How coffee flour could solve the problems associated with coffee harvesting

By Kate Hassett

How coffee flour could solve the problems associated with coffee harvesting
Can turning the 'cherry' from a coffee bean into flour change the negative impact on the environment?

It is no big secret that coffee harvesting around the world is seldom relegated and the labourers that toil the fields to get your morning coffee to you, are often underpaid and overworked.

Whilst a focus on ‘Fair Trade’ and ‘Single Origin’ is something that discerning coffee drinkers look for to combat this widespread exploitation, now it is being revealed that there’s a new issue facing labourers and local regions. What to do with the ‘cherry’.

As the ‘bean’ was considered the only part of the plant to be profitable, the cherry was often thrown away and wasted. The large amount of ‘cherry’ waste might actually have an adverse effect on the surrounding environment.

Not only were the ochratoxins, aflatoxins and excess caffeine being absorbed into nearby streams, but the pectin released into the water was causing more bacterial activity to take place – removing vital oxygen the aquatic life need to survive.

On top of this environmental threat, the farmers were at the mercy of a volatile market, whereby sometimes they make enough to get by, but often they don’t.

What if they could create a product out of the left over cherry and create a steady income for famers and producers in between coffee bean demand?

That is exactly what some producers have started doing by creating “coffee flour” a delicious way to repurpose leftover product.

Dan Belliveau, a co-founder of Coffee Flour explains how this innovation can work wonders for the coffee industry.

“At the point where the cherry fruit (pulp) is separated from the bean in the de-pulpers, we capture the pulp at that point and send it through our process to stabilise and dry. We use water to rinse the cherry prior to the de-pulpers, but post de-pulpers we eliminate the use of water to transport the pulp, as we want to retain all the nutrients that would normally transfer into the water. This creates a portion of the “honey water” which will no longer be produced. And approximately 80% of the pulp is used for our product (never to see a stream, river or landfill) and the +/- 20% of the pulp that doesn’t meet our quality control standards, we encourage to be composted and used in the farms (this is a much more manageable volume for farmers to handle)…”

Therefore benefiting the local community and economy as well as creating an amazing product from something that would otherwise go to waste.

Plus Coffee Flour can be used to make all matter of delicious sweet and savoury dishes and the more demand for the product, the greater benefit to the community long-term.




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