Although there are certainly a few exceptions to this rule, many coffee shops purchase their beans pre-roasted from a wholesale supplier. However, nothing can beat the aroma and the flavor of coffee from a shop that takes the time to roast its beans. This raises the question, should a coffee shop take the time to roast their beans on-site, or should they continue purchasing them from wholesale suppliers?
Ideally, yes, if possible, a coffee shop should roast their own beans. There are several benefits for coffee shops that roast their beans. Perhaps the most important benefit is in the freshness of the coffee as you are able to control the process from green beans to the final product. Another benefit to roasting your beans is that you can honestly answer any questions your customers may have regarding the origins of the coffee. The final benefit to roasting your own beans is that it gives your coffee shop a chance to increase its profit margin by controlling costs throughout the entire process of roasting, grinding, and bagging your signature blend of coffee for use in your shop and for customers to take home. (not to mention the smell of the roasting process will be sure to drive more customers into your doors)
In this article, we will take a look at each of these aspects to determine if roasting your own coffee beans on site is beneficial to both the coffee shop and the customer. We will also take a look at the two aspects that may factor into you deciding against roasting your beans, which are the initial investment in the equipment needed to roast the bean and the additional ventilation needed for your building.
The freshness of the Coffee
When it comes to serving a steaming hot cup of coffee, freshness should always be your top priority. When purchasing beans that have been previously roasted from wholesale suppliers, one of the most significant factors in hindering the freshness of your coffee is that you must purchase your beans in bulk. Coffee beans are at the peak of their freshness right after they have been roasted.
Having to purchase pre-roasted beans in bulk means that you have coffee beans sitting in your storeroom that may not be served for several weeks. At that point, you can either serve your customers substandard coffee, or you can watch your profits evaporate Into thin air.
Learn more about coffee roasters HERE.
Knowing Your Coffee’s Origins
There’s nothing more than coffee connoisseurs love more than knowing the origins from which their coffee was sourced and roasted. The term ethically sourced” is much more than a buzzword to many consumers. Some of the items your customers may inquire about are the origin of the coffee, the terroir, and even how it was processed.
By choosing to roast your own coffee beans in-house, you will be able to honestly answer your customer’s questions, and you will be able to do so with a smile. After all, the more informed the customer is, the better choices they can make. Besides, customers will come to your shop for much more than coffee. They will come for the experience.
Harvesting Green Coffee Beans
When it comes to a good cup of coffee, the two key aspects of quality are taste and price. If you want to be able to provide your customers with the highest-quality cup of coffee without charging them a small fortune, there are several ways in which you can drastically lower the price of your coffee beans.
Roasting is a tedious and time-consuming task. The process of roasting is one of the most significant factors in driving up the price of your coffee beans. One way to ensure that you are providing your customers with the best cup of coffee at a fair price is to avoid paying for an arduous task like roasting, which will have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Developing a Signature Blend
With an astonishing number of coffee shops located in the United States and around the world, your coffee shop needs something that can set it apart from the rest. By roasting your own beans, you have the chance to set your coffee shop apart by developing a signature blend that your customers will not be able to find anywhere else.
Just imagine your coffee shop being the only place around that your customers can get a unique and delicious blend of coffee that is strictly yours. You don’t have to be an economics major to know that that would be good for business. Developing a signature blend by roasting your own beans will also help you to provide your customers with the most consistent experience possible.
Increased Profit Margins
I’ve said this before, and I will say this again. Nobody is in business to lose money. Coffee shops do not have a stellar reputation of having high-profit margins. The average profit margin of a small coffee shop barely hovers above 2.5 percent, according to the Houston Chronicle. What would be a better way to boost your coffee shop’s profit margin than to roast, grind, and package your own beans on-site, allowing customers to purchase bags of your signature blend to enjoy in the comfort of their homes?
Although purchasing a roaster and having to modify your building to meet ventilation requirements might require an initially high investment, your profits will increase in the long run. After all, isn’t that why you went into business in the first place? Soon, your increased profit margins will offset the additional investments you have to make.
