One thing I know for certain is that I don’t want to set up a roasting operation for the coffee I sell – at least right away. First, it would be far too expensive and risky to sink that type of money into getting a roaster and a facility to house it. I don’t have that type of money to begin with, and it would suck if no one bought the coffee and I got stuck with a giant ass roaster. Secondly, I don’t know/nor do I want to know what regulations come with processing a food/beverage product. I’d rather not deal with this headache unless I’m selling sizable and regular volumes. For that reason I am looking for a private label roaster — aka someone who will roast and package the beans under my brand and direction.
I began my search online, and found far more private label roasters than I expected. (Could be a good thing could be a bad thing, don’t know yet) Luckily, during my search, I found a roaster here in central ohio and the owner has offered to meet and let me see is his operation. We are planning to meet in a week.
This was not the first roaster I reached out to. I emailed at least 3-4 roasters and this was the first one to return my email. I’m excited that I’m making this progress, but I also want to make sure I’m prepared for this meeting. I want to know as much as I can about the roaster’s company (it’s also a full on coffee shop) as well as myself appropriately. What I’m thinking so far is.
1.) I want to be completely honest with him that this will be a learning experience for me and I’d likely not be able to provide large or consistent orders up front.
2.) I want to have a more realistic looking template created to show my vision.
3.) Make sure he can source robusta beans (highest caffeine content), and they know how to roast to maximize caffeine content.
4.) I want a logo ready and crafted so I can discuss labeling options.
5.) Determine where I want my margins to be so that I can propose desired pricing given my forecasted retail price.
6.) Ask what packaging options are available and the shelf life (and/or ability to roast to order)
7.) Determine shipping or fulfillment options. Not that it would be a big deal since we’re in the same city, but if I never have to handle the coffee that would be ideal. I want this to be as passive as I can possibly make it.
8.) Explore caffeine testing devices to see if I can substantiate high caffeine claims.
Wish me luck.