The Eco Coffee Company are in partnership with Eco Roast, offering our range of Eco Coffee, but who are Eco Roast and how did it all begin?
Justin, Managing Director of Eco Roast, was asked “How did it all start and what is your background?” He excitedly responded…
I have an eclectic professional background of business, innovation and engineering and I enjoy developing solutions to problems. I see every challenge as an opportunity and it was with this in mind that I realised there must be something else we could do with all the coffee waste we were disposing of from our independent coffee shop back in 2009. When we grew into a multi site operation, the amount of waste grew with it and it was then that I started to experiment with different ways of re-processing it into something new and more useful.
The facts on your website are startling – 500,000 tonnes of coffee waste go into land fill each year, what effect does that have on the environment?
Unfortunately coffee grounds , although totally organic, accelerate the decomposition of other food wastes that are sent to landfill, as they decompose, they produce methane, which is a greenhouse gas with more than 20 times the global warming capacity of carbon dioxide!
Sending waste coffee rounds to landfill doesn’t just cause excessive methane production, it’s also a potential source of hazardous pathogens and organic leachates that can contaminate surface and ground water courses, leading to other biological and environmental hazards.
Most importantly it is a complete waste of an abundant, valuable resource, rich in energy.
Spent coffee grounds are an abundant, energy rich resource that should not end up in our landfills. Eco Roast technology enables us to harness this valuable energy and use it to roast fresh batches of beautiful coffees for everyone to enjoy.
In simple terms how does the ECO ROAST process work and what are the key benefits?
Eco Roast technology enables us to harness the residual energy of spent coffee grounds to generate the thermal energy required to roast fresh batches of coffee. We dry, compress and then combust the Eco Fuel in our custom built roasters to roast fresh coffee, deliver the fresh coffee and then collect the spent coffee grounds again, working in a circular economy model. The benefits are many fold, including low carbon emissions, zero waste, environmentally friendly, ethically sourced, sustainably produced & money saving! These benefits allow our customers and the end users to engage and enjoy using Eco Roast to their own advantage. We believe it to be the very highest in best practice the industry currently has, and best of all, it is accessible to all.
When did the light bulb moment occur?
In 2011, when I was throwing out spent coffee grounds from one of our coffee shops and it occurred to me that this has to be useful for something. Wondering what the calorific value of the grounds were, took me back to my chemistry days of burning a peanut to demonstrate the transformation of chemical energy to thermal energy.
How did you go about finding the spent coffee grounds was a viable?
Knowing that the coffee bean is essentially a nut and in the majority protein, I set about drying and burning it in a number of different home-made contraptions to prove the concept. I knew it would not burn wet so I dried it out and compressed it into something I could use.
With some limited knowledge of how burners work we set about testing methods of ignition and how to keep the fuel burning under control, it took around 6 months of experimenting and testing before we had sufficiently proven that it was possible to develop a fuel from this waste product. It was then a further 18 months before we had completed our first prototype Eco Roaster, which has been developed ever since, to become more energy efficient, cleaner and faster at roasting.
The Eco Coffee Company and Eco Roast
If you would like to know about the roastery in more detail and have an up close view of the process then what better way than to visit the roastery itself…
If you would like to plan a visit to Eco Roast, we would be pleased to arrange this for you.
Contact us, Tel: 01202 822243