The Sprudge Roaster Spotlight feature series continues with a closer look at a brand new coffee roaster based in Sacramento, California. “We’re still in our early days as a company,” says Donovan Albert of Anchor & Tree, which launched in 2022 offering direct to consumer roasts with no cafe component. That’s a refreshing approach for sure, and one that’s tough to get exactly right. We love telling established coffee stories here at Sprudge, but there’s something equally compelling about these early works in progress for brands that just getting started. Let’s learn more.
Tell us a little more about the story of your company—how and when did you get started? What is your background in coffee?
I started Anchor & Tree Coffee Roasting Co. in December of 2022, but I got my start in coffee several years earlier. I previously worked as a barista, a coffee shop manager, and spent a few years as an Account Manager for a coffee roasting software company. In that position, I traveled frequently to teach others how to roast coffee using software, and I learned a ton about coffee roasting. As my passion for coffee continued to grow, a seed was planted in my head that I wanted to start my own roastery someday. I noticed a gap in the market: there were very few coffee roasteries producing eco-friendly, local specialty coffee geared specifically toward coffee education and helping others understand the art of coffee and how to brew the perfect cup at home. This is the market I intended to fill. We’re still in our early days as a company, but I think we are finding our niche and establishing a base of very loyal customers in the highly competitive Sacramento coffee market.
When and how did you get started roasting? Why is roasting important to your project—what does this control over the product offer your business?
I decided early on that I wanted to focus on roasting coffee instead of running a coffee shop. In my previous work teaching others how to roast coffee, I noticed that most coffee roasting equipment relied on carbon-intensive natural gas as its fuel, and also used energy intensive afterburners and ventilation. I was so stoked to discover that the Bellwether was introducing a cleaner way to roast coffee that had a much lower environmental impact while also producing more flavorful beans.
Roasting coffee on the Bellwether allows me to embrace the playful and creative side of coffee, since the roaster gives me control over designing the roast curves and experimenting with different flavor profiles. A huge part of our business is to offer coffee education where we teach others about the roasting process and how different adjustments we make to the roast profile, roast temperature, and duration result in huge differences in the flavors we produce in our beans. We aim to dispel some of the myths about coffee and empower people to start brewing higher quality coffee at home (hopefully using our beans to do it!).
When did you start working with a Bellwether roaster? What do you like about it? Was there a learning curve? Tell us more about your experience with Bellwether.
There is a small learning curve on the Bellwether, but I think it is overall much more user-friendly than most other roasters. We have used a Bellwether ever since launching our company and plan to continue using a Bellwether indefinitely. We may even add a second Bellwether roaster in the future! I love that the machine is highly adaptable and can be customized to suit my business needs and preferences in many different ways. In addition to designing and programming my own roast curves, the user interface is simple to use and easy to understand. As Anchor & Tree scales up, this will allow for less training time and lower costs in hiring staff to start helping with production. The machine is also aesthetically beautiful, and fits in perfectly with the peaceful, warm, and inviting feel I am creating in my shop (scheduled to open within the next few months!). Bellwether also provides so many helpful resources, as well as supportive and knowledgeable staff to help me successfully grow my roasting business.
Tell us—what does being a coffee roaster mean to you?
Being a coffee roaster means everything to me! I am so fortunate to be able to share my love of coffee with my local community. I feel that there are a lot of misperceptions about coffee – for example, many people who don’t drink coffee say that it’s because coffee is too bitter, too acidic, or tastes burnt unless it’s loaded with cream and sugar. I love being able to teach others that coffee actually comes from a delicious cherry that can be grown and roasted in countless ways in order to draw out exquisite and delicate flavor notes.
I also love to teach others about the health benefits of coffee—especially when you drink high quality beans that are properly roasted and are enjoyable to drink black, or at least with minimal cream and sugar. We curate our coffee beans to create a full sensory experience for our customers. My favorite thing to hear is when people tell me, “I’m not usually a coffee drinker, but I can drink your coffee black!” As we continue to grow, I’m so excited to pursue partnerships in my community and continue giving back to others. Our motto is and will continue to be: “Better coffee, better world.”
Roaster Spotlight is a feature series on Sprudge presented in partnership with Bellwether Coffee. Read more Roaster Spotlight on Sprudge.