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Roasting own beans or supplier?

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Hi there,

 

I'm just wondering what peoples' opinions are of cafés that use a separate roaster as a coffee supplier vs those that roast themselves? (Specifically cafés that serve food, pastries, alcohol etc rather than just coffee itself).

 

In my opinion I'd rather have a café that had its own original coffee, but when starting out is it too much trouble to consistently roast your own coffee, as well as food, cakes, alcohol etc?

 

Thanks,

Callum

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Being an art/craft/science of its own, you most probably will have to have at least one person really dedicated to roasting coffee.

 

If your machine is on display you may want to check local regulations on work safety when operating it during opening hours.

 

And usually a set of separate rules apply regarding emissions, venting and more.

 

For sure it's a big bonus for a café if unique coffees are being served. Especially if they are superior to what the café next door can offer

A shop roaster also looks ace and shouts at your guests that you roast on your own beans!

 

On the other hand, you may as well work together with a local roastery to roast to your preference. That could also be marketed as your own, or as 'specially roasted for us', 'to our specifications', house brand etc.


says Hasi.

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PS: as far as the hassle goes depends on how serious it becomes. Selling bags additionally will boost sales (if the product is good) but also require labour and more standards (eg. food packaging).

 

Roasting a weekly batch for a café in a smallish shop roadter is done in one or two hours including preparation and clean-up.

Selling 10kg of beans over the counter adds three more hours. Rough estimates


says Hasi.

____________________

'This Sunday I will be out in the road saying - "Hasi says your impeading me from pursuing my recreational motivations while you wank off over the finer details of some aloof brainfork" :whistle: ' @jimbojohn55

Deep Thought says 'tight wiggles' is the answer. @Scotford

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I'd rather know I am going to I have tasty coffee when I visit the cafe, be that single origin or a blend.

I am not too bothered about if they roast it or buy it from a roaster.


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

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Having a roaster in the shop looks great, but takes up space that might otherwise be used for seating possibly. It's quite a bit ask for a startup guy to know enough about roasting and do all the other things needed to run a café that does food as well. Zee in Ealing has a Giesen in the corner, all properly vented and walled off with waist height shelving and suchlike, and you could often see him roasting. Less so now as he's opened a second shop and spends more time there. I don't think the baristi he employees are able to roast, so I suspect he does a few batches out of hours now. His house blend is a good crowd pleaser (essential for a café) and he nails it, I have bought retail bags from him when my stocks are low. Kiss the Hippo in Richmond (the London one) also have a visible roaster behind a glass wall which adds to the theatre and ambiance. However, that assumes the person choosing the greens and roasting/blending them is good at it. Better to have beans roasted well elsewhere than not so well in house.

 

TL;DR for me as a customer it's an added bonus if you are having your coffee in the shop, but totally depends on the quality. I would base my decision solely on the drink/service/environment rather than where the beans are roasted.


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Buy from a supplier. The learning curve and cost of kit you need to roast your own is pretty steep. You won't get that return back too quickly, especially when you add in the labour costs of continuing to roast batches.

 

If you buy from a supplier you can run a variety of different beans and have guest beans as well. Then you've got the retail bag option which adds to your profit. There are so many areas and expenses involved in opening a cafe you won't really have the time or money to go down the roasting route.

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Unless you already know how to roast coffee and have enough experience to do it consistently then buying from a supplier will be your best option. If you know how to do it and you're able to produce results as good as or better than a supplier then it's something that will set you apart from other business. It increases initial investment but you can also sell your own beans as a roastery to cafes, online, and in store to increase revenue. Your money won't disappear into thin air either; you will be able to sell the roaster on should you need to to recoup a lot of the initial cost. It's about preference really, some people buy these 1kg roasters to use domestically don't forget so if you're going to be roasting for yourself and your business you could consider it partially a personal expense. Put it this way if I started a coffee shop and invested in a roaster I wouldn't want to sell if things weren't profitable enough and I had to close down.

 

So really, can you roast? Do you want a 1kg roaster for yourself anyway? Can you afford the extra staff that will be needed to do things that you would otherwise be doing if you weren't roasting, sourcing beans, sampling, blending, cleaning, maintaining, etc etc? You would likely want to get some guest beans in from other roasters anyway just to cover yourself should anything go wrong with your roaster and you have to wait a week for spare parts or something and you're unable to roast.


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You could always use the roaster for USP purposes in your area if no one else is doing it, it might attract the odd hipster or so.

 

I would not be surprised if some cafes have roasters just for show that they pile the odd beans in now and again but have no intent of using them, simply for attraction purposes.


Kit: Some coffee bashers for the beans and some water heater thingies for the brewing bit.

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