Skip to content

🍏 Brewing Coffee without Beans

My Climate Journey

Photo by Demi DeHerrera / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Jason Jacobs
Guest: Maricel Saenz | Founder & CEO | Compound Foods
Category: 🍏 Sustainable Food

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[3:52] “Compound Foods [is] an early stage food tech company. […] We're working on recreating the flavors, the aromas, and the effects of coffee without using the coffee plant. […] [It’s] more sustainable and with a more resilient supply chain.”

[7:11] “I do not want to be part of the legacy food industry and instead […] challenge again, how we're making the foods that we love. And we have all these tools that have been built in the last few decades around being able to manipulate organisms and getting them to do different things and produce different compounds. […] And I was worried about coffee, because I love it, and I could see it being decimated. And I just fell in love with a problem. And I've gone through very different iterations of what the solution for that problem looks like. […] [We] use fermentation to recreate the flavors and aroma of coffee, so that we can create a drink that is delicious, but at the same time that we can produce locally that doesn't have such a long supply chain and complicated logistics, as well as that it's more resilient to the changes of climate change.

[8:18] “Coffee has many problems. […] It grows in the region of the world called the coffee belt, where countries like Costa Rica sit in Brazil, Colombia and […] Ethiopia. And it's a very sensible crop. So it grows in these regions, because it likes very particular environmental parameters. In particular places like Costa Rica, we don't have a winter and a summer we just have like a really nice constant kind of temperature with a rainy season and a dry season.”

[9:38] “We're on track to […] lose 50% of the land where we grow coffee. […] The land is still going to be there, but it's just the conditions are not going to allow us to grow coffee. And even coffee producing leaders like Brazil, Brazil produces 40% of the world's coffee, [is] on track to lose 79% of their coffee production. […] So climate change is leading to problems in the supply chain of coffee, which affects price. So coffee is the most expensive that it's been in the last 10 years and [...] prices continue to increase.”

[10:28] “The current way that we produce coffee also contributes to climate change. So we use a lot of water and create a lot of carbon emissions in coffee production. One kilogram of coffee produces around 17 kilograms of CO2 equivalents. And to create one cup of coffee, we need 140 liters of water. So it's kind of a double edged problem where climate change is putting its future at risk and at the same time, the way that we produce it contributes towards climate change.”

[18:13] “For us [potential other products are] around the beverage world […] as well as things that are made in a similar way. The very obvious one for us is chocolate. So chocolate also comes from a plant, it's beans, it also has a lot of problems in terms of how it's being produced. […] [But] right now we're extremely focused on making the best coffee product that we can. And from there, we want to make the best coffee product lines that we can, and then we'll move on.”

[24:17] “A lot of the times coffee alternatives are equated to no caffeine, are equated to you liking the taste of coffee and you like a warm beverage in the morning, but you don't want to be caffeinated. Our coffee has caffeine. So we are going to build a new category which is not traditional coffee, and it's not coffee alternatives, but it's beanless coffee, which is coffee that it's made without the coffee plant, but has those flavors, that aroma, and that effect.”

Rating: 💧💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google (Original Title: "Startup Series: Compound Foods")
🕰️ 43 min | 🗓️ 03/10/2022
✅ Time saved: 41 min

Additional Links:
Join the My Climate Journey Community