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Boise Co-op Unveils Eco-Friendly, In-Store Coffee Roaster

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Boise Co-op CEO Michelle Andersen and Bellwether Vice President of Marketing Kimberly Noon unveiled the an eco-friendly in-store coffee roaster at the Co-op on June 19. - BRIAN MILLAR/OLIVER RUSSELL
  • Brian Millar/Oliver Russell
  • Boise Co-op CEO Michelle Andersen and Bellwether Vice President of Marketing Kimberly Noon unveiled the an eco-friendly in-store coffee roaster at the Co-op on June 19.
Buying fresh coffee beans is one thing, but soon, shoppers at the Boise Co-op's North End location will be able to buy their beans green and roast them in-store. At a June 19 unveiling, the Co-op became the first grocery store in the world to install a Bellwether Roaster—a zero-emission coffee roaster that would allow customers to do just that.

"As a leader in sustainability and innovation, the Boise Co-op is always looking for ways to strengthen our customer experience with high-quality products while reducing our environmental footprint," wrote Michelle Andersen, the Co-op's new CEO in a release.

Co-op staff are already roasting the beans, which sell for $12.99 for 12 ounces in the coffee aisle, and the North End grocer is working on a plan to place bags of green beans under the Co-op label on its shelves that people can roast themselves using the Bellwether.

"They're still trying to figure out how that's going to work from a customer angle," said Brian Millar, a studio writer with Oliver Russell, who worked with the Co-op and Bellwether on the unveiling and release.

The machine has a 7-pound capacity, and can prepare beans in approximately 6 minutes, depending on the volume of beans and the darkness of the roast, which can be toggled using an easy-to-use computer interface.



The Bellwether has a number of features that make it environmentally and economically friendly. A filtration system captures greenhouse gasses released during the roasting process and releases purified air, making its operation carbon-neutral; and currently, the Co-op will donate 25 cents for every pound of beans sold to the coffee growers. In the future, customers roasting their beans in the store will be given the option to make donations themselves.

"The machine itself has a program that allows you to go up to the machine, and while you're selecting your roast, it tells you where those beans are sourced," Millar said. "You can select an option that will allow you to tip the farm. That money will go directly to that farm."

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