Kaffe Bueno on unleashing coffee's full potential
When we brew a cup, we tap only 1% of coffee's full potential. Kaffe Bueno is here to change that. They're upcycling coffee grounds into new ingredients for the cosmetic industry.
Coffee is a filled with bioactive compounds that are beneficial for our health and well being, but when you or I brew a cup we tap less than 1% of the plant’s full potential. The rest we throw away in the coffee grounds. That’s where Kaffe Bueno comes in. They are a bioscience company upcycling coffee grounds into ingredients for the cosmetic, nutraceutical, and functional food and beverage industry. In this episode, I speak with Alejandro Franco, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Kaffe Bueno. We talk about their startup journey, how we can unlock food waste to create high value products, and what it means to design a circular business model.
This episode was brought to you by Danish Technological Institute. Their experts have extensive knowledge within product development and market evaluation of food. You can use their technological facilities for upcycling, circular economy, and much more. They work with clients all around the world to transform ideas into business through technology and innovation. If you have an idea you want to get off the ground, consider partnering with them. You can learn more at www.dti.dk.
I just got back from Lisbon where I was the Master of Ceremony for EIT Food’s Venture Summit. EIT Food is co-funded by the EU and supports collaboration between the startups, corporations, and investors that are transforming the food system across the different member states. I learned a ton about what’s happening across the EU when it comes to the future of food. Read my key takeaways from the event here.
PS: My travel tips for Lisbon and Porto are live for paid subscribers. If you are considering a trip to Portugal, I share my tips for restaurants and experiences that are off the beaten path. Check it out here.
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Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech Podcast Host 01:54
So hello, Alejandro, and welcome to the Nordic FoodTech Podcast. Maybe we can start with your backstory.
Alejandro Franco, Kaffe Bueno 02:01
Yeah, I come from Colombia, the same as my two co-founders, Juan and Camilo. About nine years ago, we moved to London to do our Bachelor's in Business. And we had this idea. We upcycle spent coffee grounds and other coffee by products into ingredients for cosmetics, nutraceuticals, and functional foods.
Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech Podcast Host 02:25
And you said you were at business school and then got that idea, which is pretty high-tech stuff. How did it come about? Were you doing a class project or what happened?
Alejandro Franco, Kaffe Bueno 02:36
Throughout our studies, most of our friends were from Scandinavia, mostly from Sweden. And then we realized how different the perception of the same thing is: coffee. They saw it as a caffeinated beverage. For us, coffee was much more than that. Because growing up in Colombia as a kid, if you fall down and get a wound, the chances of you getting coffee grounds on top of that wound are pretty high.
Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech Podcast Host 02:58
Alejandro Franco, Kaffe Bueno 02:59
Yeah, your grandmother would put some coffee grounds and you think she's crazy. But it helped reduce the inflammation and we didn't realize that until in London when we were older. At the same time, starting in London and living in London made us realize two things: One, how wasteful the coffee value chain is. When you make a cup of coffee, all those coffee grounds end up in the trash. What happens with those coffee grounds? And two, how can a coffee shop owner in London or Copenhagen can run a business while the people who we owe the existence of coffee, the farmers, cannot even cover their costs? So we thought it was pretty fucked up. And we started looking into it.