Are coffee byproducts simply waste or is there potential in reusing and upcycling them? I am going to answer this question for all of you today by giving you some really interesting examples of how coffee byproducts can be used to help make the coffee chain production more sustainable.
Like I mentioned in our article regarding coffee waste, there are actually many inspiring businesses out there that are reusing coffee byproducts in very cool and unusual ways! Today I am going to talk to you about 5 of the most inspiring ones that are truly making a difference:
- GreenCup Roasters and Recyclers
- Green Bean Goods
- The Coffee Cherry Co.
1.GreenCup Roasters & Recyclers
Turning coffee waste into furniture
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Çurface! The Çurface is a collection of furniture made up of 60% used coffee grounds! About ten years ago, a designer named Adam Fairweather realised the reusing potential of used coffee grounds and started the GreenCup project.
This project involved supplying UK offices with fair trade coffee and then collecting their used coffee grounds and turning them into fertiliser. The success of this project had him thinking of other ways to explore reused coffee ground potential and thus the Çurface collection was born!
The name is a combination of the words “coffee” and “surface”. Fairweather figured since he had already built a good relationship with many companies through the GreenCup project, he could bring them onboard this new project and make furniture for their offices made out of reused coffee grounds. The project has really taken off and many UK companies are now using Çurface furniture. This is a great example of how a circular economy works and how coffee byproducts can be sustainable.
Coffee cups made from coffee grounds
The next inspiring idea comes all the way from Germany and more specifically Berlin! Product designer Julian Lechner was looking for ways to create something new out of waste and after three years of experimenting with coffee grounds, he gave us sustainable coffee cups.
And these literally are coffee cups, made of recycled coffee grounds and renewable raw materials into a robust design. What’s even smarter is that Kaffeeform is using a bicycle courier team to collect reused coffee grounds from selecter coffee shops around Berlin.
These grounds are then compounded and shaped into coffee cups in small production plants around Germany. The product has been a worldwide success and has won several awards including the prestigious Red Dot design award. So there you go! A coffee cup actually made of coffee!
Check out other reusable coffee cups.
3. Green Bean Goods
Goods made from burlap green bean coffee bags
This company is based in the United States and is working on reusing and upcycling burlap green bean coffee bags! These are the bags that the farmers use to pack green coffee in after processing their harvest and either sell them to exporters or directly to roasters.
Burlap itself is a type of fabric first appeared in India during the early 19th century. According to Green Bean Goods, “burlap It is a very durable, breathable fabric that can handle rough treatment and resists condensation, reducing spoilage during transit.”
So it’s no wonder that farmers prefer to pack their coffee in, as coffee beans can be easily damaged during transit and need good protection. This company takes the burlap bags and upcycles them to create products such as tote bags, dining placemats and coasters that actually look really cool!
Lamps and accessories made from coffee grounds
Imagine having a lamp that smells of coffee! Well according to Melbourne designer Raúl Lauri, now you can! His idea was to create something multisensory by reusing coffee grounds because he wanted to highlight that coffee moments can happen not only when we drink it.
After numerous experiments he founded Decafé, a company that focuses on designing household objects from used coffee grounds. The most popular objects are their lamps but you will also find other products in their shop such as candles, vases and jewelry.
Sounds amazing, right? Products that offer an elegant design and the scent of coffee all around your house!
5. The Coffee Cherry Co.
- Every year billions of coffee beans make their way through roasters, grinders and brewers to fill our morning cups. But did you know that each coffee bean is surrounded by a large fruit? Innovative people have found a sustainable use for that fruit by drying it's pulp into a versatile and delicious ingredient in baking, smoothies and cooking!
- Surprisingly, coffee flour doesn't taste like coffee but carries a more floral, citrus and roasted fruit flavor. It makes for a great ingredient in breads, muffins, cookies, bars, brownies, sauces and beverages.
- Coffee Flour can be paired with most any flour (or substituted for) at a ratio of 10-15%. You can increase to your taste as you experiment. 1:3 Coffee Flour to another flour = 25%, 1:4 Coffee Flour to another flour = 20% and 1:9 Coffee Flour to another flour = 10%.
- J Glover Mills sources its coffee flour from a manufacturer that is Non-GMO Project Verified and a Certified B Corporation. Our source manufacturer was also featured on Upworthy, Yahoo!, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, New York and Take Part.
Converting coffee cherry waste into flour
So far we’ve mostly talked about reusing coffee grounds, but much like the burlap bags there are other coffee byproducts that can be recycled and reused in sustainable ways like the coffee cherry pulp.
After the harvest, farmers use various processing methods to remove the cherry pulp from the coffee bean, which results in mountains of this pulp going to waste! The Coffee Cherry Co. founded by Dan Belliveau, takes this waste and converts it into a gluten-free flour that smells like baked forest fruits!
According to Brones, “to date, the company has converted between five and six million pounds of coffee cherry pulp into CoffeeFlour, and the company aims to be able to convert pulp into more than three billion pounds of flour, keeping the pulp from the waste stream. Not only will this continue to create a new product— a “found food” as Belliveau calls it—but also generate an additional revenue source for farmers.” Pretty amazing, right?
Isn’t it extraordinary all the brilliant things we can do when we put our minds to it? The last couple of decades have seen a turn of society to more sustainable practices in an effort to protect and preserve our environment and the coffee industry is definitely doing its bit to contribute. It’s exciting to see what more the future holds!
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