The Coffee Brands That Made TIME's 'Best Inventions' List For 2022

TIME's Best Inventions of 2022 list is here, highlighting some of the most innovative and life-altering products that have hit the market in the last year. From the metaverse to wellness and robotics to parenting, 2022 is a year that marks the world's resurgence through the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two hundred inventions outlined in TIME's Best Inventions list go to show that humankind only continues to look forward — and that includes the food and drink industry.

Modern science has opened the food and drink industry to completely new territories. Evolutions in areas such as 3-D printing, sustainable farming, cultivated meat, and blue foods have transformed food into something that not only tastes good but does good for the planet too. The coffee brands that made TIME's Best Inventions list are the perfect example of that — providing proof that America's favorite drink can be even better (per Statista).

Saving the planet one cup at a time

Cometeer, the first of the two coffee brands featured in TIME's Best Inventions list, is a solution to "the stale or poorly brewed" coffee that two-thirds of Americans drink every single day. According to Cometeer's CEO and co-founder, Matthew Roberts, coffee beans lose their flavor and aroma in a matter of hours, but the company's first-of-its-kind flash-freezing system makes that impossible. Brewed at 10 times the strength of regular coffee and frozen with liquid nitrogen, Cometeer's selection of light to dark single-origin blends lock coffee's expansive flavors into recyclable capsules that don't release until the moment they're melted into your coffee or latte — providing you with the freshest cup possible.

In the face of rising temperatures and increased risk of disease due to climate change, IADB reports that coffee agriculture has been forever altered. By 2050, it's estimated that 50% of the land suitable for growing coffee will no longer support the crop. So, what's Atomo Coffee's solution? To eliminate the need for the beans entirely. 

As outlined in its feature on TIME's Best Inventions list, Atomo's bean-free coffee is a "molecular" brew made from a blend of upcycled plants. After identifying coffee's five main components, Atomo uses proprietary technology to convert the plant waste into compounds that match those found in coffee (via Upcycled Food). Then, they're roasted, ground, and brewed — creating a coffee dupe that is made with 94% less water and a 93% smaller carbon footprint.