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Homeroasters.org » CONSUMER ZONE » MOBILE MODS
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FARMERS MARKET ROASTING
ginny
This is the place to post your glorious stories of Farmer's Market Roasting.
Lynn reminded me that I have wanted to get something going on this for a long time.

Let's show our stuff, maybe some pic's at the market itself...

ginny

s:8s:8
Edited by ginny on 09/09/2007 08:28
 
Kaffee Bitte
Well after I posted a shout about this I have recieved a good number of PM's asking questions so why not just post about it.

I have been roasting for myself about a year and a half now on air poppers, often also roasting for friends. The roasting for friends is what convinced me to build a BBQ roaster. Poppers are a hassle when trying to roast more than about a pound total. So I built the grill. I have been working as a barrista for about ten years now so I have built a pretty good name for myself in the area coffee scene (or what passes for one here in Helena). The idea to roast and sell at the market just naturally flowed from these two things.

When I was planning it all out I had wanted to roast the coffee on the spot or at least have the roaster there for if I ran out. But then I realized that most people aren't going to want to wait around for 30ish minutes to get their coffee. Plus I would only be roasting about a pound or two at a time that way. Not a very efficient usage of fuel. Instead I roast the day before the market and package it up then as well.

For the total hours of work put into getting ready it varies somewhat but I can say that Fridays are a very long day. Total roast time for 30-40 lbs of coffee at 2.5-5lbs per roast is around eight to twelve hours including cooling of the beans. Packaging and labeling is around three (unless I can get someone to help).

Before I could start I had to have a home based business permit. This cost me $5 and about twenty minutes worth of paper work (your area may differ significantly, local and state laws vary wildly). Next I had to have the state health department come to inspect my roast facility (the outdoors). They came out watched me roasting, told me what I could and couldn't do and gave me a nice little document saying "go for it."

I was on the way. Or so I thought. I then had to convince the owner of the farmers market to let me set up a booth. This turned out to be the hard part, with more than a few misunderstandings. He apparently thought I was going to be running an espresso cart, which I had thought about but decided against, at least this year. Once I explained that I built the roaster myself and a few other details I convinced him it would be beneficial to his market.

Now I am at it. I bring my French press, a turkish hand mill, and a coleman stove to make coffee for samples. Today was my sixth week at the market and I sold out an hour before the market ended. This has been happening every week since the third. I am resisiting roasting much more than 50 lbs though since I am very busy with school during the week and time to roast is limited.

Well that about wraps up the first bit. I probably have a lot more to write here, but I figure I will let the questions fly and answer as I can.
Edited by ginny on 09/09/2007 08:26
Lynn

"Some days it's spice, other days it's bitter dirt."
 
Favorite? How can there be such a thing?
thirddayhomeroaster
Sounds like a lot of focused work! Is your $/hour worth it after expenses? (What do you clear for your efforts, if I may ask?) Where do you get your greens? Do most people buy a pound, 1/2 lb or other? Is the market year round? Do your samples "sell" the coffee for you, or do people just buy without samples? Are you working as a schedule c business, LLC, other for tax purposes?
Thanks!
TIM
 
Kaffee Bitte
Well I invested quite a bit of money up front in order to build the roaster and then buy coffee and bags and other sundries. So I have yet to have paid myself for the work I have done. Presently all the funds that I am making are going right back into the business up until the time that I have made that original amount of money I input. At that point the profits will actually start flowing my way.

The coffee will always be the largest expense when doing this. I am presently buying coffee two weeks in advance, but once I have built up more funds in my account from profits I will start buying 50# bags of the coffee. Presently buying between 10-25lb bags depending on how much I have sold of that coffee previously.

I am also presently working on my bean cooling system, which is presently the limiting factor in my drums capacity. Moderately large beans mean I can only roast 2.5 lbs at a time or else over flow my cooling system. This week I plan to build a second system of the same type (collander,bucket, vaccum) This way I will be able to do the full 5-6 lbs that my drum will handle for any bean size, not just the small ones. That should cut off a good two hours maybe more from roast time.

The bags I am using are one way valve zipper bags, which are more expensive than the brown paper bags, but they keep the coffee fresher which has in turn brought people back.

