Roasting coffee in-house at Cake Crumbs Bakery & Cafe was not on our to do list for a number of reasons, namely:
1) we don't have the space for a traditional roasting machine,
2) while we drink and serve a lot of coffee, we've never actually roasted it,
3) we had longstanding relationships with our previous coffee suppliers who provided us with great service and great coffee, and
4) coffee makes up a decent portion of our business and we didn't want to make any changes that could potentially disrupt that, especially after having just navigated through the worst economic shock on record.
That is until we discovered Bellwether Coffee. Bellwether developed the first of its kind, award winning, zero-emission, electric, integrated, and automatic roasting system in the world. So with a little bit of space (in our case, less than 50 square feet for the machine, coffee storage, and a prep/production station), access to a 220 volt outlet, and no need to pull permits and install venting and fuel lines, a small café like ours could be up and operational in no time.
As part of the integrated model, Bellwether sources high quality, sustainably grown specialty coffees from around the globe chosen at the peak of ripeness and purchased using industry-leading equitable buying practices (i.e., https://www.bellwethercoffee.com/introducing-verified-living-income-a-new-green-coffee-pricing-model-for-sustainable-sourcing/). And these coffees are then accessible to us through the company’s green coffee Marketplace, which takes the guesswork and risk out of coffee sourcing combined with the convenience of e-commerce.
A tremendous advantage of buying through the Marketplace is that Bellwether has developed specific roast profiles for each bean type that are stored in the software application that operates the roaster, thereby completing the plug-and-play capabilities of their solution.
But before moving forward, we needed to taste for ourselves whether the final product would be as good or better than what we were already serving. So we worked with Bellwether to find coffees with profiles that closely matched the preferences of our customers and set about tasting a lot of coffee. And the difference was noticeable, so we made the decision to bring all roasting in-house. So far, the feedback from customers has been very positive and we are excited to see what we can do to expand the quality and variety of our overall coffee program.
The next time you’re in the Park Hill neighborhood, stop on by for a cup of fresh, locally roasted coffee. Or sign up for one of our coffee subscriptions and make sure you always have access to a steady supply!
Additional information on Bellwether and the company’s one of a kind roaster can be found here.