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Credit: Kaffe Bueno

biotech

Coffee no longer a wasted resource

Kaffe Bueno transforms coffee grounds into beauty products

It is early in the morning and you brew a cup of coffee to sparkle your day. When your morning ritual is done you will most likely leave your spent coffee grounds in the bin. But they are not ready for the bin, not at all. Actually, your coffee grounds have a lot more to offer.

Coffee grounds contain a lot of compounds beneficial for our health, skin and well-being like essential fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin E, among others – Alejandro Franco

“When we brew a cup of coffee, less than 1% of these compounds are being utilized. The remains stay intact in the coffee grounds, which are usually disposed as waste,” says Alejandro Franco, Chief Commercial Officer and Co-Founder at Kaffe Bueno, a Danish biotech startup dedicated to unlock coffee´s health potential. “Through Kaffe Bueno’s circular biorefinery model, we are able to utilize the remaining 99% in the most valuable way,” he adds, referring to the company´s four innovative products; Kaffe Bueno Oil, Kafflour, Kaffibre and a coffee recycling service.

Coffee grounds the new sustainable health elixir

These days Kaffe Bueno launch a collaboration with the Danish hotel chain Sinatur Hotel & Conference Group that will take spent coffee grounds to new heights as the guests will now be able to pamper themselves with personal care products made from their own spent coffee grounds. The spent coffee grounds are upcycled by Kaffe Bueno from the six hotel destinations into skincare ingredients which are then used in the private label Renli, consisting of a handwash, body & hair wash and a body lotion. A collaboration based on the initiative to create more natural and sustainable products, by using waste as a resource. The products contain Kaffe Bueno’s active ingredient Kaffe Bueno Oil, which is the oil that Kaffe Bueno extracts from the spent coffee grounds. An oil that has scientific evidence for being moisturizing, anti-ageing and skin-barrier improving as well as selectively filtering sun light. What a win win!

Alejandro Franco says about the partnership: “Our partnership with Sinatur reflects the importance of changing the perception of what we consider as waste. For centuries, coffee grounds have been considered as waste, but years of research at Kaffe Bueno shows that coffee is a wasted resource. At Kaffe Bueno we have been working with this circular business model for over four years, as we believe that models like these are necessary in a future where people and nature must not only coexist but nurture each other. Fortunately, Sinatur sees the bigger picture and has taken an important step in securing a brighter future,” says Alejandro Franco who reveals that the concept will also be available to other companies who wish to make better use of their spent coffee grounds.

Harmful coffee grounds

In addition to being a sustainable health elixir, coffee grounds paradoxically have a harmful impact on the environment. According to International Coffee Organisation almost 10 billion kilograms of coffee are traded yearly worldwide. When coffee grounds decompose, they generate methane gas, which according to United States Environmental Protection Agency is 25-86 times more harmful to the environment than CO2. As a result, the worldwide emissions of coffee waste are equivalent to the yearly emissions of 10 million cars. By utilizing coffee grounds in Kaffe Bueno’s circular business model, the harmful emissions are therefore minimized, while coffee’s health potential can be fully exploited. In fact, as Kaffe Bueno puts it: “For every tonne of coffee grounds recycled, we avert the emissions of 340m3 of methane into the atmosphere.” 

Kaffe Bueno, founded in 2016 by the three Colombians and coffee passionate innovators Alejandro Franco, Juan Medina and Camilo Fernandez, is not only known for their coffee recycling service and active Kaffe Bueno Oil but also for utilising coffee by-products to produce ingredients for nutraceuticals and functional food and beverages. Their product range also includes Kafflour and Kaffibre. Kafflour is an upcycled gluten-free flour derived from spent coffee grounds which is caffeine-free, low in fat, rich in proteins and with insoluble dietary fibres and potassium. Perfect for bakery & confectionery, pizza & pasta and healthy snack bars. Kaffibre is a proprietary upcycled cosmetic raw material developed and manufactured in Copenhagen, and derived from recycled coffee grounds, which are pretreated and defatted by Kaffe Bueno. A natural exfoliating agent for scrubs, masks, soaps and cleansers. 

Well, back to your morning coffee. With more than 2.25 billion cups of coffee consumed worldwide every day it is time to act – and treat coffee waste as a natural resource.

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Louise Nyboe Andersen

Louise Nyboe Andersen is a Danish Sustainability Journalist & PR Advisor based in Copenhagen. She contributes to magazines and newspapers on sustainability within fashion and lifestyle, while also advising and creating content for sustainable businesses.

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