How to Start an Online Coffee Business 2023

People love coffee and so some take it plain or with milk in the morning, daytime or evening. The demand for coffee is high because it’s a daily consumable. In fact, coffee is one of the most traded commodities and its popularity has been growing in the US, UK, Japan and China. 

How to Start an Online Coffee Business

Some people have decided to take their love a step further by starting a coffee business. This has helped them to make money out of their expertise and knowledge of this popular beverage.

They want to offer coffee lovers specialty products such as themed products or flavored beans. 

As a result, many coffee shops offer on-site coffee bean roasting. The United States is in fact leading in terms of the popularity of the coffee roastery. 

So then, the article will tell you how to start an online coffee business including a successful roastery, coffee brand, or whether selling coffee online is profitable. 

Let’s get started.

How to Start Your Own Coffee Brand

American alone is a big coffee market because there are many coffee lovers. On other hand, there is a huge competition because nearly one new coffee business is set every day.

But this shouldn’t deter you from setting your own coffee brand because, with the right coffee product and a good marketing strategy, you can build a good customer base. 

Here is how you can start your own coffee brand.

1. Choose the Type of Coffee to Sell

There is a wide variety of coffee beans in the world. So you need to decide the type of coffee you are going to sell in your own business.

Is it beans from Colombia or Ethiopia? How will you achieve different flavors? Will you self-roast it or source from a white label company? 

Actually, you can buy a particular flavor from a local roaster in form of a private label and then use your own package when delivering to your new or other customers.

Alternatively, you can buy green coffee beans from importers and roast them yourself. However, this is a major undertaking that requires a coffee expert and not a mere enthusiast.

How to Start Your Own Coffee Brand

2. Find a Niche

There is a big coffee market out there and many online-based businesses but the only way you can make a name here is by finding a niche. For instance, could you focus on a specific type of coffee that you can’t find it elsewhere?

Next, can you search for suppliers or coffee importers of such type of coffee and how many sellers are buying from them in your target market? Such information will help you compete in that area. 

Additionally, it will also help you find a small dedicated coffee drinking group having trouble getting that flavor or aroma. This is indeed a ready market that you can focus on.

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How to Sell Your Coffee

Now that you know the type of coffee you will sell, it’s the high time you figure out how it will reach your target market. Will you sell the coffee online, place it on supermarket shelves or open a small coffee shop in the neighborhood?

1. Study Your Competitors

You need to evaluate the industry and find out who else you’re competing with. Evaluate their work to see a gap that you can fill or how you can do better.

That means your brand should offer what your competitors don’t have and continuously do that as you develop your own brand.

2. Market Your Coffee Brand

You have a product, target niche, method of reaching your audience and information about your competitors.

But this information is not enough. How to push your brand into this market is still missing. Is your coffee brand premium or targeting everyone? Is it modern or traditional? 

Such brand personality details are vital when determining the kind of message your company will put forth. It will help you to discover ways of defining your products and standing out. 

There are different methods of getting people to know your product. If you’re selling online, you can create brand awareness using digital methods such as social media, email marketing and content marketing. 

You may use billboards, organize events around your community or world of mouth marketing for your physical shop.  

Try to speak to your target audience using the best method. It should also be aligned with your brand personality.

3. Selling Coffee Online

How to Sell Your Coffee

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In 2018, the National Coffee Association released a report that showed that 79% of Americans brew coffee at their home. Others are out-of-home coffee drinkers who take this beverage at their workplace or still buy it in the retail shops.

That means these coffee-drinkers are seeking easy and reliable ways of getting their coffee beans for their drip-brew or single-cup machine. 

One of their options is online shopping because it helps them purchase products without leaving their homes.

So then, selling your coffee online is a perfect way of tapping into this consumer trend. Also, the online coffee business is a low-cost way to jump into the coffee industry. 

Aside from large profits, selling coffee online has many benefits.

  • It allows you to manage your eCommerce site from home, and work as much or as little as you desire.
  • You don’t have to hire any employees especially when you’re not selling large volumes of coffee thus low operating costs.
  • You’re able to reach a much broader customer base because you’re not limited by a physical location. This translates to more sales and higher profits.

There are a few things that you need to get started with selling coffee online. You need a user-friendly website, an awesome coffee supplier and a loyal customer base.

What Do I Need to Sell Coffee?

Selling coffee online can be a lucrative business, but there are a few key things that you must have to get started. These are:

A Superior eCommerce Website

You don’t need to be a web design guru in order to create a great website. You can hire a freelance web developer or get website domains from Bigcommerce or Shopify.

With its customizable designs, you can create a shopping cart as well as a checkout function that allows your customers to order and make payments for coffee. 

Also, a website will allow you to create your brand presence online and personalize the user experience. Still, you can list the products on recognizable sites like Amazon and eBay which have a wide customer base. 

You can also use programs such as Amazon FBA for storage and shipping systems. That means you will only focus on marketing your coffee online while Amazon delivers the coffee to your customers. Such a service can help you to grow the business and make more sales. 

