Roasting as a side-business - Advice needed - Page 4

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

#31: Post by Moxiechef »

Almico wrote:And Gary's Garage Coffee might take a while to achieve hipster status and garner those prices, or even close to it.
I think you're on to something. How many $1000 a bottle "garage wines" have been fought over. You've just gotta make it cool enough(and amazingly tasty).

Get yourself a Barth Ball Roaster, an old two car detached wood sided garage, a great label and some amazing word of mouth and you'll be the next Harlan or Screaming Eagle!

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#32: Post by EddyQ »

And all this time I thought Gary's coffee was a hipster class. :shock:
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#33: Post by Almico » replying to EddyQ »

I believe "hipster class" is an oxymoron.


#34: Post by stevanpierce » replying to Almico »

This thread has is hilarious and educational! :D

Almico, thanks for sage advice and recommendations!

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#35: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

TomC wrote:Almico's advice is pure gold. ^
True True Alan always has great advice. Just note that the OP is speaking of a side business. He has a business he loves. He wants to be small and on the side of what he loves.

Recover the cost of the equipment and make a little bit exploring his passion.

This is why when I rewired from my long term career I intended to only recover equipment costs and make enough to do some coffee related adventures like trips to the SCA annual convention.

Nothing bigger and it can be done on that scale. In fact, without the essential big profit part, roasting has remained more adventurous and allowed for other activities like supporting the Artisan team.

All the best to everyone in the coffee world this holiday season.
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#36: Post by stevanpierce »

What regulations for city, county, state, and federal levels are needed for a home roasting biz over the internet?

I've found basic info for AZ and spoke with people at different offices. Was told a number of things, one being that I would need a commercial kitchen and as soon as I sell across state lines fed would be involved. Even after speaking with people at the State, they were not forthcoming or knowledgeable about roasting....which goes to show how little people know, self included until I took the plunge.

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#37: Post by EddyQ »

Food processing regulations are enforced at town, state and federal levels. Here in Massachusetts, I started with my local board of health and obtained a "Residencial Kitchen Permit". But your state is likely different.

Look through the linked publication below for Massachusetts. It talks a lot of what the differences are between all these levels and requirements for processing food (coffee being a baked good), training, labeling and more. Your state may have something similar. ... Manual.pdf

"Residential kitchens are allowed to sell directly to consumers or directly to retail food stores and food service establishments within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not acknowledge a private kitchen in someone's home as an approved source of foods for interstate commerce. Mail order sales from residential kitchens are also prohibited for this reason. In turn, Massachusetts does not consider foods prepared in outofstate residential kitchens as an approved food source. To limit production of foods to safe and manageable volumes, the regulation prohibits the use of brokers, wholesalers, and warehouses by residential kitchen operators to store, sell, and distribute foods prepared in residential kitchens. Another restriction on production volume is the requirement that only household members may be employed in the operation."

Bottom line: Across state lines falls into FDA territory.
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#38: Post by Almico »

There are federal labeling laws that would need to be followed when shipping across state lines. Fortunately, coffee is not a food and does not require nutritional info labels. ... 265446.pdf


#39: Post by stevanpierce »

Thanks everyone for pointing me in right direction. I found what I need for AZ based on the MA and FDA info....and I thought my Google query skills were better than they are prior to everyone pointing in a better direction.


#40: Post by sambuist »

so i took the plunge 6 months ago doing exactly what your all talking about, turning a hobby into a side gig. i roast once a week and sell about 20 pounds each email blast. overall im happy with what i have and enjoy the benefits of learning a new skill.

what i really wanted to talk about is some of the numbers as i think it is very realistic as to what one might make over the 1st year. if anyone would like the excel sheet that calculates all this info (plus a lot more cool feature especially if you are selling your coffee) then just email me and i will send it your way.

a little background first. i sell by word of mouth to friends and family. i have about 55 people on my email list (with no unsubscribe button) that i send out weekly. i roast 3 varieties every week which keeps it simple and i try to cover all the styles (espresso blend, single Origin light and then a dark roast). i roast on the bullet R1 and i buy my green by the sack in town. any new person get 1/2 free to try. i sell it at $10 per pound.

below is a breakdown of the numbers from the start until today (~7 months of sales). project break-even is week 58 (so basically 1 year after starting.

Total Sale $3,845
Total Roasted lbs 422
Total Green lbs 906
COGS/Total Green $2,779
Profit/Loss (coffee only) $1,066
Profit Margin 28%

Total equipment -$3,663
Total CapEx -$6,442
Profit/Loss -$2,597
Profit Margin -40%

Breakeven Week 58