Choosing a coffee supplier

Selecting a coffee roaster is easily one of the most important decisions when starting a café. Here are some tips to getting it right from the outset, since swapping later is not easy.


The natural first step is to ‘Google it’ (or ‘Ask Jeeves’, if it still exists). Search for the best coffee roasters and best cafés in Australia and you’ll start to see coffee roasters common to both lists. Create a list of your top 10. Here’s 10 great coffee rosters to get you started, in no particular order:

  1. Market Lane Coffee
  2. Dukes Coffee Roasters
  3. Monday’s Coffee Store
  4. Mecca Coffee
  5. Barrio Collective Coffee
  6. Proud Mary
  7. Coffee Alchemy
  8. Blackstar Coffee
  9. Single O
  10. ONA Coffee

Also, you know your local area the best – what are the best cafés/coffee shops you know about? You know, that café that everyone is talking about and says their coffee is the best! What coffee do they use?

Be aware that some coffee roasters might have ‘exclusion zones’ (i.e. if your new café is too close to another café using the same beans, they might not supply to you). But it doesn’t stop you from finding something similar!


This is the best part – go and explore. Try as many coffees from your list as possible.

Talk to the café owners/operators. Ask how the supplier is to deal with? What is their support like?

Selecting a coffee roster for your business inevitably becomes a personal choice on what you think tastes best, and that’s OK. It is important that you like the coffee you’re selling, passion for the product is often well-received by your customers. Just don’t expect that everyone will love the coffee you’re selling – taste is subjective.


Once you have chosen your coffee roster, you’ll need some good training. Learn about the coffee, the roasting process, the origin of the beans, and most importantly, the recipe and techniques to make the best cup possible.

Ask about equipment? Do they supply the equipment (e.g. coffee machine) or do you buy or lease your own? But don’t choose a coffee roster just because they will give you a machine - bad rosters can supply good machines.

The most important aspect about making that daily cup for your customers is consistency. Make sure staff are highly trained, get an auto-tamper, check your extraction timings and weights, use a thermometer or ‘Temptag’ for your milk, use a pitcher rinser after every pour – eliminate as many variables as possible.

Now, get brewing!

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