Apr 29, 2024 - News

Greener coffee from Seattle startup Atomo

An shot of espresso beans ready to press.

Atomo's espresso grounds made from upcycled plant waste. Photo: Courtesy of Atomo Coffee

A Seattle-based startup is offering a sustainable "beanless espresso" as Americans' coffee consumption hits record highs and concerns about climate change grow.

Driving the news: Atomo's coffee product, made from plant waste, became available in several coffee shops across the U.S. on Earth Day.

  • In Seattle, you can try it at Heard Coffee on S. Jackson Street.

Why it matters: Coffee farming and shipping is linked to deforestation and high carbon emissions, and research suggests climate change could impact the global coffee supply.

How it works: Instead of coffee beans, Atomo Coffee uses millet, guava, fructose, date seeds, ramon seeds, pea protein, baking soda, sunflower seeds, lemon and fenugreek to get a coffee-like flavor.

  • Some of those ingredients would otherwise become plant waste, according to Atomo.
  • The company, which raised $50 million as of last year, claims its brews use 94% less water and 93% less carbon emissions than conventional coffee.

Don't worry, there's caffeine, which comes from green tea — 100 milligrams per double shot.

The intrigue: Atomo is one of the latest startups to try selling pricier foods and drinks with a "better for the environment" message.

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