Coffee is one of the most popular hot drinks globally, however, it comes with a lot of food waste. A 2016 Planet Ark study found that in Sydney alone, almost 2800 tonnes of coffee grounds are being sent to landfill. For us here at Life Cykel, that equals a lot of mushrooms that can be grown out of this waste! One of the reasons we so strongly believe in turning this waste into mushrooms, is that there’s still huge amounts of energy stored in this coffee waste. You need to understand: great amounts of time and energy are poured into going from growing the coffee bean to you drinking your cup of coffee in the morning. With less than 1% of the coffee bean actually ending up in your cup, the majority of the energy gone into the coffee making process remains in the coffee “waste”! So let’s take a step back and have a look at the big journey the coffee bean goes through so we can A) appreciate our coffee at deeper levels:) and B) understand why it is so important we don’t put this precious waste to waste. It’s time we started living this Circular Economy.
To get a good idea of what it entails to produce a cup of coffee, we harvested our homegrown coffee beans from the plant that grows in our backyard and went through all the processing steps. Of course, normally this is done on much larger scales using big machinery and quantities, still, it shows us how much is involved in the process.
So, here’s the fist step: harvesting the beans!
Onto the second step: peeling the outer red skin off. This will leave you with slippery and slimy beans, not very appealing!
These slippery beans need to be soaked in water overnight, then rinsed. This gets rid of the slimy layer. Then, they need to be dried:
And now for the most difficult part: peeling the white layer, that’s now hard and crispy after the drying. When doing this manually, there are several techniques for example, using the dough roller:
Or option B: getting the kids to do it:
And now,finally: the roasting! As you can see, there is a third, very thin layer that comes off during the roasting process:
There you have it, roasted coffee beans! To go into a coffee grinder, be coated with chocolate (yum…) or eaten just like that:
Thanks for joining us on the journey! As you have seen, it’s quite a lengthy process to go through. Very much a waste of resources to have only 1% end up in your coffee. But here’s the good news: all this energy input isn’t wasted, because: we can grow COFFEE MUSHROOMS out of the other 99%! This is why Life Cykel is excited to expand the National Mushroom Network and with each Shroom Room that goes up, some more coffee waste from around the country will be used for the positive by creating beautiful and delicious gourmet mushrooms. It’s the meeting of the Circular Economy and the Shared Economy, facilitating a true paradigm shift in waste management and food production.