1. Where does the roaster get their coffee from, and how frequently does the roaster receive new coffees?
  2. Does the roaster have an extensive knowledge of coffee?
  3. How often does the roaster roast coffees you desire?
  4. What coffee shops and restaurants does this roaster serve?
  5. Does the roaster indicate on the packaging the date the coffee was roasted?
  6. Ask, “If I order my coffee today, when will I receive it, and when was it roasted?”
  7. Does the roaster flavor any of their coffee and if so, do they use separate equipment to do that?
  8. Does the roaster offer a barista training program?
  9. Is the coffee roaster properly incorporated and does the roaster have the proper food permits?
  10. Does the roaster allow you to private label coffees for sale in your store?

Continue reading in this great article on selecting a coffee roaster.

Arizona Coffee

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  1. 11. May I have a sample?
    12. What are your wholesale rates?
    13. I um, “lost” my first sample. May I have another?
    14. Do you offer organic, fair-trade, or rainforest alliance coffee? (cheers Bunna)

  2. That sounds a lot like the process we went through. Michael’s 11,12, and 13 were much higher on our list though. Our roaster is pretty good to us.

  3. I think “fair trade certified” and “organic certified” are less important than good buying practices and a good relationship with the farmer. This isn’t always possible, but it’s better when it is.

    It’s also important to note that “Fair Trade”‘s additional price goes straight to the co-op’s manager. It’s up to the manager to distribute the funds, and they don’t always, which is why relationship coffee is better.

    Alot of farms who cannot afford to be certified organic are often not able to afford the chemicals that would make them inorganic. Look at the farm, not the label.

    Rainforest Alliance is something I actually like. Let’s not wipe out the Brasilian rainforest in the name of coffee… much as I love coffee, I love the planet even more.

  4. Duh, “can I have a sample” is such an obvious question. I only got 3 hours of sleep, so maybe I should go get more.

  5. Another set of questions to ask: Do you own and operate your own roasting plant? Do you roast all of your coffee? How do you monitor the quality of spec roasted coffee? Can I tour your plant when you are roasting?

    Also, what packaging options do you offer?

  6. For once I have to completely agree with Jason……………………………Okay, everone can take tomorrow off to mark such an occurance.

    If buying any of the special certification coffees, make sure the roaster is properly certificated to sell such things. For example, a roaster must be Organic Certifed to legally sell under the Organic banner. This doesn’t mean riding on their green coffee suppliers certificate; everyone from the farmer to the roaster must have their own certificates under their name.

  7. Every now and them I get exited about something that I read that has to do with the coffee industry and this is one of those times. I will personally ask about quality. How many times does He (or She) cups or drinks coffees before purchasing from a broker. How many samples did they ask to that particular broker before committing to an origin? Does he uses a water system enhanced for coffee cupping and does he cups coffee blindly (coffee prepared by a different individual besides the one judging it and with defined and set variables, like water temp and roast degree) Does he buy the coffee directly from a source that actually control the selection of the green and can he modify such selection. What type of technology is used on the roasting and does it involve also further analysis after roasting like Agtron reading per example. Do they have a way to guarantee coffee prices to be stable by hedging on the commodity markets? Does he belong to any coffee trade organizations? How many times have this coffee professional attended to a coffee convention or roasters guild. Can he teach me how to calibrate a brewer and a grinder so my coffee taste it’s best. Let’s face it will be hard for someone to get me to buy coffee. Good job guys.

  8. Unfortunately, many people fall into the trap of only “exploring” one roaster, instead of shopping as many as possible. Often, they get their heart set on the first girl that kisses them. They don’t give themselves an opportunity to explore many of the espresso machines available on the market, and many of the wonderful, local roasters that we have.

    I know a family that purchased an $11,000 Michelangelo 2-group from a roaster in Seattle. They were enamored with the idea that their coffee “comes from Seattle” and that somehow it was superior just because it was from the Emerald City.

    They had to buy their tech a plane ticket to phoenix every time they had a service call! The dad was selling off the FFE (furniture, fixtures and equipment) after the place closed (and prior to Copper Star’s opening); he didn’t understand why I didn’t want to buy their machine and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he got scammed, and that he could have gotten a top-of-the line machine out of Italy for 60% of that.

    They were also paying an extra $1 per pound becase the roaster had given them 6-month terms. What a ripoff…

    I always tell people to spend the cash on a machine that suits your needs/desires, and go with whatever roaster that you like.

  9. Pingback: Arizona Coffee » Best of 2007

  10. Heather

    hi. i roast coffee for a small 100% organic coffee business in the Catskill region. When the burlap sacks of coffee arrive each week, we inevitably lose some of the raw beans to small holes in the bags. A few weeks ago we lost maybe two pounds of beans due to a larger than normal hole. I noticed that over the last few weeks the raw beans have begun to turn a dark green color. almost like a green crayon color. This only happens when the beans are wet. I looked all over the internet to find answers but have stumbled upon nothing but other coffee roasteries. Do you know what causes this to happen to the beans?

  11. Alicia Marseille

    If you were to pick your favorite roaster in the Valley who would it be and why?

    I’m looking for a roaster that is some what well known in their expertise to roast and do a cupping of a new specialty bean from the Caribbean.

  12. My picks are Lost Dutchman Roasters, Cartel Coffee Lab, and Espressions (ask for Mitch). More varieties from Lost Dutchman and Espressions I think.

    As for as the special Caribbean coffee (?), are you getting it green? Are you looking for someone to warehouse it for you as well? Are you trying to cup already roasted samples with a local roaster?

    Questions these guys will ask you.

  13. Hello Alicia. There are many roasters in Arizona that qualify as very good. Why? Is a very good question. Some may say is the machine they use some may say is the price they pay for there green coffee and some may say is the marketing behind them. The real answer always falls on the knowledge there passion and the integrity they show in there product. Please visit us (we are listed in this blog) and have a cup of coffee with any of us. After that you will know which one to do business with. About that Caribbean coffee that you are referring to, are you selling it or looking for it? I will love to sample and cup it with you when you have a chance.