Hi-tech coffee roaster burns 80% less carbon
January 27, 2010, 8:34am PST | Length: 00:03:43
Equator Coffees, a specialty coffee wholesaler, is going green throughout its business operations. The co-founders, Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell are using sustainable farming practices to grow their coffee cherries by partnering with local farmers in developing countries. On their site, they also have a smart coffee roaster that burns 80 percent less natural gas than a traditional coffee roaster and a food composter that turns excess coffee waste into fertilizer.
>> This coffee machine you see right here is being touted as a smart roaster. A high tech coffee maker that is both energy efficient and low on carbon emissions, a significant innovation when so many emissions are released from conventional roasters.
>> This is a coffee roaster that actually uses 80% less natural gas than a traditional coffee roaster. So what you do is you put the coffee inside, we have a burner in the back and it eliminates the smoke that comes out of the cooling tray, and all of the after smoke is reduced eternally with the hot air.
>> It's one of many sustainable practices at Equator Coffee's, a specialty coffee wholesaler founded by Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell. When they started out in 1995, the two entrepreneurs decided that an environmentally responsible business could also be a profitable business. Russell, the company CEO says it starts with the beans.
>> Quality leads to sustainability. We're working with the mills to design how much pulp for example they remove from the coffee beans, how much cherry comes off and that gives us a different flavor and then when we go to our customer we're designing a brewing experience to really highlight those accent coffees
>> To create their unique blend the company has partnered with local famers in developing countries. There they use sustainable farming practices to grow their coffee cherries.
>> When we travel to our farmers and meet with our producers, we're asking them what they need and we're asking them not to use the herbicides and the pesticides.
>> Once the coffee is processed, it's brought back to the US for roasting, but the work doesn't end there for Equators farmers. Equator is working with its farmers to also turn their coffee waste into mulch to grow food.
>> We did a project in Tanzania assumed spelling where you actually take the pulp, the waste from the coffee and you use it to grow mushrooms. And coffee growing communities when they're not picking coffee there's a time there where they don't have enough food so we've actually sponsored a project with sustainable harvest on the ground in Tanzania to teach 50 women how to grow mushrooms from the waste of coffee pulp.
>> In addition, Equator owns it own food composter on site, where they turn coffee waste from the roasting process into fertilizer.
>> We take the waste that's left over, there's a silver skin that's on the coffee beans and this is the shaft, just like a peanut there's a little bit of skin so when we're roasting all the shaft is collected and it's wonderful for fertilizer so if we compost it and then the farmers combine they pick out the local farmers when they can grow vegetables.
>> The close loop recycling practices have paid off for the company. Equator Coffees has achieved 10-15% annual growth since the business was started. Tasty profits in a tough economy.
>> We've created a business that we are very proud of in terms of how we take care of the people and the planet.
>> For ZDNET I'm Sumi Das
==== Transcribed by Automatic Sync Technologies ====