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Building the Sustainable Future of Coffee.

Bellwether Coffee x James Hoffmann

The Future is Electric

Electric Roasting is Inevitable.

When James Hoffmann approached us with his idea to demonstrate what a sustainable future could look by roasting coffee entirely by solar power, we said yes right away. So we loaded a roaster in a trailer with a solar panel and we drove into the sunlit dunes of Indio, California to make history.
This was also our chance to reconnect with James over our newest roaster – the Bellwether Series 2, and partner with him to help prove that electric roasting is capable of producing the highest quality cup of coffee we expect, with the lowest carbon footprint of any commercial roaster.
James worked with our coffee team to create a custom roast profile made on a Bellwether that meets his exacting standards for quality, taste and transparency, to prove you don’t have to sacrifice quality, consistency or craftsmanship to serve the most sustainable coffee ever roasted.

"Bellwether made me reconsider the future."

To prove the possibility of electric, distributed roasting, James asked to do something that had never been done before – become the first person ever to roast coffee using sunlight by harvesting a day’s solar power and connecting it to a Bellwether Roaster.
In this groundbreaking video, James does the math on the energy efficiency of electric roasting versus gas, explores how to roast electric at scale, and proves you can roast world class coffee at the touch of a button without sacrificing quality.

“I need to start thinking about alternative fuels right now if I want to have a sustainable business that can last decades more.”

To complete James’ trip to Bellwether, we sat down with him for a candid conversation about the future of sustainability in the coffee industry, what he thinks retailers should consider before deciding to roast, the power and potential of automation, and how coffee roasted on a Bellwether compares to coffee roasted with gas. This honest and engaging conversation asks some of the most important questions facing the coffee industry today, and offers new insight on our biggest challenges.

“I could not tell whether that coffee was roasted using electric or gas.”

Technological advancements made by Bellwether have closed the quality gap between electric and gas roasting. Our Adaptive Closed Loop System provides superior consistency, and the most precise thermal control of any commercial roaster.

“At some point, we have to stop burning gas. We have to.”

As we run out of fossil fuels, the ability to roast coffee at scale using renewable sources like wind, solar, hydro and others is critical and urgent. Studies show that even with a dirty energy grid powered by coal or natural gas, roasting electric is still considerably cleaner than roasting with natural gas and will only improve as grids get more sustainable over time.

“Decentralized roasting brings benefits to potential freshness and distribution of roasted coffee.”

Decentralized roasting where cafes roast onsite realize benefits to freshness, consistency, and to their relationships with customers and staff. By roasting in-house, staff can learn more and develop new skills, customers who are excited by coffee will have more offered to them, and the total carbon footprint of an individual business is significantly reduced.

"There are a ton of advantages to businesses that want to make coffee roasting part of what they do.”

Roasting coffee in-house allows businesses who care about coffee to differentiate themselves in a crowded market, make more money from their coffee program through cost savings and retail sales, enhance the experience of their guests and retain a passionate staff, while serving coffee that meets their needs for traceability and quality. Automation enables them to do all this without the need for years of investment and training so they can focus on the things they’re best at.

Join the Future of Coffee – Roast with Bellwether.

The all electric Bellwether Roaster enables any business to source and roast their own incredible coffee. Take control of your coffee menu from farm to cup. Currently installing in the US, and now taking orders for Europe with deliveries starting in late 2023.
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