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Teaming up with natural microorganisms to revolutionize coffee
An exceptional coffee crafted by teaming up with natural microorganisms to take its flavor to the next level
An exceptional coffee crafted by teaming up with natural microorganisms to take its flavor to the next level
894 backers pledged $51,714 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Cultured Coffee: Reinventing Coffee

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Cultured coffee is an incredible coffee that has gone through a pioneering natural and controlled secondary fermentation process to take its flavor to the next level. The resulting cup is unlike anything else: extremely low bitterness with shining fruity, floral, and chocolaty notes.

The real breakthrough behind our Cultured Coffee is the use of natural controlled fermentations just before roasting to craft its incredible flavor profile. It's unlike anything else. The fermentation process is used to precisely chew-away undesirable coffee flavor molecules while adding interesting ones. 

The process consists of five steps: 

  • Understanding the chemistry of coffee flavor and identifying which flavor precursors to remove or add.
  • Selecting natural and safe microorganisms to do the job.
  • Fermenting the green coffee beans.
  • Roasting the beans, which also sterilizes them.
  • Brewing and enjoying an awesome cup of Cultured Coffee. (Your job!)

A glimpse at the fermentation process:

Fermentation has been used for thousands of years to make better, more delicious food, including wine, cheese, beer. Fermentations are also traditionally used for coffee in some region of the world. In the "washed process", the coffee berries is left fermenting in water to get rid of the fruit layers. 

We take this to the next level, by (1) directly fermenting the processed green beans instead of the berries to have much more leverage on the flavor precursors and (2) by doing the fermentations with specific micro-organisms chosen for their capacity to chew away or add specific flavor molecules.

A glimpse at roasting:

We’re collaborating with Pulley Collective, a world class artisanal roasting facility here in Brooklyn, to bring you the best possible roasting. The roasting profiles are precisely tailored to highlight our Cultured Coffee. 

A glimpse at the science:

Our Cultured Coffee is the result of many months of research and development. To craft and refine the best flavor profile we've used traditional cupping and sensory analyses, but we've also been applying cutting-edge scientific tools to objectively understand the enhancements we are making with fermentation at the molecular level. 

For example, below is a overview of the sugar profile of our Cultured Coffee (in red) and the same beans but unfermented (in black). Each peak on this graph corresponds to a specific sugar. You can see how much of a change we are able to make.

Unique sugar profile of Cultured Coffee vs control (HPAEC)
Unique sugar profile of Cultured Coffee vs control (HPAEC)

From using liquid and gas chromatography all the way to electron microscopy one can say we have a pretty intimate knowledge of our Cultured Coffee! 

For the curious, we have recently published part of our research on using fancy chromatography equipment (HPLC) to precisely characterize coffee in a peer reviewed paper. See here!

                                                  

Brewing your Cultured Coffee

There is no one single best technique for brewing coffee! The method you choose should just be based on your personal preferences and feelings. A comforting mug of coffee for breakfast, a nice afternoon cappuccino or a fancy pour-over? Well, you can do it all with Cultured Coffee, and it will always result in an incredible experience. 

Little tips: 

  • Need to gear up? Here are some of the most popular brewing devices to best enjoy your cup of Cultured Coffee: Chemex; Aeropress; V60
  • On the back of our pack we included a nice little guide so you always know the best amount of coffee, water, and brewing time for whichever technique you choose. 

Ground vs. whole bean Cultured Coffee - you will get the choice!

You will get the choice after the end of the campaign whether you want your Cultured Coffee ground or whole bean. No worries! That being said, to enjoy it to its fullest we do recommend that you grind your own beans just before brewing.

The whole point of grinding coffee is to get the delicious flavor components and oils trapped within the bean into your cup by extracting them with hot water. These fragile flavor components are pretty sensitive to oxygen and moisture, and it's best to only expose them through grinding just before brewing. Another advantage to grinding your own beans is that you get to choose and adapt your grind size to the brewing method you are using.

If you want to learn more about grinding, have a look at this short New York Times article. If you want to invest in a grinder, we recommend this manual one (the Hario ceramic mill) or this electric one (the Baratza encore).

Cultured Coffee vs. Kopi Luwak

Kopi luwak (or civet coffee), refers to a very specific coffee that is eaten by a small animal in Indonesia, partially fermented in its digestive tract, defecated, washed, and roasted. Yes, it’s pretty gross but has become the most expensive coffee in the world at up to $2000 per pound.

This gold rush towards kopi luwak has had the consequence that most of the production comes from caged animals forced fed mediocre coffee beans. While the fermentation process has been shown to reduce bitterness (Marcone, 2004), overall the great majority of kopi luwak is, let’s say it, very bad coffee.

Afineur Cultured Coffee goes well beyond kopi luwak. By controlling and fine-tuning the fermentations which are done in clean and safe bioreactors we are able to uncover unique exceptional flavor landscapes that go well beyond anything kopi luwak can offer. An incredible cup and a truly high-end experience for a fraction of the price.

How do I learn more about coffee?

This is an easy one. We can't recommend enough James Hoffmann's new book The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing - Coffees Explored, Explained and Enjoyed. You will discover everything from the world's most vibrant coffee-growing regions, to extensive step-by-step brewing tutorials. Happy readings!

Can I brew Cultured Coffee with my Nespresso or Keurig machine?

Absolutely! There are now a number of refillable pods compatible with these machines that can be used to brew Cultured Coffee. For Nespresso we recommend the Capsul'in pod and for Keurig the Ekobrew K-cup. Enjoy!

Where do we find you on social media? 

Here's our link to our Facebook page and Twitter profile. Follow-us, we often share exclusive updates and insiders look. Also don't hesitate to reach out to us!

Our fantastic advisors:

 And our amazing friends and partners:

Risks and challenges

Forecasting Risk

If all goes well during the campaign, we'll finish up with a gigaton of Cultured Coffee in order ;) Of course we're trying our hardest to predict our future demand and plan accordingly, but it's far from an exact science. While we’ve set up a robust network of awesome partners to help us meet whatever demand we will face, our forecasting capabilities aren't the same as what you might expect from a big company.

We've worked hard to understand the production and fulfilment of Cultured Coffee for what will (hopefully!) be a successful campaign. We've tried to think of everything from sourcing the best beans all the way to fermenting, roasting and getting fresh bags to your door steps. But despite our best efforts, we're sure to run into some roadblocks. We'll deal with them the way we always do: lots of Trello boards, tons of emails and phone calls and a bunch of hard work. We're confident that we've set ourselves reasonable goals and have laid the foundation for something really great.

Food regulation

We’re taking food safety and regulations very seriously. We’ve been actively engaging with FDA to discuss our process and the different innovations we are bringing to the coffee world. We anticipate the regulatory path to commercialization to be straightforward and quick. We only work with safe, natural, characterized and non-genetically modified microorganisms for our fermentations. Moreover, the beans are sterilized during roasting. During production we will comply with the strictest manufacturing guidelines to bring you the best product. We don’t anticipate any changes in the food regulation to affect the project, but it is always a possibility, which could delay the shipping if we have to get the process approved.

Acts of Nature (and of New Yorkers)

We're based in Brooklyn. That means a major hurricane is always a possibility. Or a very early and harsh winter. Or we could have a massive spur-of-the-moment crepe party involving awesome cultured coffee, local craft beers, cheeses, and many people passionate about making better more sustainable food. Whatever happens, we'll get through it together. We promise.

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    THE ART & SCIENCE OF CULTURED COFFEE!
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Funding period

- (34 days)