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CaffeInc : Dyes from spent coffee grounds

Spark904’s expertise and experience in sustainability & waste stream valorisation  is well illustrated in our partnership with Caffe Inc. Caffe Inc is developing a method to turn coffee waste into a dark pigment that can be used as printing ink or dyes for textiles. Caffe Inc chose us their research partner to make this development possible. Thus far we have supported Caffe Inc both on lab-scale up to pre-pilot scale development. For their pilot scale we continue to provide analytical support.


Why coffee?
Coffee is one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages in the world, acclaimed for its aroma and caffeine content. The consumption of coffee is constantly rising, with the European countries dominating the list of coffee-drinking nations. However, most of the spent coffee grounds are still being thrown in general waste although it is still rich with natural resources that can be extracted from the so-called waste. This perfectly demonstrates the premises of the old-fashioned linear economy approach that needs to be circumvented.

What is there to gain?
After brewing, coffee grounds still retain valuable oils and fibres that can be extracted. But what’s most interesting is the colour components. We all know the stains a coffee spill can leave. Caffe Inc’s proposition is to be able to extract the colouring components and use it as a dye/ ink. This amazing benefit of coffee allows us to utilize it and produce second generation products, which find application in food, cosmetic and textile industry.

Spark904’s technical support
In a long-standing collaboration with Caffe Inc, at Spark904, we worked on the extraction process, pre-pilot scale production and most importantly, on analysing the extracted colour components. Caffe Inc is currently in pilot phase and we continue to support them with trouble shooting and assessing the quality of the dyes produced in the pilot runs.



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