Learning about coffee can be one of the most exciting aspects of owning a coffee shop. Different plants produce different flavors, and the roasting process creates phenomenal beans for you to choose from. It’s hard to know what to choose for your coffee shop with so many different roasts and flavors. The best way to do it is to start sampling and tasting different brews.
How many kinds of coffee beans should you carry? Though you may be tempted to give your customers a wide variety of coffee beans, you should limit the selection between 4-8 kinds of coffee. This can include the main beans you use daily, and any seasonal beans you want to add in or showcase.
Offering a few different options can be the best way to make everyone happy. This allows you to serve quick drip coffee with many different flavors. You can rotate between seasonal drinks like blueberry coffee, holiday roasts, or anything else. There are so many flavors of beans to choose from it may seem overwhelming. One trick you can do is ask your customers what roasts they would like to see in your coffee house.
The Most Popular Roasts To Carry In Your Shop
Each bag of coffee beans you pick out will have different roasts, tastes, textures, and aromas. That is the fun thing about picking out coffee beans. On top of that, coffee can come from two different plants that also give it a unique taste. Here are some of the most popular beans you can choose from.
This provides a very smooth and light coffee known to help wake people up. It shouldn’t be full-bodied; it should be light and smell earthy without being overpowering. You should choose a brand that represents this well.
A bean that isn’t roasted long but just a bit longer than the morning blend. It has a caramel flavor and earthiness without being overly bitter. It is known for a rounded profile and light acidity.
Often known for its darkness and an oily surface, this can be one of the best selling coffee beans if you brew it correctly. It has a strong aroma of rich coffee beans. It is lower in acidity than the rest and is very heavily bodied.
This is often hard to find a good brew because of many roasters over roast the beans. The beans are typically darker and more earthy than average beans. These can have a dark and smoky flavor. If they are roasted correctly, it will still have the bean’s original flavor profile.
For your latte machines, you will want to have a medium to dark roasted bean finely ground up to pour perfect shots. Anything too light could ruin the flavor of the milk. However, anything too dark could turn the latte bitter.
This is a popular bean that is sought after in many coffee shops. It is not mandatory to carry, but if your customers ask for this drip coffee, it may be one to invest in. French Vanilla is a very smooth coffee with a sweet aroma and very light-bodied. It is easy to drink, and that is why it is desirable.
This coffee is another delicious bean that many coffee shops carry. Why? The hazelnut enhances the coffee richly and boldly. This bean will carry a pleasurable aroma throughout your entire store, making it enticing. It has a nutty flavor that makes the coffee earthy.
Wondering which beans you should have at your coffee shop? Check out our article HERE!
Should I Include Seasonal Roasts?
Many coffee shops choose to do seasonal roasts during Christmas by providing a special Christmas blend. It is a way to boost sales and showcase something new that is exclusive. If you plan on selling bags of seasonal coffee, the best thing you can do to showcase it is by serving it on tap. This small cup of coffee could end up in a bigger sale.
When you end up selling a new coffee, you want to be sure to describe it correctly. This will help your customers understand what they are drinking, and you may end up selling an entire bag of delicious beans. Having trouble describing your new bean? There is a great flavor wheel you can use to explain it to your customers.
Choosing The Right Coffee Beans To Carry
A few things are essential to keep in mind when choosing a coffee bean that helps make the flavor profiles. First off, coffee is a fruit, and because of that, there is a seasonal cycle. You will want to keep that in mind when buying your coffee. Typically, Ethiopian coffee has the most extended life cycle and is carried in many coffee shops. However, here are a few other essential things to know when choosing coffee beans to serve.
Know The Two Plants
You know coffee is a fruit. What you might not know is that there are two different kinds of coffee plants that grow in different areas. There is Arabica and Robusta, both highly delicious but known for different things.
Arabica is known to grow in higher altitudes; unfortunately, it will not grow well if the weather is too cold. It is known for a smooth tasting bean and slightly acidic. You can find this plant growing in parts of South America, Ethiopia, and parts of India. It is known to grow on hills and is picked by hand for the best results. There are many different kinds of Arabica coffee to choose from.
Robusta beans grow in lower altitudes and have a slightly bitter taste, and contain more caffeine than Arabica. This plant can grow in extremely hot conditions, and that is why their name contains the word robust. Robusta is considered lower quality, but it also depends on how the beans are roasted.
Don’t worry too much about the type of bean; it should only be a small decision factor. If appropriately roasted, it can be just as delectable. You will need to ensure you choose the best roaster for each type of bean.
How Much Caffeine Do You Want?
Most of the time, having three different types of beans to choose from allows your customers to choose the caffeine level they want. The lightest bean will have the most amount of caffeine, whereas the darkest beans will have less caffeine.
Find a Coffee Roaster and Stick With Them
In your coffee shop, you will want to be consistent. This will help your brand appearance. When you are known to serve one type of coffee, it helps customers recommend you to their friends with the same taste.
Pay Attention To Packaging
You will want to look at the expiration date of your beans to be sure you are serving the best cup of coffee every time. Coffee beans do go bad, and it is vital to pay attention to the labels. You will also need to be aware of things that say 100% coffee, it does come from the plant, but it’s not always 100% bean. It can be mixed, and it should always be labeled. If your coffee does not come with a label, stay away from that bean and the roaster.
The Beans You Choose Are Essential For Success
Having too many brew options can feel overwhelming. You should be limiting the choices from 4-8 options, including your normal brews plus any holiday specials. Remember that holiday blends are not a necessity but can be a fun add on. You can create amazing holiday lattes without carrying extra beans.
Owning a coffee shop is a fun experience that isn’t meant for all people. If you have a passion for learning about coffee and finding new beans from around the world, this is your career. Learning as much as you can about the beans you use and the roasting methods each of your beans go through is essential. You will be inspired and inspire others through each cup of coffee. This can be an incredibly rewarding career.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is no exact count on coffee beans per bag because they are so small. Typically you will find that 1 pound of coffee beans will serve 82 cups of 9 ounce coffees, and one half will serve 41 cups of 9 ounce coffees.
As a coffee shop owner, it is important to have your own grinder. This will allow you to grind your own beans as coarse or fine as you want. Having your own grinder will also allow you to bring customers beans if they choose to buy one of your coffee bags.
You will want to use a medium or light bean ground up very coarsely for your cold brew. You don’t need a different type of bean if you already serve medium to light blend. However, you will need to adjust the grind for the proper taste.
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!