Made with a byproduct of coffee, the flour is more than 50% fiber and gluten-free, said Dan Belliveau, founder and chief executive officer of Bellevue-based CF Global Holdings, Inc. The company has structured its business model to create a new revenue source for farmers, pickers and mills while reducing the environmental impact of green coffee production.
Intellectual Ventures is investing in and collaborating with CF Global Holdings. Intellectual Ventures will help with business introductions and assist with licensing negotiations in the global food and beverage industry.
For the 2013-14 growing season, harvests in Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Vietnam should produce 300,000 lbs of product for commercial testing, Mr. Belliveau said. Coffee flour should be commercially available for sale as part of the 2014-15 harvest.
Not only high in fiber, the coffee flour is 12% to 13% protein, Mr. Belliveau said. It contains fiber, potassium and iron. The flour has a rich, brown color.
“It’s an almost rye-looking color, a pumpernickel-looking color,” he said.
The coffee flour may be used to replace a percentage of wheat flour in a formulation. It may be blended with other gluten-free flours.
Mr. Belliveau addressed caffeine content, too. In May 2013 the Food and Drug Administration said it would investigate the safety of caffeine in food products.
Mr. Belliveau said a couple slices of bread with coffee flour might have as much caffeine as one-eighth of a cup of coffee. Liquid caffeine, such as that found in coffee, also would be absorbed by the body faster than when caffeine is imbedded in food, such as bread.
“It’s not going to replace Red Bull,” he said. “You’d have to eat a couple loaves of bread to get a Red Bull kick out of it.”
The raw material for coffee flour comes through coffee’s de-pulping process, which involves separating the coffee bean from the pulp, which is the skin of the whole fruit or coffee cherry, Mr. Belliveau said.
An average-sized mill at the end of a harvest may have five or six acres of pulp that is 4 feet to 6 feet deep, he said. The pulp may decompose quickly. Mold may become a problem. The decomposed pulp may run off into streams, possibly killing fish, or seep into the ground.
In the coffee flour process, the skin or pulp needs to be dried as quickly as possible, Mr. Belliveau said. CF Global Holdings holds intellectual properties on how to handle the product.
CF Global Holdings is collecting information for a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) filing. Mr. Belliveau said people in some African countries have used the pulp in tea while coffee bean pickers often eat the whole coffee cherry as a snack.
“We feel very confident that it is GRAS,” Mr. Belliveau said.