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Okes folks.

 

 

..., on with my journey of stepping out of the box. A bit. Over time.

 

When I started home roasting some years ago, it didn't even feel like it was such an infectious thing. Obviously, I began for a reason, namely for the sake of decent espresso.

Intrigued by all the different taste notes there were to discover, I dug deeper and deeper into the topic - reading, roasting, talking to roasters, buying greens from around the world, reading cupping notes where available, helping out in cupping sessions of Quality Management and Product Development at a coffee company (they would employ a contract roaster, so no hands-on experience there).

 

Every time we had guests over, we received appreciation of some kind for what nice coffee we would serve them. It got me thinking. And investing :D

Home roasting becomes a somewhat expensive hobby, once you reach a certain level (of equipment that is). And if you want to take something with you along the way, education-wise, then roasting one batch every two weeks doesn't get you that far. So I started sharing roasts with interested friends and family, accumulating a >3kg weekly average. Some asked me why I wasn't selling the stuff... one of them being a dear friend who runs a nice little restaurant around the corner. He offered to list my coffee, exclusively. Well, that got me thinking again. And calculating.

 

A couple months back, I decided to give it a shot. And that's where it all got a bit complicated. Not in a totally bad way, but dealing with officials can be as frustrating as a power outage approaching second crack. So everything took a while, first and foremost I needed to obtain a permit to build a plant. Planning to roast in a dedicated space in our house, there was discussion around applicable designation of areas. Per se, local legislation will not distinguish between a small craft business and a fully automated industrial roasting plant with an hourly output of several tons. Nobody wants such a monstrous facility next door in a residential area, however, we were lucky to have exception handling processes in place. Gotta love my country for that! So the verdict is in: I may roast up to 1,000kg per year, up to 10hrs a week. It might sound a lot to folk like me, but I know we wouldn't be able to make a living from it alone: growing beyond these limits means moving out to an industrial quarter nearby.

 

But hey, it could be worse! Working a side-job from home, earning local reputation, learning how to actually run such a business at minimal risk...

 

The goal is to provide freshly roasted coffee to the region we're living in. Local roasteries are scarce, as is decent coffee. Our little business will not pivot around beardy hipsters in the first place, but rather focus on a coffee-to-the-people approach. Finding the balance between quality and pricing is key.

As we don't need to stress it, marketing/sales/distribution shall stay super low-key. I'd like to rely on word of mouth and see where it gets us.

 

 

Now, on paper the company is up and running. Until construction is finished, no selly selly. But I've got plenty of other things to clarify, anyways:

 

- Business plan - roughly done.

- Floor plans: done. (needed to obtain permit)

- Collect building and equipment offers: done.

- Apply for (subsidised) financing: WIP.

- Obtain bean samples: WIP (one supplier missing)

- Sample roasting, cupping, selecting: WIP (one supplier missing)

- Company name: done.

- Logo/CI: done.

- Website: WIP.

- Email address: done.

- Business phone line: WIP (split business from private, what a crucial bit!)

- Choose packaging: WIP (almost there)

- Order branded cups* - WIP (two samples each ordered last week)

- Book keeping: currently outsourced (due to lack of profound knowledge, Mrs. Hasi will learn along)

 

 

 

* espresso, flat white/americano, cappuccino - can't enter gastronomy without around here.

 

 

Please feel free to point me towards anything I could be missing or wishing to have thought of before :cool: Also, I might simply have forgotten to put it down.

I'm going to post further progress as it happens, looking forward to any responses along the way!

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Sounds exciting - good luck with it.

 

Do you need insurance of any kind? e.g. if the roaster explodes will your current policy cover your premises and / or public liability

 

Do you need any kind of food standards agency officials to give you permission to sell foodstuffs? And do you need regular inspections for cleanliness and health and safety?

 

How will you distribute the goods? Is it via mail (can you get special rates for a business and will your local post office mind if you turn up with 100 bags to post) or will you deliver (are there regulations around storage and transportation).

 

Do you have a backup plan in case your equipment goes down? If you are supplying businesses presumably they will want a regular supply. If everything breaks is there something in place (either alternative equipment or an escape clause in your agreement) that means there are no issues?

