The 8 Differences Between Coffee Roasters And Coffee Shops

Last Updated on April 4, 2022 by John Moretti

Coffee shops are everywhere, and these days there seem to be coffee roasters appearing just as frequently as new coffee shops. Coffee roasteries are showing up everywhere, and many people find themselves wondering what the difference between a coffee roaster and a coffee shop is?

Coffee roasters purchase green coffee beans from producers and suppliers and then roast the coffee for brewing. Coffee shops purchase roasted beans from the roastery for brewing and serving as coffee beverages. Roasters provide roasted coffee beans. Coffee shops buy and brew roasted beans.

The differences between a coffee roaster and a coffee shop are significant. Both of these aspects of the coffee industry are reliant on one another, especially in the specialty coffee scene, but the differences between them are not always known.

Let’s examine the differences between roasters and coffee shops to help bring some clarity on the matter.

Coffee Roasters Vs. Coffee Shop

What Are The Differences Between Coffee Roasters and Coffee Shops?

Coffee roasters and coffee shops are two completely different businesses within the coffee industry. A roaster is a supplier of roasted coffee beans, and a coffee shop buys those beans for brewing. Let’s take the time to highlight some of the more significant differences between coffee roasters and coffee shops.

Below is a table outlining the important differences between these two businesses:

Coffee RoasterCoffee Shop
Buys unroasted green coffee beans from coffee producersDoes not deal directly with coffee producers
Roasts coffee beans to varying degrees in specialized ovensVery rarely roasts coffee beans for brewing
Packages and sells roasted coffee beans to coffee shops, stores, and individual customersBuys roasted coffee beans from roastery for brewing
Does not always grind, brew, or produce coffee drinks for sale Sells freshly brewed coffee drinks
Does not always deal directly with individual consumersAlmost exclusively sells to individual consumers
Does not always have seating or a social areaDesigned around a social seating area for drinking coffee
Does not provide any mealsUsually provides light meals
Roasters are a supplier of roasted coffee beansCoffee shops are a buyer of roasted coffee beans

By identifying these key differences between roasters and coffee shops, it is easier to realize how different these two types of company companies are.

Coffee Roasters

Roastery Worker Packing Beans

Roasters are responsible for buying unroasted beans, transporting them into the local area, determining which type of toast is best for particular coffee beans, and roasting them to that level.

Roasters are also responsible for tasting coffee brewed from the beans to highlight flavor notes to provide better products details for buyers and packaging perfectly roasted coffee beans for sale.

Coffee shops

Coffee shops are the business that then buys the roasted coffee beans from the roastery and grinds the beans to be brewed for sale as coffee beverages.

The coffee job supplies coffee to the end customer that is well brewed and prepared with skill, providing a means for normal people to enjoy roasted coffee that is as fresh as possible.

Closer Look at The Modern Coffee Roastery

Coffee Roastery

The modern coffee roastery, otherwise known as a coffee roaster, is an integral component of the modern specialty coffee industry. These companies form a critical link in the coffee supply chain, and we would not have coffee shops the way we know them to be without roasteries.


A coffee roaster is a company that purchases raw, green, processed coffee beans from a coffee bean supplier or directly from a coffee bean producer, such as a coffee farm.


The roaster then roasts the coffee beans, packages them, and sells the coffee beans to coffee shops and general consumers. This type of company receives unroasted coffee beans for a supplier or producers, runs them through specially designed ovens that roast the coffee beans to varying degrees, and sells them for brewing and consumption.

Each roastery will have specific roasts that they do, specialty coffee beans that they provide in either small batches, as consistent products, or seasonally, and they go through the trouble of grinding and brewing small batches of coffee to taste and review, providing tasting notes for customers to look out for.

Artisan Coffee from Professional Roastery


Roasters sell their roasted coffee beans to cafes, coffee shops, and to individual buyers depending on their sale policy. Coffee roasters do not typically brew their coffee on-site for sale, they do not have seating areas, and they do not provide coffee drinks for customers. These companies usually strictly sell roasted coffee beans.

There are some exceptions where a roastery will have a small coffee shop with a trained barista to brew and prepare coffee drinks for customers, but this is not the norm, and most roasteries would rather focus on roasting and supporting local coffee shops than creating drinks themselves.

Closer Look at The Modern Coffee Shop

Modern Coffee Shop

The modern coffee shop comes in many forms and varieties. A coffee shop can be a franchise of a large international coffee chain, or it can be a small café that is privately owned and run. 


Regardless of the packaging, a coffee shop is not a coffee roaster. A coffee shop is a place focused on brewing and preparing coffee drinks for sale to customers. These establishments typically offer light meals and many coffees and hot drink varieties, as well as a seating area for said items to be enjoyed.

A coffee shop is a place for social connection, a place to enjoy delicious food and beverages, and a place to explore the world of coffee first-hand. 

Friends having coffee in a coffee shop

There are very few coffee shops that roast their own coffee beans, as most coffee shops typically buy their roasted coffee beans from coffee roasters. Coffee shops do not usually have any contact with coffee producers and rather deal with a roastery for their supply of beans.

Many coffee shops will hold monthly sale deal with roasters to buy a certain amount of beans every month, thus upholding a certain product line and consistency over more extended periods. 


Very few coffee shops roast coffee beans for brewing, and those that do typically roast small batches in very small roasters to sell as a limited-run coffee drink. 

However, many coffee shops will sell bags of roasted coffee beans to customers, which equates to more sales for roasteries, and is often the only way a normal person can buy coffee beans from a local roastery.


These two types of coffee businesses are vastly different, but they need one another to thrive. Without a roastery, a coffee shop would have no beans to brew, and without a coffee shop, a roaster would have no one to sell roasted beans to.

These companies are important to one another and important to the coffee industry as a whole.

Find a coffee shop that uses the very best beans from a fine roaster that uses a skilled barista to prepare your coffee drinks, and you will never be disappointed with your coffee again!