From Beans to Business: Mastering Coffee Roasting with Kett Test Instrumentation

Posted by Kett Marketing on Thu, Mar 28, 2024

PM450 and PM410  (1)Are you a coffee lover? If yes, why not start a business that aligns with your passion?

If you're wondering which business to start, a coffee roasting business is a good option. The question then arises: 

How do you start a coffee roasting business?

This post will answer that question in great detail. Let's start with the basics to understand how a coffee roasting business works.

What is a coffee roasting business?

A coffee roaster procures good-quality coffee beans, roasts them, processes them, and packs them. The business can then sell these beans directly to consumers or other businesses.

The business can be broken down into steps like:

Step 1: The company procures coffee beans from the suppliers or coffee plantations by shortlisting the beans based on various attributes like color, aroma, and so on.

Step 2: The company roasts the coffee beans to attain the desired profile, varying from light to medium to dark.

Step 3: Thereafter, the curation process removes the defective coffee beans.

Step 4: The next step involves packing the coffee, and then comes the crucial task of marketing and selling the beans.

In a nutshell, this is what a coffee roaster does.

Starting a coffee roasting business involves even more steps, which we will cover below.

How to start a coffee roasting business?

The section below covers the step-by-step procedure to start a coffee roasting business.

Step 1: Create a coffee-roasting business plan

The first thing you need to do is create a business plan. The business plan should answer questions like:

  • How much capital will you need?
  • Who will your target customer be?
  • What is the name and brand of your business?
  • What pricing structure will you follow?
  • What will be the fixed and variable costs of your business?
  • What type of premises do you need for your business?
  • What licenses do you need for your business?
  • What tax laws and food safety laws do you have to abide by?

You might also have to hire a consultant with experience in this industry to create a business plan. However, you must find the answers to these questions before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: Get the premises and licenses

Depending on the target customer, the premises you'll need will vary. If you plan to sell retail, you'll need a store. Otherwise, if the laws permit, you can operate from a warehouse or even your backyard. Keep in mind that you'll need space for:

  • Machines
  • Packaging
  • Marketing
  • Backend administration

Ensure the premises has space for all these activities. Once you have shortlisted the premises, it's time to get the licenses. A consultant can help you procure the licenses. Depending on the licenses and Tax documents needed, you might also have to hire a lawyer.

Typically, a coffee roasting business needs the following documents and licenses:

  • Air Permit by EPA (if roasting capacity is more than 1 million pounds annually)
  • Facility Registration with FDA
  • Business Entity Formation
  • Business License/Permit
  • Federal Employer Identification Number
  • Sales tax Number
  • Resale certificate
  • Certificate of occupancy

In addition, you might have to abide by various state and local laws, which vary depending on your location. 

Therefore, it's best to hire a consultant who can help you with all these.

Step 3: Get the right equipment

After getting the licenses, now is the time to get the right equipment.


You can choose from different types of roasters like:

  1. Heated Drum Roasters
  2. Classic Drum Roasters
  3. Fluid Bed Roasters
  4. Recirculation Roasters

The choice of the roaster depends on a lot of factors like:

  1. Cost
  2. Roasting capacity
  3. Roasting procure
  4. Maintenance
  5. Cost of operation

Ideally, when starting a coffee roasting business, it's best to go with something that has a 5kg capacity and isn't that expensive.


Software helps you manage inventory and use the roasters better. Artisan is an open-source software that you can opt for. If you need software that controls everything from coffee management to online buying and selling, then you can go with something like Cropster. The point is, do factor in the cost and procurement of the software as well.

Other equipment:

Apart from the roasters, there are a few other equipment you will need as well. These include:

Moisture Meter

A moisture tester like the PM650 Moisture tester by Kett is a must-have for roasting businesses as it helps you judge the quality of the beans you are procuring. It also helps you ascertain the moisture content of beans just before packing them once they are roasted.

The reason why moisture content of coffee beans should be accurately maintained is because too much moisture results in mold growth and too little moisture will alter the coffee beans taste and also lead to faster roasting which can induce a bitter and burnt taste.

Apart from the moisture, other attributes of coffee beans matter as well like:

Size: Coffee beans with identical size are the best. If beans of all sizes are used the eventual brew is uneven.

Aroma: A strong aroma is an indication of fresh coffee beans. The aroma also helps you detect the origin of coffee beans. Therefore, do play close attention to it.

Color: Darker coffee beans are often over-ripped. Ideally, you should pick coffee beans that are bright. Keep in mind that checking coffee beans color is the easiest way to pick the right beans.

Packaging equipment

You will also need packaging equipment. Depending on the volume, you might need manual or automated packaging machines.

Step 4: Choose the right suppliers & procure beans

Coffee is grown in numerous countries globally. However, the market leader is Brazil, so it makes perfect sense to search for a supplier from Brazil. When it comes to suppliers, you essentially have 3 options which are:

  • Buying directly from farmers
  • Buying from coffee traders
  • Buying from government agencies

Each has advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, decide based on the quantity, type, and personal preference of coffee beans.

Step 5: Branding & marketing

Once you procure and roast the beans, the branding and marketing part begins. Without proper branding, you won't be able to sell coffee at a premium. Similarly, without marketing, you can't reach out to your customers. If you don't want to handle this on your own, you can simply hire agencies for both. That will help you market your coffee and find customers.

Step 6: Scaling the business

Relying on only a handful of clients for your coffee roasting business is a disaster because coffee is perishable. If a customer stops ordering from you, you won't have the time to find a replacement. That's why you must scale your business consistently to diversify your customer base.

That, in a nutshell, is an effective way to start your coffee roasting business.

How much can a coffee roasting business make?

A coffee roasting business can easily make anywhere from $9 to $ 20 on every pound of roasted coffee sold. Thus, the earnings depend on the volume. Just to give you an idea regarding how big the coffee market in the USA is, as per Statista, it stands at $11bn. Point being, starting a coffee roasting business can be immensely profitable.


Is coffee roasting profitable?

Yes, a coffee roasting business is extremely profitable since roasters can make anywhere between $9 to $20 per bag. Couple that with the huge USA coffee market, and it offers an excellent opportunity.

Is it easy to become a coffee roaster?

Becoming a coffee roaster requires passion, patience, and dedication. The art of coffee roasting isn't as easy as it sounds. Therefore, you need to either become an apprentice at a similar business or teach yourself this art, which has a learning curve.

Is coffee roasting a good career?

Coffee roasting is a volatile career, but the earnings trend is upwards because of the growing coffee market.


A coffee roasting business can be a great way to make some healthy profits. Follow the guide above, and you will know where to start. Considering it's a growing industry, you shouldn't have a problem making a profit if you're willing to work hard.

Topics: Moisture Meter, Coffee

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