Valor Coffee Podcast Ep #106: Why Your Coffee Shop SHOULD NOT Start Roasting – 06/05/2024

By: Valor Team

Published On: June 7, 2024

Category: Podcast

The allure of roasting your own coffee can be strong. The idea of having complete control over your coffee quality, saving money, and adding a unique element to your café’s experience is appealing. However, before you jump into buying that shiny new roaster, there are several critical factors to consider. In this post, we’ll discuss the potential pitfalls and financial risks associated with starting your own roasting operation, drawing insights from our own journey at Valor Coffee.

1. The Financial Realities

Starting a roasting operation is a significant financial commitment. It’s not just about buying a roaster; there are many hidden costs that can add up quickly.

  • Initial Investment: High-quality roasters can be incredibly expensive. Even a smaller, automated option like a Bellwether can set you back tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Operational Costs: Beyond the initial purchase, you’ll need to account for ongoing costs such as utilities, maintenance, and labor.
  • Packaging and Storage: Custom packaging, storage solutions for green coffee beans, and proper facilities to house your roaster all add to the cost.

2. Labor and Time Commitment

Roasting coffee isn’t just about turning green beans brown. It requires a significant time investment, especially in the beginning.

  • Learning Curve: There’s a steep learning curve to roasting. Expect to spend a lot of time perfecting your roast profiles, which means a lot of trial and error.
  • Manpower: Whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring someone, roasting takes time. This time could be spent on other crucial areas of your business.

3. Operational Challenges

Having a roaster on-site presents several operational challenges that can disrupt your café’s workflow.

  • Space Requirements: Roasters take up valuable space. If your café is already limited in space, this could be a significant issue.
  • Ventilation and Safety: Proper ventilation is crucial for a safe roasting environment. Installing the necessary equipment can be costly and complicated.
  • Consistency: Achieving consistent roasts is a challenge. It requires skill and experience, and any inconsistency can affect the quality of your coffee.

4. Market and Brand Considerations

Your decision to start roasting should align with your brand’s vision and market demands.

  • Brand Identity: Does roasting align with your brand? Sometimes, it’s better to focus on what you do best—running a café.
  • Market Demand: Is there a demand for your roasted coffee? If not, you might find it challenging to sell enough coffee to justify the investment.

5. Alternative Solutions

Before diving into roasting, consider alternative solutions that might meet your needs without the significant investment.

  • Partnering with a Roaster: Many successful cafés partner with established roasters. This allows you to focus on running your café while offering high-quality coffee. If this option is right for you, consider partnering with Valor by clicking here.
  • Small-Scale Roasting: Consider starting with a small, automated roaster like the Bellwether. This can be a good way to test the waters without a massive investment.


While the idea of roasting your own coffee is exciting, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully. The financial, operational, and market challenges can be significant, and it’s crucial to ensure that roasting aligns with your long-term business goals. In our follow-up episode, we discuss the potential benefits of roasting your own coffee and how it can positively impact your business – click here to give the associated blog post a read!

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