 

Is all your customer related stuff GDPR compliant?

 

And can you get UPS for roasters just in case the power does go out before second crack?

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Thank you @ZappyAd quite some thinking went into your reply, appreciate it!

 

There you go, forgot to mention insurance is WIP :good:

Until it's a business, the premises are covered by home insurance. Next thing to do is splitting the contract. No big deal.

 

Talking to assigned food inspector was the most relaxed discussion so far. He basically mentioned two things:

- everything up to 1.50m needs to be flat, washable surfaces

- workflow needs to be linear to avoid contamination after sterilisation (aka. roasting), which I took into account when drawing the blue prints, already

 

Distribution will be a mix of delivery and pick-up. I'm not aware of any special regulations around how to load a vehicle other than our Highway Code states (like securing cargo properly and in a way that it will not obstruct driver's view). But it's a viable point I will follow up on!

 

Machinery backup is a good question. For most items, I'm able to find a quick fix, but not for the Dalian Amazon 1kg roaster itself. Next to it, I use yet a smaller roaster for samples. It's a Quest M3. Obviously, not an ultimate backup - but I know this thingy inside out and can switch forth and back with no issues. Will have to find a solution for that as I don't believe it's a good idea to skip agreements with on-premise accounts. I'm working in beverage industry for over a decade now, feels like I kinda know what gastro folk can be like :D

 

GDPR is a spooky monster these days. WIP! Luckily, I can build on other people's experiences as the general discussion about it is around for a while now. Following the news closely!

Especially concerning company cell phones, it's a tricky thing: what if it's lost/stolen with all contacts aboard? Under private circumstances, oh pity, who cares? Woe betide you it's on business terms... anyone around here willing to share their approach to GDPR?

 

UPS might be overdoing it a bit. A torch, a wooden spoon long enough to reach in and some oven mitts alongside a CO2 extinguisher if things should really get ugly. That's been my emergency route so far. Oh and I'm volunteering in the local fire brigade. These things usually don't upset me much :D

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Nothing to add @Hasi but good luck. Let us know when you’re up & running so we can give it a try.


A machine, a grinder & some beans

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Nothing to add @Hasi but good luck. Let us know when you’re up & running so we can give it a try.

 

Thanks mate! Will give it a thought, exports and mail-order are topics in their own right :D

 

For now it's all about the process. I'd really want to get started before Christmas: opportunities waiting for some 250g corporate give-away bags two nearby businesses have already enquired about. Could use very well as a carrier to spread my beans around the area a bit...

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Disclaimer: not a lawyer. This is not legal advice, just what I've picked up building robust GDPR records into our product (which is specifically designed to hold personal information).

 

1. Don't do anything stupid or illegal. It may sound obvious, but it's worth stating. GDPR is a much needed update to the Data Protection Act, and it's a good thing, broadly speaking.

 

2. Don't store information you don't need.

 

3. Take reasonable steps to secure the information you have. The key word here is reasonable. If you're using a phone to store contact information, does it have a password/pin? Have you also signed up to a remote lock/wipe service if it does get lost/stolen?

 

4. Don't misuse the information you're storing. I've: don't spam everyone with emails, don't pass on your mailing list to a bloke down the pub who's got this great idea.

 

5. Read up on the 6 different reasons for storing information. I can't emphasise this enough. All the media attention is on "consent" but there are clauses in place to make sure you can function as a business. E.g. if you're delivering by post, you can't do that without an address, so even if a client hasn't specifically given you permission, you still have a right to store it, as it's "required to fulfill a contract"

 

PM me if you'd like some links to helpful articles and websites

 

J

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Great stuff!

Can’t thank you enough @jymbob

I can now be more specific asking local people in charge. Invaluable to have a starting point

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As a fall back you may want to investigate who else in your area either roasts coffee or is a roaster so that in the even the Dalian goes down you could head over to them (requires a bit of pre thought etc)

 

You might also want to hold some basic parts such as drive belt, the fan resister (see dalian experience thread, available from RS components or BB), spare PID etc poss also an extractor fan assembly (would stop short at heater element but then am close enough to BB to go for a drive if urgent). From previous posts sounds like you already got spare thermocouples and would also suggest if not already that you keep a paper copy of your best roast profiles with temps / damper settings should Laptop / Artisan corrupt in any way.

