Coffee production is no longer what it was thanks to innovative growers and brave farmers. Coffee can now be grown using methods that promote biodiversity in fields, plantations and forests, while also ensuring that farmers earn more.
David Benitez is one of these coffee pioneers. The young agroecologist from Honduras studied the holistic cultivation techniques used by his indigenous ancestors, and found ways to combine these with modern permaculture methods. David now trains other coffee producers. Teaching farmers has huge potential, as 80% of coffee worldwide is still grown by small farmers. By changing the coffee growing methods they use, these small farmers could actually help fight climate change, while increasing their income.
The start-up “The Coffee Cherry Company” is also helping coffee producers be able to live more comfortably off the fruits of their labor – literally. To make coffee beans only the seeds of coffee cherries are roasted. The pulp of the fruit usually gets discarded. But this company buys this byproduct, and turns it into coffee flour. This healthy and tasty ingredient can be used in cakes, bread and pasta, and has already been dubbed “the new superfood” in the US. It’s a win-win-model, which provides coffee farmers with another source of income, while also protecting the environment and benefitting consumers.
Another long-forgotten plant that has been re-discovered are lupines. The flowering plant is native to Germany and is already being used as a base ingredient for tofu and yoghurt alternatives. But this brightly blooming legume has even more to offer, as its beans can also be roasted and brewed. Family Klein has developed their very own stomach-friendly coffee creation, called Lupino. The family has been growing lupines on their organic farm for years, and delivers the lupine coffee to customers across Europe. Thanks to short transport routes and production that consumes less water, Lupino is a climate-friendly alternative to coffee.
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