Lifestyle & Culture

Could roasting coffee in space make for a better brew?

This Dubai-based start-up certainly seems to think so...

19.04.2019 | by Kezia Parkins
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Coffee snobs’ obsession for sourcing the perfect cup could reach new heights as this futuristic company claims that shooting beans into space ensures perfectly even roasted beans.

Hatem Alkhafaji and his ­business partner, ­Anders Cavallini, are turning the art of coffee roasting into rocket science with Space Roasters. The duo who met while studying for a master’s in space science at the ­International Space University in Strasbourg and bonded over their mutual mission of finding a new way to entice others into becoming interested in the cosmos. They chose the universal staple of every-day life — the cup of coffee, and created the Space Roasting Capsule.


So, how does one roast coffee in outer space?

Well, to put it simply — a capsule containing coffee beans is shot into space and plummets back through the earth’s searing atmosphere, in a pressurized tank and zero-gravity conditions. According to Alkhafaji and Cavallini, the heat of re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere will produce the perfect roast before making a parachute landing.

Earth dwelling roasters face the problem of uneven roasting which can leave some beans over or under roasted, affecting the aroma and taste of the coffee. A problem that zero-gravity could solve. According to the ambitious entrepreneurs, their capsule is the first of it’s kind with the capacity to roast coffee beans in zero gravity and they have patented the technology.


And, where can I get an intergalactic cup of joe?

You can’t just yet. The duo plan to open Space Station Cafe next year in the UAE, in line with the launch of their coffee and a year ahead of the UAE’s mission to reach Mars by 2021.

The kick is, one cup is going to set you back around $200 — as you can imagine, this method of roasting coffee doesn’t come cheap.

When speaking to The National back in February of this year, Alkhafaji seemed confident that there would be people out there willing to pay the price.

“You already have people paying Dh90 for a cup of coffee with a sprinkle of gold on top, right? I’ve tasted that coffee in the Burj Al Arab and I’ve tasted it in Emirates Palace, just to know what kind of competitors we have and … this tastes much better than that,” he said.

Alkhafaji’s, is hoping that their out of this world brew will appeal to coffee fanatics and lovers of innovation saying, “if you appreciate the complexity of it, the long process, the ­engineering points behind the whole thing, then really it’s very cheap … other retailers would ­definitely ask for much more than this.”

Will space roasted coffee take off? It’s too early to tell. I guess we’ll have to watch this space.

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