Well, good morning! At least it’s morning as I write this. If you’re reading this at another time of day, I hope your day has been manageable at the least and amazing at best. Sunshine and spring always make me nearly giddy with anticipation of summer months ahead. So even though there are lots of terrible things happening in the world, I try to keep a positive attitude about life in general. How about you? I appreciate the time you take to read my blog. I always think of what might be of best interest to the most readers. However, this week, as I looked into the prime topics of the Global Food Innovation Summit 2017 held a couple of weeks ago, I have to admit this week may seem all about my interest in coffee. 

The Global Food Innovation Summit 2017 in Milan took a serious look at food waste and innovations to stem food waste. I think that composting is great, but hey, falsely creating the food we don’t need, only to throw it away, is not being good stewards of our resources. So when I saw coffee flour highlighted at the summit as a means of reducing food waste, it got my attention.

In our home, we are working toward eliminating wheat products. So far we have incorporated coconut flours and almond flour, and that’s working out pretty well. For Maine, neither of these sources fits the usual consideration of sourcing “local,” but I’ve always considered sourcing local isn’t about miles. It’s about the environment, justice, and retreat. So with these ideas in mind, I set out to learn about coffee flour. It turns out it’s not too hard to find and not too tricky with which to work. Will it replace wheat tablespoon for tablespoon? No, but it does add depth to baked goods and greatly reduces coffee industry waste, with the propensity to build thriving, sustainable communities.

Coffee beans are seeds of the coffee plant. They are in the center of the red or purple fruit and often referred to as a cherry. This surrounding fruit of the seed has historically been discarded into river systems or left somewhere to decompose into compost or about 10 – 15% used as fertilizer.

Dan Belliveau, founder, and CEO of Coffee Flour developed an agricultural, innovative process of milling the dried coffee cherry. This process has turned this formerly wasted part of the coffee plant into a product that creates sustainable jobs; alleviates botanical waste in the river systems; and a new revenue stream for developing countries. Currently, coffee flour production is in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, Vietnam, and Hawaii, with plans for expansion into Africa and India.

Coffee flour doesn’t taste like coffee. In the limited amount of baking I did with it last week, I discovered it has a robust, roasted fruit, nutty flavor. Upon adding it to my cheesecake crust recipe, I was pleasantly surprised with the jazzy results.

Nutrition facts:

  • One tablespoon of flour adds 6.5 g of carbohydrate, offset by 5.2 g. fiber; 1.5g protein and a whopping 13% daily requirement of iron.

Put in perspective to other foods, per gram coffee flour has more iron than spinach; more fiber than wheat; less fat than coconut flour; and more protein than kale. It is gluten free, vegan, kosher, and non-GMO.

Coffee flour comes in two grinds – fine and powder. The powder version reminds me of cocoa. I snagged some baking tips from Coffee Flour’s website. Check out suggested recipes while you’re there.

  • Use in conjunction with other flours. Begin with 10% – 25% substitution.
  • For adequate moisture distribution, sift flours together before incorporating into a recipe.
  • To add moisture, use brown sugar instead of white. As a fibrous product, it readily absorbs moisture.
  • Coffee flour is soluble, making it a useful ingredient in beverages.
  • The company suggests using Guar Gum or Xanthan Gum as a binder for gluten free baking. If gluten free isn’t a concern, experiment with adding gluten powder.
  • Use in making a roux for sauces.
  • Baked goods will appear darker, so don’t be fooled into removing baked goods early.
  • As with nearly any baking, salt adds enhancement to the coffee flour flavor.
  • Use fruit juice or broth to increase hydration and add another layer of flavor to the culinary creation.
  • A few ideas for incorporating it into baking and cooking include chocolate, baked goods, sauces, and beverages.
  • Coffee flour adds a small amount of caffeine, however, because of its high fiber content, it doesn’t cause the typical caffeine crash.

I’m always looking for innovating ways to cut foodwaste. How about you? Looks like Coffee Flour has hit this one right out of the park!