Coffee flour, between recycling and sustainability

May 31, 2017 | written by:

Coffee with milk, strong coffee, weak black coffee, espresso. There are so many types of coffee and numerous different ways of drinking it but, while we're all aware that the famous drink that every morning gives us the right charge to start the day was born somewhere in Latin America or maybe in Asia or Africa, it's easy to forget that it comes from a fruit, a small red berry that looks like a cross between a cherry and a cranberry. The long process that allows berries to take on the appearance of coffee involves several steps and works approximately like this: coffee is grown in mountainous areas, is picked by hand, selected and the unwanted berry pulp (more than half of it) is removed and discarded.

For every 50 kilos of coffee berries picked by a worker, only around 10 kilos of coffee beans are produced and the huge amounts of pulp created as by-product can cause environmental problems if it's not disposed of correctly. The US startup CoffeeFlour, however, has found a way to create economic, social and environmental value from what is usually considered as a waste product and has turned it into a valuable resource. The huge amounts of pulp, otherwise destined for landfill or worse destined to pollute rivers and water sources, is washed, stabilized and then dried before being ground to create a stand-alone food product: coffee flour.

It looks like ground coffee but coffee flour has a fruity flavor that suits very well in cakes, sauces and cocktails, is gluten-free, it boasts impressive nutritional qualities with high levels of fiber, protein, iron, potassium and calcium and has the same caffeine content as dark chocolate. Although the coffee industry is a huge business, much of the coffee producers around the world are small farmers, so an initiative like this is an effective way to make a direct impact on people's lives and on the environment. Coffee flour production guarantees less organic waste, produces additional, safe and sustainable income for coffee growers and promotes job creation for the local population.

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