My latest money making idea is inspired by a friend of mine, Peter Anderson at Bible Money Matters. He mentioned in a recent post that his brother makes money buying green coffee beans, roasting them, and reselling the roasted coffee in his local market for a profit.
I thought that was a great idea. So I thought I’d do a little research and share this great money making idea with you. Below you’ll find everything you need to get started roasting and selling coffee beans, along with plenty of free resources on coffee beans, equipment, and the roasting process.
Getting Started With Coffee Roasting
Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. Anyone can roast their own if they know how. Surprisingly, roasting your own coffee beans doesn’t require a large startup cost or a ton of technical expertise. To get started, all you need are 3 things:
- A way to roast the coffee beans
- Green coffee beans
- Understanding of the roasting process
Start a Coffee Roasting Business With What You Have
According to SweetMarias.com, you can roast coffee beans in a conventional oven, an air popcorn popper, a stovetop popcorn popper, a skillet or even a wok. If you want to invest a little money, you can even invest in appliances made specifically for coffee bean roasting such as a drum roaster, an air roaster, or a stove top roaster.
Obviously, there are a lot of ways to roast coffee beans. My suggestion would be to start with a reasonably priced method first, and get a feel for the process before jumping in head first and buying expensive equipment.
According to SweetMarias, a hot air popcorn popper is the DIY method of choice if you don’t want to invest in dedicated coffee bean roasting equipment. If you don’t have an air popper at home, you can get one for relatively cheap at Amazon.com or your local department store. Of course, you might even be able to score one for just a couple of dollars at your local thrift store.
You Can Find a Complete List of Resources at the Bottom of This Post
I also put together a great Pinterest board where you can find green coffee beans, roasters, and books on how to roast your own coffee!
Obviously, the other thing you need to roast your own coffee is green, unroasted coffee beans. Just like roasted coffee you buy at the store, there are plenty of varieties from every part of the world to choose from. For example, you can purchase beans from Brazil, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen, India, Sumatra, Costa Rica and any other country that grows coffee. Any coffee beans you like roasted, you can buy unroasted as well.
You can even experiment by blending different coffee beans to get a unique flavor all your own. Consequently, roasting coffee is like making wine or brewing beer. There are a lot of variables you can use to get a very unique flavor that can be a big draw for your customers.
Roasting The Green Coffee Beans
The roasting process is where the magic happens. Understanding and controlling the different stages of the roasting process allows you to control the flavor and intensity of the end product to get exactly what you want out of your beans.
There are 8 stages in the roasting process you’ll need to know to get your coffee to just the right flavor:
- Yellowing- After a few minutes of roasting, the beans turn a yellowish color and start producing a grassy smell.
- Steam- Next, the beans begin to emit steam as the bean’s water content starts to dissipate.
- First Crack- The beans start to make a cracking sound, and the steam starts to become fragrant. Sugars within the beans begin to caramelize, and the oils in the beans start to migrate out from the inner parts.
- First Roasted Stage- Once the first crack happens, the coffee is completely roasted. You can now stop the roast for a lighter coffee, or continue the roast for a bolder, stronger flavor, according to your taste.
- Caramelization- The oils continue to migrate, and more caramelization happens. The beans darken and flavor becomes more intense. This stage achieves a City roast.
- Second Crack- After caramelization, a second crack can be heard. At this point, the flavor achieved by roasting can overtake the flavor of the bean’s origin. Just after you start hearing the second crack, you have achieved a City+ roast, also known as a Vienna roast.
- Darkening Roast- The sugars have completed caramelization and start to burn. The beans begin to break down at the end of the second crack. At this point, you have achieved a French roast.
- Burned- Once the sugars have burned completely, there is nothing left to roast. You’ll end up with beans that will not produce anything resembling a good cup of coffee.
Start Small and Grow From There
A little experimentation and refinement can make your coffee a huge hit. Start small by offering your coffee blends to family and friends to sample, and see which ones they like best. Then you can start selling your coffee to them. You can also offer your blends to local coffee shops and restaurants, or even your local flea market.
Coffee roasting is the kind of business where the sky’s the limit. If you like, you can start small and just make a little extra money selling to people you know. Also, you can grow it into a large enterprise, selling your unique blends across the country.
I’ll be interested to see if any CFF readers decide to start a coffee roasting business. If you do, let me know. I’d like to see how it works out for you.
Question: Have you ever roasted your own coffee or started a coffee roasting business? Tell me about it in the comments.
Coffee Bean Roasting Resources
Want to learn more about roasting your own coffee? Here are a few good resources for you to check out.
You can also check out my Coffee Roasting Pinterest Board to find roasters, books on roasting, and green coffee beans from around the world!
Coffee Roasting Equipment
How to Roast Green Coffee Beans
Books and Articles About Coffee Roasting
How I Roast Amazing Coffee at Home by Jessica Crane-Munoz
The Little Coffee Know-It-All by Dr. Shawn Steiman