Move over meatless meat, beanless coffee is ready to take the food innovation crown.
Soon enough, you may be able to add oat milk to your sustainably-produced molecular coffee. Thanks to a $2.6 million funding round from Horizon Ventures, an early investor of Impossible Foods, Seattle-based Atomo wants to make that cup of java alternative a reality.
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Atomo co-founders Andy Kleitsch and Jarret Stopforth set out to develop the molecular caffeine with a successful Kickstarter earlier this year. The duo’s goal is to produce a great taste and buzz while reducing the environmental impact that comes with farming coffee beans.
“The coffee industry is ripe for innovation and change,” said Stopforth, Atomo’s chief scientist, in the announcement. “The acceptance of agriculture alternatives has been proven with meatless meats and dairy-free milks, we want to continue that movement in a category we feel passionate about, coffee.”
With oncoming threats to the industry from climate change, the mission is to create a sustainable coffee that’s made to last. “We will be a coffee that is around for the next 100 years,” Stopforth told Observer.
Because bean farming and sourcing would be omitted from the process, the Atomo team expects that mass roasting of molecular coffee will benefit both producers and consumers. Eventually, the cost cutting could be passed onto customers, making artisanal coffee more affordable in the future.
“Instead of coffee bean farming, we are sourcing as many ingredients from upcycled natural products to help reduce cost and waste within the supply chain,” Stopforth explained. CEO Kleitsch went on to say that Atomo “plans to bring a premium coffee to market that is an accessible price to all coffee lovers.”
The launch of the Seattle startup is part of a burgeoning coffee disruption scene in the city, which is already known for its historically rich coffee culture (i.e. Starbucks). Atomo joins Seattle coffee startups like Blockchain-powered Onda Origins and subscription service Bean Box.
“Seattle is not only a coffee city but a tech hub,” Kleitsch said. “We look forward to bridging the two industries and the opportunity to continue innovating together is really what gets us excited.”
He went on to stress that the company isn’t here “to take over the coffee industry, but to become a sustainable partner for future growth.”
Atomo is currently on track to deliver its coffee to the public by 2020.