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Bellwether Coffee partners with retailers to accelerate the electrification of coffee roasting with new funding from California Energy Commission

Bellwether Coffee partners with retailers to accelerate the electrification of coffee roasting with new funding from California Energy Commission

July 14 - 2023

Coffee Geography Magazine


Bellwether Coffee, the technology company advancing electric coffee roasting to deliver the lowest carbon footprint in the industry, announces a partnership with Red Bay Coffee Roasters and Heirloom Coffee for a new $1.879MM grant from California Energy Commission's (CEC). 

Food Production and Investment program that aims to accelerate the adoption of advanced energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to help industries work towards a low-carbon future. With support from the CEC, these retailers will install 24 state-of-the-art Bellwether Roasters at their locations to shift their gas-powered roasters to electric to reduce CO2 emissions by two million pounds annually. New Grant from CEC Supports Oakland Coffee Retailers in Purchasing Bellwether Roasters to Reduce Carbon Footprint by 2MM Pounds Annually

Bellwether Series 2

Traditional coffee roasting accounts for 15% of the carbon footprint of the industry, and the U.S. alone produces over 8 billion pounds of coffee per year. Electric roasting is a ground-breaking alternative to gas powered roasting that improves sustainability by significantly reducing the carbon footprint. The Bellwether system is simple to install and operate to ensure anyone can source and roast the highest quality, most sustainable coffee at the touch of a button. As an added benefit, no gas lines, vents, construction, or training are required to set it up and start roasting. 

"This support from the CEC reinforces the value and power of electric roasting for reducing the carbon footprint - and aligns with Bellwether's commitment to helping more retailers, especially those in our own backyard, gain access to electric roasting," said Grayson Caldwell, Head of Sustainability and Impact at Bellwether Coffee. "With our technology at the hub, Bellwether is ushering in a new and critical movement in sustainability by enabling every retailer to become an on-site roaster to produce consistent and quality coffee that also reduces gas emissions."

Senior Sustainability Manager at Bellwether Coffee, Grayson Caldwell

Senior Sustainability Manager at Bellwether Coffee, Grayson Caldwell

"The State of California is dedicated to investing in a clean future, and the Food Production Investment Program reflects that commitment by funding better, cleaner energy use in the food processing industry," said Jonah Steinbuck, director of the California Energy Commission's Research and Development Division. "The coffee industry has traditionally relied on fossil gas in the roasting process, but electrification now provides a pathway to energy sustainability. Supporting companies like Red Bay Coffee, Heirloom Coffee Roasters, and their partner, Bellwether Coffee, who are helping to lead the electrification of their industry, is an important example of how innovation and collaboration can drive both environmental progress and economic growth." 

One of the goals of the CEC's FPIP is to benefit low-income and environmentally disadvantaged communities. These projects will reduce emissions and provide economic benefits in West Oakland.

"This is a big moment for us, as well as for the industry - and with the investment from the state of California, we can see a future for us where we are solely electric roasting," said Keba Konte, Founder of Red Bay Coffee Roasters. "With Bellwether, we can automate our on-site roasting, while differentiating ourselves in the market to drive sales and support our business, our customers and most importantly, our environment." 

"Heirloom Coffee has made it our mission to source and produce the most environmentally sustainable, regeneratively farmed coffee on the market – and Bellwether's technology is the key to expanding this mission beyond our brand," said Hovik Azadkhanian, CEO at Heirloom Coffee. "As a high-volume roaster, Bellwether's electric roasters will allow us to exponentially reduce our carbon footprint – without compromising on the quality and taste of our culinary roast coffee." 

Bellwether Coffee is the provider of the world's lowest carbon coffee roaster. As the only electric and ventless system, Bellwether is supporting the microroastery movement by transforming retailers into on-site roasters, while helping source sustainable coffee beans from farmers around the world. The first-of-its-kind technology was built from scratch to deliver a solution that is easy to install, use, and scale to produce consistency and quality in craft coffee. By making roasting more accessible, Bellwether is helping retailers differentiate, drive sales, and deliver the coffee of the future for sustainability in coffee today. 

The Food Production Investment Program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment –particularly in Priority populations. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are located within and benefiting priority populations across California.