Starting a home coffee roasting business in Virginia


New member
Oct 16, 2015
Hello fellow coffee roasters... long time reader, first time poster.

As the title indicates, i am in the process of launching a coffee roasting business (which will be a sister company to another business that my partners own). I will be purchasing the Diedrich IR-5 and would like to install this roaster in my garage (complete with dedicated power and propane gas line) to hone my roasting skills as I begin selling bags of coffee both in small quantities online via our existing business' website, my new coffee roasting website, and local farmers markets (to a lesser extent).

Here are the following questions I am pondering. I'm trying to determine how long i can safely/effectively/legally operate my garage-based roasting business before I must adhere to zoning, inspections, and/or other city ordinances.

City/Town Zoning: Am i allowed to operate a roasting business with in my residential area?
Dept of Agriculture: What requirements or state inspections are required within my area?
Dept of Health: I don't see why this department would get involved since my roasting business is not preparing food where food borne illnesses might pose a concern - at least not in Virginia
Dept of Revenue: I will obtain the necessary business licenses and pay the appropriate sales taxes so this i have covered.

What am I leaving out?

Does anybody have specific knowledge regarding operating a home based coffee roasting business in VIRGINIA?

Should i be concerned with performing roasting operations inside of my garage where the environment, although very clean, is not exactly sterile.

I appreciate your help and feedback, and yes, i've read Chris Cockerell's informative post about his similar journey


Super Moderator
Staff member
Feb 28, 2008
Near Philadelphia, PA
Hello Imperialroasters


It appears that a lot of your questions could be answered by calling your local municipality and explaining what you are planning to do.

After that, you will eventually need to call your State Tax office to find out how to register your business and get the information for paying state taxes on your sales.

But, if you are basically looking for ways to get around the "system" until you grow your roasting business, I'm sure some of our members, who have already done it, will reply to your questions also.



New member
Dec 12, 2011
Thomaston, CT
Agree with PR. Start by contacting all the proper authorities both local, municipal, and state. They can answer or point you to those who can.
There are different requirements per state. I would highly recommend doing it right from the beginning. Be legit. Talk to your neighbors, my town in CT.,
told me(zoning board suggestion, to start first by sending letters to neighbors to see if there might be any that would oppose the idea.

There are many past threads on the subject, here are a few:

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