Danish company that upcycles spent coffee grounds into ingredients for health and wellness products will use new funding to build Europe’s first dedicated coffee bio-refinery
By utilising the 99% of coffee material that discarded after the brewing process, Kaffe Bueno says it hopes significantly reduce carbon emissions along the coffee value chain | Photo credit: Stephanie Albert
Danish bioscience company Kaffe Bueno has received a €2.5m ($2.9m) grant from the European Innovation Council to grow its coffee waste upcycling business.
Founded in 2016, Kaffe Bueno extracts chemical components, including antioxidants, fatty acids, diterpene esters and melanoidins, found in spent coffee grounds to be used in wellness and food products.
Those compounds are then used to create Kaffe Bueno oil, which is used in cosmetics and skin care products, Kafflour, a gluten-free flour with applications in baking and snack bars, and Kaffibre, which can be used as an exfoliant in soaps, scrubs and masks.
By utilising the 99% of coffee material that discarded after the brewing process, Kaffe Bueno says it hopes significantly reduce carbon emissions along the coffee value chain.
‘The personal care and food industries are looking to reduce the CO2 emissions of their products while turning “waste” into a resource. Upcycling certainly is one of the best solutions to address these problems,’ the company wrote in a press release announcing the funding.
In November 2020, Kaffe Bueno partnered with Danish hotel chain Sinatur to produce hand soap, body soap, shampoo and body lotion from the hotel’s spent coffee grounds.
“We believe that models like this are necessary for a future where people and nature not only coexist but nurture each other,” said Alejandro Franco, Kaffe Bueno Chief Commercial Officer and Co-Founder, at the time.
Part of the new funds will used to build Europe’s first dedicated coffee bio-refinery in Denmark, where coffee by-products from the hospitality industry can be processed into new raw materials.
Kaffe Bueno’s circular model could prove useful for coffee chains seeking to reduce their environmental impact and offset carbon emissions. According to the company, 60-70% of spent coffee grounds worldwide currently end up in landfill, with a small percentage recycled into briquettes and pellets, or fertilisers.
The company joins a growing global movement to upcycle coffee waste generated by coffee shops and hospitality venues.
Fellow Danish firm Kaffee Form is also upcycling spent coffee grounds to manufacture a range of coffee cups. In the UK, HuskeeCup uses coffee husk as a material in its reusable coffee cups.
US car giant Ford is also capitalising on the power of coffee waste. The firm is using coffee chaff, a by-product of the roasting process, generated by fast food chain McDonald’s in the manufacture of headlight parts.