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2023, the Rise of the Microroastery Movement

2023 was another exciting year at Bellwether—we proved the future of electric roasting by roasting completely with solar power in the desert of California, contributed thousands of dollars to farming communities, curbed millions of pounds of carbon, and more.
Here are the highlights!
We kicked off the year with a partnership with industry legend James Hoffman to demonstrate what a sustainable future could look like by harvesting solar and roasting coffee entirely powered by the sun in the desert of California. James said, “One of the reasons I’m here is that I see a future where we have no choice but to move away from fossil fuels. It’s the right thing to do—it’s the sensible thing to do. So to some extent, electric roasting is inevitable.”
Our current fleet of Bellwether roasters demonstrated that the future of coffee is, in fact, electric and played their part in decarbonizing the coffee industry by curbing more than 2 million pounds of carbon from entering the atmosphere!
We experienced the power of government policy to create tailwinds for the electrification of everything movement through a partnership with the California Energy Commission. The CEC enabled us to deepen our impact in the Bay Area through a $1.879 million grant to install 24 all‑electric Bellwether roasters at Heirloom Coffee Roasters and Red Bay Coffee. This investment demonstrates how the environmental impact of electric technology will continue to increase as grids become greener—in California, electric roasting reduces the carbon footprint of coffee roasting by 92%!
We made exciting new steps to globalize the microroastery movement and expanded our customer base to both the UK and Japan.
Bellwether doubled down on our farmer equity efforts in 2023. We increased our Living Income Pricing initiative to span 25% of the SKUs in our Marketplace. When we traveled to Brazil to collect data on whether farm laborers earn a living wage, one of the producers said: “ No one has ever asked us if producers are paid a fair price. Certifications come to audit us but never with the intention of paying a higher price.” At Bellwether, we are committed to using Living Income Pricing as our northstar metric for how we purchase coffee and pledged to expand our Living Income Pricing across all of our coffees by the end of 2024.
But our impact at the farm level did not stop there.. Bellwether’s customers have contributed over $34,000 to date to 11 different producer groups as balloon payments to invest in their communities. These investments were used to address needs specific to each coffee community and ranged from launching a compost project in Sumatra to investing in an emergency dental hygiene program in Guatemala. Melisa from Cunningham Coffee said, “Bellwether is the bridge between people who want to help and people who need help.”
We are excited to see what 2024 brings. Join us.
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