The Sustainability SEAL: Simple Earth-friendly Actions and Life Style at Compass Coffee

As a pillar of the Washington, DC, food scene, we hope our actions inspire others to be more environmentally aware and make similarly simple, Earth-friendly lifestyle choices.


Sustainability is at the core of every decision we make, and it has been since day one. We strive for environmental, social, and economic sustainability in everything we do.

Internally, we developed a mascot based off of our Simple Earth-friendly Actions and Lifestyles: the Sustainability Seal. We believe in focusing on the small steps, the discrete action and lifestyle decisions that are simple and Earth-friendly, because we believe this will lead to the most sustainable long-term outcome.

As a pillar of the Washington, DC, food scene, we hope our actions inspire others to be more environmentally aware and make similarly simple, Earth-friendly lifestyle choices.


The Sustainability Seal is a reminder of our approach to sustainability at Compass. We believe in focusing on discrete action and lifestyle decisions that are simple and Earth-friendly, because we believe this will lead to the most
sustainable long-term outcome.


Loring Roasters

Two Loring S70 Peregrine Roasters sit at the heart of our Ivy City Roasting Facility in Washington, DC.

The roasters we use at Compass Coffee are some of the most environmentally-friendly roasters on the planet. By using recirculated air through the roasting process, the Loring S35 Kestrel that adorned the floor of our first cafe and roastery in the historic Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC, reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 80% as compared to other conventional roasters.

As the water molecules present in green coffee evaporate and as the sugars and proteins caramelize due to the intense heat of the roaster, CO2 and H2O are natural byproducts of the roasting process.

More roasting would definitely mean more carbon emission; therefore, as we move to a facility that allows us to exponentially increase coffee production and distribution, we need roasters that are up to the task and still align with our goal to be as sustainable as possible. When it came to choosing a roaster to take us into the next chapter of Compass Coffee, we went back to what we knew provided the quality and sustainability we were used to and expected (albeit in a much larger package) and outfitted our new roastery with a pair of Loring S70 Peregrine roasters.

If the S35 was a Tesla Model S, the S70 is a full on Rimac C_Two: a machine capable of mind-boggling performance with a very, very minimal footprint.


Modbar Espresso Units

Three Modbar AV Espresso units power through the morning rush at our Georgetown location in Washington, DC.

The Modbar espresso machines in our cafes don’t just look great, eliminate the boundaries between barista and customer, and produce the tastiest espresso around. Using insulated boilers and other methods to maintain accurate and even temperature control, these stunning machines are able to use significantly less energy than standard counter-top espresso machines. The same can be said for the steam units and automatic pour-over machines.


Reusable and Recyclable Packaging

Three Modbar AV Espresso units power through the morning rush at our Georgetown location in Washington, DC.

The decision for sustainable packaging was one of the earliest decisions we made as a company. Though bags are the industry standard for retail coffee, they’re typically not recyclable. For people who go through multiple pounds of coffee a month, that means a lot of packaging waste! Not to mention, bags are far from puncture- and tear-proof so shipping, stocking, or customer error not only means a wasted package, but also could mean wasted coffee.

Though most people don’t know that they can bring them back for a refill at a discount, our tins and growlers are designed to be refillable.


...But that's not all

Alex, the Canjo Kid, with his science project: a homemade instrument built from a Compass Coffee Waypoint tin, a wood board, some twine, and a whole lot of imagination.


A core value at Compass is “everybody cleans.” On the surface, this means that nobody in the company is above cleaning bathrooms, scrubbing the condiments bar, or mopping the cafe floor after a rush. But, digging a bit deeper, “everybody cleans” is about the entire team pitching in to accomplish a task. With this in mind, we hope you’ll embody this value and clean with us.

In December of 2020, Alex, a 7th-grader at Maret Middle School, submitted a video of himself playing an unusual instrument: a banjo fashioned from a recycled tin of our Waypoint Blend. We were so excited to see this fresh, new way to reuse our tins that we reached out to his family for an interview.

Hi! Thanks for taking the time to talk. Where did the idea for the Canjo come from?

I was assigned a science project for school to learn about sound waves. The project was to make an instrument and learn how to play a song on the instrument.

Due to COVID, we had an excess of coffee tins around the house, which they usually bring back to the cafe for refills. This is when the idea came to me to use one of the tins for my project.

This came easy for me because of my past experience playing the violin. I have developed a strong musical ear and was able to figure out how to play songs on the canjo, mostly by ear with a little help from a tuner app.

So far, I have learned how to play “Deck the Halls” and “Happy Birthday” on the canjo and continue to play the canjo when I’m bored. It currently still sits on the desk in my room.

What was the Canjo making process like?

Alex took a span of two weeks to work on this project.

I used a four foot long wooden plank from Home Depot, along with screws and twine. I attached the twine and coffee tin to the wooden plank through screws, and I used a tuner app to mark where notes were. From my experience with playing violin I figured out how to space out the strings, and that the notes are higher as he gets closer to the can.

Have you used Compass coffee tins for other projects around your home?

The family reuses the coffee tins for refills at the cafe. In addition, tins are used around the house for holding art supplies, and more recently they worked to make gingerbread man as presents from Christmas.

Thank you, Alex!

Small decisions create great change through inspiration.



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