Lifestyle & Culture

Atomo: Creating Coffee Without Beans to Save the Environment

Atomo is developing the world's first molecular coffee to reduce the deforestation caused by coffee farming and create a consistently smooth cup o' joe.

23.08.2019 | by Reve Fisher
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Coffee production and consumption are harming the environment at an alarming rate. According to a report covered by Conservation International, tropical forests cover about 60 percent of the land in the world that can be used for coffee production. However, by 2050, that figure is expected to drop to 20 percent.

In addition, rising temperatures throughout the world are also affecting the quality of the coffee produced today. As the fruit of the coffee trees often ripens too fast, the beans cannot fully develop all their flavours and aromas, resulting in a bitter cup of coffee that needs plentiful cream and sugar.

Atomo Coffee is looking to change all that by creating the world’s first molecular coffee—quite simply, coffee without beans.

The Seattle-based company has raised $2.6 million in seed funding to make this happen.

“Atomo’s beanless coffee provides consumers with a sustainable choice while delivering the great taste and caffeine they expect in their morning cup,” said Atomo co-founder and CEO Andy Kleitsch in a statement.

The team has analysed and reversed engineered the factors that compose a great cup of coffee: aroma, body/mouth feel, flavour, colour and caffeine.

“We looked at green beans, roasted beans and extracted (brewed) coffee samples and through advanced analytical procedures studied the volatile and non-volatile compounds present,” explained Jarret Stopforth, co-founder and chief scientist of Atomo Coffee, on the company’s website. “By evaluating the individual compounds in coffee we were able to map the most significant ones contributing to the characteristic aroma and flavour of coffee.”

By creating coffee with no need for beans, the Seattle-based startup is hoping to reduce the deforestation and destruction caused by commercial coffee farming. As an added bonus, the science behind Atomo means that its coffee is consistent and uniquely smooth.

“The coffee industry is ripe for innovation and change,” Jarret said in a statement. “The acceptance of agriculture alternatives has been proven with meatless meats and dairy-free milks, we want to continue that movement in a category we feel passionate about, coffee.”

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