Roasting for The Future

A roaster that turns coffee grinds into an energy source... say what?!

At Sprocket Roasters, sustainability isn’t just another catchphrase around here, it's been the Sprocket way since opening our doors! Our focus is to minimise environmental impact at the roasting stage as the bean travels from producer to cup. Sprocket promotes a circular economy at our stage of the coffee life cycle by transforming the way the humble coffee bean is roasted. A dirty little secret that the coffee industry doesn't like to focus on is how much fossil fuel is needed to power a traditional coffee roaster, the greenhouse gas emissions created by this process and what happens to all those discarded coffee grinds after we make our morning brew. That's where Sprocket comes in!

We roast our ethically sourced beans using innovative fluid bed roasting technology that we have designed, patented and manufactured locally ourselves. Unlike most traditional roasters that are usually manufactured overseas, Sprocket's resourceful team have commissioned our lean-mean-green-bean-roasting-machine right here in our own backyard. [Lower carbon footprints already, supporting our local industry and hard working tradies, cue happy dance!]

The real wow-factor of our roaster, however, is that it has been converted to run on alternative bioenergy products instead of fossil fuels. This significant advancement in roasting technology means end of life products like spent coffee grinds, along with a wide range of other organic material that usually ends up in landfill, are turned into fuel to power the roaster every time it’s fired up.

Since we use an indirect heat exchanger, all this magic in converting bioenergy happens separate to the roasting chamber. Even the coffee husks, usually a waste product when roasting, are converted into fuel. Complete combustion of our biomass results in negligible smoke, odour, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide emissions. Our combustion chamber doubles as the afterburner, meaning no additional fuel is required. The outcome is an alternative way of roasting that is extremely kind to the environment. [Insert tree hug and green-panther fist pump].

Our carbon conscious roasting philosophy has been recognized and highly commended at the Australian Green Globe Awards for Most Sustainable Australian Small Business, and also acknowledged at the Hunter Innovation Awards. We have also been commended at the Australian Bioenergy Awards, Small Scale Category, for our innovative roasting technology.

Sprocket wants to show coffee drinkers that a greener, more sustainable way of roasting is possible - after all, we were (and still are) farmers first before stumbling upon this coffee roasting gig! By using organic waste such as grinds to fuel the roaster, we are closing the loop at this stage of the industrial process by transforming material destined for landfill into input material for the next stage of production. This circular economy reduces our consumption on resources and encourages us to look beyond the traditional way of roasting coffee, which hasn't advanced much in centuries. 

Spent coffee grinds are the primary waste product produced by the coffee extraction process. In Sydney alone, over 100 million cups of coffee are consumed annually - resulting in over 3000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds being produced. Currently 93% of this biproduct ends up landfill. Nationally, Australians consume over 6 billion cups of coffee each year – so the waste generated by our morning coffee habit is staggering! Importers and roasters place great emphasis on the sustainability practices in countries of origin where coffee is grown, which is of course extremely important – but very little attention is given to the huge environmental impact that this organic waste chain has at the end of the coffee cycle as it reaches your cup. Sprocket's mission is turn this biowaste into energy, and raise environmental awareness, one roast at at time!