The essentials for running a successful roastery

Shaun Aupiais
-
October 17, 2022
running a successful coffee roastery

The success of any roastery often relies on coffee roasters having to adopt their own methodology. 

Therefore, it is essential for roasters to develop practices and habits that provide consistent and favourable results. An effective way for roasters to develop their skill is to stay connected with the local roasting community. 

For instance, they can invest in courses or books, engage on industry platforms, visit other roasters, or join local roasting forums or groups online. Several successful coffee roasters are more than willing to share tips with others in the industry. 

Education is the key to the success of any coffee roasting business. Staying connected and on top of the global coffee curve can help roasters achieve the best not only for their business but also for their customers. 

To help roasters on their way in an ever-evolving industry, Shaun Aupiais, the founder of Red Band Roasting Academy, shares a few keys to running a successful roastery.

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An image of a coffee roaster loading green coffee beans into a coffee roaster in an article about how to successfully run a coffee roastery

Green coffee & good maintenance

Several factors may determine how roasters purchase green coffee.

That said, one of the most common factors is price. While this may be market dependent for many roasters, fluctuations in the price of coffee and growing consumer expectations mean roasters are always hunting for quality green beans at a reasonable price. 

Factors such as price and availability can make it a challenge to meet consumer demand in terms of quality and price. However, the key is to be consistent. 

Shaun advises roasters to limit their variety of coffee and purchase beans that are more common in their region or country. 

Additionally, roasters should buy beans that are more versatile in regard to roast profiles. This may allow them to continue to offer blends and single origins without having to make too many changes. 

An image of a large-scale coffee roaster in an article on how to successfully run a coffee roastery

Develop good maintenance practices

Shaun advises roasters to develop daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance schedules.

Keeping equipment in good condition requires ongoing maintenance. Coffee oils must be cleaned, chaff removed, bearings must be greased, and cooling trays will need to be wiped down. Additionally, roasters may have to check for gas leaks and clean pipes. 

Many machines will come with a manual with basic operation and maintenance instructions. However, roasters may also be able to look up guided tutorial videos on the process. 

Regardless of how a roaster sets maintenance reminders, the process must be done properly. Unnecessary breakdowns result in additional costs being incurred and can have a major impact on productivity. 

An image of a coffee roaster collecting roast data from roast coffee beans in an article on how to successfully run a coffee roastery

Time management & data collection

Each roastery will have a different set-up and a variety of duties and responsibilities. 

That said, roasters often have to manage many areas at once, which requires careful planning and time management. 

These areas may include the roaster itself, coffee packaging, green bean sourcing, stock and quality control, cupping sessions, and product orders, to name a few. 

These tasks can be made into a daily schedule, helping to create a seamless work environment and ensure the space is in perfect condition for the next day. 

While many roasters may not roast beans daily, they may need to blend coffee and use several containers to weigh it out before packaging. Activities like this take up space and can be messy, which means it should be planned for later in the day when the roastery is winding down. 

It is essential for roasters to determine time frames for each activity to ensure a seamless workflow. 

An image of a coffee roaster collecting data from a roaster during a roast in an article about how to successfully run a coffee roastery

Data collection is essential

Collecting data can help roasters quickly and efficiently generate consistent roast profiles, reduce waste, and increase profits. 

Keeping a record of the main roast profiles can also help them look back to determine what variables to alter during a roast. 

As the head roaster at We Roast Coffee, Shaun has put protocols in place to maintain roast consistency. 

He keeps records of the first three roasts in a new monthly batch. He’ll then cup each batch and set the best one of his “favourites” log to revert to at a later stage. 

Additionally, each month, he checks all the roast parameters. He adds that having a seasonal or monthly roast profile can help roasters achieve consistent results and find that “sweet spot” on each bean from batch to batch.

Staying active with a concise logbook or journal will give roasters all the data needed for optimal repeatability. 

The way roasters collect and store this data is also crucial. While some machines come geared with roasting software, for those that do not, there are free software programmes that can be used. 

It is important to note that while this software is helpful, it is not critical. Notably, Shaun has met many roasters who draw out their own profiles, capturing crucial times during the roast. 

Roasters should keep their data safe and easily accessible in case they face any profiling challenges

An image of a barista conducting a coffee cupping sessions with a multilayer white PLA coffee bag in an article on how to successfully run a coffee roastery

Constant quality control

Cupping may be the first thing to come to mind when a roaster hears the phrase “quality control”.

However, there is much more to it than that, as it also involves all the points mentioned above. That said, Shaun believes data and cupping go often hand-in-hand.

Monitoring roast profiles and cross-referencing it on the cupping table can help achieve constant quality control. 

The size of the roastery and the amount of coffee that is roasted will often determine how often cupping sessions take place. 

Shaun encourages roasters to invite friends and clients to these sessions as it is important for roasters to taste their coffees in the ways their customers would. More so, they can make the experience exciting by offering pour-overs, batch brews, and even espresso sessions. 

Cupping is a massive part of a roaster’s responsibility and forms a crucial part of their weekly and monthly routines. They should study the data, evaluate their roast profile, and confirm their findings with the tasting session. 

It is important for roasters to remember that the journey will get easier with time and experience. The science is as endless as the possibilities, and with some careful planning and dedication, every roaster has the chance to become successful. 

An image of coffee bag with brewed coffee in a chemex in an article on how to successfully run a coffee roastery
Information and data by Scott Rao, Graphics by Pull & Pour.

At MTPak Coffee, we aim to support specialty coffee roasters of all sizes and levels. Our Education Centre is a free resource where roasters and coffee shop owners stay on top of the latest coffee sector trends, bag design, roasting innovations, and more. 

To help roasters boost their sustainability credits, we also offer a range of 100% recyclable coffee packaging options that can be fully customised to your business specifications. 

Choose from renewable materials such as kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining, all of which minimise waste and contribute to a circular economy.

More so, we give you complete control over the design process by allowing you to build your own coffee bags. Our design team is available to help you create the ideal coffee packaging. 

For more information on our custom-printed sustainable packaging, contact our team

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