bellwether roaster

Lowering barriers to sustainable coffee roasting

Now accepting applications for Bay Area roasters for Spring 2022

Coffee retailers everywhere face challenges to make the economics of their business work—from high labor costs to low margins.
These challenges are exacerbated for business owners who hold marginalized identities as they can often face magnified barriers to
the financing and capital required to start and grow their businesses.

At Bellwether, accessibility to roasting is central to our vision to create a more sustainable future for the coffee industry. To expand
on this vision, we’ve launched the Roast Accelerator Program to reduce barriers to roasting for businesses who need it.

Why Roasting?


Roasting your own coffee fundamentally changes the long term financial sustainability of coffee businesses.
Roasting in-house saves 30-50% on costs over wholesale, and provides opportunity for higher sales and
additional revenue streams only available by selling a custom brand.

How does it work?

To help us provide access to these benefits for businesses who may need help getting started, we designed a program that provides a Bellwether Roaster at zero upfront cost and a full year of subsidized monthly roaster rent. Participants will also receive all the support, guidance, and business tools enjoyed by Bellwether customers through our Customer Success Team.

To implement the program, we hired coffee industry experts who have experience building and supporting marginalized communities in the coffee industry. Read more about our panel of program ambassadors below.

The Process

Bellwether Coffee accepts
applications from minority-owned businesses in select metro areas throughout the year

Applications are reviewed by a panel of program ambassadors and a
previously awarded recipient

Recipients receive a Bellwether roaster with zero upfront costs and subsidized monthly rent for the first year

We are currently accepting applications for Bay Area coffee companies only. We will announce applications for other geographies at a later date!

What are the requirements?

In order to qualify, businesses must have been open for at least one year and have at least one owner who self-identifies as a member of a minority group. If you’re not sure whether your business qualifies, please don’t hesitate to reach out and our program ambassadors can assist you.

Applications for Bay Area roasters due no later than January 31, 2022

Learn more about what roasting can do for your coffee business by visiting our blog which contains resources for businesses of all types and sizes. Learn more about Bellwether’s equity, accessibility and sustainability work in our 2020 Sustainability Report.

Meet our program ambassadors​

chris mcauley sitting with a dog

Chris McAuley

Chris McAuley is a former cafe manager, forever barista, and founder of @getchusomegear. He is also “Director of Helpfulness” at Smartco Group. Chris makes soap in his free time and has dogs named Juni & Fruit.

jake king

Jake King

With 10+ in the beverage industry, Jake King has combined the tools from his education in marketing and data analytics to create change throughout the coffee, wine, beer, and now tequila industry. As co-founder of GYST Coffee Consulting and long time partner and participant of Glitter Cat, Jake’s passion and influence in the coffee industry has been a tool to educate and inspire. His work in education and social equity have been recognized by Imbibe Magazine, The James Beard Foundation, Sprudge, Barista Magazine, and Forbes.

iaisha munnerlyn

Iaisha Munnerlyn

Iaisha Munnerlyn is the founder of MoodTea – a rising craft tea experience company and a coffee professional in the industry for the last 9 years. She has contributed her skills and passion volunteering for organizations fostered to assist individuals trying to navigate the industry. Her favorite love language is taking naps.

Questions about the Roast Accelerator Program or your application?

Please feel free to reach out to our team at roastaccelerator@bellwethercoffee.com and we’ll be happy to assist.