Coffee is a Big Business, but It’s Not Always About the Shop

coffee latte designOur morning (or afternoon) coffee is something that many of us take for granted. We think nothing of stopping into our favorite coffee shop for our daily latte or macchiato. Many of our favorite stores even have drive-up service available. All these conveniences and the $5 the average person spends daily actually adds up to a multi-billion dollar a year industry internationally. Entrepreneurs take notice! Here are some interesting tidbits of information that might lead you to think about starting  your own coffee related business. According to a poll – Of the top ten coffee roasters in the nation, 5 are located in the west; 3 in California, and 2 in Portland, Oregon. Surprised not to see any from Seattle on that list? So were we! What is interesting to note about this list, is that it seems to imply that there is room for more amazing coffee roasters in the rest of America. A top 23 list from Only 8 western roasters are on this list and surprised us with many mid-western and eastern coffee companies. coffee beans roastingFranchises vs Independent coffee roasters There’s no denying that coffee companies are a money maker. Coffee typically costs about 20 cents per cup and specialty coffee drinks can sell anywhere from $4 – $7.  The big chains reap profits in the $10s of billions (Starbucks annual profit), and even small chains can bring in up to $2 million annually. A franchise such as the Pacific Northwest based Dutch Bros. which is now in 7 states brings in around $78 million. The kicker here is that you cannot purchase a franchise unless you’ve first worked for the company. While coffee consumption has remained pretty much unchanged since 1999, coffee-related businesses represent one of the leading retail growth segments in America with the independent coffee roaster leading the franchises in new businesses added nationally. Not surprisingly, Seattle, WA ranked number one, with Sacramento, CA a distant tenth. Coffee Cupping Want to dive into the coffee business in a fresh new way? Become a “Master Taster.” Classes are available to teach you how to discern the nuances between flavors, consistencies, and aromas of different varieties of coffee. Coffee tasting events known as “cuppings” are being hosted by many independent coffee roasters and at coffee trade shows and conventions all over the world. Coffee Geek offers a step-by-step guide for beginners.   You can work your way into a professional capacity as a Master taster. We’re not kidding, this is an actual professional pursuit. What more perfect job could there be for a coffee lover? coffee machineBarista Competitions Another way to delve into the coffee business is to become a certified judge for barista competitions. There are levels of competition ranging from local titles all the way through a world-level competition. These folks don’t mess around. If you’re trained to be a technical judge, you can make a professional career around coffee. Barista competitions are held annually in big cities, at trade show coffee events, and around the world. Look at for more information. As you can see, the coffee business has many facets. If you’re ready to make the leap into the coffee business, you can pick and choose where to begin. Look for an upcoming 3-part series on the PBFY Blog about starting your own coffee business!

Battle of the Baristas: Inside the 2015 U.S. Coffee Championships  

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