Start-up company CF Global turns invention into the grounds for a new market
The team behind Coffee Flour™ saw a long-standing problem in need of a solution and invented a process for turning the unvalued coffee cherry pulp cast off in the harvest of coffee beans into nutritious and tasty flour.
Coffee is the second most traded product in the world after petroleum
12 billion pounds of coffee beans are consumed annually across the globe. That's roughly equal to 1.5 Great Pyramids in Egypt!
11 million hectares of the world's farmland—equivalent to the combined area of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island—are dedicated to coffee cultivation
45 billion pounds of unused coffee cherry skins and pulp a year would circle the Earth 6,645 times
Changing the world of coffee forever
It can take 3-4 years for a coffee tree to begin bearing fruit. When the coffee cherry turns a bright red, it is ripe and ready to harvest by machine or by hand. A good hand picker can average between 100-200 pounds of coffee cherry a day.
Small-scale farmers, who make up 75% of coffee production around the globe, dry the cherries in the sun which may take up to several weeks. As the cherries dry, coffee workers rake or turn the cherries for even drying.
Machines are used to separate the coffee beans from the cherry skins, pulp, and pectin. The beans are sorted, bagged, and exported. CF Global goes on to mill the previously unvalued cherry pulp to create gluten-free, high-fiber flour.
The end consumer product, Coffee Flour, is being used by chefs such as Jason Wilson at his Seattle-based restaurants Crush and Miller's Guild. Soon, global baked goods companies will begin using Coffee Flour to fortify wheat, corn, soy, and other commodity flours.
Coffee Flour inventor turned CF Global executive, Dan Belliveau, envisioned the creation of a new billion-dollar market and invented a patent-pending process for converting a global agricultural byproduct into a food ingredient. But he couldn't make it happen all by himself.
Dan called upon a former colleague, now working at Intellectual Ventures (IV), to discuss the possibilities. IV saw tremendous potential in the endeavor, so much so that we invested capital and expertise into the venture to help validate the business case; including activating our network of inventors, scientific testing of the ingredients, and product prototyping and testing.
Excited by the prospects, IV paid for and managed the patenting process for the Coffee Flour inventions. Simultaneously, some of the most important and influential coffee growers and traders in the world became investors and business partners—including ECOM and Mercon—making it possible to form the company CF Global Holdings, Inc.
The future looks bright, and collectively we have confidence that Coffee Flour will be well received by major food and beverage and baked-goods companies, eventually hitting consumer shelves in 2015. Until then, local Seattle chefs like Jason Wilson are already integrating Coffee Flour into their recipes and making customers happy.