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Buying Inventory for your Coffee Truck

The three biggest purchases that you will make for your truck is beans, syrups and milks. Those are the three that I'm going to focus on.

Beans

I personally buy beans from a local roaster, but you don't have to if you don't want to. If your looking for a good value (cheap vs quality) then I would encourage hitting the forums. Here's a few to start with:

  • Coffee Forum
  • Home Barista
  • Sweet Maria
  • Coffee Geeks
  • Barista Exchange.

A not about forums. It helps to dig into the material that is available before asking questions. A real pet peeve with the moderators and forum veterans is when a newbie ask a question that could have been answered by a simple search.

You should be able to ask for samples from your roaster. Personally, I also ask that they ship for free. It's their business, they can write off the shipping cost. Ask for a few samples of coffee, so you can dial in the brewing process and decide if that's the coffee for you.

If it's a local roaster, arrange a time for a tasting. This is when the roaster will sit you down with a few different types of coffee and allow you to try them.

Either way, online or in town, try the coffee before you order it.

Syrups

My most popular syrups in order are: Chocolate, Caramel, Vanilla, White Chocolate, Chai, Hazelnut. I pay 4.50 a bottle at a local joint. You can order these online. I've changed syrups in the past because of taste, so I encourage to buy one round first and see if you like it. If you like the syrup and get postive reviews, feel free to buy a case.

Also, use the pumps. They work awesome. It helps keep your drinks consistent and pumps out drinks very fast. Just make sure you clean them once a week or you will clog them up with syrup.

Milk

Its the winter now and I'm going through about 20 gallons of milk a week. On a busier week it's closer to 30. So it's important that you have a good milk supplier. My local Costco sells their milk for $2.49. Walmart sells theirs for $2.40. Per my local milk broker, milk is the #1 sold item at a grocery store. When I contacted him, he encourage to keep an eye in the local ad for milk specials. He explained to me, that many grocery stores sell milk below cost as a stradegy to gain clientele. Also, many grocery stores will price match, so if you have an ad in one store, but live closer to another, you may want to see if they price match.

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