Wake up and smell the smell of sustainable coffee produced in a Finnish laboratory WKZO | All Kalamazoo
HELSINKI (Reuters) – Climate change threatens traditional coffee growing
Finnish researchers say they have made coffee from cell cultures whose aroma and taste resemble the real thing.
VTT’s Finnish Technical Research Center may have come up with a more sustainable alternative to growing coffee beans by floating cell cultures in bioreactors filled with various ingredients for animal and plant-based products.
VTT researcher Heikki Aisala, who is responsible for evaluating the process, said that cups of cellular coffee are unlikely to pass standard taste tests yet, but they have a lot of potential for a multi-billion dollar global industry.
“Of course not 100%. It tastes like a combination of different types of coffee. We’re not there yet with a commercial variety, but it certainly resembles coffee at the moment,” Aisala said.
Heiko Rischer, Director of VTT’s research team, said that cell cultures grown in the laboratory provided a more sustainable way to make coffee, given that due to high demand, countries were using more and more land to grow coffee beans, leading to deforestation.
Rischer said the environmental benefits of laboratory-grown coffee included less use of pesticides and fertilizers and less need to supply coffee beans over long distances to the market.
In Europe, laboratory coffee should be approved as a novel food before being placed on the market.
But do discriminating coffee lovers drink it?
Satu, a barista in a Helsinki café, thinks so.
“I think one day we’re going in the same direction because all the natural sources of coffee are disappearing, so we have to move on… If it tastes good and the scent is coffee-based, then why not? I think it’s possible, ”he said.
(Reported by Attila Cser; Screenplay: Ilze Filks; Editor: Mark Heinrich)