Vermont Coffee Company running completely on renewable methane

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The Vermont Coffee Company has been a staple in the Middlebury community since the late 1990s. Customers come every day because they love the organic coffee that is roasted in the Green Mountain State.

“This is our favorite stop for afternoon coffee,” said Laura Smith from Ripton.

Smith was pleased to hear that the company is taking another step towards sustainable practices: Using methane to power the 30,000 square foot facility.

“Renewable energy piece has been a long and basically frustrating road,” said Paul Ralston, founder of Vermont Coffee Company. “Very early on we tried to develop a coffee roaster to run on burning wood. That didn’t work at all,”

Ralston and his team found a solution last April. From the overhead lights to the roasting machines and the conveyor belts, everything is powered by electricity and thermal energy sourced from methane.

“We are buying all our electricity from Vermont dairy farmers that are in the cow power program,” said Ralston, referring to a program by Green Mountain Power.

The methane used in the roasting machine actually comes from a landfill in Quebec.

“It’s been designed to capture the methane that would normally off-gas into the environment creating a powerful greenhouse gas. It has been scrubbed and cleaned and injected into the pipeline and we take it out the other end here in Middlebury,” he said.

His employees and customers alike say it’s so Vermont.

“We certainly have a lot of cows around here, so it just makes sense,” Smith said.

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