As far as how much I have made "profits" for each week. Selling 40 lbs. I have made above cost but not including time about $150. If I were to use less expensive coffees than I presently am I could bump that up by double possibly a bit more. Cheap low grade coffee though is not going to keep people coming back to me, they can get that anywhere in town.

I sell pounds and half pounds about equally. I have to package them prior to the market, unless I want to buy a scale that is well over $400. I may do that for next year though. The coffee definitely doesn't sell itself by any means. Samples seem to sell about 5-10 lbs a week so far. What moves it better than anything else is my passion for coffee (and a talent for selling). People come up and ask me about the coffee and I tell them everything I can about the flavors that I get out of that coffee. I also have sold a good deal of coffee by providing teaching about proper grinding and brewing technique.

Just to give an idea about return customers. The last four weeks I have sold half of my coffee to people that came back previously (a good memory for faces is a big help, even moreso if you remember names, names keep people coming back again and again). Others have called or emailed me during the week to have me roast when they couldn't get to the market. I am now selling about five pounds minimum outside of the market. 50 lbs is what I am defining as my maximum for the present.

After this semester of school is done I will be done with my degree and working as a nurse at which point my time will be much freer. Once that is up I plan to bump up the roasting to 100 lbs a week. I have a friend who is starting up a shop and will be running my coffee so that should easily give me another 30 or 40 a week.

Well I know I didn't answer all of your questions but I will try to next post. I have to get back to my studies. Human anatomy won't learn itself. Or at least that's what the professor says. Judging from how many people fail these classes she may be right.
Edited by Kaffee Bitte on 09/09/2007 19:47
Lynn

"Some days it's spice, other days it's bitter dirt."
 
Favorite? How can there be such a thing?
Kaffee Bitte
To answer a couple questions that I missed last post I have returned on my study break.

The market runs 6 months out of the year due to the incredibly short growing season here in Montana. This is also due to the fact that people would freeze in place at an open air market in winter. During the winter time I plan to sell at craft fairs and other such things, plus I should get some business from people by my business cards (I plan on giving these out pretty heavily. I also am working on a website that will be tied to other local business sites in hopes that that will keep me roasting somewhat.

As to the taxes I am still wading through the mounds of information that I got with my business permit, so I don't have a good answer for you there.
Lynn

"Some days it's spice, other days it's bitter dirt."
 
Favorite? How can there be such a thing?
Kaffee Bitte
Now that the market is done I have a little more time to breath. By the end I was selling 60 lbs every week just at the market. As a point of reference, it is a rare coffee shop in Montana that sells more than thirty pounds the entire week. My total sales were in one day. Granted the coffee shop has a higher profit margin, but they also have a much higher overhead. At the moment I am still sitting pretty steady at 60 lbs. These sales are all return customers who email or phone me a day or two before they need coffee.

I have also just signed a contract with a newly opened shop that was bringing their coffee in from Colorado. I agreed to provide their coffee because I was impressed with their employees level of skill with the espresso machine. Believe me when I say that there are maybe two places in all of Montana that do latte art as a standard along with sourcing excellent coffees. This place is one of them. At present I will be roasting 5 kilos of my personally created espresso blend for them every week along with three different single origins each week for their french press and vaccum pot coffee. The fact that they don't even have drip coffee was another part of my reason for signing.

So my small time startup is moving quickly to full fledged business status. The best part is that I will still be able to work as a nurse once I am done with school in December.
Lynn

"Some days it's spice, other days it's bitter dirt."
 
Favorite? How can there be such a thing?
seedlings
Lynn, this is an impressive thread! Can't believe I missed it before.

So, what's worse... drip coffee or syrupy expressos?s:7

I like drip.

CHAD
Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
 
Kaffee Bitte
Drip is acceptable if nothing else is possible. It is just flat and boring. The french press or vaccum pot will always have more of the actual coffee flavors. Drip is better than sweetened espressos but not by much.

Syrupy espresso is something I don't do. I am almost strictly a straight espresso kind of guy. Only occasional cappaccinos. If anything extra goes in my espresso it is usually in the evening and it consists of liquor. Which reminds me I need to start another thread!!!
Lynn

"Some days it's spice, other days it's bitter dirt."
 
Favorite? How can there be such a thing?
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