So I have a potential opportunity to pick up my first roasting account. I've been roasting for a few years and have planned on getting there someday but didn't expect it would happen so soon. As a result, I'm not as prepared as I'd like to be.

I plan on putting a huge emphasis on training. The reason is, you can take great green coffee, roast it well and then have it all ruined by a careless barista. This is my passion and my product so it is in my best interests to protect this passion and product by ensuring those who work with it, know how to handle it.

I have a general idea of what I will cover, how many sessions etc but the main thing I am unsure of is how training works out financially. Even though training is product protection I assume that I should charge for this service. Should I do this on an hourly basis? A package deal? I'd love to hear some ideas.

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In my experience, this can go several ways.

1) Mandatory training, no cost
2) Mandatory training, cost
3) Optional training, no cost
4) Optional training, cost.

I think the first one is the most successful because it lets your wholesale account know how serious you are about what you do. You are offering training because it is YOUR reputation on the line, as well as theirs. To act like you are giving them something for nothing by offering free training is short-sighted. A cafe where your beans are given the care that you gave them at the roastery is an excellent way to give your bussiness exposure. It can go the other way, if the beans are handled carelessly, and become a nightmare.

Thanks for those thoughts. I was thinking that 1) would be the way I'd go because it made the most sense to me. Being however relatively inexperienced in a business sense I thought I'd check.
Thanks again,
I am a small roaster/coffeeshop and have been approached by other shops and cafes wanting to carry our coffee because of quality and the additional marketing associated with using a local (relative) roaster. I insist on training, especially on their espresso machine. A quick one day session can get them pulling good shots, and they'll know what to look for and how I expect it to taste. I also get most folks doing a decent jop on texturing milk; usually enough so that they can form a white dot. Training them also inspires them to do a good job and my passion for my product rubs off on them (most of the time). I do not charge for this service; it is free because I want their customers to have a good relationship with my espresso and I want the shop to be proud, knowledgable, and see plenty of repeat business. It is good policy for me and the shop.
If they're buying coffee from you, the idea is no cost on training. It's in your best interest that they learn how to use and serve your coffee to the end customer. If they're selling, you're selling. Don't charge it, believe me, they'll appreciate it.


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