At Giesen we have seen our coffee roasters go all over the world. In the Netherlands alone, the number of coffee roasting companies has tripled in the past ten years. This hasn’t only got to do with the fact specialty coffee has gained more interest in the last couple of years. More and more coffee bars, restaurants, and other businesses have decided to start roasting their own beans. This to fully control the product you are serving to your customer. Controlling the entire process will ultimately lead to more consistency and thus higher quality.
But controlling the entire process means you have to start at the beginning; the green bean. In this article we would like to elaborate on the things you need to consider before you start roasting, the different variations in coffee beans there are, and how you as a roaster can differentiate your specialty roast from your competition.
1. People’s inspiration to start roasting
We see that the reason why most entrepreneurs start their business originates from the initial love for the product. From this love, they build their business and start their unique adventure. Like we said, one of the big reasons is that people want to control their coffee products from start to end. As a roaster, you pick your bean supplier and develop your unique roasting process to develop your product the way you desire. But the craft of roasting can be underestimated; you need to invest in a roaster, find the green beans you want to start roasting with, develop your roasting process, and of course reach the market to present your product.
2. Finding your supplier
When you’ve made up your mind on whether you want to start roasting your beans, it’s time to think about where you are going to get your green beans. Several companies import green beans from countries as Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Ethiopia, and multiple others. To remain consistent in your roasting results it’s best to find consistency in your supplies as well. You don’t want the green beans to differ in quality as you understand it will affect your roasting result. Thus, finding a stable supply of green beans is very important. When looking for a green bean supplier, you may want to check out Cropster Hub; a platform that is launched by Cropster. Cropster Hub is a free, open directory that any coffee business can join to help get the word out to customers and partners. Feel free to check it out!
3. The two main differences; Arabica and Robusta
After finding your supplier it’s time to pick the bean you want to start roasting. Right off the bet, the two varieties you will find are Arabica and Robusta beans. You can divide 98% of all coffee beans into these two categories. Arabica and Robusta can be divided into many more varieties.
The Arabica bean has a light green-grey color, has an elongated shape, and is the more popular species of the two. Generally, Arabica beans are bigger compared to Robusta beans. Also, the Arabica bean contains more oil and sugar which results in a sweeter taste with more complex aromas. They contain less caffeine than Robusta beans and they have a smooth texture when brewed. 60% of the worldwide coffee bean production focusses on the Arabica beans. Arabica beans are the more expensive beans of the two, which is inherent to the popularity of Arabica coffee.
People somewhat undervalue Robusta beans in general. They are often used in coffee options like instant coffee, soluble coffee, and other variants. Robusta beans give a distinctive taste, which is mostly caused by the high caffeine levels in the beans. The beans contain approximately 2,5% caffeine, while Arabica beans contain around 1,2% caffeine. Robusta beans contain way fewer sugars and lipids than Arabica beans; Arabica beans contain 60% more of these substances. Among other things, these factors cause the Robusta bean to give such a distinctive taste.
Because of the taste, Robusta coffee isn’t as popular as Arabica coffee. A shame really, since a Robusta bean that has been given the right attention can give some great flavours. Most of the time it isn’t sold as a premium coffee since it’s surrounded by the stigma being a cheaper, lower quality bean. Unjustified, since Robusta coffee can give a nice ‘bite’ in your cup. It is a great bean when you, for example, are looking for an extra kick in the morning. When you like the milk-based coffee drinks, Robusta can be a great pick since the stronger, bolder taste will still be recognisable through the milk.
4. After picking your green beans; before you start roasting
When you made the decision on which type of beans you are going to roast, it’s time to start roasting them for the first time. If you want more information on the roasting process, you can find it here. This article explains the different stages in coffee roasting, the importance in cooling your beans and how to test your results.
5. Shifting your business
One of the things that coffee does is excite people. It’s a popular topic of conversation and having a cup of coffee gives people a reason to come together. It’s a sad thing that the crisis we live in prevents us from doing so at the moment. You can’t meet up for a coffee, but what is possible is that companies bring the coffee to you. A lot of roasteries are responding to the crisis by offering deliveries, opening up a webshop, creating a coffee-to-go possibility in their store, and many other great ideas. One of the few positive effects that the corona-crisis has is that it brings out the creativity in people, and we encourage you to do the same in your roastery business. Here you can read more about shifting your business online.