With an initial investment of $40,000, some savvy branding and a commitment to good coffee, a Toronto-based roastery has developed respect, as well as a large client roster, in its first year.
In an extensive profile by Canada’s Financial Post, 23 Degrees Roastery owner Benjamin Yu discusses how he the small company was able to gross more than $100,000 in retail sales in its first year. Of course, that begins with the bean and the roast. “I find that there is a lot of over-roasting done in coffee and a lot of it tastes burnt and ashy,” Yu told the Post. We wanted to try to maintain the flavour profile of each region in the 10 coffee-producing countries we source from.”
A newcomer to roasting, Yu told the paper that the learning curve for creating consistent roast profiles has been significant: “It’s a lot of trial by error,” he said. “We burned through quite a few beans to get the right profile and once you get the right flavour the trick is to repeat it consistently. Everything we cannot sell, we package up and give to the United Way.”
It is that commitment to consistency and quality that Yu says has made the company successful thus far, and Yu told the Post he predicts annual revenue of $300,000 to $500,000 within three years. Writes Post reporter Hollie Shaw:
They promoted the brand by conducting more than 100 product sampling sessions across the city in the past year with their signature line of five coffees. The 350 gram bags sell for $12.99 to $14.99 on average at retail.
The partners decided in the early stages of developing the business to choose certified organic and fair trade coffee even though the beans can cost more than double the price of regular beans. 23 Degrees gets its name from the region north and south of the equator where 99% of the world’s coffee is grown.
The full story: Financial Post