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Right Private-label Coffee Supplier

Selling coffee online can be a big nightmare without reliable coffee companies or suppliers. This is a person or company that supplies high-quality coffee products and on time. Customers want a morning brew that tastes good otherwise they will run to your competitor providing what they want. 

Aside from a good flavor, you need a supplier with the right price. This will help you to offer your customers competitive prices while still making good profits.

A Good Customer Base

You need potential customers to sell your coffee to in order to make money. These are loyal customers because the coffee industry is highly competitive. So then you can grow your customer base with a unique selling proposition such as speciality products that can’t be found elsewhere or a unique slogan and company name. 

So get to know what your customers want and order the right products from your suppliers. This will help you gain loyal customers and grow your sales.

4 Small Coffee Shops Ideas

Online Coffee Business: This is a low-cost business that you can start from home. With just $300 – $500, you can create a website to showcase your good selection of various coffee roasts, flavors and aromas. 

1. Piggybacking:

This is a symbiotic relationship between new small businesses and established enterprises. Piggybacking has tremendous benefits such as lowering costs for the two businesses while increasing experience, service and customer value. For instance, you can find Starbucks in grocery stores,

Target stores and banks. You can also borrow this concept and set up a coffee business in a Bookstore, independent boutique, shared-work space, laundromat, hair salon, flower shop, newspaper stand, music shop, and independent art gallery.

2. Sell Coffee at the Farmer’s Markets:

You can start a full-time coffee business that includes roasting coffee beans as well. You can start even if you’re an amateur coffee roaster or a multi-roaster retailer.

Your target audience is the farmer’s market visitors who come on weekend mornings to have a delicious cup of coffee. They can choose either freshly brewed coffee or a wide selection of coffee roasts. 

3. Mobile Coffee Truck:

A mobile coffee business is a perfect low-cost method of jumping into the retail coffee industry. It involves buying a coffee trailer or truck, installing coffee equipment and renting out a space. Still,

it’s cheaper to start a mobile coffee business than a full-fledged coffee bar. Further, you can use your mobile coffee truck to sell coffee to people attending festivals, sporting events, concerts and more. 

4. Espresso Catering Business:

This involves taking your coffee brewing skills to customers during parties, or certain events. This business idea has higher profits compared to costs because you only need minimal coffee equipment, no less rent or fewer obligations and it also offers some form of flexibility in your personal schedule. 

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Is Selling Coffee Online Profitable?

Selling coffee online is profitable because 79% of Americans consume this beverage at least once a day. Still, the online coffee sales market brings into the US economy nearly $81 million every year and it’s expected that it will continue to grow by over 6% year-over-year. So then, selling speciality products is quite profitable because it has higher margins. 

But, whether your online coffee business will be profitable or not depends on the volume you’re selling. This can be single bags, in bulk, or wholesale.

How Do I Start My Own Coffee Business?

How Do I Start My Own Coffee Business

Here is how you can start your own coffee business.

1. Establish Your Supply Lines:

Beginners in the coffee business should first establish how they will transact in this industry. Will your business be a physical or online coffee shop? 

Will it supply its products through home roasting or dropshipping? The advantage of using dropshipping is that it has low overhead costs which is what beginners are looking for.

However, an experienced coffee-owner or roaster should opt for home roasting of their coffee beans and selling them directly to the customer. 

2. Find a Reliable Supplier:

The source of your coffee beans is a vital element of your coffee business. In fact, you should establish a good source for your coffee beans because no matter how strong your marketing strategy is

it can’t sell a poor-quality product. Coffee roasters need a good supplier of good coffee beans even when they are roasting their own beans for their business. 

3. Pick a Niche:

Coffee consumers at times go off branding cues when choosing their drink because coffee is a high-commodity beverage.

Therefore, your niche is important when developing your brand. It includes demographics, values, interests, location, hobbies or price range. Pick a specific niche market because it offers you a competitive edge by limiting competition.

4. Establish What Coffee Product You Will Sell:

ou may sell roasted coffee beans, hot coffee alongside other beverages such as hot chocolates, teas, and other warm drinks.

You can also sell coffee-scented products such as air fresheners, or candles, coffee-flavored foods like ice cream or chocolate or baked goods like bite-sized cookies and cakes. 

5. Develop Your Brand:

With a good supplier, a niche market and the coffee product to sell, you can now develop your brand. Defining your brand will help you to stay authentic and consistent in your marketing.

Also, branding helps your coffee business to stand out in the industry with a lot of coffee brands.

You’re your brand must connect emotionally with your target audience. This includes choosing a unique business name and slogan, as well as developing a website with your company logo, fonts, and colors.

6. Market Your Business:

Whether you’re starting an online shop or a brick-and-mortar store, you must tell the world about it in order to reach your niche where they are. You can use social media, email, or content marketing. 

How Do I Start an Online Coffee Shop?

How Do I Start an Online Coffee Shop

Whether you’re starting a business from scratch or digitalizing your physical store, an online store is the way to go. In fact,

The answer to the question of how to start an online coffee business is not different from starting a physical business because you need suppliers, a target niche, and more. 

