Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions

We hope the answers you’re looking for can be found below, but if not, please send us a note and we’ll make sure you have all of the information you need. Click on any question below to see the answer.

What’s so special about the Bellwether Roaster?

The Bellwether commercial coffee roaster is a ventless, electric, and zero-emissions machine. It uses clean technology, which means you do not need gas lines, expensive ventilation, or special permits to roast coffee on this roaster in your store. It allows you to experience all of the benefits of roasting coffee on-site without the hassle, mess, or harmful environmental impact. Also, our closed-loop technology makes this roaster the most consistent, controllable roaster on the market. Another bonus: it has outperformed leading gas-powered roasters in multiple blind taste tests.

What does “ventless” and “zero-emissions” mean?

When coffee is roasted it produces harmful emissions: particulates, including smoke, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If you are roasting on a traditional roasting machine, you are typically required to have an exhaust system or ventilation of some kind to move the “dirty air” created by the roast process from wherever you are roasting to the outside. When this air is vented outside, it’s dumped into the atmosphere (and eventually your lungs).

Bellwether’s patented system uses clean technology, which means the “dirty air” is cleaned, filtered, and cooled before exiting the machine. Since the air is clean and does not contain any particulates or VOCs (zero-emissions), you don’t need to vent the air from inside to outside (ventless).

Where can I roast coffee on the Bellwether Roaster?

It was designed for commercial use (i.e., coffee shops, grocery stores, bakeries, offices, etc.) but you can put a Bellwether Roaster anywhere you have a plug that can handle an espresso machine and a level surface that can handle the roaster’s weight.

What size is the Bellwether Roaster?

The Bellwether Roaster is about the same size as a standard refrigerator. It’s 30” deep (designed to be in-line with commercial counter tops), 34” wide, and 70” tall. The roaster does get warm during roast cycles, so you should leave around 6 inches of clearance on each side of the roaster. We put the roaster on four 360° casters, which makes it easy to move.

I already roast my own coffee. How can this help me?

We have a lot to say about this topic. 😃

Clean roasting is about more than just electric versus gas. If you’re a roaster who supplies coffee to your cafes off-site, how much does it cost your business to deliver roasted coffee from your location to your retail space? What’s the carbon footprint of your delivery model? What’s the labor cost of delivery? Are you concerned about freshness? Are you paying an entire lease just to roast? Do you carry extra insurance or permitting just to roast? Did you buy a vehicle to deliver from your roastery to your cafe(s)?

If you’re a cafe who already roasts inside your location, how much square footage does your roaster use that could be recaptured for other purposes? How much labor does it cost to operate? Do you have to roast only at certain times of day because of noise, dust, smell or smoke?

Do you have challenges with consistency between roasts? Do you have trouble sourcing parts or getting service done to your roaster? Are there a limited number of staff on hand who know how to roast, leaving you vulnerable to issues when someone is sick or leaves your business?

With Bellwether, roasting on-site and on-demand is a reality that hasn’t been possible in specialty coffee before. By making it possible to roast from anywhere, we’re completely eliminating the need for roasting’s biggest expenses and challenges —construction, permitting, insurance, extra rent, and delivery. What would you be able to achieve if you took back the money spent on unnecessary infrastructure and could still roast the same quality and quantity of coffee?

We make it possible and affordable to put a roaster everywhere you need one, which means you can eliminate delivery, increase freshness, and reduce costs—no matter how many locations you have—using the most consistent and controllable roaster available.

Is it a fluid bed or drum roaster?

It’s very similar to traditional drum roasters in that it uses both convection and conduction heat in a static, stainless steel drum with rotating paddles that move the coffee around so that it’s roasted evenly.

What does installation involve?

We make installation easy. Your Bellwether Roaster is delivered by a trusted freight company, and uncrated, rolled into place, and plugged in by a Bellwether Technician. Our Technician will give you a brief training so you’ll be up and roasting your own coffee in minutes.

What does roaster maintenance look like?

We designed the roaster with maintenance in mind, meaning it’s so easy our Founder’s 7-year old daughter can do it! You just have to empty the chaff can and water reservoir every 6 roasts, both of which are located behind an easy-to-access panel on the front of the machine.

For more involved maintenance, we have a first-class network of Bellwether Technicians located across the US to service your machine.

What if the roaster breaks down? Does that happen?!

It’s a machine, so of course it happens (hopefully not often!). If it does, we have your back. Your Bellwether Roaster comes with a two year hopper to bucket warranty (our version of bumper to bumper). If anything goes wrong just let us know and a Bellwether-certified technician will be in touch ASAP to schedule a visit. We have a community of amazing techs all over the US and Canada ready to get your roaster back up and running as quickly as possible. The warranty also includes regularly scheduled preventative maintenance to keep your roaster healthy. The cherry on top: since there are so many sensors in the Bellwether Roaster, it will notify us if something is not performing properly.

Where do I get green coffee?

The software that controls your Bellwether Roaster also features a curated marketplace where you can browse green coffees from all over the world. Each coffee includes detailed information about where the coffee came from, who produced it, what kind of positive impact you contribute to by purchasing the coffee, and marketing materials you can use like images of the farm and farmers, tasting notes, and more. The coffee you purchase from the Bellwether Marketplace is added to your inventory management system in the app, and shipped to you in easy-to-manage 22lb boxes. Once it arrives, you can add it to your Green Inventory in the app where you’ll see multiple roast profiles have been created for you by our Coffee Team so you can start roasting right away. If you don’t want to use our roast profiles, you can create your own!

What if I don’t know much about roasting coffee?

We designed the software and the roaster to cater to everyone from roasting experts to people who have never roasted a single bean. The intuitive software will help you learn how to roast in no time at all. If you do need help, our five-star Customer Experience team is standing by to answer any questions. Also, an extension of our CX Team is our Coffee Team, which is made up of some of the industry’s best roasters with decades of roasting experience.

Do you sell Bellwether Roasters outside of the US?

Right now we’re shipping roasters to the United States (including Puerto Rico) and Canada. We’re taking reservations for international shipments, and expect to start shipping internationally in late 2020.

Do I get a discount if I order multiple roasters?

Let’s talk!

How much will my electric bill be?

We anticipate the cost of the electricity to run this machine to be similar to that of a commercial refrigerator. Since every city has different electrical usage rates, this is a hard question to answer. We can work with you to figure out your unique cost savings for your area. Just send us a note and we’ll be happy to help.

Where did the name “Bellwether” come from?

The definition of Bellwether is “an indicator or predictor of something” and originated from the sheep that lead a flock with a bell around its neck. In 2013 when we decided to do something that had never been done before—making an electric, ventless, zero-emissions commercial coffee roaster run by an iPad app that includes artisan-crafted roast profiles, full roast controls, a green coffee marketplace, inventory management system and more—we thought the term Bellwether accurately described the journey we were starting.

What if I have more questions?

We’re here for you! Send us a note with your question—we may even add it to this list!