For every byproduct of coffee production that could potentially become waste, there are a handful of innovative—and often delicious—alternative uses that help turn trash into treasure. Chaff has been made into everything from an ice cream topper to coffee cups to car parts. Wastewater from washing coffee has been used to create electricity (and cleansed of contaminants in the process). And then there’s the coffee cherry, the original repurposed byproduct. Most frequently seen as cascara, the fruit of the coffee cherry that has seen entire coffee bars created to highlight its versatility.
And now it’s found another home: in your snack bars. Now on Kickstarter, Brisbane-based I Am Grounded are turning otherwise discarded coffee cherries into soy- and gluten-free, plant-based snack bars.
Per the Kickstarter, the approximately 20 billion kilos (44 billion pounds) of coffee fruit wasted each year accounts for .2% of the world’s CO2 emissions, amounting roughly 57kg (125lb) of waste per coffee drinker per year. That’s where I Am Grounded comes in. Upcycling the coffee cherry at a click of 70g per bar, the company is offering a delicious way to put a dent in the amount of waste produced. All the coffee cherries used in their Coffee Fruit Bars are sourced “directly from micro-lot farms in Colombia.”
I Am Grounded’s superfood bars currently come in two flavors—Espresso Peanut Butter and Lemon and Coconut—and are available at over 20 stockists around Australia. With the Kickstarter, the company is looking to increase the scale of their production (and their impact) and make a few key improvements. All the packaging for the Coffee Fruit Bars will be getting a facelift and will now be made of home-compostable materials. There will also be a few ingredient updates; peanut butter will be replaced with tahini to cut down on the allergen risk and cocoa butter is being removed to decrease the calorie count.
Currently, the Kickstarter is a little under halfway to their AU$16,000 ($10,433 USD) goal with three weeks remaining. If the campaign reaches the $30,000 stretch goal, I Am Grounded will release a brand new flavor: Cocoa and Almond Butter. Would-be backers looking to try the Coffee Fruit Bars for themselves can score a six-pack box for as little as AU$25 ($17 USD). For more information or to back the campaign, visit I Am Grounded's Kickstarter page.
There certainly are less delicious ways to counteract the 57kg of coffee cherry waste you produce every year.
All images via I Am Grounded