Advertisement

The First Coffee Made Without Beans Is Coming, And It Could Help Save The Planet

It's 2019, and food scientists have invented tons of innovative, more sustainable replicas already. There's burgers made without beef, cheese without any dairy, eggless eggs, you name it. The next product to get converted into a groundbreaking substitute? Coffee.

Photo courtesy of Atomo Coffee

Advertisement

Atomo Coffee has invented what they are calling "Molecular Coffee," the first-ever to be made with zero coffee beans. The product instead consists of a "ground coffee look-alike" that can be put through a brewer or coffee maker just like standard grounds. Atomo's head food scientist, Jarret Stopforth, PhD., developed the product through identifying the key aroma and flavor compounds in coffee, naturally sourcing them, and creating a coffee ground-like base they could be added to.

There's two key reasons that Atomo invented their new Molecular Coffee. One of them was to get rid of the bitter notes that are often masked by cream and sugar by coffee drinkers. It'll help reduce the amount of calories often consumed by drinking coffee in such a fashion but also improve the flavor appeal to those that don't like bitter.

Another key reason for this novel coffee substitute is for sustainability. With factors like climate change and drought threatening coffee tree farmers around the world, a pressing challenge for the future is how to meet coffee demand with what will likely be fewer available trees. Atomo is a substitute that can potentially address this in a sustainable fashion without sacrificing coffee's full sensory experience.

Advertisement

Photo courtesy of Atomo Coffee

In terms of taste, it appears to stand up to major coffee brands so far. A study conducted at the University of Washington found that 70% of students that tasted it preferred the Atomo substitute to Starbucks, according to Food Navigator. Whether that translates to people actually wanting to drink a "coffee-free coffee," however, remains to be seen.

Atomo just launched on Kickstarter, and hopes to have their first bags shipped by the fourth quarter of this year.