What to do with roasted coffee overage?

Sustainability is a significant and vague word. Most roasteries strive to be more sustainable, from using renewable energy and reducing plastic and packaging to offsetting and planting trees. Today I want specifically to talk about waste.

Not only do we need to recycle the waste products from production, like burlap coffee bags or compost chaff and defects, but we also need to minimise wasted coffee. Roasteries create coffee waste by rejecting roasted coffee from production for multiple reasons:

  • You profiled a new coffee, and it’s not good enough.
  • You roasted too much, and now it’s too old to sell.
  • You bought too much green, and it’s getting old.
  • You have random leftovers of less than full bag amounts.
  • You have leftover samples you pulled to do quality control.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Just because the coffee is not perfect doesn’t mean it’s not good. Compare it to the pre-ground supermarket bags of coffee that sit there for months. It is still better coffee than average; don’t waste your product and money.

Let’s look at some examples of how to minimise waste:

  • The Barn Berlin sells its profiling coffee as ‘Test Roast’ at a discount.
  • Round Hill Roastery has a stall in the local farmers market.
  • Volcano Coffee Works sells overage to Odd Coffee Co, who buy your stock, repackage and sell on to consumers without compromising your brand.
  • Another little talked-about option is blending it with the same coffee or in a house blend.

As long as customers are getting fair value, it helps roasteries manage environmental impact and increases profit margin. It is much better to sell your overage, recover costs and reduce waste than to waste your product.

How do you minimise coffee waste in your roastery?

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