Introducing RoasterLink: Connecting Coffee Roasters and Wholesale Buyers

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We are thrilled to announce RoasterLink, a new service by Fresh Cup that matches coffee roasters with wholesale buyers. 

The number of roasters worldwide has increased dramatically. Every day, we hear of a new roaster popping up or a cafe announcing they are beginning to roast. Advances in technology and readily accessible information have lowered the barrier to entry for people interested in roasting coffee and building their own coffee brands. At the same time, the sheer number makes it harder for roasters with a wholesale focus to find new clients—roasters are in competition not just with other wholesalers but also with cafes utilizing new tools and small-scale machines to source and roast their own beans.

For cafes, restaurants, and other buyers looking for a wholesale coffee supplier, finding a good-fit roaster to partner with isn’t any easier. Wading through potential roasters to work with has gotten more complex, and it can be challenging to parse differences between wholesale programs. What makes one roasting program better for your business than another? Figuring out the answer to that question can be near impossible without extensive research and decision-making; it can feel arbitrary and confusing.

These challenges create inefficiencies for both buyers and roasters. Coffee shop operators and roasters are the two largest segments of the Fresh Cup audience and community, so we knew this was a problem we could solve. We came up with RoasterLink, a first-of-its-kind roasting matchmaking platform, to connect wholesalers and potential partners and make the process of linking up with and finding roasters efficient, less time-consuming, and even—dare we say—fun!

How RoasterLink Connects Buyers and Roasters

To use RoasterLink, roasters first fill out a detailed roaster profile that gives our team a ton of information on products and services they offer, what kinds of businesses they work best with, equipment and supplies they can provide, and unique attributes of their business and wholesale program.

The RoasterLink program has allowed us to increase the quality and frequency of our inbound leads by efficiently matching our company with buyers that may not have otherwise discovered us.

Johanna Hirshboeck, huckleberry roasters

Buyers fill out a similar buyer profile that tells us what products and services they need, what support they seek from a roaster, location, volume expectations, and more.

Our matching team then compares the buyer profile against roaster profiles to identify matches that align with both parties’ offerings and needs. This hands-on process draws from our team’s experience both in cafe leadership and wholesale sales positions. We typically match three to five roasters to a buyer. 

Matching buyer and roaster profiles is an art rather than a science, and RoasterLink works to prioritize the traits most important to our users. For example, a buyer might indicate that finding a local roaster is essential but may also indicate a desire to partner with a woman-owned supplier. Our tool is designed to give users options that meet both criteria: we might find the user a couple of matches nearby and a couple who are women-led. 

Results From The Program So Far

Earlier this year, we ran a pilot program with a handful of roasters to stress-test our matching processes. We generated nearly sixty active buyers during the eight-week period and made 200+ matches with roasters. 

We asked our roasting partners about their sales experience, and the results blew us away. Our pilot roasters project to generate $55,500 in annual value from their matches, with additional value likely to come as more buyers from the pilot round pick their partners and become new clients.

Our pilot roasters project to generate $55,500 in annual value from their matches, with additional value likely to come as more buyers from the pilot round pick their partners and become new clients.

“The RoasterLink program has allowed us to increase the quality and frequency of our inbound leads by efficiently matching our company with buyers that may not have otherwise discovered us,” says Johanna Hirshboeck of Huckleberry Roasters in Denver, Colorado. “I can’t think of another service out there that focuses specifically on connecting roasters with new businesses in need of coffee, and we are excited to continue using it to help fuel our growth!”

Alli Beall of Texas Coffee Traders in Austin, Texas, expressed a similar sentiment: “RoasterLink has filled a need that we didn’t even know we were missing until we started working with them! The staff has been so helpful and friendly, and the leads are shared efficiently and in a timely manner. We are really excited about the growth this opportunity has afforded us, and this has even opened our eyes to potential new revenue streams!”

Buyers found RoasterLink helpful, too, with one retailer in Texas going as far as to call the experience “too good to be true.” Other buyers we contacted noted that the matching experience saved them time and relieved them of pressure to do hours of research to find good partners to contact. One new cafe owner in Rawlins, Wyoming, noted that despite being matched with multiple great roasters they were struggling to choose between, RoasterLink “was incredibly helpful!”

We’re thrilled to help make efficient connections and are excited to grow the RoasterLink program into one that adds immense value to our industry.

Want to get matched with wholesale roasters for your business? Sign up for RoasterLink.

Are you a roaster who wants to join our partner network? Learn how here.

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Garrett Oden

Garrett Oden is the owner of Fresh Cup, a coffee industry publication for professionals, and Alimentous Studio, a content and copywriting agency for coffee, F&B, and food tech businesses.

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