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Start Up - Coffee Purchasing

I have been torn lately on how to purchase my coffee for roasting. I don’t have a lot of expendable cash and I just can’t bring myself to put my family at risk. So the biggest issue with starting is the upfront cost. I know I have talked about Kickstarter before, but after researching, it really doesn’t work unless you have an established base of followers/supporters.

So the biggest expense right now is my green coffee.

There are 3 ways that I am able to purchase coffee.

Ideally, I would purchase full bags from a company like Olam. The bag is about 150lbs and costs right around $425, plus $115 in shipping. A total cost of about $540 for 1 bag of green coffee. The benefit to buying this way is that the coffee costs roughly $3/lb (not including shipping). The down side is the upfront cost.

The (extreme) opposite is to purchase from sellers on eBay. The main benefit is that you can bid on smaller bags and hope to get a good deal. We have gotten some for right around $3.50/lb. The downside is that you don’t know if you will win the bid, what the final cost will be or what quality the coffee will be. For example, I was looking at one that said it was strictly high grown (which means grown 1400 meters or higher), but in the description says it was grown between 1100 and 1200 meters. We have also ended up with coffee that had so many defects that I won’t even waste time roasting it.

The option that seems to best fit is to purchase small batches from a company like Bohdi Leaf. I can purchase 15lb bags and it will run me about $70 plus $12 shipping. Since I haven’t even sold a single cup of coffee to anyone, I have no idea how much coffee I will need. This will allow me to get started with much less risk than purchasing a full bag. The down side is that it costs quite a bit more. The green coffee is between $5 and $8 per pound. That’s almost double. But they need to make up for the cost of breaking open full bags and portioning them out, etc.

If for some reason, I was able to purchase a bag from Olam, that would be my first choice, but most likely I will end up buying smaller batches from Bhodi Leaf. If anyone knows other sellers, please let me know.

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