Disrupting Change in Coffee

One Coffee Fruit at a Time.

Each year, millions of coffee drinkers enjoy their coffees without knowing the waste issue in coffee production.  

On a global scale, the coffee industry produces over 10 billion kilos of coffee waste annually. This represents an astounding 0.2% of the worlds CO2 emissions. So, what is the real driver behind this waste crisis and who is pioneering change in inefficient coffee processing?  

To start, at least 80% of the coffee fruit is wasted during processing. This staggering amount of coffee fruit waste has serious consequences for farmers and their communities.

The coffee fruit is often left to build up and rot in large masses, leaching harmful toxins into the surrounding environment and aquatic ecosystems . Furthermore, many coffee farmers are now having to pay large waste management fee’s to the government to remove the unused coffee fruit from their land. In our travels to the Colombian coffee farming triangle, we saw first hand the sheer amount of wasted coffee fruit.

The waste issue is so big, we need to establish by-products from the coffee fruit waste, in order for coffee farmers to grow sustainably

Diego, coffee farmer, Colombia

Coffee is actually a fruit.

Yes, it really is.

As can be seen in the image below, the two coffee seeds (bean) only represent a tiny portion of the overall coffee fruit, the rest is treated as waste. 

The Mucilage (Pulp), Parchment, Outer Skin (Cascara), are becoming the stepping stones of the 4th wave of coffee to those with an entrepreneurial mindset.

The Whole Coffee Fruit

An industry in dire need of a shake-up.

The coffee waste crisis is an issue that has kept us awake and brainstorming for many a night.

In today’s modern society, traditional agricultural industries are frequently the subject of major disruptions. The coffee industry as a whole has a projected market size of $102 Billion USD by 2023, with over 2 billion cups of coffee consumed each and every day 

The inefficiency’s in current coffee processing should represent a bright neon ‘disrupt me’ sign for the innovative entrepreneur.

The fundamental issue however, is that the end consumer is left seeing only the finished black or milk morning coffee. The lack of transparency in coffee processing and consumer knowledge of the process from bean to cup means that consumers are none the wiser about the red outer fruit and where it has ended up!  

The challenge as you may have guessed, lies in education.

Up until 5 years ago, the there was nearly no access to information about the usage of the coffee fruit outside of some academic journals. Startup’s rising to the coffee waste challenge, need to lead with education at the forefront of their marketing. The consumer must be put into the shoes of the coffee farmer who is trying to make a living while suffering under the rotting mass of coffee fruit pulp on their land.

Industry adoption for coffee by-products must be simultaneously driven by coffee importers, roasters and baristas. Those with influence in the industry should be eager to adopt the new innovations. Leaders will evolve from those ready to adopt the change in the growing landscape.

 HuskeeCup create beautifully designed coffee cups from the upcycled husk. 


Caskai is a refreshing sparkling soda made with Cascara.

The Coffee Cherry Co. take the upcycled coffee fruit pulp to make nutritionally rich Coffee Flours, Powders and Dried Fruit.

Coffee fruit…the next SUPERFOOD!

Did I mention the coffee fruit is incredibly good for you!

The coffee fruit is jam packed full of antioxidants and other health benefits, such as boosting your immune system, fighting free radicals in the body, lowering inflammation and muscle damage and much, much more. 

The coffee fruit is actually higher in antioxidants then its berry counterparts; acai and blueberries.

Early studies further show that the coffee fruit actually helps contribute to your bodies BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor), a protein essential for maintaining health cognition and other brain-related processes such as mood and sleep. Although early days, this research is very exciting when considering that the brains supply of BDNF protects it against mental illness, including depression and dementia.

Coffee fruit extract made from the mucilage of coffee and used in our coffee fruit bars. 

The end product- lemon and coconut next to its wrapper

The change starts with you.

Solving the coffee fruit waste crisis starts with you. Yes you.

Next time you are ordering your long black from the local café, try to visualise the bigger picture behind the drink. Innovative disrupters and change agents will soon rise with the message of coffee being more than a seed, however it will come down to the consumer. It is the ground up approach from the everyday consumer adopting these coffee by-products, that will ultimately change the industry.

When you see a new innovative coffee by-product such as the Coffee Fruit Bar, HuskeeCupCoffeeFlour or Cascara Soda, have an open mind and give it a try. Each and every purchase impacts on a global issue. Contribution Through Consumption.  

Remember the message; Coffee Is a Fruit.

Your mind-full bites. 


Lachlan Powell  
Founder of Coffee Fruit bar.