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Master Your Market, Delight Your Customers

Roastery 101:

The Secret to Sharing Your Coffee with the World

Unlock the World of Exquisite Coffee: Your Time is Now!

The Problem

Many coffee roasters face a common hurdle – extending their passion and reach beyond their local market, getting their products to more people, making their business easier to run - you're stuck looking for answers. While the growth potential is immense, the journey to success and sharing that passion with as many who appreciate it can feel daunting.

Lighthouse Roasters shares your passion for high-quality coffee, its unique story, and the community built around its offerings. They have a brick-and-mortar location that was offering sales of its beans, grounds, merchandise, drinks, and more - but they wanted to expand their offerings beyond the local neighborhood of Seattle.


People nowadays want to feel connected to the coffee they buy. They love the idea of supporting smaller, local roasters who make unique, tasty blends and have a cool story to tell. But lots of these passionate roasters struggle to reach these customers, while big companies with less exciting coffee get all the attention just because they make buying easy.


If you only sell your coffee in a shop or expect people to call you to place orders, you're only going to reach folks nearby. This makes it really tough to grow, even if everyone in town loves your stuff. It also puts a lot of work on you and makes it less convenient for your customers.


The reason people flock to Amazon or Starbucks for their coffee fix isn't always the quality. It's because it's super simple to get. Most smaller roasters can't match that, so customers who'd love your coffee end up going with the easier option.

Your Product

In the coffee roasting business, the products offered to customers often have a similar structure, encompassing beans, grounds, and roasting hardware. However, what sets a roaster apart is its unique blend of passion craftsmanship and experience you can provide. This distinction is reflected in various aspects such as sourcing, roasting techniques, hardware, brand narrative, and local community engagement. Despite these unique attributes, the preparation for sale, including aspects like packaging, often follows similar steps as other roasters in the industry, and the missing component is typically the customer experience.

Building on this foundation, Lighthouse Roasters' approach is not just about providing quality beans and equipment; it's about infusing every aspect of their product with their unique story and passion. From carefully chosen bean sources to meticulous roasting techniques, and from specialized hardware to a strong local presence. Their goal was to offer that same quality to customers beyond the local Seattle area but in the most efficient way possible.

Image by Mike Kenneally

Your Offering

Your coffee beans are the heart of your business, but it takes more than just beans to reach customers. Roasting, grinding, packaging – all those steps are vital to the customer experience. However, many roasters don't focus enough on how these steps impact their overall business growth and more importantly - how to more easily sell your coffee.


Think of your coffee beans like a simple brick. It has endless uses and ways to get to people. Is it big or small? Used by itself or with other things? The same goes for your coffee! There are tons of ways to package it, places to sell it, and ways for customers to buy it. Instead of trying to be everyone at once, you need to find a way to sell the coffee easier for you and your customers. Sadly, most roasters limit themselves to just a few basic options. The key is to remember that your coffee beans have limitless potential!

Your Experience

Your coffee isn't just a product, it's a reflection of your passion. Focusing on how customers get your coffee is key to growing your business and reaching more people. Think about all the ways you could sell your beans, where customers might find you, and how they could pay – the possibilities are endless!


Imagine the journey of your coffee, from the moment a customer finds you to the moment it arrives freshly roasted on their doorstep. Why can Starbucks charge $10 for a fancy milkshake? Because they have rewards, subscrtiptions, an app, free WiFi, multiple payment methods, stores on every block, etc. – make it easy for people to get your amazing coffee. This level of care shows customers how much you value them, making them more likely to support you and spread the word!

Your Community

People love supporting small businesses. They want to feel good about where their money goes. But let's be honest, it's often easier to order from Amazon or Starbucks than a local roaster. Simply asking people to buy local isn't enough.

The key is to make it incredibly easy for customers to support you. Subscriptions, gift cards, merchandise, and ways to share your brand – these are all things big companies do well. They make it effortless for people to buy, and that helps build a community of loyal customers.


You don't need to create extra work for yourself or your customers to have a thriving community. Focus on making the entire experience – buying, sharing, enjoying – as smooth and enjoyable as possible!

How to Fix It

So the idea becomes clearer - you need to be able to adapt to the market, make it easier for your customers to find you, and make it easier for them to support you. If you become more available and easy to purchase from, you solve many problems at once: opening the market beyond your local area, reducing your overhead trying to get more people to experience your coffee, and less work to retain or get new customers. ​

Lighthouse Roasters' realized this potential, with the massive community impact they have made they wanted to tap into that in a modern era of convenience, with ease of use, accessibility, and structure that would make finding, recommending and purchasing their products easier. In response to this idea, it not only because easier for customers to interact with the business, it becomes easier to run the business and grow their community footprint.

