Global Impact

Here at Suburban Machine we not only want to produce quality local products for our customers, we want to have an impact on our global community and the environment. We’ve been able to be part of some important projects in many different industries. From space travel, to aquatics, to…coffee production?

Sure enough, a few years back, owner Bruce St. Hilaire’s good friend Richard Trubey came to him needing help. Trubey was building a self-drying tower for coffee beans in Central America with his company Cafe Solar.

Cafe Solar wanted this self-drying tower to process and dry coffee in a sustainable method. Conventional coffee drying uses wood, causing deforestation of the rainforests which can lead to  biodiversity loss and climate change. Not wanting to further environmental damage, they knew something needed to be done.

Needing advice, Trubey and his team brought their large steel tower to Suburban Machine asking on how to improve it and ultimately ship the whole system down to the coffee plantation where it would be used. Bruce took one look at it and knew the tower needed to be made of extruded aluminum, not steel. Through the expertise here at Suburban, our team helped engineer the exact components Cafe Solar needed to make the perfect coffee drying chamber.

Hanging aluminum slots hold coffee vertically to dry in small batches. These chambers run off of solar energy, using solar heat through the entire tower. With the push of a few buttons, the slots can rotate to ensure even drying on the beans.

Not only do the towers efficiently dry the coffee without causing further environmental damage, they do good for the small coffee farmers using them. Traditionally, these farmers have painstakingly harvested their coffee beans and had to transport them to the large facilities drying with firewood. Because of the compact size of these towers, farmers easily have the space for them on their own properties. Cafe Solar helps these small farms get loans to purchase these towers. In the end, more farmers are saving themselves time and money by being able to harness the sun’s resources to dry their own coffee beans.

Recently, Trubey reached out via Facebook to St. Hilaire thanking him for the hard work Suburban contributed. Thanks to Suburban’s support, Cafe Solar has successfully been drying coffee for five years now! Not only have we been helping manufacturing for those in our New England area and the rest of the United States, we were ecstatic to be part of such an important global project.

It’s looking like their production is ramping up due to the successful drying towers Suburban Machine is proud to have been a part of. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of these incredible towers in the near future!