So I did something a little crazy...

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Coffee_Noob

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Lets say open and sell out. Great thing is you have your roaster right there. If you see it is going insanely well. You need to fire up the roaster and roast for the next day. Just make sure you let the coffee rest for a minimum of 24 hours. Last thing...have a water fire extinguisher or hose handy if you happen to have a fire. Good luck and let us know how you are doing.

Oh yeah, we have an extinguisher on the wall right beside the roaster. And five more in the back just in case. When I roast, I do about 100 pounds at a time, not all of the same roast. Costa Rican for light, Brazilian for medium, Sumatra for dark. We use the Brazilian for our flavored coffees (it's not an overwhelming flavor and takes the flavor that we put in it very well). We grind the coffee fresh every day and we end up having to roast about twice a week.

Only twice have we been caught where we can't wait 24 hours to let the beans rest after roasting. If anybody noticed a difference, they didn't complain. There's a very local successful roaster that sells thousands of pounds to other coffee shops, and I watched her roast for a bit while I was in their shop to purchase some syrups. She'd drop one batch and immediately throw another batch up top, which I thought was weird. Didn't check temps or anything! I asked the owner about it and he said, "yep, sometimes when you get a rush like we've had lately, you just push it through. Most people can't tell the difference one way or the other." :eek:
 

topher

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Aug 14, 2003
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You just push through. That's no way to run a business. He said people haven't complained? I am the customer that doesn't complain. I just do not return. Side note. With Sumatra I wouldn't roast to dark. The thing is Sumatra sits on your tongue like a brick and is super smooth...low acidity. The darker you roast the lower the acidity. If you have a heavy body coffee low in acid roasted dark you end up with a mouth full of mud. You need some balance. This is just my opinion so I hope you are not offended.
 
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Coffee_Noob

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You just push through. That's no way to run a business. He said people haven't complained? I am the customer that doesn't complain. I just do not return. Side note. With Sumatra I wouldn't roast to dark. The thing is Sumatra sits on your tongue like a brick and is super smooth...low acidity. The darker you roast the lower the acidity. If you have a heavy body coffee low in acid roasted dark you end up with a mouth full of mud. You need some balance. This is just my opinion so I hope you are not offended.

I'm going to assume that people haven't complained enough to bother his business. He just has one 12kg roaster that does all of their beans, and it's going all day long every day. It's pretty impressive. He's a very hard worker and is very accommodating to his customers, so I'm sure that plays into any errors along the way.

I don't roast the Sumatra too dark. I dump it right after second crack. I've accidentally roasted it to about 450 once, and it came out super oily and tasted a little ashy. I gave away a few pounds of it before I threw it away, and just this weekend, one of the customers came in and said, "hey man, let me know when you mess up again, I really liked it!"
 

topher

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"hey man, let me know when you mess up again, I really liked it!"
That's hilarious! I love to hear success stories! Just keep tasting everything you roast. Take loads of notes during roasting and cupping. You will get dialed in quickly. I run my 60 kilo all day Monday through Friday. I like being busy....Busy keeps me out of trouble ;)
 

addertooth

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May 30, 2022
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I wish I had your level of ambition. The coffee shops in my town, are "place holder cofee shops". As far as I know, none in the town roast their own beans and they simply use commercial big-box store beans. I won't even go into how they fix their drinks. They simply believe enough dairy and syrup covers all magnitudes of sins. There is one just outside of town which roasts their own beans, but they have no idea what basic stuff like ristretto is.

Too bad we don't have someone like you locally.
 
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Coffee_Noob

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Been a minute. Was planning on making another post about something kinda related, but I might as well just do it here.

I ended up selling the shop. It ended up being so busy that I was not able to keep up with the shop and my day job, not even taking into account trying to have any time for myself. 80 hours per week for 2 years straight (plus the chemo) takes a toll on a guy. The 250 pounds of coffee that we sold per month was just for walk in customers asking for a pound at a time. That didn't count the coffee we supplied to another coffee shop, a couple restaurants, and what we brewed every day.

The coffee shop was making enough money that I could quit my day job, but...private health insurance is ridiculous. I chose to keep the day job, with its regular hours and very high quality insurance. I was getting a little burnt out, a buyer showed up at the right time, and I jumped on it.

I didn't regret it for about a week. The new owner kept the name but changed so much about the shop. It was a little heartbreaking that everything I worked for could just be thrown out.

Thought about starting another restaurant, where I could focus more on baking. I enjoyed the coffee, but the baking was really what did it for me. Found a place in another densely populated part of town that sat 4 times as many people, for only a couple hundred dollars more in rent per month. I was seriously considering buying it, and then I got sick again.

So maybe I'm not going to get back into the restaurant business until I get my health figured out. In the meantime, I was thinking about converting the kitchen of the house we're buying into a commercial kitchen and working out of there. And then I started thinking about the laws about owning and operating a commercial coffee roaster in a residential neighborhood. We are going to be building a garage, and if I can incorporate a 12kg unit into it, I would love to. I could bake and roast at my own leisure and do coffee cart / baked goods pop ups around town, farmer's markets, etc.

Thoughts?
 
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Coffee_Noob

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this is a great idea, I guess
if you have enough power and desire, go and do it
Eh, it's ending up not being one. In my locality, if you start a home business, it cannot be in a standalone building on your property, it has to be attached to the house. I am building a garage, but I do not think that there's any way we can attach the garage to the house. Then there is the obstacle that yes, I can have a commercial kitchen in my home, but it must use standard home appliances. In no way will a 7ft tall coffee roaster qualify under that umbrella.

I started also thinking about my new neighbors. Would they like a new neighbor that roasted coffee a couple hundred feet from them? I think roasting coffee smells amazing, but I can't assume they would be okay with that. The only way to get around the neighborhood smoke of a roaster and not have to worry about any local permit issues, would be to get a Bellwether. I'm not dropping that kind of money on a roaster.
 
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