Basic Interactions

  1. Retail Sales: Operating a physical storefront or coffee shop where customers can purchase beans directly.

  2. Local Markets and Fairs: Setting up stalls at farmers' markets, craft fairs, and community events to sell coffee beans.

  3. Door-to-Door Sales: Visiting potential customers in the neighborhood to offer samples and sell coffee beans.

  4. Partnerships with Local Businesses: Collaborating with local bakeries, bookstores, or other retail outlets to sell your coffee in their stores.

  5. Community Events and Sponsorships: Participating in or sponsoring local events, fairs, and festivals to promote and sell your coffee.

  6. Word-of-Mouth: Encouraging existing customers to refer new customers

  7. Consignment Sales: Placing your coffee in local stores on a consignment basis, where you get paid for what sells.

  8. Direct Mail Advertising: Sending flyers or brochures to potential customers in targeted neighborhoods or communities.

Why this is Hard

Traditional sales outlets for a coffee roasting business pose challenges. These include high overhead costs, logistical complexities, unpredictable customer traffic and sales, time-consuming negotiations and relationship management, and potentially low return on investment. You are limited to the direct market in your area (typically 2-3 zip codes out from your roasting location). These methods require a significant investment of time, effort, and resources, with the success often being hard to predict and control. While they do build a strong local presence, it's important to understand that your customers need flexibility in your offerings and will support you much easier if, in turn, it's easier to do so.

Enhanced Interactions

  1. Digital Storefront: Develop an online store where customers can browse and purchase coffee beans, grounds, accessories, equipment, and merchandise with filters, collections, easy navigation, mobile usage, etc.

  2. Express Checkout: Integrating express payment gateways like Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Venmo, etc for 1-click checkout and more familiar transactions.

  3. Buy-now-Pay Later: Offering an option that allows a customer to setup a payment plan, but you get paid in full and they get manageable payments - thus decreasing risk for a bigger purchase

  4. Merch: To raise your brand awareness, and more importantly, have a sense of community and support, you offer branded accessories like mugs, bags, travel cups, shirts, and more without the cost and storage of inventory

  5. Discounted (or Free) Shipping: Amazon has changed the way we think about eCommerce, partnering with a shipping company to have the best possible price for shipping, or even offering free shipping with a certain threshold, gets more and easier support

  6. Subscription Services: Offering coffee subscriptions for regular delivery, providing convenience and a steady revenue stream.

  7. Gift Cards: Selling gift cards, allows customers to share their love for your coffee with friends and family.

  8. Affiliate Marketing Programs & Rewards: Partnering with your customers, members of your community, or other social media outlets to promote your products in exchange for a commission and offering rewards for continued purchasing.

  9. Social Media Sales: Utilizing platforms like Instagram and Facebook to sell products directly through social media channels.

  10. Online Communities: Listing products on popular online marketplaces to reach a broader audience beyond the brand's website.

  11. Wholesale Marketplace: Offer a portal to allow wholesale purchases, reducing the sales hoops to get discounted pricing.

  12. 3PL Parterships: Don't want to ship, pack, send it? You parter with a 3PL who you send them your inventory, they mail, package, ship, and store it all.

  13. Cross Channel Selling: Leverage other outlets, sell your coffee not just on your online store, but even Amazon, Etsy, Facebook, TikTok, eBay and more, but with one single unified inventory.

Why this is Easy

On the other hand, digital sales in tandem with your traditional outreach offer distinct advantages. These platforms reduce overhead costs, allow you to sell coffee beyond your zip code and into national and international sales, provide 24/7 365 accessibility, and simplify sales. You make life easier for everyone involved. They also offer predictable revenue streams, leverage your existing community, and allow for direct and efficient customer attention. When combined with typical outlets this digital storefront experience creates an effective customer-centric approach to sales, balancing the personal touch of traditional methods with efficient digital options.​ You take the best elements of an Amazon-like experience that consumers have grown accustomed to but without the loss of identity and revenue.

Let's Talk Numbers

Numbers and data will speak louder the simply an ideal vision. It's important to recognize that while you may be passionate about what you do, your time is valuable, and focusing too much on the day-to-day portions you wish to escape - sales, marketing, outreach, stressing about revenue, etc., prevents you from focusing on the day-to-day of your venture that you wish you could be doing - sharing your coffee with people, building your community, roasting, refining your craft, etc.

