Bellwether Coffee launches new Roast Accelerator programme
Image credit: Luke Awtry for Healthy Living Market & Cafe
Bellwether Coffee has announced the launch of Roast Accelerator, its latest impact programme which offers minority-owned coffee retailers a Bellwether Roaster with no start-up costs, subsidised financing, and full access to support services. Bellwether is also announcing the programme’s first recipient, Mir Marshall, owner and coffee director at Verb Coffee Roasters. Marshall runs a small batch coffee roasting company operating out of the West End in Atlanta.
“We are beyond excited to announce the launch of Bellwether’s Roast Accelerator that aims to lower many common barriers to entry for the coffee industry,” said Ricardo Lopez, founder and CEO of Bellwether. “We designed the programme with the understanding that not all small business owners have the same opportunities when starting a business and believe that empowering diverse communities to sustainably source and roast their own coffee will create positive change for the entire coffee industry.”
Through its Roast Accelerator programme, Bellwether is committed to creating a more sustainable, accessible, and equitable coffee industry by empowering businesses that typically experience barriers to capital and infrastructure to be able to roast their own coffee in-house. The Bellwether Automated Roasting System incorporates the same fundamental processes and techniques as a traditional commercial coffee roaster, however, Bellwether’s innovative technology achieves artisan results without the need for gas lines, ventilation or special permitting. Bellwether is the simplest commercial coffee roaster to install and operate, featuring an all-electric, ventless design and digital roasting software. Bellwether enables anyone to plug in and roast incredible coffee.
Roasting on a Bellwether can reduce a business’s carbon footprint from roasting by 87% and save them 30-50% on coffee costs compared to wholesale. It also provides an opportunity for higher sales and additional revenue streams only available through selling their own brand of coffee. As the first Roast Accelerator recipient, Mir Marshall will receive a Bellwether Roaster that will be installed with zero upfront costs and a subsidized monthly rental rate for the first year.
“To be the first-ever winner of Bellwether’s Roast Accelerator is huge and is changing everything for us,” said Mir Marshall, owner and coffee director at Verb Coffee Roasters. “It’s a game changer to have a roaster with a larger capacity and that I don’t have to go through a bunch of crazy financing to get. It’s a big deal, especially in a space that is very saturated with people who don’t look like me.”
Bellwether hired programme ambassadors Chris McAauley of Getchusomegear, a grassroots organisation with the mission of getting free coffee gear in the hands of marginalised coffee professionals; Iaisha Munnerlyn of MoodTea, mood supporting teas that support mental health; and Jake King of Gyst Coffee—all with many years of experience building accessibility and inclusivity within the coffee industry, to choose the first recipient of the program and ensure fairness and equity throughout the process.
Bellwether Coffee’s second round of applications is currently open to small business coffee retailers, specifically located in the San Francisco Bay Area, who are looking to grow their business through roasting and will continue to open applications for various metro areas throughout the year. Businesses must have been in business for a minimum of one year and must be minority-owned in order to be eligible.
To learn more about the Bellwether Roast Accelerator, visit: www.bellwethercoffee.com/roast-accelerator-program.