 

Not aware of a UPS that is not silly money to be able to run the Dalian at full chat however long term, dependant on No of power outs in your area, may look for a 2nd hand generator to cover those periods of foul weather etc.

 

Might also want to look to keep a box of "spare" coffee bags in case of delivery / supply issues i.e. start 1 box, have 1 ready, order another straight away. On a bag note, maybe a spare means of heat sealing even if only a "haired" partner with straightening tongs ( I have no need for Tongs but wife and daughter do!).

 

If ordering pre printed labels either have enough in for at least 6 months or pick a label size that is std so your printer not having to order in a special size that only gets cut once a year (simple but can derail you quickly)

 

You may also want to hold at least 5 days worth of stock (gasp! burnt at stake) given your target local market, as people will still treat as freshly roasted and added bonus is part way rested :). First orders to commercial customers liable to be large, plan for this bearing in mind they may then hold the stock for a while and your next order could be a way away (they will appreciate you holding a small stock when they invariably call at 10pm...)

 

All the above, nuggets picked up / worked out whilst was getting ready to do exactly as you are and before I got tempted back into my work field, now just doing F&F with a thought of one day....

 

All the best and hope it goes well (especially your export orders :) )

John


Roasters: BB Dalian Amazon 1kg -Power contolled GeneCafe 101- 106Kg of greens - Tonino

Espresso: Londinium L2 - Gaggia G105 - Silvia v3 Mr.Shades PID'-d - Faema E92a2 (Project) - MyPressi Twist - VST baskets / Motta Europa (350/500/750ml) - Torr Ti 58.55 & Goldfinger flat 58.4 TiBlack, Pullman 51.4 - Acaia x2

Grinders: Flats: Compak R120 - NS Mythos plus Conics: Compak K10PB - Lido 3

Brewed: Behmor Brazen - Moccamaster KBGT471 - Aeropress - V60 - Cona model D - Clever - Mizudashi - 8-10 + 6 cup Chemex

Water: BWT Bestmax V Refrac: VST III

and a Puq Press not in a pear tree..

 

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Congratulations on your endeavour!

 

Are you going to need a HACCP plan? Easy enough to set one up. It’s really good for your own peace of mind rather than fulfilling regulations.


2019 L-R with hand turned Thuya burr handles and toggles / 1998 La Pavoni with NickNak single hole steam wand tip  / Monolith Titan Flat & Conical, MAX Flat on order  / HG-1 / Kalita wave / Stag kettle / OCD / Joey Skateboard Handle Pullman Big Step & matching stirrer / Wenge Handle Lev Tamp / Push Tamper / Puqpress / 15g & 18g vst / IMS 35μM / LDT / Barista Gear Titanium 12oz pitchers / LW Bean Cellars & Caddy / Decent thermometer / Acme Evo 150ml cups / Espazzola / Hottop / embroidered by me bar towels / coffee bar towel logo embroiderer to the hoi polloi  / in the cellars: Steampunk, North Star, Foundry, The Barn, HasBean, Coffee Compass / 6 gorgeous guineas / a dog / a very lovely and understanding husband 

 

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Thanks @johnealey !

There's oh so many things to make your mind up when starting out... even as I type I keep putting them puzzle pieces together as far as possible :whistle:

 

I've just put [keep roaster spares] (drive belt, PID, more dual thermocouples) on top of my list.

As I have to install an extractor fan and rigorous ducting, anyway, I specified it powerful enough it'll be able to replace the Amazon's very own fan in case of failure.

 

In our area, we hardly have power outages. When there's a severe weather warning, I might not even start roasting for best protection. I guess UPS or generator unit isn't a priority at the moment. But it's good to give it a thought!

In the end of the day, our house is set up to host solar cells and a battery (Tesla or Kreisel) once. Building the roastery has delayed our plans to actually put it up :D

 

Coffee bags are going to receive hand stamped labels for general info. A business card type ticket containing all details (variety, degree of roast, roasted date, price etc.) will be tacked on. Thus very flexible and separable. Also, a customer can use the ticket to label their own container... :cool: All that stuff doesn't cost millions and is easy to store, so yes we're deffo bulk buying that! These attached chits we might source from an online business card provider... usually they're super responsive and back orders work by the click of a button.