For Lighthouse Roasters, balancing financial pragmatism with their passion for coffee roasting is key. While engaging in traditional sales methods like a physical storefront and local market participation is crucial for community presence and brand essence, pivoting towards digital strategies will alleviate the burdens of sales, marketing, and revenue concerns. By embracing improving their customer experience with an online store, subscription services, and digital communities, they can efficiently expand their reach and manage resources. This strategic shift allows them to focus more on what they love: roasting quality coffee, building their community, and honing their craft, ensuring that their time is spent enriching the core aspects of their venture.

Relying on The Typical Experience

  1. High Overhead Costs: Every rent payment and utility bill is a reminder of the substantial financial commitment it takes to keep the dream alive, a constant challenge that tests the resilience and dedication of the coffee roaster.

  2. Geographic Limitations: The boundaries of a physical location or local sales can feel like a cage to the roaster's aspirations, longing to share their craft with a world beyond their immediate reach.

  3. Time-Intensive Efforts: Days spent managing the store or setting up at markets are filled with a mix of joy in personal interactions and a tinge of exhaustion, as the roaster juggles between their love for coffee and the demands of business.

  4. Inflexibility: Adapting to market changes is slow and cumbersome, often feeling like trying to change course in a heavy storm, challenging the roaster's ability to stay agile and responsive.

  5. Limited Reach: Knowing that their meticulously crafted coffee and the story might not reach modern consumers because of a lack of accessibility.

  6. Lack of Options: The more options you provide, the easier it becomes for some to support you, but the inverse is true. The harder it is to find you, buy from you, and continually support you - the less likely someone will come back or act at all.


If you rely solely on traditional sales outlets and no enhanced customer experience:

  1. Retail Sales: Assuming a monthly cost of $5,000 for rent, utilities, and staffing.

  2. Local Markets and Fairs: Participation costs, including stall rental and transportation, estimated at $400 per month.

  3. Door-to-Door Sales: Costs for samples and transportation, let's say $200 per month.

  4. Partnerships with Local Businesses: Assuming a nominal monthly cost of $100 for relationship management and logistics.

  5. Community Events and Sponsorships: Estimated monthly cost of $300 for participation and sponsorship fees.

  6. Word-of-Mouth: No direct cost, but lacks convenience without other outlets

  7. Consignment Sales: Assuming no upfront cost, but a 50% profit share on sales.

  8. Direct Mail Advertising: Cost of $500 per month for printing and distribution.


Total estimated monthly cost: $6,500, 


Traditional profit = $10,000 (monthly sales) - $7,300 (monthly overhead) = $2,700.

Improving Your Customer Experience

  1. Lower Overhead Costs: Digital storefronts and online sales have much lower ongoing costs compared to physical stores and traditional advertising.

  2. Global Reach: Digital platforms allow the business to reach customers beyond its immediate geographic location, expanding the potential market.

  3. Scalability: Online methods can be scaled up or down immediately without the tied-down aspects of physical locations, hardware, or physical marketing techniques.

  4. Adaptable: With an improved customer experience, they are given many options for their sales needs with easy checkout, subscriptions, gift cards, and more - all without extra work from you.

  5. Subscriptions: Having a consistent subscription stream makes lives easier for your customers, gives you guaranteed income, and allows predictability for both parties

  6. Continuous Availability: An online store operates 24/7, 365, globally - all increasing potential sales opportunities and giving more people the ability to experience your coffee without being limited to store hours.

  7. Flexible Promotional Opportunities: Online platforms provide the flexibility to quickly launch promotions, discounts, and special offers, enabling you to respond promptly to market demands or seasonal trends.

  8. Happier Customers!: Above all else, a happy customer is a customer for life. Offering them a great experience when trying to buy your coffee shows that you care about your customers and want to help them.


If you opted to invest in your customer experience, or add this to your existing sales channels:

  1. Digital Storefront: Website hosting costs $70 per month.

  2. Express Checkout Options: Additional transaction fees are often a percentage of sales (equivalent to traditional credit/debit card processing rates), so let's consider this negligible in upfront costs.

  3. Subscription Services: No additional cost is assumed here; increases customer retention.

  4. Gift Cards, Affiliate Marketing, Social Media Sales, Online Communities, and Wholesale Marketplace: Let's allocate $500 for marketing and miscellaneous expenses associated with these.

Total monthly cost for digital methods: $570.

Customer experience profit = $10,000 (monthly sales) - $570 (monthly overhead) = $9,430.

Real World Results

Lighthouse Coffee Roasters transformed their business, breaking free from operational constraints and opening a new chapter of growth and customer connection. This journey led to a remarkable surge in sales, a testament to the power of understanding and adapting to customer needs. With a fresh approach to engaging their community, they not only simplified their day-to-day operations but also ignited a newfound excitement among their team and customers alike. This story, like so many of the teams that have gone through this growth process, show that embracing change can lead to unprecedented success and a deeper bond with your coffee-loving community.