However, starting an online coffee shop involves developing your brand which entails picking a company name, creating the logo, picking fonts, colors, and a logo as well as developing a website. 

Add your products photos, and a description as well as arrange them into collections in order for your customers to find them easily when they navigate your store. 

If you’re opening an online coffee shop for your brick-and-mortar store, you should set up international shipping options based on shipping zones. Clearly state the locations you’re willing to ship your roasted coffee to and the preferred payment options.  

On the other hand, if you’re starting an online coffee shop from scratch, dropshipping is an excellent option because of low overheads. 

Lastly, you can now announce your store open through a powerful marketing tool like email marketing, social media announcements on your Facebook page or updating the local listings on Google My Business.

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How Much Do Online Coffee Businesses Make? 

The coffee industry has witnessed high demand year-over-year thus starting an online coffee business is an excellent idea. The niche has so much opportunity because American spends nearly $75 billion on coffee. Also, this industry represents 1.6% of the country’s GDP. 

Overage it’s estimated that each coffee drinker spends $76 on coffee every month. Also on average coffee drinkers takes approximately 3 cups per day. So then a single coffee roasting business can generate more than $200,000 per month.

Can I sell Coffee in My retail Shop?

Some non-restaurant businesses introduce a coffee machine to make their customers feel more comfortable or lure new ones.

Business owners that sell only unprepared coffee beans or hot coffee their servers may not necessarily need food handler permits or food service certificates. 

However, you will need a certification if you’re preparing hot coffee using fresh milk or selling iced coffee.

You should also get a certification if you’re handling non-prepackaged and perishable products, using reusable dishes to serve your customers or having a refrigerator. 

Further, you can sell coffee in your retail shop without acquiring a food service certificate or your servers getting food handler’s permits if you’re selling freshly brewed hot coffee in sanitary,

Single-use disposable cups. You can also provide your customers with cream and sugar in single-serving packets. The same applies to selling roasted coffee beans either in whole or grounded. 

The reason is that hot brewed coffee in single-use cups has minimal public health risk as a result of its high temperatures and less staff handling. However, these rules vary from state to state and at the local levels.

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Do You Need a License to Sell Coffee Beans?

The majority of jurisdictions will not require you to have a food service certificate or your food handler’s permits when selling roasted coffee beans whether they are whole or ground.

Coffee beans are not considered ready-to-eat and the customer will have to heat them to sterilizing temperatures. However, it’s important to consult the health office in your county prior to proceeding with this business. 

What is a Coffee Roastery?

A coffee roastery is an enterprise that roasts green coffee beans. Most coffee roasteries are small scale and mainly found in a coffee bar, restaurant or at home. 

On the other hand, there are large coffee manufacturers with very large roasting facilities thus able to generate several tons of coffee within a short period. 

Irrespective of the size of your roastery, the method of roasting coffee beans is the same and a roaster is the most important tool in the building.

Also, green coffee beans are taken through various roasting stages. Once fully grounded the coffee is packaged for sale or use. 

In fact, customers are served freshly brewed coffee in a variety of flavors and roasts. They can also buy ground or whole coffee beans by the pound.

How to Become a Coffee Roaster

How to Become a Coffee Roaster

A coffee roaster basically roast dried coffee beans and sell them in coffee shops, retail stores, restaurants and cafes. It involves sourcing coffee beans across the world and roasting these varieties until you achieve different taste profiles. 

Still, a coffee roaster experiment with different roast levels, grind, aroma and flavors. They negotiate with coffee farmers, coffee bean wholesalers and more.

Most of the coffee roasters are found in big-name coffee brands or owners of specialty coffee roasting businesses. 

To become a coffee roaster, one has to take a course or certificate program that trains on how to roast, grind and flavor coffee beans. 

Alternatively, one can find an entry-level coffee roaster trainee position in a local coffee company. You will acquire important skills to help you roast coffee beans as well as knowledge on how to use different approaches to enrich the aroma and flavor.

How Much Do Coffee Roasters Make?

A coffee Roaster based in the United States on average takes home annual pay of $33,633. In other words, a coffee roaster is paid on average $16.17 an hour, and $647 per week. 

On the other hand, a coffee roasting business can be a profitable venture for it’s said that it can generate between $200,000 and $300,000 a year or more.

Whether those coffee roasters generate such revenues or not is determined by their branding. Generally, they are likely to make good profits when they roast specific coffee beans types such as organic coffee beans, healthy coffee beans, or those grown in very specific locations. 

Still, some coffee roasters sell to certain categories of customers such as elite athletes, business leaders, macho tough guys, or classy millennials.


This post has highlighted different aspects of how to start an online coffee business. The US coffee market is big and you can tap on it using different flavors and aromas. 

In fact with the right coffee products, reliable supplier, target market and a user-friendly website you are ready to dive into the coffee industry. 

I would like to hear from you what your favorite coffee flavor is and whether starting an online cafe or a physical coffee shop is something you might consider in the future.

Which is your best business model, a coffee café or online shop?  You can let me know by leaving a comment below this post.

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