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Coffee-related innovations brewing in Finland

Hands holding cups of ground coffee and water, pouring

VTT seeks to inspire the creation of an ecosystem that is able and ready to pioneer a new kind of coffee based on its cellular agriculture-based production process. Photo Vesa Kippola.

Lab-produced coffee and textile dye created from coffee grains are two recent innovations to emerge from Finland.

VTT  has unveiled the details of the production process of lab-grown coffee, starting with the establishment of coffee cell cultures, in a scientific article published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
The principal scientist and head of plant biotechnology at VTT, Heiko Rischer, wishes this article can nudge forward and pioneer an entirely new type of coffee.

The research team believes lab-grown coffee can address various challenges – from labour rights to land use, water use and other environmental considerations.
Lab-grown coffee also promises significant productivity improvements, with a new batch of coffee ready every month compared to once or twice a year with conventional methods.

“It’s one thing to grow coffee cells in a bioreactor. Making it a commercially viable product is a whole other matter,” Rischer reminded.

The dyes produced by Natural Indigo Finland have already been used by Finnish textile companies in their products. (Paulig)

Coffee waste makes natural dyes

Meanwhile, Paulig revealed that Natural Indigo Finland, a Helsinki-based startup, has begun producing natural dyes from ground coffee waste produced at its coffee roastery in Vuosaari, Helsinki. With an annual output of 60 million coffee packages across a product portfolio of 200, the roastery is one of the largest in Europe.

“It is great to see the side streams of our coffee production find a new purpose as raw material in a completely different industry,” said Kaisa Lipponen, head of communications and sustainability at Paulig.

Ranging from different shades of gold and brown all the way to blue, the dyes have already generated international interest and been used by textile companies in Finland, including Marimekko.  Marimekko and Natural Indigo have collaborated since 2019, thus helping in the wider use of natural dyes in the textile industry.

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VTT Scientists in Finland release the recipe for lab-grown coffee to accelerate the creation of a new coffee ecosystem

Proof of Concept for Cell Culture-Based Coffee Article

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