Wake up and smell the coffee! Kaffe Bueno, a startup upcycling coffee grounds, raised $1.3M in seed funding. Kaffe Bueno is using green chemistry and biotechnology to extend coffee’s potential – minimizing emissions and maximizing reuse.
Why does this matter?
- Over 9B kg of coffee are consumed every year, and 99% of that goes to landfill (less than 1% of coffee’s beneficial compounds are consumed), where every ton of coffee in landfill contributes 340 m3 of methane in the atmosphere.
- The worldwide emissions of coffee waste are equivalent to the yearly emissions of 10M cars.
- Using coffee grounds as soil fertilizer does more harm than one would think – it releases methane into the atmosphere and damages the soil by having a high toxicity.
- The functional ingredient market is estimated to reach $105B by 2027.
- Coffee has many skin and health effects, ranging from UV protection to helping prevent some diseases.
- Kaffe Bueno’s current products include Kafflour, a gluten-free and high-protein flour, Kaffe Bueno Oil, a lipid used in food and personal care products, and Kaffibre, a natural exfoliating agent in personal care products.
- Kaffe Bueno’s upcycling process takes advantage of all of the bioactive molecules within coffee and commercializes them as ingredients. They are continuously researching and developing new products derived from the lipids, proteins, sugars, polyphenols, tocopherols, antioxidants inside spent coffee grounds.
- The new funding will go towards launching new ingredients over the next couple of years, in addition to growing the company.
We are seeing innovation in both the coffee industry and waste upcycling technology. The coffee industry is prime for disruption, and upcycling technology has been increasing in capabilities. Kaffe Bueno sits at the intersection of the two sectors, where they are filling a need – minimizing waste through upcycling coffee beans. However, there is space for more players to enter the market, which will accelerate this transformation of coffee beans into other products.
About The Author
Daniel currently works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His original assignment was to maintain and update facility safety documentation for all facilities on-site, and perform risk analysis. Over time, his role has expanded to leading continuous improvement efforts through product management.
Concurrently, Daniel volunteers with Techstars, helping organize startup weekends, and with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, organizing events on the local and national levels of the organization. He also volunteers with One World, and previously with Powerhouse Ventures, to source and screen startups for potential investment.
Daniel holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis, and recently completed coursework in energy innovation from Stanford. His passion is at the intersection of sustainability, innovation, and business.