 

As for stock, we're going to be roasting once a week in the beginning. I'm not totally convinced everybody must have everything at every time. I mean, yes it's what we're used to these days. On the other hand, running out of stock also sends a message. Obviously depending on situation, transmission and recipient, I may very well tell end customers: this product is much sought-after, I'd better be quicker next time. Not talking about creating artificial scarcity, just a little reminder/push towards terms like specialty, handicraft, value. Isn't it?

For gastronomy, no excuses of course. Here, we have something in mind (and planned) that would bridge shortages pretty well: the restaurant we are going to enter at first produce their own organic pasta which they also sell packaged for home use. Doing the same with coffee means freshly roasted beans on stock, if not sold over the counter the restaurant will use them the following week. Very curious about how this is going to work out!

 

 

 

Thanks @MildredM !

HACCP plan, yea it was quite funny discussing that with the officials, because none of them had ever commissioned a roastery before. They asked a lot of questions, of course. Concerning hazardous content, we agreed that heat impact and roasting time basically kill everything on or in the beans. Ending a roast/cooling shall not overlap with filling greens into the hopper so contamination is prevented. Packaging shall take place straight or at least soon after cooling, basically adhering to the linear workflow the roastery is going to be built for. I'll post some visualisations later on...! We'll be wearing work clothes and a cap that don't leave the place, including cotton gloves during packaging. Maybe that's overdoing it a bit, but we will have customers drop in eventually and they should see we're serious about cleanliness.

As for foreign bodies, the Dalian Amazon is small enough to apply sight (and hearing) control during/after the roast and while weighing and filling bags. If we miss something, the worst thing would be damaged grinder burrs. We would simply pay for that, maybe looking for some sort of insurance once we grow bigger? How do others deal with this?

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d7e038f2d90ed0cce79e9c88a89d9cd7.jpg

 

Sample bags arrived today!

Looks like them stand-up pouches will win the race. Only which colour... both have their advantages...

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Why not use both? The lighter one for lighter roasts and darker for darker roasts?

 

If it's just one colour I'd go for the lighter one

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Valid point!

Maybe a visual hint towards one of the following:

 

- blend v single origin

- regular v expensive/special

- light v dark roast

- certified v other

- B2B v B2C (not bean to cup, but business-to-consumer)

- small v big bag (ok, that would be obvious, anyway)

- free sample/bonus/giveaway v sales item

- delivery v stock item

 

 

I‘ll give it some more thought... :whistle:

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Are you printing directly in to the bags or sticking a label on? And your logo, would the colours suit one bag more than the other? I really liked the CHC LSOL bags/logo etc - white bag, fresh and crisp logo ;)


2019 L-R with hand turned Thuya burr handles and toggles / 1998 La Pavoni with NickNak single hole steam wand tip  / Monolith Titan Flat & Conical, MAX Flat on order  / HG-1 / Kalita wave / Stag kettle / OCD / Joey Skateboard Handle Pullman Big Step & matching stirrer / Wenge Handle Lev Tamp / Push Tamper / Puqpress / 15g & 18g vst / IMS 35μM / LDT / Barista Gear Titanium 12oz pitchers / LW Bean Cellars & Caddy / Decent thermometer / Acme Evo 150ml cups / Espazzola / Hottop / embroidered by me bar towels / coffee bar towel logo embroiderer to the hoi polloi  / in the cellars: Steampunk, North Star, Foundry, The Barn, HasBean, Coffee Compass / 6 gorgeous guineas / a dog / a very lovely and understanding husband 

 

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Are you printing directly in to the bags or sticking a label on? And your logo, would the colours suit one bag more than the other? I really liked the CHC LSOL bags/logo etc - white bag, fresh and crisp logo ;)

 

All basic info going directly on the bag will be stamped on at first (black ink for brown/natural bag, brown ink if we choose a white pouch).

We‘ll attach a (more colourful) paper tag with details to what’s inside a particular bag.

