Friday, May 1, 2015

Stuck on Sourcing

The problem with being a very small coffee business is that sourcing is a very big deal. I keep getting myself stuck between the two options: roast my own coffee or brew someone else’s coffee.

I would not mind roasting my own coffee. I actually wouldn’t mind doing it with my popcorn popper in the back yard to get my cart going. The reason why I shoot this option down is that I’m not an artesian roaster. So it clashes with my pricing model (higher pricing for higher quality coffee and brewing). I probably maintain my pricing model with roasting my own coffee, but it would price at the bottom of the barrel. I would still need to purchase high-end coffee from someone else to charge the higher rate. Reading this back, it actually sounds like a good idea. It would kind of be like a house wine, much less expensive and pretty good; but, if you want a Bordeaux is also available for 3x the price. That still puts me in a sourcing issue and I run the risk of setting a low price standard that pigeon holes me into low margin sales and direct competition with Starbucks (ultimately killing my shop).

Procuring beans from another roaster is something that I wanted to do originally. I have really liked the multi-roaster approach because there are some awesome coffees out there, why not capitalize on their hard work? The problem is that I have not concept of volume. I can bury my shop from the start if I buy too much and it all goes stale.

You know, sitting here reading through all this, I cannot help buy come to the conclusion that I have to roast my own beans for the house brew and selectively purchase small amounts of high quality beans from other roasters to round out menu.

Thank you for being a part of my decision-making. Let me know your thoughts in the comments if you recommendations or thoughts on how I should approach it.