Local mission-led social enterprise I am Grounded is changing the way we process and devour coffee with the launch of its new Coffee Fruit Bar. If your typical daily experience extends no further than a cup or two of the good stuff, then your routine is about to get a shake-up. Typically considered a waste product, coffee fruit is the pulp between the outer skin and the parchment layer surrounding the bean, which is created during wet processing and often left to rot in large masses, leaching acidic toxins into river systems and harming flora and fauna. Around 21-billion kg of coffee pulp waste is produced annually. By upcycling the coffee fruit extract, you’re not only helping to lighten the impact of coffee processing on the planet, but also empowering Colombian micro-lot farmers to earn an additional revenue stream in a volatile industry. Each Coffee Fruit Bar contains 10 g of coffee fruit pulp – naturally high in polyphenols and resulting antioxidants – which is combined with other organic whole ingredients to create a gluten-free vegan treat with no added sugar and very little caffeine.
Co-founders Lachlan Powell and Vanessa Murillo have backgrounds in civil engineering and marketing/coffee small business respectively, bringing a love of processes, planning and the environment to their new venture. After learning about coffee sustainability from Vanessa’s father Mauricio Murillo, an international coffee judge, barista trainer, coffee business owner and food scientist, Vanessa and Lachlan started producing homemade raw treats last year using the coffee fruit extract collected by Mauricio on a trip to Colombia. After testing their creations on friends and colleagues, the pair began to create products in earnest at the Wandering Cooks commercial kitchen, in consultation with Taylor Hayes. I am Grounded has launched two bar flavours: Lemon and Coconut, and Cocoa and Nuts, which can be bought online in boxes of six or 10, or at the Rocklea markets on Saturday mornings. The local makers aim to continue championing eco-innovation and further close the loop in coffee production, with plans to expand their usage of coffee fruit into a line of kombuchas and fermented drinks, skin care and natural cosmetics.