On The Edge Coffee in Edmonton is reducing pollution and tailoring its roast to each type of bean thanks to a new type of ventless coffee roaster.
Bellwether Coffee, based in Berkeley, California, has developed an automated and electric system that enables roasters to operate in spaces without the need for separate ventilation. On The Edge began using the machine in December 2021 at its Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market kiosk, becoming the first in Edmonton and one of only a handful of roasters across Canada to do so.
Jodine Chase, the owner, acknowledged that coffee faces sustainability challenges due to the distance it travels to reach consumers in other parts of the world. However, switching to the Bellwether enabled On The Edge to reduce its own emissions.
“Because roasting accounts for roughly 15% of the coffee industry’s carbon footprint, there is room to reduce it right here in coffee-consuming countries rather than primarily burdening low- and middle-income coffee-growing countries,” Chase explained.
The Bellwether’s air filtration system significantly reduces the volatile organic compounds and particulate matter released into the atmosphere by traditional roasters, she added.
Another significant selling point of the Bellwether is its consistent output. Users of Bellwether can source beans directly from the company and then programme the machine to roast them according to a profile uploaded by Bellwether for that bean. This seamlessness enables roasters with less experience to leverage global expertise via the internet’s power. On the Edge roasts approximately 75% of its beans from Bellwether.
“Even on my best day, I couldn’t do it as consistently as the (Bellwether),” Jennifer Graham, On the Edge’s head barista, explained.