59% of America’s adults are drinking coffee every day, according to the 2015 report by the National Coffee Association (NCA), with 71% enjoying at least one cup every week. An Accounting Principals’ survey found that coffee drinkers spent an average of $1,092 a year. Starbucks features over thirty espresso concoctions in its online menu. The NCA declared that coffee is second only to water as the country’s go-to drink. But would America bake with it?
That’s what Dan Belliveau, founder of Coffee Flour, is banking on. And he doesn’t mean traditional coffee cake, or adding the odd shot of instant espresso into a recipe for extra zest. His company’s eponymous product is milled not from the well-known “bean,” but from the coffea plant’s berry, from which the bean is extracted. The unused fruit pulp was often dumped in water sources, causing heavy contamination. Belliveau saw both a business and humanitarian opportunity in this: “What if we dried it and ground it up and made a food out of it?”
With Coffee Flour gearing up for a 2015 release, the question remains of just how viable a foodstuff it is. The touted nutritional benefits are impressive; the site claims the gluten-free flour possesses five times the fiber of whole wheat and three times the protein of kale, among other things. But how does it taste? Jason Wilson, award-winning owner of the restaurant “Crush” in Seattle, has been one of the early experimenters. He described the flour’s presence as “smoky, roasty, very fruity,” and that when mixed with other ingredients enhanced their flavors. However, much like coconut flour (another fruit-milled baking ingredient) it proved highly absorbent, leading in one instance to “terribly brittle and dry” pasta when used alone. It seemed to work best when mixed with other flours.
The potential of this cleverly-sourced commodity is huge; piggybacking on the success of coffee requires little additional effort. Still, its tricky baking nature could prove a hurdle to quick kitchen adoption. As such, Belliveau is currently coordinating with established chefs and companies before rolling out to the general public. If all goes well, coffee may wind up both in one’s mug and break-time treat, too.