 

That should make us flexible enough to offer different beans at all times as well as it enables us to buy smaller amounts: Pre-printed bags usually require quantity commitment beyond 7,000.

 

I laid out the logo to work in monochromatic mode (forward thinking :whistle: ). We also have a second variant at hand that will most likely go on the bags.

Currently, if you look at my avatar image, there’s beige elements - resembling brown paper colour... Given we expand later on, directly printed bags might look different, anyways. Good thing is, it all seems to work with one another, somehow. Then again, these are precisely the situations where I can get indecisive as f...k

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And now to something completely different... next to detailing the interior (update follows later today) I started the construction

 

First of all, to remove an original building error: pavement out, concrete in. This is where the shop front comes in, so needs a flat and even surface. As I’m using space on our property where I’ve finished building the house only a year ago, I could‘ve done this right in the first place... anyhow, here we go:

 

dd44280e718223cead8e6d1e70b2e5d9.jpg

See them light cones of dust... that was the very low level of what I produced the other night. Couldn’t even see where I was cutting from time to time

 

35cfe269a0ecf99a03676514dfbab719.jpg

Nice and straight.

 

28ba81409acb91dccec119a9d9ed19e4.jpg

Live view...

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a22f32388087bc7f05a5a19f75615400.jpg

 

Clean out and done.

 

3de566580d1114caccab478501f01cde.jpg

Edited by Hasi

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Was working on my own today, putting up a partition wall

Everything is just leftovers from building our house, so no investment so far

 

In the back there’s going to be greens storage and weighing in before roasting...

 

5402174db56ea990c1e5f45fb5cd31e3.jpg

 

3f84d10071dec2bf256b784d4565df54.jpg

 

31a55881983e674cef00b6344e90bd5b.jpg

 

f4657cf483c9ef55b4812fb1916af391.jpg

 

Love to do that kind of stuff! Getting things done visibly and tangibly is just so much nicer than sitting in front of an illuminated rectangle staring at tiny dots...

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Getting things done visibly and tangibly is just so much nicer than sitting in front of an illuminated rectangle staring at tiny dots...

 

Unfortunately "watching dots" (and hitting buttons to make them change) is much more lucrative (for me)....... despite a few escape attempts :-(

 

I hope you can continue doing "real" stuff!!


There is a fine line between "Hobby" and "Manic Obsession"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Expobar Brewtus DB, Mazzer SJ, Sowden, V60, Aeropress and all sorts

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Currently enjoying LSOL

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Unfortunately "watching dots" (and hitting buttons to make them change) is much more lucrative (for me)....... despite a few escape attempts :-(

 

I hope you can continue doing "real" stuff!!

 

haha, so true!

At least today I shall continue (before I go changing dots in a rectangle again by tomorrow) - a bit dry walling should do it for a Sunday‘s worth of dust ...and a beer!

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A little virtual update...:

 

e7ae9f9af199ba0e3dfc2e5a317383fb.png

 

a2da77413044a5c7dcf2a9f2e55965d5.png

 

547a39f60b07e2452bccf601f6e749a3.png

 

This is about how it should end up - let’s see

 

btw: Next to that sink will be a nice place for the Minima

Edited by Hasi
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e3ed769b2387ebbbde2999b69d060419.jpg

 

eef69f299df11082dedceaf20808a35c.jpg

 

Step by step...

Some more dry walling for tomorrow’s electric installations

 

Now: tired.

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First day of electrification - done!

Over the weekend I can finish dry-walling (good as it’s kinda getting old by now).

 

Today arrived some items as can be seen here

 

Gave them bags and heat-seal a first try straight away:

 

ea0923a248790f4d49ee6e950b04dac4.jpg

 

Woohoooo!! Hasi like this.

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You know you're meant to put stuff in the bag beforehand, right?

 

Now that you mentioned it...

 

Actually, there is!

Repacked my latest private reserve batch.

 

Figured that it wouldn’t be wrong to have some sort of plunger/funnel long enough to push pouch bottoms in place. Otherwise filling them is a PITA... don’t want to reach into the bag, gloves or not. Maybe going to interview a metalworker about this.

 

Although a bigger scoop might also do it...

 

Bigger roasteries have their weighing and filling stations - just not affordable for us.

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