Every year, billions of kilogrammes of coffee cherry fruit, a by-product of coffee production, are being discarded.
Making an effort to stop these cherries from rotting in heaps or being dumped into rivers, where they leak poisonous toxins into the environment, is CoffeeFlour.
According to Sustainia 100, a publication that compiles an annual list of 100 innovative ideas, the US-based company converts cherry pulp into a nutrient-dense product that can be used to make breads, sauces and a variety of drinks.
Since coffee cherry can be harvested year-round, the company is offering farmers the chance to earn a consistent source of income, rather than one annual pay cheque.
CoffeeFlour is hoping to address problems of food security and local pollution by diverting waste coffee cherries from rivers and directing them instead to the dinner table.
The company is so far converting waste into flour in Hawaii, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Vietnam.
The firm says its product, per gramme, contains more iron than spinach, more fibre than whole grain wheat flour, less fat and more fibre than coconut flour, more potassium than a banana, and has significant antioxidant properties and protein levels.
It also does not taste like coffee, but rather “expresses more floral, citrus and roasted fruit notes”, which means it can be added to breads, cookies, muffins, brownies, pastas, sauces, smoothies, and so on.
Coffee flour is an ultra-fine grind that is most like cocoa powder. It contains a small amount of caffeine, approximately what would be in dark chocolate. CoffeeFlour sells its product online at about Sh950 for a 500-gramme bag.
Is this an idea that would work in Kenya? We asked, Maina Karuiru, a horticultural expert, to weigh in (top).