Tuesday 18 June 2024
  • La Cimbali

Cosmos roasts its coffee with renewable energy

Donnie Hill: “The flavor profiles are consistent across electric versus gas-powered. So really, it’s just a matter of the environmental aspect of it.”

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ROCKVILLE, Maryland – Donnie Hill, the founder of Rockville, Maryland-based Cosmos Roastery, aims to increase customer awareness thanks to his social and environmental sustainability-focused coffee company. However, Donnie Hill’s first plan never was to be part of the coffee industry. A few years ago, he was a Defense Intelligence Agency worker trying to understand what to do next in his future.

Cosmos Roastery, a sustainable coffee company

“After I finished my degree, I did full-time work in the Air Force Reserves for a couple of years, and that was the period when Cosmos was brewing in my mind. I guess the idea was fermenting.”

He says with a hint of irony in his words. Hill continued affirming that he wanted to make Cosmos Rostery different. He intended to use renewable electricity to power the machine.

His roaster machine is from a California company named Bellwether Coffee and is about the size of a home fridge. It contains all the typical parts of a roaster – like a hopper, drum and cooling drip – and it is powered by solar panels.

“The flavor profiles are consistent across electric versus gas-powered,” Hill said. “So really, it’s just a matter of the environmental aspect of it.”

Hill’s machine can roast about 400 lbs, however he produces 40-45 lbs per wee. He primarily sells his product at area farmers’ market. However, he is finding new ways to increase his selling capacity.


Even though the company has been bootstrapped, Donnie Hill is a member of the Bethesda Green incubator since the April of 2021.

Donnie Hill also believes that his small-scale business can allow him to educate customers in a simpler way. It also gives him the opportunity to explain his decision to buy coffee from historical conflict areas.

Donny currently sources coffee from areas in Columbia, Rwanda and Yemen. Donnie Hill, in fact, explains that purchasing coffee from areas like those, it is possible to promote economic development.


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