For more than one, that cup (or cups) of coffee in the morning is a pleasure that they cannot give up, either for its flavor or for that much-needed boost of energy to face the day. A habit threatened by climate change, partly a consequence of the increase in demand for coffee and the expansion of massive deforestation to respond to it. A vicious circle that can now be overcome thanks to science , which has managed to grow sustainable coffee from plant cells in bioreactors.
To produce the laboratory coffee, the group of researchers at the Finnish VTT Technical Research Center is using cell cultures floating in bioreactors filled with nutrient medium to produce various products of animal and plant origin. A process similar to that of producing fake meat, although much simpler and therefore cheaper .
According to the center’s statement, their lab coffee smells and tastes like conventional coffee . Your taste buds will have to be trusted until it gets regulatory approval from the FDA to be marketed in the United States and approved as a novel food in Europe, which will take about four years.
They also ensure that this project is part of a broader strategy aimed at solving, through science, the greatest challenges in the world. Given the weight of agriculture in the fight against climate change, cellular agriculture is postulated as one of the routes towards a more sustainable food production .
In 2021, some of the largest coffee exporters in the world, Brazil, Colombia and Vietnam, have been affected by waves of polar cold, political protests and stoppages as a result of the pandemic . All this has caused the cost of grain to increase by more than 50% .
Other raw materials have also seen their production costs skyrocket globally. In the case of sugar, the decline in production, the increase in demand for imports from Asia, the crisis in Cuba (one of the main producers in the world) and the strengthening of the Brazilian currency (the main exporter of this raw material ), have made their value in the financial markets more expensive by 13% .
For its part, wheat has increased its value by 13% and is putting farmers who feed their heads with this raw material in a bind, as it represents 70% of the costs of the sector.