How Does Toll Roasting Work?

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Mill City Roasters’ Production Facility

In addition to selling roasters and hosting classes at our headquarters in Minneapolis, we also operate a full-scale production roastery. In that roastery, you’ll find four production-sized roasters, packaging equipment, industrial grinders, and green coffee storage. We are able to roast, pack, and ship over 5,000 lbs of coffee each week from this facility. Who do we roast so much coffee for? For you.

What is a Toll Roaster?

Toll Roasters, sometimes called Private Label Roasters, are companies that roast for other people. They provide coffee to be packaged under private brand names. By toll roasting, we’re able to help new companies launch their own branded coffee before they’ve purchased or installed their roaster.

If you’re in an underserved market and have a great idea for a coffee company, you may feel like you’re ready to start right away. But the lead time on a new roaster is a few weeks depending on size, and after it arrives there’s the process of working with contractors to get everything hooked up and properly ventilated. Once your roaster is operational, there are health inspections, licensing, and sourcing of new greens which need to be profiled. Learning machine control and perfecting your menu can take some time as well.

Before you know it, you’re months away from seeing your beans on the shelf. By partnering with us as your roaster, we help you get to the business of selling coffee immediately. When you’re ready to take over and roast on your own, we’re there to help. We can share profiles, recommend greens, and guide you through the seasoning process on your new roaster.

How can Toll Roasting work for you?

Toll roasting helps customers who aren’t roasting yet get coffee onto retail shelves with their name on it. It can also be a stop-gap solution for a roaster that takes on a larger order than they can process.

Imagine this scenario: you’re roasting on an MCR-3, a 3kg capacity roaster, regularly filling orders and supplying about 300 pounds of coffee each week to a few wholesale customers. Suddenly – exciting news – a local fast food chain wants to carry your coffee in all ten of their locations. Your weekly output just increased to over a thousand pounds each week, which is more time than you planned on spending at your roaster. That’s where we come in.

We source green coffee and build profiles specifically for our Toll Roasting program. Our seasonal list of fresh crop offerings changes every quarter. We carry blends for espresso, cold brew, and dark roasts with consistent profiles that are available year-round. We can package in bulk quantities or retail-sized bags and offer additional services like grinding. We work with customers to develop blends, source coffees from origins that they’re most interested in, and match roasts to replicate the profiles that they’re already selling.

Our goal is that our customers never have to say “no” to an order. If you have any questions, or if you want to talk to someone here at Mill City about letting us roast for you, send us a message or call our office at (612) 886-2089. We can’t wait to fire up the roasters!

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