Need Help with Start-up Coffee Roasting Company

Brenista

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Apr 19, 2016
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Hey Guys,

I started roasting my own coffee beans a couple months ago and have a pretty good feel for it. It's to a point where I believe I could sell it and become profitable. The only problem is I don't know what steps to take. For instance, I don't know if it's legal for me to buy sweet maria's green coffee beans, roast them, and then sell them as my own product. I think that's the only way I can besides going through an actual farmer. I started my own website, but haven't paid for the domain yet. I created a logo and was told to get that patented immediately. The only problem is that it takes ages to get that approved and I don't know anything about business taxes. I've been advised to get my coffee FDA approved, but I didn't think that was necessary with coffee. For my product, I figured I'd buy vacuum sealed packages, put my logo on it, and I should be go-to-go right? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks Guys!
 

PinkRose

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Feb 28, 2008
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Hello Brenista,

About two months ago, you posted some questions about getting a home roaster. What did you end up getting?
Since you've only been roasting for a couple of months. You may want to start out slowly by roasting coffee and testing it out on your family and friends first, before jumping into opening a roasting business.

You can purchase green beans from Sweet Maria's (or any other place) and roast them, and sell them when you're ready. That should be the least of your concerns.

There are many more hoops to jump through and things to consider.

I can see that your mind must be racing with ideas and questions. We have a lot of roasters on this Forum. Hopefully some of them will have the time to give you some good advice.

Feel free to explore the Forum (search box at the top right corner of your screen) We have had many recent discussions about starting a roasting business.

Rose
 

topher

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Welcome to the forums and the wonderful world of roasting! I think the best thing for you would be find a local roaster and see if you could pick their brain. If you are planning on selling roasted coffee you are going to want to find a less expensive source for green coffee. My email is [email protected] Shoot me some specific questions and I will try and answer them.
 

Mr.Peaberry

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Aug 7, 2013
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Hi Brenista,

I admire your confidence! Roasting coffee is not like riding a bike. There are many variables involved, and it just takes time to master the art. Having said that, most coffee drinkers would not be able to discern the difference between your best roasts and your "acceptable" roasts, so starting out quickly is not necessarily a bad thing. I would still side with Rose in a suggesting you take things a bit more slowly. I notice you mention needing a patent on your logo. This suggests, and I'm just being honest, that you lack business knowledge. Keep in mind you are considering opening a business, the more you personally bring to the table in terms of capital, knowledge, experience & determination, the more likely your chances for success...but still no guarantees. Just as in life, there are some bad decisions that can break you, and ignorance of them just makes it convenient for those that tried and failed to excuse themselves from accountability. What I'm trying to say is this...your knowledge of coffee & coffee roasting is limited; your experience is extremely lacking. On the other hand, your determination seems to be your best asset. If you can back that up with deep pockets, then you can buy knowledge and experience, ie in those you hire as consultants or employees. Topher is gold. He's extending you an invitation to give you some guidance...jump on that!

Peaberry
 

Musicphan

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May 11, 2014
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All good guidance... I home roasted for several years before jumping into this full time. I don't know what roaster you are using but having something at a minimum like a Hucky(sp?) or Quest roaster will really help when you make the jump to a larger machine. Having the knowledge to roast on a manual machine made the jump easier... but I'm still learning every day/every roast. Roast / Cup / Roast Cup...

Regarding the business side... I agree it sounds like you are missing some basic knowledge. I would highly suggest a program called FastTrac New Venture program. Its a 8 week program that will take your business idea and validate what you do/don't know. If you haven't started a business plan that's your next step. All of the info about FDA / licenses, etc you should be able to flush out when you build your business plan.

FastTrac - FastTrac.org
 

John P

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Jan 5, 2007
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Brenista,

Mr. Peaberry hit the nail on the head.

If you would like to roast as a profession, get a professional roaster.
Making green coffee brown with a roasting machine does not make one a coffee roaster.

Pick several respected (for quality) local, regional, or national brands and use them as a barometer to judge your coffee honestly and blindly.
When what you are roasting is objectively on par with those coffee, then you are ready to sell to the public.

Although most roasters do not take the time to learn and understand the art and craft of roasting, start out right -- take the time, learn the craft, and do something great.
 

