“A lot of people don’t realize just how big coffee is,” said Nathan Gilliland, CEO of Bellwether Coffee at the 2018 Smart Kitchen Summit. Seriously, though: according to him, coffee is the most consumed beverage in the U.S., with people drinking more cups of joe than bottles of water, wine, and beer combined.

Not only are people drinking a lot of coffee, they’re also drinking better coffee. Consumers — especially millennials — are looking for fresher, higher-quality beans that are roasted locally. And they’re willing to pay for it.

But getting that freshly-roasted product into the hands of consumers isn’t easily done. The majority of coffee today is roasted at a highly centralized place and then shipped all over the world. This “hub and spoke roasting model,” as Gilliland calls it, is expensive and not condusive to freshness.

Enter Bellwether. The company makes internet-connected coffee roasters that can be installed in cafes, grocery stores, or small local coffee shops, and also has a marketplace for green (unroasted) coffee beans. By roasting in-store, Gilliland explains that the shop can provide more sustainable, fresher coffee and save money by cutting out the roasting middleman. “It’s like a roaster meets an iPhone,” he said.

Watch the video below to get the lowdown on the future of sustainable coffee consumption — and how data and IoT can help us get there.

For more videos of panels, fireside chats, and startup pitches from the 2018 Smart Kitchen Summit head to our YouTube channel!

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