Zero-Emissions Coffee Roaster Answer to Business Growth During Pandemic

Zero-Emissions Coffee Roaster Answer to Business Growth During Pandemic
Dianne Eclar

Café owners and other entrepreneurs seeking new revenue streams in a pandemic-warped economy are finding solutions with the Berkeley tech company Bellwether Coffee. While the traditional roasting model requires construction permits, spacious facilities, green buyers, and gas-burning coffee roaster machines, Bellwether Coffee offers a built-for-retail electric roaster with an integrated marketplace and ready-made, customizable roast profiles to match. In Canada, the first-of-its-kind coffee roaster is now being offered in partnership with Eight Ounce Coffee.

Café owner Frank Nguyen wanted to have a coffee shop with in-house roasting, but the high costs of permits and construction restricted him to purchasing coffees from another roasting company. When the pandemic hit, Nguyen discovered they could improve cost-efficiency by roasting their own coffees on a Bellwether Roaster without gas lines, ventilation, or permits. A day after installation, his café Academic Coffee was able to pivot staff from making drinks to roasting, and Nguyen was able to achieve his goal while retaining his entire staff.

Farmer-owned restaurant group and grocery market, Founding Farmers, sought to have a sustainable and equity-focused coffee program but lacked roasting experience and resources. The Bellwether Roaster arrived two days before the COVID-19 lockdowns in their city, and Ali McCain shared her experience as she took over the company’s coffee roasting. “Our former roaster showed us the roast process and it went way over our heads, making it seem like roasting our own coffee was impossible. With Bellwether, anyone can roast coffee. I was the massage therapist for the company and my department was eliminated due to the pandemic. I became the coffee roaster two days later. Bellwether made it possible for me to learn really fast.” Founding Farmers purchases all of their green coffee from the Bellwether Marketplace, an online menu of responsibly sourced coffee that allows the brand to abide by their sustainability, traceability, and farmer-focused principles.

“In-store roasting at cafés, restaurants, and other establishments should be the rule, not the exception,” said Bellwether CEO, Nathan Gilliand. “We’re excited to be working with Eight Ounce Coffee to continue to expand Bellwether’s reach across Canada, giving our partners the opportunity to not only roast delicious coffee, but invest in equitable futures for coffee farmers through purchasing green coffee from our marketplace, and in sustainability for our environment by eliminating harmful emissions in the roasting processes.”

For more information, contact:
Wesley Farnell, Co-Founder of Eight Ounce Coffee

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About Bellwether Coffee
Headquartered in Berkeley, California, Bellwether Coffee is making coffee roasting more accessible, and more sustainable for the environment and our communities. With the most consistent and controllable roaster available, Bellwether's customers—from large brands to small neighborhood cafes—are in complete control of their coffee offerings using the electric, ventless, zero-emissions, award-winning Bellwether Roaster and intuitive roasting software. Bellwether Coffee is the recipient of the Best New Product award for 2019 by the Specialty Coffee Association. For more information, visit

About Eight Ounce Coffee
Eight Ounce Coffee is the largest specialty coffee equipment distributor in Canada, selling to almost three thousand cafes, roasters, hotels, and kitchen and lifestyle stores across the country and in America. Growing alongside the specialty coffee scene in Canada, they help organize and sponsor barista competitions, AeroPress competitions, Brewers Cup and Cup Tasters, and co-founded the Prairie Coffee Collective. They love the community of coffee in Canada–and wouldn't be where they are today without it. For more information, visit

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