Growing and Marketing Herbal Teas and Herbal Coffees
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Bruce
Posted on: March 21, 2004

I have been looking through the material on the herb processing facility. I have some farmers that are interested in adding medicinal herbs to their farming or allowing others to harvest what they have growing naturally. I also have a couple of guys who are producing mint tea. Could this all dovetail in with the herbal coffee substitute?

How many growers do I need to make the herbal coffee substitute work? I am assuming that one farmer cannot grow all the herbs needed and also operate the processing plant. Since we would have to set up the facility and my question is whether the herbal coffee facility would include much of the same equipment that is used in herb processing (aside from the roasting and mixing) so that we could spread the expense over the medicinal herbs and the mint teas as well as the herbal coffee? What do you estimate we can expect as a total project budget? I saw the figure of 60,000 - 240,000 for the processing facility. What would be the anticipated incomes from processing and for growers? What is the potential of the herbal coffee market?

I did a quick search and saw that there are a herbal coffees on the market now: Teeccino, Xtrasharp, Oasis AM, Java, Pennherb, Yerba Mate, Pero, HerbaCafe, Herbal Beverage. How will your herbal coffee be positioned to take a share of the market?

Would you also broker the medicinal herbs that the farmers are interested in if that is a fit with the processing/ herbal coffee? Would you also market the mint tea?

What is a reasonable timeline for putting this in production?

Am I starting to ask the right questions?

Mint teas could dovetail in the same market niche, if packaged correctly. We had some Mennonites (two brothers) do mint leaf here in Oregon until last year. Retired.

Herbal coffee project will take six to twelve growers, four warehouse, and five sales (to include one delivery truck) within five years. Single grower, or up to 20 acres within the first three years. Eight different crops, plus one imported crop (Guatemalan).

Herbal coffees will use a warehouse somewhat like my original design. It will also need a roaster = 800-lb. batch. Probably buy one used from Idaho.

The actual business plan might require some time to flush out, but I’ve done for more than 25 years. In 1976, I had 2,000 Safeway Stores (Oakland market), and outsold Celestial Seasonings 2x1 on the same shelves = Country Spice Tea and Spice Island.

I would be happy to help set up all aspects as an outside consultant, or partner (optional). This would include the marketing, which should eventually be done from the farm.

Crops could begin this winter (greenhouse), for an early plant in May, 2005. I’ve got pictures of 1st through 10th year production on each crop. This would be part of my PowerPoint presentation and workshops.

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