Alma's Un-Sung Heroes: The Machines that put the "Extra" in Extraordinary Coffee
There are countless hands that have worked tirelessly to get you your freshly roasted Alma Coffee into your morning cup.
From the moment a coffee tree is first planted on our Honduran farms to the time you break open the seal on a 12oz bag (and inhale that sweet, freshly ground coffee smell), the practices and equipment throughout our supply chain have significant impacts on the final product—especially in our roastery.
However, since we officially started roasting out of our Georgia-based warehouse in 2019, we’ve realized that a lot of our state-of-the-art equipment is dwarfed by the more glamorous aspects of our coffee roasting business, namely our slow-motion coffee splash videos.
Today we want to introduce you to some of the less-sexy members of the Alma roastery machine line up that, with their combined contributions to our roasting process, put the “extra” in extraordinary coffee!
Climate Controlled warehouse
Let’s start this blog off with the building that (literally) put Alma Coffee on the map, our roastery/warehouse!
Although you may have seen the OCD-pleasing stacks of green bean coffee sacks at the warehouse on our IG or FB, what you might not know is the climate-control and ionization technology is working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep our coffee fresh and our air pristine.
Prior to us moving roasting operations in the Holly Springs, GA warehouse, it took us 8 months to find the perfect location that 1.) wasn’t previously occupied by industrial operations that could contaminate our coffee storage, and 2.) was able to withstand the intense swings in Georgia weather that might potentially effect green bean storage.
Additionally, tomorrow morning (as of the writing of this blog post), we are investing in a Bi-Polar Ionization Device for our AC system that is intended to increase ventilation, cleanse the air of any viruses or allergens, and improve filtration within our 4500 sq/ft. warehouse!
We’re super excited to be partnering with Rogers Mechanical (previously known as R&D Mechanical) on this air technology. Not only are they a fellow local small business, but they know our warehouse in and out because well, we bought the roastery property from them in late 2018!
All in all, with advanced ionization technology and full climate control, our roastery/warehouse is truly state-of-the-art!
The Electric Forklift
Let’s be honest—forklifts are pretty cool.
While writing this blog, for instance, we surveyed the Alma team and asked them a simple question: “are forklifts cool?” Unsurprisingly, 90% of respondents said “yes,” and 10% said “[forklifts] are cooler than cool, they are ice cold.”
With a warehouse equipped to hold over 160,000 pounds of coffee on any given day, we knew that having a forklift around to help us store and retrieve coffee pallets was necessary for a speedy operation. But, when shopping for forklifts, we realized we wanted to take an extra step to put our warehouse in a league of its own.
Instead of investing in a gasoline forklift, we decided to spend a little extra and get an all-electric forklift in order to eliminate emissions around our warehouse and maintain our commitment to sustainable practices. Using electric over gasoline may not seem like a big deal for something as small as a forklift, but for as often as we use it in our warehouse the small things add up!
Coffee, for example, is extremely susceptible to smells, especially pollutants like gasoline, propane, or diesel. By choosing an electric over a combustion engine, we are eliminating the very small (but very possible) chance of coffee contamination via pollutants in the air.
Zambeani (a.k.a. our industrial floor cleaner)
In the spirit of highlighting a truly non-glamorous member of the Alma team, our Zambeani (a.k.a. our industrial cleaning machine) keeps the roastery floors in a constant state of cleanliness.
On top of making us feel like ice-resurfacers between hockey periods every time we turn it on, the electric Zambeani keeps our floors as shiny as the day we polished them and helps us reinforce our commitment to sustainable practices in and around the warehouse.
When we first thought of the idea to scale up operations into a warehouse, we knew that presentation was important. We invested in sanding and polishing the concrete floors of the warehouse before we started building it out, and if you've had the chance to venture into our roastery, you’ll see why this commitment to cleanliness helps the Alma Roastery stand out.
Loralai (our state-of-the-art roaster)
What you might not know about Loralai is how much of a positive environmental impact this machine has when compared to other, more traditional roasting machines.
For instance, Loralai achieves up to 80% fuel-savings and reduction of greenhouse gases in every roast, and our neighbors around Holly Springs (and the planet for that matter) surely appreciate these reduced emissions.
However, this 80% reduction isn’t just a badge of honor: it helps us maintain more consistent coffee roasts in our day-to-day operations. Instead of using a direct flame to roast the beans, Loralai recycles hot air around its basin at an incredibly effective rate.
It’s the best of both worlds, really—sustainability and superior roasting profiles.
We’ve been wanting to highlight these un-sung Alma Coffee heroes for quite some time now, so we hope you enjoyed reading about some of the less glamorous but highly important members of the Holly Springs warehouse!
If you are thinking about making your small business more sustainable and efficient, we highly suggest investing in some of the technology and machines that make our roastery state-of-the-art! Until next week’s blog, be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter and drop a comment below if you have any questions about our legendary un-sung heroes at Alma 💙