Redswing

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May 30, 2013
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I can feel your excitement. There are a lot of eyes reading your words that have been exactly where you are, I suggest you take the time to consider carefully the thoughts of people who have been where you are going, you’ll bump shoulders with many if you stick around for a while. This forum has played a formative role in my roasting and business perspective.
One great resource is right here in the archives of this forum. I remember when I was where you are, I read every applicable thread…I just glanced back through, and remembered one of my favorites: I want to roast & sell from home - why not? Check out that one, and search for other ideas around that question.
Another resource would be books like Scott Rao’s, The Coffee Roasters Companion. I also took an online coffee course…there are options out there. I also tracked down a serious coffee shop, and started to talk with the baristas there. They were very willing to try out my latest roasts and give honest feedback. Connecting with flesh and blood people who roast is a perfect idea.
Best of luck! Keep your enthusiasm.

 

BrasilCafeImporters

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Jun 21, 2016
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Brazil Green Bean Supplier | Wholesale | Bulk | Unroasted Green Beans

Dear Brenista, good luck on your coffee endeavor. I'm sure everything will turn out fine. In regards to your green coffee suppliers, we cultivate high quality arabica beans from the Machado region, south of Minas Gerais, Brazil. We have highly competitive prices for 60 kgs (jute) of premium arabica green beans. We do not source from different coffee growers. We are the actual farm. In addition to our green beans, we are working to start selling out premium gourmet products. We welcome you to visit our website for additional information: brasilcafeimports. wordpress . com

OriginRegionQualityRefBagsLocationDetails
Brazil Machado Region 100% Arabica +80 points at SCAA60Miami

Please contact us for a rate quote at your earliest convenience.
 

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m962b

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Depending ont he state in which you are operating, there are some cottage laws that allow you to sell without much interference from FDA or any other legal entity. The business tax issue is largely just going to the county and paying the business tax receipt. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Following is the basic method I went about:

Start LLC- I used Legal Zoom, but there are many others and you can do it yourself if you don't mind reading a lot and filing a lot of documents. You save about $100 over legal zoom. the cost of this ranges, but mine was just under $400.

Determine the anticipated sales level. Under $15000 in gross sales usually means you can go about using the cottage law here in Florida. Anything more than that and you will have to getting into a much bigger investment. If you anticipate going much larger than that there are a lot of things to consider. The Department of agriculture will have to inspect the facility at which you are roasting and it will have to be separate from your home and willed all the necessary health requirements. then you will need the roaster, which if you are selling large quantities, you will need a larger roaster. I tried doing a 30 pound order with a Behmor and it took 2 days! After this you will need insurance to cover your roasting business in case something rare happens and a screw or piece of metal, or bug flies into your coffee and you are sued by the customer.

Consider the packaging etc. This step is very important. By the time you buy beans from sweet marias at anywhere from $5-$7 per pound plus shipping, there is little room for profit once your roast that. (you will lose between 17-20% weight in roasting. Thus, you should look at buying in bulk or buying from places like the green coffee buying club, but they prefer that you not sell their beans for profit like it seems you are hoping to do.) My packaging is about $.57 a bag and about $.30 a label.

After that, I'd recommend buying 50-70 kilo bags at a time, but with shipping and tax, it is very expensive as well. You may be best suited to find a local roaster and develop a contract with him to fill your orders, essentially paying a bit for his time, and for his gas and general overhead. In my experience, the cost to you should be about $4-$6 out the door. However, this is only efficient if you are ordering 20-50 pounds at a time depending on the size of their roaster.

Finally, marketing is important. Your website is the best way to market. Consider squarespace, or even better Shopify. I have websites in both and the general rule I have is that if i want something to be pretty with minimal e-commerce ability, go with Squarespace. For more advanced e-commerce needs,Shopify is better.

Again, that is a small sample of what I have learned while setting up my business which is only barely making money at this point. Luckily i am gainfully employed at another job and do the coffee thing as a labor of love. it is important to note that I spend about 30-50 hours a week after work or on the weekends working on the website, the business plan, creating invoices, creating point of sale materials, checking on accounts, calling new ones, developing roasts, filing the needed business paperwork, etc. it is a great business, and I love it, but it does take a lot of time.

Please feel free to message me with any concerns or questions. I can probably save you some time as I went about this alone to learn as much as I could.
 
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