Cuffea, a cup from Coffea (flowering plants that give coffee) is the world’s first beverage cup entirely made out of used coffee grounds and the juicy fruit of coffee plant often called as Coffee Cherry in which our beloved coffee bean lives naturally. Cuffea is designed for the users who love to drink beverages in a cup that can give them a sense of ownership, pride and responsibility towards environment.
There are over 120 species of Coffea, and the two most popular among us are Coffea arabica, which accounts for 60–80% of the world's coffee production, and Coffea canephora (Robusta), which accounts for about 20-40%. These two species of Coffee plants are now cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent, and Africa.
Every year billions of these beans are making their way into our beverages, but the surrounding fruit and the used coffee grounds are often dumped as waste. Also, in about 5-10% of any crop of coffee cherries, only a single bean is found called as peaberry which is smaller and rounder than normal coffee bean. These are often removed from the yield and either sold separately or simply discarded.
While used coffee grounds are a proven substrate material for the cultivation of oyster mushroom, compost for acid loving plants like blueberries, homemade air fresheners, body soap scrubs, industrial biogas production and wastewater treatment, we find that these are rich in lignocellulose and valuable bioactives which on further grounding with a certain degree of uniformity gives a stable substrate layer in our Cuffea cup structure.
The dried coffee bean is only less than 20% of the weight of a ripe coffee cherry. The rest is outer skin, pulp, mucilage, parchment, silver skin and water which are edible and being used in our beverages in the form of herbal drinks often known as the poor man's coffee, the coffee of the Army, Cáscara tea, Cáscara latte and so on. But apart from these traditional and new cáscara-based drinks made at small-scale, the coffee fruit is usually a wasted byproduct of coffee production process.
We realized that the coffee cherry is high in polysaccharide, antioxidants, polyphenol compounds such as proanthocyanidins, chlorogenic acid, quinic acid, ferulic acid and caffeic acid, which makes it an ideal choice to combine with our substrate layer to give the much-needed binding and temperature resistant fluid barrier functions in our Cuffea cup structure.
Our Cuffea cup is made out of three layers. The middle substrate layer is from the used coffee grounds, while the inner and the outer layers are from the coffee cherry. All these materials meet the health and safety standards of food-service industry.