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How to revolutionize coffee

Bellwether is making coffee roasting accessible to all by mixing tradition & modern tech. They produce zero-emissions electric coffee roasters that can roast small batches of coffee beans onsite at cafes, using fully customizable roasting profiles. Their values are quality, traceability, and sustainability.

Bellwether

Client

Bellwether

Services

App design, development, documentation & quality control

Task

Updating the client’s app quality

Year

Since 2018

Mission

Bellwether is a venture-backed startup from California that aims to change the coffee industry. They produce zero-emissions electric coffee roasters that can roast small batches of coffee beans onsite at cafes, using fully customizable roasting profiles. Additionally, they run a marketplace that sources high-quality, sustainable coffee beans.

Impact

The company’s green coffee buying principles ensure that we establish and maintain relationships with coffee growers and cooperatives who align with its values. Their sustainable coffee buying principles are focused on quality, traceability, and sustainability. They believe that sustainability for coffee starts at the very beginning of the supply chain: with the coffee farmers.

Services

When we started with Bellwether, the mission was to update the quality of their apps, since most of them were on their first version and needed to be remade or improved. They use a suite of custom-built apps to manage their system, which includes an iPad app that powers the roasters and marketplace, and an application to manage system administration. We provided this service, acting as an on-demand extension of their team.

“Traditional coffee roasters have enabled professionals around the world to create exceptional coffee. But we believed they could do even more.”

Goal

The goal for Bellwether is to make coffee roasting accessible to all, by mixing tradition & modern tech and redefining thermal stability in roasters.

Story

Bellwether founders noticed that traditional coffee roasters featured a single-pass system that intakes cool air from outside the roaster, flash-heated it to roast the coffee and then released it as exhaust through ventilation stacks. This incoming air is susceptible to environmental factors, like humidity and temperature, often causing unpredictable changes to the roasting process. Without precise thermal monitoring, it’s challenging to measure exactly how environmental variables impact the temperature inside the roaster at any given moment, which inhibits consistency from day to day.

However, the Bellwether Roaster was designed to be the most sustainable coffee roaster in the world, both in air quality and energy use, to enable businesses that roast coffee to minimize their environmental impact. The machine is well-insulated and contains multiple thermal probes and pressure sensors to offer a high degree of precision and confidence for each roast, so you are always completely aware of what’s happening on the inside. These design advances eliminate a variety of external variables that have historically made it difficult to replicate roast profiles time and time again with precision.

“The world is turning towards renewable energy. Electric-powered coffee roasting is the future.”

Challenges

The challenge was to update the quality of their apps to update this environment focused project with the most advanced technology to improve its functionalities. This update included a variety of improvements, such as an UX/UI design, front & back-end development and documentation and quality assurance.

In summary, the dare was to make coffee roasting sustainable and accessible to all.

Solutions

Our team designed version two of the administrative app, creating a seamless user experience. In order to do this, we had to understand in depth about user needs and the system’s functionality. We built and matured all their systems right after their MVP.

We developed several applications. These applications had to communicate with the other apps in the Bellwether suite, the backend database and the roasting machines. Our design team created iterative design cycles to deliver results that satisfied all app users.

In addition, Capicua assisted and continues to assist the QA team with tests of code quality control by testing batches of code throughout the development process, besides facilitating communication between the developers and QA professionals. Our team fully documented the application in order to ensure they met end user goals and to assist the QA team.

Technologies

We worked with the React framework for the frontend application and with Node.js for the backend application. This was combined with the Amazon Web Service’s cloud computing platform, Mongodb's database and RedUX's state management. Besides, we worked with Atlaskit's UI library and designed an onboarding experience for the customer-facing applications using Appcues.

Worth mentioning

Our projects with Bellwether have been varied. We have contributed to the design, development, documentation and quality control teams. We’ve been working closely with Bellwether’s team from across the organization, which allowed us to get excellent feedback from them.

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