I Want Wholesale But I Also Want the Best! What Should I Look For?
When many people think of wholesale they tend to get a picture of a large warehouse loaded with dusty pallets and giant boxes of products that were either built or processed at some time in the distant past. Well, in many cases I would have to say that they are not too far off of the truth. I have great news, this doesn’t have to be true for your coffee! Even better, you don’t have to go with a giant coffee roaster that has no connection to their farmers and no passion for their beans. We’ve got you covered, we truly are an artisan roastery that uses only specialty grade beans roasted to order and we actually know who grew and picked the coffee!
In this post I am going to cover a few different topics that may help you end up with coffee that you can truly savor no matter where you are:
Let’s dive into this, you’re gonna enjoy the information!
At my last count there were about 12 gagillion coffee roasters in my town alone not to mention the amount across the country. Ok, I may have exaggerated a bit but there are a lot and I think that is great! There are plenty of cups of coffee brewed each day for all of us to serve the caffeinated community properly. That being said, not all roasters are created equal. Obviously I believe we are the best, I would be ridiculous if I didn’t, but in actuality there are quite a few great roasters just like us. They share the same passion for coffee and roast quality that we do and just like us they strive to provide the absolute best coffee at every occasion possible. On the other hand, just like anything, there are also a large number of roasters who just want to roast and distribute without much care for quality from the soil to the cup. Who these roasters are is not for me to decide as each roaster has to carry out the roasting process how they see fit in an effort to achieve their desired results. It is important to know what kind of roast you enjoy so therefore you can find the roaster that can produce that.
Here is a quick list of things to consider about roast quality: roast level, origin of the beans, mission behind the beans, and do they blend or stay single origin.
Roast level is actually very important and will vary from roastery to roastery. We all have heard of light, medium, and dark roast and those tend to be pretty consistent as far as nomenclature across most roasterys. That is about as far as the similarities go however. Each roast level will vary from roaster to roaster and as far as how dark the roast for the beans at each level. The degree of darkness to each level is determined by the final temperature of the beans when the roaster halts that roasting process. Each and every degree hotter increases the darkness of the but there is no standard system for what exactly classifies as a light, medium, or dark roast. A dark roast for instance could vary as much as ten degrees before roasting is halted. This is important so that you don’t assume that dark roast is dark roast across the board. With each degree hotter the internal structure of the bean and chemical composition, albeit natural, does change. When a bean hits second crack which is when many roasters start to consider their beans to be a dark roast the actual cell membranes in the bean fracture and all of that wonderful oil that we have been heating to perfection is now able to escape the cell and make its way to the surface. This is when you see shiny beans and unfortunately, in many cases they are now done for. As soon as that oil contacts that air around it an oxidation reaction takes place and a bitterness and tang begin to be present in the flavor. In other words, the coffee starts to go bad when it gets shiny. Decaf is another story-ish but we’ll cover that another day. I say all that to say this, make sure you sample and taste the coffee before deciding on it for your business or organization. We almost always require people to sample our coffee before they decide no matter where they are in the country or even the world. That way, there are no surprises and you get exactly what you were expecting and dreaming about!
When you think of coffee at work, or at church, or in a restaurant you may not be thinking about when the coffee was roasted. This is actually very important and can seriously impact the quality, flavor, and pure enjoyment of each and every cup of coffee you enjoy. Unfortunately, there is no law against putting the terms “fresh roasted coffee” on a bag, advertisement, or description. A company could literally name their coffee that exact thing and it could have been roasted a couple of years, yep I said years, earlier. Now that would be a bit excessive and highly unlikely but numerous months earlier is actually not that unheard of. This is usually the case with huge commercial roasteries but I am also not saying who practices what timelines so it is very important to ask. We do a strictly “roast to order” practice so it is literally always what most people would consider fresh roasted. Our customers will never receive coffee that has been sitting and waiting in a warehouse somewhere. This may not seem like a big deal to you however it will definitely affect the quality of your investment.
Another factor that you may need to consider; can the roaster effectively and consistently meet your needs without compromising quality? I do have to say that it would be highly unlikely that any commercial roaster wouldn’t be able to keep up with your demands, we have never met a customer that we couldn’t serve but the one factor that can affect you is if you aren’t a large account there are some companies that lose interest in you. Most companies are not like this, the coffee industry as a whole on the craft roaster side are passionate about providing every single customer with the best service. That being said, ask the question so that you don’t have to face down an angry mob when the coffee is gone and there is nothing you can do about it. Don’t go there, just don’t do it!
Where does your roaster get their beans and are they thinking past themselves all the way back to the beginning of the bean in order to take care of those who are doing all the literal heavy lifting of growing and harvesting the beans you are hoping to love so much? This does matter, we are so blessed in this country to be able to enjoy the luxury of craft roasted specialty grade coffee beans at work, or church, or really anywhere you want. I feel it is only right that we don’t forget those who work so hard for so little and realize that we really can make a difference in lives around the planet simply by paying attention to where our coffee comes from.
Can you roaster help you procure equipment and teach you proper preparation methods so that you and your team get the most pleasure and invigoration out of your coffee? It is pretty common for massive coffee companies to provide some or all of the equipment needed for your coffee program, however there is a catch. You can never use any other coffee and they own the equipment. This seems all good when you are first getting going, however you will be guaranteed to grow weary of the same bad coffee in short order. Not to mention, you get the equipment they choose rather than the best equipment to produce the best coffee. You should choose a roaster with a deep knowledge of process and equipment so that they can direct you toward what you need and teach you how to use it.
Lastly, what else does your roaster offer you when you join their team as a customer? Do they offer information and training? Do they offer solutions to help keep your coffee program fresh? Well, they should because we do! We love helping our customers grow a real coffee program whether it be a coffee shop, their place of work, their church, or anything in between. We use our marketing for them as well and we feel that your success is our success!
I hope I have been able to shed some light on the things you should be thinking about for your wholesale coffee needs. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions and we would be honored to serve you and your organization. Hidden River Coffee Roasters was born out of a passion for coffee, family, and friends! Copy and paste the link to get right to our wholesale and private label application and we’ll get right back to you!
If you just have questions you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep us with what we are up to!