The Future of Commercial Coffee Roasting
We took the same principles and processes discovered on traditional coffee roasting equipment, then applied it to modern technology to create a new kind of roasting experience.
Traditional coffee roasters have enabled professionals around the world to create exceptional coffee. But we believed they could do even more.
The Bellwether Roaster uses the same fundamental processes and techniques as traditional commercial coffee roasters: the beans are held in a drum-shaped roasting chamber, exposed to heat, and tumbled constantly using a rotary agitator. Bellwether Roasters, however, bring these beloved processes to the modern era with unrivaled control, consistency, ease of use, and environmental-friendliness.
Mixing Tradition & Modern Tech
Bellwether vs Traditional Coffee Roasters
Traditional gas-powered roasters that use an open flame to roast coffee, like those from Probat and Loring, require special permits and ventilation systems. The Bellwether Roaster uses an electric heating element that surrounds the roasting drum, achieving the same roast quality without any need for gas.
The reliance on electricity, along with the unique air cleaning system, means Bellwether Roasters are not subject to strict permit regulations because there are zero emissions.
With no smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or particulate exhaust, the Bellwether Roaster is the only commercial coffee roaster that requires no additional ventilation or afterburner. It’s capable of being placed almost anywhere.Connect With Us
Redefining Thermal Stability in the Roaster
Traditional coffee roasters feature a single-pass system that intakes cool air from outside the roaster, flash-heats it to roast the coffee, then releases it as exhaust through ventilation stacks. The incoming air is susceptible to environmental factors, like humidity and temperature, often causing unpredictable changes to the roasting process. Without precise thermal monitoring, it’s challenging to measure exactly how environmental variables impact the temperature inside the roaster at any given moment, which inhibits consistency from day to day.
The Bellwether, on the other hand, takes the exhausted air, cleans it, and reuses it. This provides hot, stable air throughout the duration of the roast cycle. The machine is well-insulated and contains twelve thermal probes and multiple pressure sensors to offer a high degree of precision and confidence for each roast, so you are always completely aware of what’s happening on the inside. These design advances eliminate a variety of external variables that have historically made it difficult to replicate roast profiles time and time again with precision.Connect With Us
Why the Bellwether Roaster Stands Out
Traditional roasters are fundamentally reactive. To follow the target result curve, production roasters must make manual adjustments to gas valves and airflow in real-time. It’s hands-on, time-consuming, and open to simple mistakes that have dramatic impacts on the coffee’s flavor.
On a Bellwether, you define the result—not the process. Rather than following a curve with manual adjustments, you draw the desired curve on the Bellwether App, customizing the profile to your preference. Thanks to the unprecedented thermal stability and monitoring, the roaster can then execute the curve automatically and precisely.
From there, you can adjust the roast profile curve to meet your preferences—you always have creative control. When you’re happy with the results, you (or anyone on your team) can easily replicate the roast curves when you’re ready for more freshly roasted coffee.Connect With Us
Making Roasting Accessible To All
The artisans of our industry can finally concentrate their energy and expertise on creating roast profiles that bring out exceptional flavors, rather than struggling to replicate quality results across machines and locations.
Anyone Can Roast
Coffee companies are familiar with the growing pains of training new employees to use traditional roasters. It takes time to learn how a machine works, then longer to understand how it operates differently from the other roasters in a company’s arsenal—the process is very hands-on with a steep learning curve.
Bellwether Roasters do not require anyone to become an expert in every individual machine’s quirks and mechanics. With Bellwether, the temperature stability and precision controls are the same from roaster to roaster. Learn one and you learn them all—and our software is so intuitive that even employees who haven’t been trained yet can roast spectacular coffee with ease.
This means a Head Roaster can design a roast profile, then other employees can execute it on any Bellwether Roaster anywhere in the world, precisely as intended.Connect With Us
Ready-to-roast Green Coffee Sourcing
Traditional roasting equipment only roasts the beans—it doesn’t help you source them or create roast curves that maximize flavor.
To remove this complexity, we created our own marketplace of Bellwether-sourced coffees, curated by some of the industry’s best buyers, from farms all around the world. Our roasting experts create unique roast curves for each coffee that are accessible from any Bellwether Roaster in the world, giving even complete beginners the ability to roast coffee like a veteran.
Featuring detailed origin information, competitive pricing, and an intuitive interface anyone can learn in seconds, the Bellwether Marketplace is the easiest way to start roasting coffee without taking months or years to learn the ropes.Connect With Us
What to Expect When Developing a Roast Curve
The Bellwether Roaster is outfitted with all the power necessary to roast coffee according to modern standards. Like with traditional roasters, however, the laws of physics keep the roaster from breaking a couple of well-understood rules of roasting science.
From 0:00 to 1 minute, 95% of the curve’s shape is determined by the batch size and charge temperature, and the rate-of-rise of the coffee temperature will peak early and tend to decline as the roast proceeds.
Since metal stores much more heat than air, Bellwether uses the temperature of the metal roasting chamber to determine the ideal preheat temperature (i.e. the “charge temperature”). Other roasters measure air temperature, which is a less reliable predictor of how much heat is stored in the roaster. As a result, the charge temperature in a Bellwether Roaster is more precise, predictable, and insightful when it comes to optimizing roast curves for flavor.Connect With Us
Cleaner Coffee Roasting for Our Planet
We compared the greenhouse gas footprint of two conventional roasters to the Bellwether Roaster—one with a fixed-drum single flame and one with an open-flame drum. Conventional roasters use natural gas as their primary heating source. They pull in air and then use it to heat coffee beans which makes the hot, smoky air required to be exhausted as quickly as possible.
The results prove Bellwether produces 98% less CO2 emissions. Reducing emissions from the coffee roasting process is an important step in reducing the negative impact of coffee production on the environment. This reduction in greenhouse gas emissions makes the Bellwether Roaster the most sustainable commercial coffee roaster in the world by a significant margin.Connect With Us