Electric coffee roaster manufacturer Bellwether Coffee has launched two major new products: an online roasted coffee marketplace for small businesses and a software-based platform for high-volume roasting.

Both products are part of the start-up’s efforts to overcome the traditional barriers to commercial roasting, such as training, experience or theoretical knowledge.

The business-to-business solutions rely on Bellwether’s roasting software and roasting automation, while the Bellwether ecosystem also includes green coffee procurement and inventory management.

Bellwether Hub

The Bellwether Hub, a larger roasting solution, allows users to run multiple Bellwether machines simultaneously to meet larger volume needs.

The refrigerator-sized roasters in the Hub are controlled by a single Bellwether interface, which enables operators to roast different coffees simultaneously or ramp up the roasting of individual coffees.

According to Bellwether, a single worker with no prior training can operate a four-unit Bellwether Hub to produce about 2,500 pounds of coffee in a work week. The labour input is about 2 minutes per roast and routine maintenance such as daily removal of chaff.

The company’s headquarters in Berkeley, California, currently houses the first four-unit Hub of ventless, electric Bellwether roasters.

Bellwether On-Demand

Bellwether On-Demand is a new online marketplace for roasted coffees sourced from a Bellwether Hub or participating nearby businesses with Bellwether roasters, with a focus on small coffee businesses and office coffee providers.

The service has a sign-up form for wholesale enquiries and direct online sales for office customers. Bellwether says the wholesale option will allow for customised coffee blends.

The platform currently offers six single-origin coffee options and three custom Bellwether blends, with 5-pound bags priced between $11 to $13 per pound, pre-shipping. Buyers can choose from four different roast levels (light, medium, medium-dark or dark).

The company said its On-Demand roasting service is currently conducted at the Berkeley Hub and at several Bellwether customer locations.

A new revenue stream from Bellweather’s online marketplace can be significant and beneficial, according to current Bellwether client and Latitude Coffee owner Daniel Levy.

The additional revenue that comes from the Bellwether Network is very important to our business because it covers a lot of overhead expenses.

It covers the days that are a little bit slower. It covers the roaster, and it even covers the green beans we buy for ourselves. It’s a consistent revenue stream, and it also helps us be part of the larger Bellwether Community, so there is kind of a belonging to it.

Daniel Levy, Owner, Latitude Coffee

Bellwether aims to transform traditional coffee roasting and reduce coffee’s carbon footprint. According to the company, the Roaster, Hub and On-Demand network are working together to make it possible for any business to serve coffee “Roasted on a Bellwether” and contribute to a more sustainable future for coffee. As each of the company’s products and services are tailored to the needs of people and businesses, the company practises commoditisation, normalising the use of a roaster without training, in coffee shops and even at home if one so chooses.

Bellwether’s On-Demand and Hub offerings allow us to expand the ways in which we help people scale their businesses, all the while furthering our mission to electrify coffee roasting.

It really is a win-win –– we’re supporting a multitude of business models, but we’re also empowering those businesses to drastically reduce their carbon footprint.

Ricardo Lopez, Founder, Bellwether Coffee

Founded in 2013, Berkeley-based Bellweather makes technology-enabled, zero-emission coffee roasters that can be used anywhere people buy coffee. Buying a roaster gives people access to an online marketplace for coffee beans. The company’s goal is for coffee shops to roast their own beans and cut out the middlemen who sell pre-roasted beans to cafés at a high price.

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