The Facts

  1. Astounding Sales Growth: Lighthouse Coffee Roasters experienced a staggering $400K increase in sales over just 90 days.

  2. Global Reach: Sales opened nationally and internationally for the brand, allowing existing customers continued access and new customers a fresh experience

  3. Subscription Success: Over half of their customer base transitioned to subscription models, ensuring consistent revenue and customer loyalty.

  4. Gift Card Surge: Gift card sales soared by 250%, expanding their market reach and customer engagement.

  5. Enhanced Customer Experience: The revamp significantly improved the overall customer journey, leading to higher satisfaction and repeat business.

  6. Operational Efficiency: Streamlined processes led to reduced overheads and a more agile business model.

  7. Brand Expansion: The transformation opened new avenues for brand growth and recognition in the coffee industry

  8. Returning Customer Rate: A returning customer rate of 50% highlights strong customer loyalty and repeat business, crucial for long-term success

The Brew Masterclass Strategy

Now comes the fun part - where pen hits paper you implement this growth strategy to enhance your customer experience, grow faster, get more people your coffee, and make your life easier. ​The best part of this roadmap is that you don't need to change a thing about the products you offering - as you have to do the same amount of labor to prepare your product regardless (prepping, roasting, packaging, etc.) and this applies to both roasters who want to operate without the constraints of a physical location or those who wish to add this experience to a physical location.

For Lighthouse Roasters, who already had a brick-and-mortar presence, focusing on customer experience proved immensely beneficial. This strategic investment not only recouped incredibly fast and strengthened community bonds but also added a valuable dimension to their business. It fostered deeper connections with its customers and unlocked a myriad of new opportunities, demonstrating the substantial impact of customer-centric growth strategies in the coffee roasting industry.

Image by Evelyn Semenyuk

Check-list to Share Your Coffee With the World

  •  Evaluate Your Current Offerings:

    • Assess the current state of your products (beans, grounds, hardware).

    • Identify any gaps in customer experience related to these offerings.

  •  Expand Your Reach Beyond Physical & Local Locations:

    • Explore digital platforms to extend reach beyond local markets.

    • Consider online methods for customer engagement and sales.

  •  Enhance Ease of Access and Purchase:

    • Migrate your inventory online to be viewable by users

    • Add pricing, roast qualities, descriptions, images, etc. to enhance the experience

  •  Setup the store structure​

    • Integrate a payment provider that supports express checkout options for ease of transaction.

    • Add a search system, home page, categories, etc.

    • Create a basic structure for your store with not just a home page and inventory, but your story integrated

  •  Implement Subscription Services and Gift Cards:

    • Set up subscription models for regular delivery.

    • Offer digital gift cards to facilitate sharing and gifting.

    • Setup an affiliate model so customers get incentives for recommendations

  •  Engage with your Customers:

    • Add merchandise options to give customers perks with shirts, mugs, stickers and more.

    • Reach out to your network by email, social media, SMS, in-person, etc. getting them excited about the new store

    • Utilize your existing network (customers, friends, family, associates, etc.) to get your first round of sales and subscriptions 

  •  Grow your community

    • Explore online communities and marketplaces for broader reach.

    • Build a social media group for your business so customers can engage with each other and foster a sense of community.

  •  Give free content and stay connected

    • Create content that your customers would find valuable, not just a sales pitch.

    • Engage with your community to create a stream of user-generated content.

  •  Open your digital store to the world

    • Focus on making the customer journey effortless from discovery to delivery.

    • Test your store by purchasing a product.

  •  Track and Adjust Based on Feedback and Data:

    • Regularly collect customer feedback and sales data.

    • Adjust strategies based on insights gained for continuous improvement.

​or We Help You Get Started for FREE!

Picture a future where your days are spent crafting the perfect roast while your brand flourishes, connecting with a community of coffee lovers worldwide. This isn't just about expanding your passion; it's about enriching your life, offering you more time to focus on what you love, have a better work-life balance, and spend less time fretting over the logistics and boring parts of running a business.

If you invested in your customer experience right now, we would:

- Build the website for you tailored to your look and feel

- Migrate or add your whole inventory 

- Set up all the structures to sell subscriptions, wholesale, gift cards, etc. online

- Run ads for you to get more customers or teach you how to run them

- Connect all the top payment providers and buy-now-pay-later options

- Build out branded merchandise offerings with no cost, or storage for you

- Do you SEO so you rank higher in search results

- Build an affiliate marketing setup so customers refer you forever

& more - all for the one-quarter the cost of a minimum wage employee

Fill out this form to get your FREE one-on-one strategy session for your coffee roasting venture or call us :

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