Small Roaster

tucker713

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Oct 2, 2006
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Ok - I will first talk a little about myself then my idea.

I'm a grad student finish his MBA - I have been looking at starting several business now. I thought of a coffee bar but to many in the town I currently live in or would start. I'm doing some real estate investment for long term wealth, but that is not where my passions is.

I currently roast my on coffee beans now and I really enjoy the process as well as the final product. So I guess my question is what advise would you give some one starting a small roaster.

Thanks
 
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tucker713

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Oct 2, 2006
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Nothing - hmm ok...

Maybe more info will help - I have been roasting my own beans for sometime now. I about to start experimenting with blends. I roast coffee for my co-works who can taste a real difference from my roasted coffee to buying from the local coffee shop and love it (or so they say).

My idea is to roast and sell to local coffee shops and resturants. I plan on a bootstrap business model so I will work on a smaller scale them some. I'm not trying to be rich just trying to do something I like.

Coffee shop owers what do you look for or from a small local roaster? What advice would you give me?

Thanks
 

topher

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Aug 14, 2003
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Boca Raton
resturants are a hard sell...they usually get machines from whoever supplies the coffee..makes it hard for a small roaster. What size roaster are you using?
 

ElPugDiablo

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Jul 16, 2004
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Hartford and New Haven, CT
You are thinking of starting a strictly wholesale roaster? If you are in the North East, the first thing coffee shops and restaurants will ask you is what kind of brewers and grinders you are supplying them? If your answer is none, you automatically shrunk your target market to a handful of shops. If you will supply them with brand x brewers, and brand y grinders, then you best have a support staff to fix them and enough capital to float them. You then have to decide if you want to offer flavored coffees or not. You then have to decide on how many fair trade/organic/bird friendly/other politically corrected coffees you will offer. You then have to decide what kind blend you are going to offer. You then have to estimate you volume, and look for a roaster that will meet near term and future demands. You then need to find out if your local code requires you to install an afterburner. You then have to decide if you are passionate enough or insane enough to actually do this rather than getting a high pay job like most MBAs. Good luck.
 
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tucker713

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Ok - thanks all for the info there is a lot to think about -


Do you think a roaster your own beans in a cafe is a better business model?
 

Jackson

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Aug 22, 2006
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Columbus, OH
The best business model is to focus on one thing and do it well. If you can survive without serving food (beyond pastries), you will be able to focus even better.
 

ElPugDiablo

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Jul 16, 2004
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Hartford and New Haven, CT
tucker713 said:
Ok - thanks all for the info there is a lot to think about -


Do you think a roaster your own beans in a cafe is a better business model?

It all depends on your staff and your level of expertise. In today's coffeehouse you need to know how to brew coffee, make espresso drinks, make teas, iced drinks, smoothies and baked goods plus optional items such as soups, salads and sandwiches in a commercial setting where speed and mediocre consistency is more important than spotty quality. If you have a handle on that and you want to add roasting to your operation than you need to know how thin you can spread yourself. Roasting is easy to learn but hard to be good at, and for small shop roasting it is very very hard to be consistent at. It can be done, I am doing it, and there are other shops in New England are doing it, it's just an extra level of complexity you have to plan for and execute.
 

morrisn

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Mar 27, 2006
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Roasting

Just curious, for those of you who are roasting what type of roaster are you using, and who are you buying your green from. It is an area I am considering going into.
 

ElPugDiablo

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Jul 16, 2004
991
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Hartford and New Haven, CT
Re: Roasting

morrisn said:
Just curious, for those of you who are roasting what type of roaster are you using, and who are you buying your green from. It is an area I am considering going into.

You can get an air roaster which I know nothing about, or you can get a drum roaster. A typical shop drum roaster ranges from 3 kilo to 15 kilo. There are many brands, and each offers some unique features, you will need to search and find the one that fits your needs the best. You can buy new or used, if you are not a roaster now my suggestion is buy new and buy one you can have plenty of tech support.

As far as green beans, it all depends on your purchasing size and quality. Assuming you are small, all things being equal you want to start out by working with those that warehouse their beans close to you.
 

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