Pierce Bros. Coffee to install new equipment, eliminate roasting odors

  • The building housing the Pierce Bros. Coffee Roasters facility on Hope Street in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Representatives for Pierce Brothers Coffee Roasters meet with the Greenfield Board of Health on Wednesday. RECORDER STAFF/Tom Relihan

Recorder Staff
Published: 8/10/2016 11:01:13 PM

GREENFIELD – Pierce Brothers Coffee Roasters plans to install a new, state-of-the-art afterburner to completely eliminate the smoke and odors that have been the source of complaints from neighboring residents over the past year.

Co-owner Sean Pierce and company service manager Dan Olanyk told the board Wednesday that they’re currently working on designing the equipment, which will be custom-built by Inproheat Industries of Vancouver, British Columbia.

It will be able to handle both of their roasters and is expected to completely mitigate the smoke and odors.

“To be proactive, which we always are, we’ve been to the bank, got a loan. We’ve already been approved,” Pierce said. “We’re going to the next level. We’re at the point where we’ve been researching this and want to eliminate all smell.”

Pierce said the company roaster uses hot air convection instead of the traditional “drum” roaster. The beans never burn in their process, and 80 percent of the emissions are steam. Still, some odors leave the facility.

Olanyk said the new afterburner will be large enough and well-insulated enough to hold the smoke in the chamber long enough to burn it all off.

“It’s been a bit complex to find someone who can make one that can do that,” he said. He noted the Berkshire Gas moratorium on new gas consumption means the new system needed to be designed to stay within current consumption levels, or the company would need to obtain a permit to use liquid propane gas.

Pierce said the new machine is expected to be far more efficient than the two they currently have. “We won’t be wasting more fuel and dumping more fumes into the atmosphere to burn the smoke off,” Olanyk added, noting that it can be set to burn just the amount of fuel needed to eliminate the smoke, instead of running throughout the entire roasting process. It’ll also require less regular maintenance.

“We’re a small business and in order to do this, we took out a decent-size loan, but we’re doing it to make it fit the community,” Pierce said. The machine alone will cost about $14,000, not including installation costs, Olanyk said.

Over the past few months, the Hope Street coffee roasting company has been the target of frequent harassment — including references to Nazi concentration camps and other anti-Semitic remarks — by a neighbor who objects to the odors. The owners, Sean and Darren Pierce, said the issues began last summer and escalated to a point where employees continuously felt threatened.

The neighbor, they said, would drive by the business slowly, staring at staff and giving them the middle finger or screaming profanities. The owners said the man has also exhibited threatening behavior toward other businesses on the street and vendors carrying Pierce Brothers coffee.

The neighbor’s anti-Semitic remarks drew condemnation from some local leaders, which subsequently touched off a series of anonymous racist and anti-Semitic cyber-attacks on town councilors and other local public figures over the past few months as they discussed and worked to address racism and hate crimes in town.

Pierce noted that the company is actively considering a move within the next few years, where it would have more resources to expand its operations. He noted that he hope that location remains within Greenfield.

“We don’t want to leave Greenfield. This is where we live and where our employees live,” he said.

You can reach Tom Relihan at: 413-772-0261 ext 264,
or trelihan@recorder.com. On Twitter, @RecorderTom


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