasting on that level. Maybe 3-4 offerings for variety without being overwhelming to you or the customer base. Maybe a few blends suitable for espresso (as I always prefer blends myself), and a few single origins for those fanatics that prefer pourover, etc. For that definitely focus on the East African variety as many seem to be in love with the mention of blueberry, strawberry, those sorts of notes.

I'd start with the roasting device, lots of bulk (nice that green has a long shelf life), start cranking out batches, keep logs of how things go, maybe visit the farmer's market and give out small samples at first to get honest feedback and start fine tuning things from there. Then focus more on larger volume, dialing batches in for consistency, etc. You would be surprised how influential great customer service, free samples, etc. can work in your favor.
 
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Creekside

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Dec 17, 2020
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Sounds like a plan, but I'd say be prepared for quite a bit of experimenting/testing to get a new setup dialed in good enough to sell on a regular basis. Yes roasting is roasting to a degree, but what you currently use and what you intend to move on to will be a drastic change. I've been home roasting about 4.5 yrs now and currently do upwards of 10 lbs. monthly just for personal consumption, but of course have no intention of ever pursuing anything more involved. If I was going the route you are I'd likely buy from places like Genuine Origin as they have quite fresh offerings, at great wholesale/bulk prices and shipping cost is really good in my opinion. Regarding coffee choices, of course demographics definitely play a part as many people are creatures of habit and often buy what they are familiar/comfortable with. When operating a mobile espresso setup we offered something to appeal to the majority of people and I'd take that approach if I was roasting on that level. Maybe 3-4 offerings for variety without being overwhelming to you or the customer base. Maybe a few blends suitable for espresso (as I always prefer blends myself), and a few single origins for those fanatics that prefer pourover, etc. For that definitely focus on the East African variety as many seem to be in love with the mention of blueberry, strawberry, those sorts of notes.

I'd start with the roasting device, lots of bulk (nice that green has a long shelf life), start cranking out batches, keep logs of how things go, maybe visit the farmer's market and give out small samples at first to get honest feedback and start fine tuning things from there. Then focus more on larger volume, dialing batches in for consistency, etc. You would be surprised how influential great customer service, free samples, etc. can work in your favor.

Thank you for the advice Shadow745! I agree that there will be a big learning curve when I get the roaster and will need lots of practice. Good idea about giving out free samples at the farmers market, I think that would be a great way to get a customer base and some feed back. I had not heard of Genuine Origin before, looks like they have some great prices! Thank you!
 

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