Of all of the arguments for a coffee shop roasting its own beans, there is going to be one argument that may deter some shops from doing this. Roasting your own coffee beans in-house will require you to make two substantial investments in your coffee shop. These two Investments include the cost of a roasting machine and the cost of additional ventilation, which may be required in your building to provide a safe working environment for your employees.
According to the website How To Start an LLC, a coffee roaster May cost up to $25,000, and that’s not counting the cost of purchasing a grinder. However, there is a bright side. Green coffee beans can cost between $3 and $4 per pound, which is significantly less than the price of purchasing pre-roasted beans. You can offset this cost in a couple of different ways. One surefire way to offset the cost of purchasing a roaster is to simply sell more coffee by offering a better product. Another way to recoup the costs of your coffee roaster is to package and sell your roasted beans for customers to take home and enjoy.
The process of indoor roasting can create combustion and byproducts, which can be detrimental to the health of your shop’s employees. The only way to avoid installing additional ventilation is to roast the beans outside, although this process is at the mercy of the weather. According to sonofresco.com, the best way to ventilate the area in which you are roasting your beans is through a process called short venting. The long pipes that are required in direct venting cause a lot of pressure, which can negatively affect the flavor of the beans.
We have covered several reasons in this article in which roasting your own coffee beans will greatly benefit your shop. Whether your focus is to serve your loyal customers the freshest cup of coffee possible; knowing the origins of your coffee beans, and passing that knowledge along to your customers; harvesting green coffee beans; developing a signature blend, or increasing your profit margins, the benefits to roasting coffee beans on-site far outweigh the initial investments you will have to make in roasting equipment and increased ventilation. By choosing to do your own roasting, you will soon have customers lined up around the block, clamoring to get a taste of the freshest, most unique blend of coffee available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many manufacturers of prepackaged coffees have several different blends available. However, there are three main levels of roasting coffee beans. These three levels are light roast, medium roast, and dark roast. The names of the different roasts reflect the color of the beans, which is indicative of how long the beans have been roasted. Light roast coffee beans have been roasted the least amount of time, which makes them much lighter in color. Dark roast coffee beans have been roasted for a much longer time which gives them a darker appearance. Dark roasts are also more caffeinated than other roasts.
Many different brands of coffees are available in signature blends. According to the website North Star Roast, coffee blends are a result of mixing or blending beans that come from different origins. The origins of the beans used, can usually be found on the label of the coffee. The purpose of blending coffee is to develop a flavor that is unique and cannot be found anywhere else. However, there are several coffee manufacturers whose blends are quite common. Some of the more popular coffee blends are breakfast blends and donut shop blends.
To learn more on how to start your own coffee shop checkout my startup documents here
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Hi! I’m Shawn Chun
My adventure in coffee began when I first launched my first coffee shop back in the early 2000s. I had to figure out so many things on my own and to make it worse within 2 years of opening two large corporate coffee chains moved in just blocks away from me!
As I saw smaller and even some larger coffee shops in the neighborhood slowly lose customers to these giant coffee chains and slowly close up shop, I knew that I had to start getting creative…or go out of business.
I (like you may be) knew the coffee industry well. I could make the best latte art around and the foam on my caps was the fluffiest you have ever seen. I even had the best state-of-the-art 2 group digital Nuova Simonelli machine money could buy. But I knew that these things alone would not be enough to lure customers away from the name brand established coffee shops.
Eventually, through lots of trial and error as well as perseverance and creativity I did find a way to not only survive but also thrive in the coffee/espresso industry even while those corporate coffee chains stayed put. During those years I learned to adapt and always faced new challenges. It was not always easy, however, in the end, I was the sole survivor independent coffee shop within a 10-mile radius of my location. Just two corporate coffee chains and I were left after that year. All told the corporate coffee chains took down over 15 small independent coffee shops and kiosks and I was the last one standing and thriving.
Along the years I meet others with the same passion for coffee and I quickly learned that it is not only “how good a barista is” that makes a coffee shop successful, but the business side of coffee as well.
Hence why I started this website you are on now. To provide the tools and resources for up and coming coffee shop owners to gain that vital insight and knowledge on how to start a coffee shop successfully.
Stick around, browse through my helpful blog and resources and enjoy your stay! With lots of LATTE LOVE!