Loring S35 Kestrel - Our New Toy
The environmental intricacies of expansion have been somewhat inescapable for us here at Root & Branch in recent months. As we began to meditate over the notion of a larger roaster, we had to wrestle with the fact that these larger roasters require an afterburner to reduce the smoke emissions. However, these use a significant amount of gas, and subsequently, massively increase CO2 emissions. The specialty coffee world is far from environmentally friendly, and we are all well aware of the green-washing that exists within this community. Despite this, Root & Branch was founded with the assurance of leaving as small an environmental footprint as possible.
You would imagine moving from a 5kg roaster to a 35kg roaster would in fact not be the smartest move from an environmental standpoint. So, we were then presented with the predicament... how do we create a space in which there is opportunity for growth and an increase in volume, while at the same time remaining integral to the business?
The way to go seemed to involve one of the world's most efficient coffee roasters, straight from the mind of Mark Loring Ludwig. For years, Mark ran a coffee packaging business in Northern California, and overtime became frustrated by his coffee roaster. The process, inefficient. The profiles, unreliable. So began five years of work and research, and what followed was the world's first machine capable of smokeless roasting.
For us, Loring seemed like the only, and best, option, as the closed air system exists as the most environmentally conscious approach to roasting to date. Utilising convection heat to roast (in comparison to a drum roaster, which uses a mixture of convection and conduction), Loring roasters use 80% less energy and emit 80% less emissions, and have essentially reinvented the art of coffee roasting.
Eliminating the need for an after burner has welcomes the protection of local air quality, this is due to the eco-friendly single burner design. This recycling of hot air means that the same heat source is used to roast the coffee and incinerate the smoke and various pollutants that such a process produces. Where the smoke generated by a traditional roaster remains within the chamber, the single burner action of the Loring also means that the elimination of the smoke allows us to achieve a cleaner roast.
The Loring S35 Kestrel has effectively increased our roast capacity sixfold. This means we can meet our growing demand with far less pressure on us, as well as open us up to going out and seeking new wholesale partnerships. As a result, we as a team feel this has created somewhat of a catalyst for growth for Root & Branch. It's no doubt an exciting time to be here.
We still can't quite believe the Loring is here, in Portview, and fully functioning. From financially committing to the purchase of the roaster, to delays in production and commissioning, to spending time and money preparing our roastery space. It's been a journey! To exist as a coffee roastery that is continually producing the highest quality coffee, that in no way comes at the expense of our environmental footprint is something that remains integral to us as a business and a team. We can promise you we will continue to do the hard work, do the research, and ensure these things are given the space to happen simultaneously.