President and Founder Ken Lathrop tells Daily Coffee News that selling green coffee in 10- or 20-pound quantities represents a natural extension of the company’s roaster division, appealing to the same core group: people just starting out in small-batch commercial roasting who aren’t ready for heftier investments.
“Most of our roaster customers have little to no experience and they are just starting their own business,” says Lathrop. “We wanted to provide a solution so people could get smaller quantities of green beans without paying 5 bucks a pound or more.”
Lathrop says he’s worked out a flat pricing structure with a Seattle-based coffee importer, and the deal has allowed him to get freight shipping costs down to as low as 9 cents per pound. Coffee Crafters then repackages the greens in 10- or 20-pound bags for resale, and 5-pound sample bags may be coming soon. The company launched in January with six coffees for sale online, and Lathrop says the number of available coffees at a given time is not likely to grow much.
“It would not be efficient for us to try to offer 20-plus coffees,” he says. “We’ll be in that six to eight range.”
Lathrop suggests the green coffee line, like CC’s roasters, represents a kind of stepping stone for people just breaking into the roasting industry. In addition to selling individual bags online, CC has launched a subscription model, referred to as the co-op. “The biggest thing about the co-op education,” Lathrop says. “There’s so little information out there about buying green beans. What we want to do is help get roasters up and running.”
The green coffee line is the first step in what could be a big year for the two-year-old company, which shares a factory and warehouse in the Spokane, Wash., area. Coffee Crafters is currently pushing its latest roaster model, the electric Artisan 6M, as well as a less expensive, remote variation designed for operation in open air, including tropical environments.
“The coffee industry has lagged behind in making roasting available to the general public,” says Latrhrop. “But roasting coffee is a great way to make money, if you can actually find a way to do it.”