Home roasters, not small business owners: Do you sell or give away coffee? - Page 2

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
Mbb

#11: Post by Mbb »

You went wrong when you thought you could charge family/friends retail prices....for homemade coffee.
You're inefficient, you have no economies of scale, or wholesale pricing. You also have no costs like commercial real estate, permits, insurance, taxes, etc.

Quite honestly, those are your problems. Not your customers....not your family's. I would expect you to charge green prices + 2 to $3 for incidentals. it would be less than they would pay in the store for store coffee.

I roast for myself, and I mail some to my son at school in New York .....for free...mostly because, if I don't he'll order it and have it delivered to his apartment, which is kind of expensive.....

I can't imagine the unpaid hassle of trying to roast small amounts for others.

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keno

#12: Post by keno »

I sell for $10 for a 12 oz bag, but only to friends, family, and neighbors. At that price it covers my costs for green coffee, bags, and labels. In the end I might make a few bucks a bag at best, which the way I look at it helps to pay for my roaster over time.

If you were to factor in my time it would not be a worthwhile money making endeavor considering what I make in my day job. However, I mainly roast for myself when I have orders from others and combining them doesn't add a lot of time since once the roaster is heated up it takes me less than 15 minutes for another batch of 2 bags. Other benefits of roasting for others are: ability to purchase larger quantities of greens to get better pricing and selection, more practice of the craft, and the invaluable feedback from others who enjoy my coffee.

The biggest problem I have encountered in selling to friends, family, and neighbors was collecting money. So eventually I set up a website and only take prepaid orders via PayPal. It has made the experience MUCH better and I highly recommend it. I have kept the website low profile and tell people don't order from me if you don't have my personal approval.

You don't have to charge friends, family, and neighbors $16 a bag if roasting is just a hobby for you. Sell it for a price that works for you and is worthwhile for them (at $10 a bag it's less than they would pay for similar quality coffee and not much more than bad store bought coffee). It's a great way to share your hobby with others and get some useful experience if you eventually decide to go into business.

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mkane
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#13: Post by mkane »

Lambretta58 wrote:I roast for a few friends and my dad.

They cover the cost of the green beans and bag(s). I round up to the next whole dollar. So if a pound costs me 4.25 and a bag is .15 =4.40 I get $5 from them.

My dad, if he picks up my greens he buys what he wants. If I order the beans he gets them for free.

Not trying to be a business, I do this just for fun. It keeps them drinking good coffee and I get to practice.
Not to change the subject but, how are you getting along with your Niche?

Case17

#14: Post by Case17 »

keno wrote:I sell for $10 for a 12 oz bag, but only to friends, family, and neighbors. At that price it covers my costs for green coffee, bags, and labels. In the end I might make a few bucks a bag at best, which the way I look at it helps to pay for my roaster over time.

If you were to factor in my time it would not be a worthwhile money making endeavor considering what I make in my day job. However, I mainly roast for myself when I have orders from others and combining them doesn't add a lot of time since once the roaster is heated up it takes me less than 15 minutes for another batch of 2 bags. Other benefits of roasting for others are: ability to purchase larger quantities of greens to get better pricing and selection, more practice of the craft, and the invaluable feedback from others who enjoy my coffee.

The biggest problem I have encountered in selling to friends, family, and neighbors was collecting money. So eventually I set up a website and only take prepaid orders via PayPal. It has made the experience MUCH better and I highly recommend it. I have kept the website low profile and tell people don't order from me if you don't have my personal approval.

You don't have to charge friends, family, and neighbors $16 a bag if roasting is just a hobby for you. Sell it for a price that works for you and is worthwhile for them (at $10 a bag it's less than they would pay for similar quality coffee and not much more than bad store bought coffee). It's a great way to share your hobby with others and get some useful experience if you eventually decide to go into business.
For me, $16/lb (not per 12 oz bag, but I could convert for that as well) was the price I felt on par with the quality as well as the minimum I felt my time was worth. It's basically the number that bumps me up from giving gifts to selling. There are in between price points, but I fear it would result in people taking advantage of it. I guess I could always start low and raise prices later, but at one point i was told it's better to start where you'd like to be, or else you're at risk of being the 'cheap coffee guy'.

Lambretta58

#15: Post by Lambretta58 »

mkane wrote:Not to change the subject but, how are you getting along with your Niche?
Doing well. I like it much better than my super jolly I missed.

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curmudgeon

#16: Post by curmudgeon »

Yes to both, plus bartering. Price changes based on the agreements and volumes we've set up, but it's all well under specialty retail pricing. (we're only talking about four "customers" here)

I'm not necessarily making money, but I basically get to drink coffee for free.

hiveroaster

#17: Post by hiveroaster »

I give it away for sure. I like to share the goodness.

false1001
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#18: Post by false1001 »

I'm lucky to have a couple friends and coworkers who are of the obsessed-with-upgrading-their-grinder-and-weighs-their-beans type, and I sell to them, usually around the $13-14 price point. I throw them a free bag every month or so as well, usually because I've found a really dope bean and just want to share the experience with them. Luckily they understand the economics of roasting, so they're more than willing to pay for my beans. They'd be paying $18+ for locally roasted SO's anyway. It's a nice symbiotic relationship since they give me good feedback, we get to share in the experience, and it's a good way to churn through green so I can keep my "inventory" fresh and new. The only downside is the shipping to friends who live in other parts of the country.

For my friends/family/coworkers with less sophisticated tastes I just give my beans away, but usually it's just my testing/screw up roasts... of which I have plenty. Or I'll just toss the leftovers from a bunch of different good roasts together after I got tired of those bags and give it away. Just the fact that the green is high quality and the roasted relatively recently means most are delighted with the coffee, even if I crashed the roast and over shot my roast targets.

However my most successful way of "selling" beans is doing group buys, almost always with a Royal Coffee Crown Jewel. If there's a lot that really catches my eye I'll poll people for demand... if I can get 10-15 people to commit to buying a bag I'll usually sell it for around $13-15, cover my costs, and have a free 5-6 lbs of a Crown Jewel to myself. It's also a great way to really get better at roasting, since i'm usually spending a week or so constantly roasting the same bean every day. I only do this 4-5 times a year though, since it takes a lot of my time to organize, profile roast, cup, and deliver.