Why We Don’t Offer Brewed Coffee

Hello My Imaginary Friends and Coffee Lovers,

I’ve been asked a lot by people why we don’t offer brewed coffee for sale. Recently, an event we applied to rejected us because we wouldn’t sell brewed coffee.

On the surface there doesn’t seem to be a big difference between selling coffee beans and selling coffee. Because of that, we often get people asking us why we don’t sell brewed coffee. The short answer is that it’s a completely different business and we don’t have the money, time, or roasting output to invest into it. The long answer breaks down into 3 parts; Equipment, Permits, and Roasting Output.

Equipment and extras

Here’s a basic list of equipment we’d need to do it properly:

  • Grinders (We’d need to pre-grind all our beans, so we’d need something that can do large loads and is easily cleaned to avoid allergic reactions.)
  • Brewers (At least 2 large-scale airpot drip brewers. That way we can brew directly into large pots and not burn each other with glass diner pots.)
  • Airtight Storage for the ground beans (In order to prepare we’d need to have something that can store the grinds without losing their quality)
  • Cups, lids, and stuff for coffee (Even at one size, it’s quite the investment to get enough of everything and always best to overbuy rather than run out)
  • Booth set up and organization (We need everything to store dairy products in bulk safely. Then then we need a place for people to prepare their coffee, a place to roast, and a place to vend.)

All that goes with making sure we have electricity, cleaning supplies, water, and enough of everything to get through the day.

Permits

The required permits for sealed coffee beans are minimal. Selling them doesn’t require to much paperwork. Meanwhile, selling prepared food requires permits, permission from the venue, inspection of the product, equipment, and location.

That’s a lot more work and expense. Especially for a 2 or 3 day convention.

Roasting output

This is a big one. It takes me roughly an hour for every 2.5 pounds of coffee. That’s a lot of work. I normally take roughly 4-6 days of 12-14 hours to prepare for Ottawa Comiccon. A large bag (1/2 lbs) should make roughly 12 large (16-18oz) cups of coffee. I’ve estimated that at Ottawa Comiccon we would on the low end sell 300 cups a day high end 1000+.

This would roughly double the roasting I need to do (I would be running on the “expect the worst but plan for the best”) unless I completely dropped selling beans. Which would be a stupid decision seeing as it’s a great seller.

Conclusion

Coffee is our passion and we love it. I would love to buy a coffee cart and spend a whole lot of time at festivals and conventions selling brewed coffee. However, that’s not my business. You wouldn’t ask a milk farmer why he doesn’t sell cakes or a writer why they don’t sell paper. Right?

It comes down to resources. I’d rather concentrate our money on perfecting the beans and the roasting rather than branching out.

 

Thank you for reading,

Éric

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