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Recycling of coffee grounds: the first beer is born in Singapore

Fermentation was possible thanks to the action of yeasts on hydrolysates created with the recycling of coffee grounds

(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore discovered a way to produce an alcoholic beverage by recycling coffee grounds. Professor Liu Shao Quan of the Department of Food Science and Technology of the Asian University led the study, published in Food Research International.

The idea could give a new commercial outlet to the growing amount of waste generated by coffee consumption. Although they can find a second life thanks to the disposal of organic, coffee grounds often end up in landfills. According to a 2019 study, we produce an enormous amount, amounting to 15 million tons a year globally.

There is therefore a massive amount of second-potential raw material to be used not only in creative applications but with a concrete economic impact. We recently told of an experiment that mixed coffee grounds and cement, creating a more stable and efficient building material. This time from the laboratories of scientists emerged another interesting idea. To create this alcoholic beverage, the researchers in Singapore first made hydrolysates of coffee grounds, then they fermented them using a mixture of microorganisms such as yeasts. Yeast is important to give taste and aroma to the final product, affecting the chemical composition and quality of drinks.

Yeasts and bacteria for the first “recycled beer”

The team, who traditionally work with Saccharomyces bacteria, has explored the use of other microorganisms, such as lactic acid bacteria, to improve the smell and taste of this “coffee beer”. Fermentation took place thanks to a mixture composed of yeast (Lachancea thermotolerance) and a lactic acid bacterium (Lactiplantibacillus plantarum), obtaining a pleasant taste. From here, several prototypes of alcoholic beverages derived from the recycling of coffee grounds were developed, all with different aromatic profiles. Some retained the original aroma, others did not. All, however, scientists point out, preserved compounds known for their health benefits, such as alkaloids and phenolic acids. Now all that’s left is the nine: what will consumers think? We will know if and when some major brands will bet on Singapore’s innovation to produce the first beer from the coffee grounds.

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