Innovation

Coffee Waste May Become More Valuable Than Coffee Itself

by Maya Kachroo-Levine

June 5, 2018

The price of coffee has reached new lows.

While you might not see it reflected when you buy your morning coffee, the price dip is certainly felt by the farmers selling coffee to your local cafe.

Aida Batlle, a coffee farmer in El Salvador, is selling her coffee beans for their lowest price in two years. She told Bloomberg that she is selling coffee for about $1.20 a pound now, mainly because of an oversupply of Arabica beans.

Though this makes it harder to turn a profit as a coffee farmer, there’s another coffee product on the market that sells for much more than coffee beans. And up until recently, most coffee farmers had been throwing it out or using it as compost.

It’s cascara, the coffee husks that encase the beans.  

Coffee shops – including Starbucks and Blue Bottle – have recently started using cascara coffee husks in carbonated beverages and coffee drinks. The demand has helped farmers like Batlle, who are able to sell the cascara husks for around $7 per pound.

Recycling coffee husks for a higher profit than the beans is a big win for the environment because farms are able to reuse these natural resources. And it’s a financial victory for the farmers selling cascara.

And for consumers, cascara drinks offer a delicious and sustainable culinary victory. 

Share photo by Chevanon Photography/Pexels.

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Coffee Waste May Become More Valuable Than Coffee Itself