Home Coffee industry In the lab inventing “coffee” without beans to save the planet

In the lab inventing “coffee” without beans to save the planet


When it comes to habits, your daily morning coffee probably seems to be trivial. But the amount of coffee that we, as a global society, consume actually threatens the existence of our planet.

“The coffee industry has known the problems of coffee for over a decade.”

Andy kleitsch

“Global demand for coffee is encouraging farmers to clear the land. And as coffee grows, production will need to triple over the next 30 years. And that means all the last remaining wild forests will have to be destroyed. This is what we are trying to avoid.

Atomo is spearheading a movement for sustainable coffee, coffee produced without further harming the environment.

In fact, Atomo’s sustainable coffee doesn’t involve any cultivation. Atomo is a pioneer of molecular coffee, a process for the synthetic production of coffee molecules. Instead of the laborious, fuel-intensive, and environmentally harmful process of growing and harvesting coffee beans and shipping them around the world, coffee is produced in a laboratory full of beakers and people in lab coats. White.

“We are asked: ‘Is this Atomo coffee? ”, Says Kleitsch. “The answer is yes. You can call Cafe Atomo.

The threat of global warming

One of the biggest threats to the global coffee supply is global warming. The geographic areas where most of the world’s coffee is grown – Central America, Central Africa, India and Southeast Asia – are also the geographic areas most at risk from global warming.

As temperatures rise in these places, the quality of the coffee beans suffers. Higher temperatures ripen the coffee beans too quickly. “And that means it doesn’t have all the flavor you would expect from a coffee. “

This has caused coffee growers to move their coffee plantations to higher elevations that were previously unaffected by agriculture. Of course, in order to cultivate these areas, they have to remove the trees, so that migration leads to massive deforestation, further mitigating the effects of global warming.

It’s a vicious cycle that shows no signs of slowing down. “The demand for coffee is just too high. The culture will move to places where I didn’t grow up before. Now it’s time to grow coffee in Florida.

The solution, therefore, is to create a fully sustainable coffee process.

Atomo’s quest to create sustainable coffee began by deconstructing exactly what is in a cup of coffee. In doing so, they identified 28 different molecular compounds that make coffee taste like coffee.

“We first started combining these purified compounds, putting them in a cup and tasting them,” says Kleitsch. “We look back on that first batch and say, ‘It was really bad coffee. But we could tell it was possible.

To make the process sustainable, Atomo bought abandoned crops – crops that would otherwise be considered waste – from local farmers. Many of these plants contain the precursor compounds of coffee. “In fact, we focused on recycled ingredients,” says Kleitsch.

And to enhance the drinking experience, Atomo focused on the five most important attributes of coffee: body, flavor, aroma, color and bioactives.

Atomo now has a cold brew coffee product available for public consumption. It comes in a recyclable can and it tastes like coffee.

Selling sustainable coffee to consumers

Atomo has the science behind sustainable coffee. The biggest challenge, then, might be to sell the idea to consumers.

People are obsessed with their coffee, and it can be difficult for them to give up their single-origin organic Ethiopian beans for something produced in a sterile laboratory.

“Coffee doesn’t just come from a bush. It is about the experience you have in the morning. Coffee is in fact a ritual. This is what we reproduce.

Kleitsch isn’t too concerned with selling sustainable coffee to consumers. Consumers are increasingly aware of how their drinking choices affect the planet, and Atomo can capitalize on this trend by offering consumers a sustainable coffee option.

And perhaps more importantly, sustainable coffee is no different from traditionally sourced coffee at the point of consumption. Sustainable coffee is just as delicious, silky and comforting, even if it doesn’t come from a coffee plant.

In a blind taste test with Freethink, Atomo’s cold brew tasted and smelled like a regular cup – and came out on top in terms of the overall drinking experience.

Atomo is exploring ways to make different coffee grape varieties. Traditional coffee comes in many forms, flavors and preparations, and Atomo wants sustainable coffee to be just as diverse.

“When we set out to create the perfect cup of coffee, it immediately sparked a discussion about what the perfect cup of coffee is,” Kleitsch said of Atomo’s brainstorming sessions. “Some people like it dark and black and roasted. Some people like it light and milky with cream and sugar.

This inspired Atomo to produce a batch of molecular coffee without the compounds that make traditional coffee bitter. It was a huge success. “It had all the toasted and toasted notes, but it didn’t hit you in the face,” Kleitsch says. “We took away all the negative coffee flaws and made an ultra-smooth, perfect cup of coffee. “

Atomo is now trying to go beyond selling prepackaged coffee drinks to selling sustainable coffee grounds. To create them, she injected her coffee compounds into date pits, which resemble coffee beans in size and shape. “For us, the bean is that magical container that releases its freshness when you grind it,” he says.

Atomo’s obsession with creating delicious-tasting, fully-lasting coffee is a labor of love, says Kleitsch.

Andy kleitsch

“We love coffee. We want coffee to be around for a long, long time.

And coffee cannot continue unless a more sustainable process is developed.
“Coffee is such a huge industry that it’s hard to even assess its size,” Kleitsch says. “If I think about my own coffee consumption, that’s about two coffee trees per month. “