Coffee Goes Green With Home-Roasted Beans
Getting fresh coffee into our hands usually exacts a huge carbon footprint, requiring thousands of air miles and myriad packaging at every stage of the production chain.
Coffee machines normally use beans that have already been roasted, which involves a resource-heavy heating process as well as shipping beans from one place to another over extended periods of time.
Israeli startup ansā has developed a unique method that allows coffee drinkers to roast their own green beans at home, without plenty of wasteful, non-sustainable packaging and the pollution that comes from heating them.
The answer was “to bring the roasting process closer to the point of conception,” while using ansā’s revolutionary heat-free dielectric heating system to roast the beans without any smoke or ashy by-product.
Dielectric heating uses an electric field to make the molecules of an object move and thereby generate heat, as opposed to applying heat from an external source.
Ayelet Dar-Wohl, director of marketing and sustainability at ansā, tells NoCamels that the company’s three founders, Yuval Weisglass and brothers Matan and Jonathan Scharf, between them have a solid blend of tech knowhow and coffee expertise, and together they came up with the solution to the problem of creating a tasty yet sustainable beverage.
“There’s several solutions for roasting coffee on demand on the spot. But all of them are roasting coffee with the industrial way of roasting coffee; they are using roasters that roast coffee with heat and that produces smoke,” says Dar-Wohl.
“You can’t actually put it, let’s say, in your living room or your kitchen or office, and roast coffee without making a lot of noise and smoke,” she explains.
“Because of our patent-pending technology, we are roasting coffee in a totally different way. It’s not the industrial way of roasting coffee. We are roasting coffee with innovative technology that doesn’t use any heat, or create noise or smoke,” she says.
The Ramat Gan-based company delivers the unroasted green beans to the door, ready to be roasted in their baristā e23 machine. At the heart of it, the company says, are fresh coffee and good environmental practices.
By roasting the beans at home, according to the makers of the new AI-operated system, consumers cut out many of the stages in the production chain from farm to cup – and get a beverage perfectly matched to their tastes.
“It’s a problem that you’re drinking coffee that was harvested months and even sometimes years before you consume it,” Dar-Wohl says.
“We are working on being able to roast each and every bean precisely the same. With our technology it’s much easier and much more accurate.”
Keeping sustainability in mind, the way the beans are delivered is also important to the company, it says. ansā uses environmentally friendly packaging and, because they have not yet been roasted, the beans have a longer shelf life.
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“We are packaging the beans in carton boxes without any plastic, silicon, aluminum or any harmful material,” Dar-Wohl says.
“It’s great and we don’t have to keep it fresh – it’s raw material that can stand out in the open for even longer than two years and nothing happens to the green beans. So this also has a huge sustainability impact.”
Similarly, ansā acquires the beans straight from the farmers themselves and stores them at its facility in Dallas, Texas, USA, before delivering them to the customer.
This eradicates the need to send the beans to an external company for roasting and processing.
“When you’re buying coffee, first it was planted in let’s say Costa Rica, and then the farmers picked it, processed it and sent it,” Dar-Wohl says.
“It’s traveled from Costa Rica, most of the time in ships, most of the time to roasting plants in Europe, where they are packing it again in packages that contain plastic, aluminum etc. to keep it fresh and then send it again all over the world. Then it sits on our shelves.”
This system benefits the farmers as well as the environment, according to ansā.
“We do our own direct sourcing from several farms in the coffee belt [the part of the world where the plants grow most easily]. We do not deal with any middleman, so most of the money stays in the farms,” Dar-Wohl says.
“You don’t have to ship it again; you can buy it directly from the farm as a row of green coffee beans roasted on demand on the spot.”
But ultimately, Dar-Wohl says, ansā is fundamentally a coffee company whose technology allows even the most exacting connoisseur to produce a beverage to suit their tastes.
“You can control the roasting profile; you can roast it to light roast, you can do a medium roast, dark roast, whatever you love,” she explains.
“Above all, we are a coffee company [and] when you drink ansā’s coffee you can enjoy the freshest coffee ever.”