Northland News Center

Alakef has been a premium coffee roaster in Duluth for 25 years. They have been committed to making great coffee while staying sustainable. But the new single serve coffee fad threatened the sustainability efforts of the company.

Alyza Bohbot, the Owner of Alakef told me, "We sort of stayed out of it for a number of years essentially because it's sort of against everything we stood for as a company, so at the core of who we are. You know are principals are obviously providing the highest quality product we can to our consumers, but also providing that in a sustainable way as possible."

So Alakef had to adapt to serve the needs of their customers.

But they made sure they did it with sustainability in mind.

"So all of our single serves are still roasted and made to order and everything is 100% recyclable, the cup it comes in to the cardboard box that it's being packaged in." says Bohbot.

They've considered everything even to how the product is shipped. They actually use biodegradable peanuts in all of their packaging. There is also a byproduct from roasting the beans.

Bohbot explains, "Coffee actually has a sort of skin on it and that skin is pulled off during the roasting process and its collected in these machines back here and it's called, what we call chaff."

Instead of tossing this away like trash, they offer it to farmers who add it to compost to make it a resource. Alakef employee Ezra Bennett is also working to make changes to their recycling program.

"Started trying to talk to our waste distributed, our waste collector up the hill to try to develop a pilot program." said Bennett.

The pilot program would hopefully make it easier for other small businesses to recycle smaller amounts of plastic.

"Our hope is that by really focusing on sustainability it will encourage other small businesses to focus on sustainability as well." Bohbot says. 

Alyza Bohbot recently took over the Alakef company. Her parents started it 25 years ago.