Coffee flour

‘Coffee flour’: The java you can eat

The world is in love with coffee. People love coffee so much many of them are willing to throw down five dollars on a cup at Starbucks. Unfortunately, the universal coffee addiction comes with some environmental costs from unavoidable waste. But, a new product, coffee flour, is looking to change that in the most revolutionary of ways.

Making coffee is a complex thing. Long before the stuff makes it to your cup/glass/ thermos, it must be converted — from fruit to bean.

Doing that requires that the fruit (the “cherries”) be harvested from spindly, bush-like coffee plants. The cherries must then be processed, their beans extracted from their pulp. The beans must then be dried, roasted, and otherwise converted into the thing most of us know as “coffee”.

This process is not only labour-intensive; it is is also wasteful. It results in, among other things, much of the coffee cherry being discarded.

Out in (yes) Seattle, there’s a startup, CF Global, that is trying to reclaim the coffee cherry. Its big idea is this: to take the remnants of the process that turns the coffee bean into a beverage … and turn them into food.

The result of this? Coffee flour is a food ingredient that’s made from discarded coffee cherries. You take the pulp that gets separated from the coffee bean in that initial extraction process and then dry it and mill it — the result being a flour that can, CF Global says, mimic traditional flour. 

Coffee Flour, the company claims, can be used in pasta and baked goods. It can work as a dry rub for meats. It can bring coffee flavour to sauces. It can even be used in energy drinks.

CF Global is a spinoff of Intellectual Ventures — the firm, led by Nathan Myhrvold, (ex top executive of Microsoft) that offers would-be investors assistance through its Invention Development Fund. Myhrvold, it’s worth noting, is also the author of the new foodie bible Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.

Coffee Flour could be another step in the march toward modernist cooking: a way to convert the beloved beverage into something edible. And a way to extract value from something that has traditionally been treated as trash.

Intellectual Ventures: See more here

Dan BelliveauCoffee flour inventor: We’re finally beyond the stage where people just call us crazy’

A longtime executive at the likes of Starbucks, Frito-Lay and General Motors used his experience in improving supply chain efficiency to create a groundbreaking food ingredient traditionally left to rot as a byproduct of the roughly 17 billion pounds of coffee beans harvested around the world each year.

Dan Belliveau came up with the idea of coffee flour in spring of 2012, after six years as head of technical services at Starbucks and 12 years of owning a coffee and wine supply chain firm had exposed him to the entire coffee supply chain.

“I was doing more and more work on the wet milling process in the countries of origin and saw how few of them thought about the byproduct,” Belliveau told FoodNavigator-USA. “Then it was a matter of someone asking me and within a few seconds, I thought, ‘what if we made a food out of coffee cherries?’ Suddenly, my life changed.”

If the guys controlling a quarter of the world’s coffee haven’t heard of it, maybe we have something here

Belliveau floated the idea to an industry confidant whose family owns one of the world’s largest coffee trading companies. “He’d never heard of it. So I talked to another friend whose family had been in the coffee business for 60 years. He said, ‘You’re crazy.’ So I thought to myself, if I’m pitching two people who collectively control 25% of the world’s coffee and they haven’t heard of it, maybe we have something here.”

He trademarked the process of capturing and converting coffee cherries (also called pulp) into a nutrient-dense, gluten-free flour and founded CF Global Holdings in Bellevue, WA, to commercialize the product, enlisting intellectual property experts Intellectual Ventures to advise on IP strategy and standardizing the process, as well as provide financial and technical support for testing and product development.

FoodNavigator-USA: Read the full article