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How to Start a Coffee Roasting Business

You have a passion for coffee and your local coffee shop still won’t serve Specialty Coffee. You think to yourself – maybe I could open my own coffee shop and serve Specialty Coffee there? So you decide to go for it and set up your Café across the street. But there is one problem: There are no Specialty Coffee Roasters for miles around. Sure, you could sell some beans from the neighbouring town, or from abroad, but you have a vision of the type of roast you want, with a specific type of coffee and none of the brands you’ve tried quite cut it. That’s it! You exclaim – time to roast my own brew!

Or maybe you just love coffee and want to know what it takes to roast that ultimate cup.

Or you’ve banded together with some mates and want to start a roasting business together to serve your local coffee shops.

If that sounds about right, then this is for you.

Many of us have dreams of starting our own Specialty Coffee Roastery, but not everyone gets the chance. There are a number of hurdles you have to overcome and running a successful business is a bit more challenging than you might think.

Does anyone actually want some good coffee?

The first question you should ask yourself is: Is there a local market for my product? This is absolutely crucial, as without local cafés or individuals willing to buy your coffee, you will find it excruciatingly hard to get going. It’s as easy as popping into your local coffee shops and asking them if they would be interested in buying your coffee once you start up. Get a few people to sign on and this will be a great indicator. Remember, just because your town might not have Specialty Coffee Cafés, doesn’t mean there is necessarily a market for it.

The right spot, Big Brother and neighbours

So you’ve done your research, the town is begging you to start. A few roasting courses later, it’s time to roast your own coffee! Well, no – not quite. You first have to find the right place. You might want to have your roastery in the town centre, after all, the machines look so pretty! But not all municipalities allow this. In some countries, licensing can be quite difficult to acquire. Health and Safety also needs to sign off and then there’s the neighbours: roasting coffee can be quite an “aromatic” business and it might surprise you that it doesn’t necessarily smell as good as you think from up close (once the smoke has dissipated a bit it smells great though). The last thing you want are neighbours complaining to authorities about the smell and the noise, leaving your roasting dreams going up in smoke.

Give me some green

But you’re not deterred, you finally get the space you wanted and everything looks good – there’s electricity and gas available, you’ve picked out and ordered your favourite roasting machine as well as any auxiliary equipment. While the roaster is on its way, you decide to order some green coffee. There are many, many different providers of specialty green coffee around in Europe, some are “all rounders” offering coffee from every country where coffee grows, others specialise in specialty coffees from a single country, others from a single farm. Some have MOQ’s some do not. Some offer deferred payment, some require up front payment. Some only provide green coffee samples, some also provide roasted samples. You’ll be making a lot of calls, writing a lot of emails, and reading through a lot of lists.

One down, all of them to go

After having decided on which provider(s) you’re going to use, you order a few bags to begin with and your roaster arrives on the same day as your green coffee (lucky you!). The roaster is installed, and you roast your first batch. Sure, you may have totally messed up the first roast profile as you’re so nervous, but you don’t care. You’re finally producing! And anyway, you’ll improve those roast profiles as time goes on, don’t worry.

Bagging the goods

And then it hits you. You forgot to buy bags to put your coffee in and labels to put on the bags. More lists, more providers, more MOQ’s and more money later, your bags and labels arrive.

You quickly pack all your coffee bags, seal them and then gleefully open shop. If you’re well prepared, you’ll have had your social media and website going already and also would have invited over your potential customers to have a taste. Before you know it, you’ll be making a second order of green coffee and trying new origins.

This is obviously a gloriously oversimplified example of how to start your coffee roastery, and hardly a real guide on how it’s done. There are so many considerations to take into account that you might not even have considered: how do you maintain the machines, do you want a café as well or not, which transport companies should you use, can you get personalised packaging, which accounting software is best, how do you control inventory, what margins do you charge? The list goes on.

The answers are out there

Luckily though, we like to think we have most of the answers. If you’re thinking of starting a Coffee Roasting Business, feel free to reach out to us. Landed Coffee Roasters offers Specialty Coffee Roasting Courses that cover everything from the practical to the theoretical and our courses are a completely holistic approach to Coffee Roasting and are 100% personalizable. Only interested in improving your roast profiles? Then we’ll just cover that. Just want to find out more about green coffee? Then that’s all we’ll talk about. I can come to you, or you can come and try out all our machines at our roastery here in Sunny Santander.

Get in touch for more information, by contacting us on our contact page


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