To Roast or buy Wholesale?

CanyonCoffee

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Oct 21, 2005
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Lincoln, NE
I am somewhat new to this forum, it is great lots of helpfull info.

I am in the planing stages of opening a shop. I have worked for Starbucks for a couple years and am now working at a local roaster.

I am trying to decide if I want to invest in a roaster and roast my own or if it is just better to buy wholesale at first when opening a shop? I am very concerned about the quality of coffee served and I know that if I go wholesale at first I would want to start roasting sometime thereafter.

Any info would be great!!

Also I will be attending Coffee Fest next weekend. Are there any seminars that I should make it a point to see?

Thanks
 

mcohveca

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Aug 21, 2005
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PA
You just can't beat fresh roasted coffee.
Unless you have the extra time to devote to roasting, I would start with a local roaster that has a quick turn-around.
As I'm sure you know, roasting equipment is quite expensive. You could start with a small shop roaster(approx. $7000) and see where that takes you.
Freshness is key!
Good luck,
Alex
 
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CanyonCoffee

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Oct 21, 2005
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Lincoln, NE
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Thank you for the reply Alex!
I have been looking at the Ambex roasters a little. Do you recomend a certain brand?

Thanks
 

mcohveca

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Aug 21, 2005
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PA
I've heard good things about Ambex. You also may want to check out Diedrich. Are you looking at a small batch roaster? What sort of volume do you plan to go through?

Alex
 
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CanyonCoffee

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Oct 21, 2005
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Lincoln, NE
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I plan on about 100lb per week. I should say that is my first goal. I am not sure if that goal is unrealistic at first or not. The Diedrich roasters look great.
You said about 7,000 for a small roaster, what make and capacity would that be?


Trent
 

mcohveca

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Aug 21, 2005
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There is a company in Deleware called Deleware City Coffee Roasters that sells nice 5lb/batch roasters that are perfect for small shops, low volume operations. I think the make/model is the Artigiano.

Your goal does not sound unrealistic, it is actually quite do-able. Look for wholesale accounts in your area. They will give you some good volume and help keep your cash flow.
 

barefoot

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Sep 21, 2004
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Santa Clara, CA
roasting coffee is awesome. It is like making your own cakes from scratch. it can be a boon to your business. and it can be fresher. but if it is not better tasting than the coffee you get from a good artisan roaster then freshness is moot. taste is all that matters. It is probably best to start out mastering retailing and then move into roasting down the road. it is FAR harder than it seems, IF you want to do it well anyway. Anyone can make a cake. Not anyone can make a mouthwatering, blow your mind cake that has people lined up out the door every day. Stick with your core competencies and master one major step at a time.

or look and leap and swim hard!
 

cafemakers

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Nov 3, 2004
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I agree with Andy on this 100% - this was the subject of an article posted to our Coffee Strategies blog earlier this year:

http://www.coffeestrategies.com/2005/05 ... er-or-both

Although roasting your own can be a financially attractive option for the long-term, I find that the costs and complexities involved in learning two disciplines and managing two full-time businesses at the same time are prohibitive for most new shop owners. For the owner-operated single location, it is generally best to implement either the wholesale roastery or the retail operation first, than add the other at a later date.

Don't worry, there are plenty of outstanding dedicated artisan coffee roasters around the country that will be pleased to work with you.

While in Seattle, be sure to check out the NW Regional Barista competition that is being held across the street. I think that you may see that some of the country's best Baristas do things a little differently than your former employer. It's something that you will be glad that you did not miss.

Best of success,

Andrew
 

La Crema Coffee

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Oct 9, 2005
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Northwest Washington State
If I didn't have a killer manager, I couldn't roast, do inventory, schedule emps, make runs, reslove issues...ect.....I have the best: A manager, and I get to roast.

It really depends on the scale of your opperation and 100 lbs a week...is busy. Probably too busy to do everything.
 

bbs97

New member
Dec 1, 2005
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Boston MA
Im in a similar situation where we opened our first shop in Boston last december and we are currently starting neg. on a second downtown. We are buying approx. 150lbs. to 200 lbs. a week in coffee and would love to start roasting ourselves to help cut costs and control the selection of varietals we can offer.
 
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