A Seattle startup, funded by some backers of Beyond Meat, is unveiling the first-ever coffee without beans this week, aiming to reduce the beverage’s environmental footprint.
This unique concept has attracted significant investor interest, with Atomo Coffee securing $51.6 million in funding. The company’s innovative brew, created using superfoods and upcycled ingredients to replicate coffee’s molecular profile, is expected to resonate with customers.
As global temperatures rise, coffee plantations, especially those cultivating the barista-preferred arabica type, are relocating to higher altitudes, resulting in deforestation in pursuit of cooler temperatures.
After burning fossil fuels, deforestation is the primary driver of climate change. Research indicates that by 2050, nearly half of the current coffee cultivation land might become unviable due to climate change. “Atomo is addressing the concerning rate of deforestation from coffee – equivalent to nearly ten Central Parks daily,” stated Atomo’s CEO and co-founder, Andy Kleitsch, in the lead-up to the debut of their beanless coffee at the New York Coffee Festival.
He added, “The continuous expansion of coffee farms is akin to an unstoppable machine, always seeking more land. Our goal is to halt this.”
In its initial tests, Atomo’s cold brew without beans resulted in 93% lower carbon emissions and required 94% less water than traditional coffee.
This innovation earned it a spot in Time Magazine’s 200 Best Inventions of 2022. The company anticipates their hot version, primarily made from often-wasted components like date seeds, to demonstrate similar environmental benefits.
Opting to first cater to coffee shops over retail chains, Atomo’s roasted coffee will sell at a wholesale price of $20.99 per lb, compared to the average $10-14 per lb for US coffee shops.
While some alternative meat brands faced challenges due to inflation and higher prices, Atomo is discussing potential collaborations with major global coffee corporations. “All the major coffee companies recognize the looming issue of coffee scarcity in the upcoming decades and are seeking proactive solutions,” Kleitsch commented.