There has without a doubt been an increased emphasis on reducing food waste lately. From Dan Barber making meals with scraps at his pop-up WastED to Hungry Harvest packaging ugly fruits and vegetables into CSA boxes, the world continues to try to cut down on food-based garbage. It was in this cultural climate that coffee flour was born.
As billions of coffee beans are ground around the world, the fruit (known as coffee cherry pulp) surrounding the coffee bean is discarded. Instead of adding to that heap of rotting fruit, the company CoffeeFlour produces a unique alternative flour. Drying and grinding the fruit produces a fine dark powder that can be used in baking. Coffee flour is gluten free and high in fiber, antioxidants, protein and iron.
The flour is not yet available to home cooks, because of the required quantity for purchase, but many bakeries and restaurants have begun to experiment with it. Dominique Ansel played around with coffee flour for a seasonal coffee cake he served at Dominique Ansel Kitchen. "Coffee flour had an almost raisin-like taste and tended to be a bit drier. But we liked the nuttiness and fruitiness behind it," he says.
Dan Belliveau, the inventor and CEO of CoffeeFlour, explains that much like coffee itself, the flour made from the fruit has a distinct taste of terroir. "Different varieties of CoffeeFlour have diverse taste profiles. The Central American products tends to have sweet, dried fruit characteristics with caramelized notes developed in the cooking process of the final products. The other extreme is the Asian products, which tend to have very soy and salty-based flavors."
Brooklyn Roasting Company, a New York City-based coffee shop with outposts across Brooklyn and Manhattan, uses the whole coffee plant by serving coffee flour pastries to accompany its coffee. Michael Pollack, one of the owners, describes the flavor of coffee flour to be floral, with hints of hibiscus. He reached out to gluten-free cookie company Izzy & Em's to develop a few recipes for his coffee shops. Now you can go into any location and have coffee flour cookies, brownies and, yes, coffee cake to pair with your latte.
Though it may not be on the shelves yet (it took Brooklyn Roasting Company two months to get its hands on it), its growing recognition by chefs predicts mainstream availability. Coffee flour may very well be the next superfood you'll be mixing into your life-extending acai bowls and life-enhancing chocolate cakes.
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