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The synthetic coffee revolution: are ground date seeds really as delicious as the real thing?
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The synthetic coffee revolution: are ground date seeds really as delicious as the real thing?

Name: Synthetic coffee.

Age: Three.

Appearance: Hot, wet, brown.

Synthetic? Is AI coming for my coffee? Calm down. AI might still eliminate humanity in the long term, but for now your coffee is safe. Synthetic coffee is made by humans. It just doesn’t have any coffee in it.

I am ready to be appalled. Yeah, but you’ll get used to it.

When? Probably by the year 2050, by which point most of the land currently used to grow coffee will have become so ravaged by the climate crisis that it will be unsuitable for purpose.

I’ve got 26 years to neck as much real coffee as I can, then. How about thinking about it like this instead: your daily coffee is not very good for the world; it has led to mass deforestation and huge carbon emissions, plus coffee farmers themselves often live in poverty.

So you’re saying I need to go woke with my coffee? Yes. And this is where synthetic coffee comes in. Several companies are pioneering coffee-style drinks that are made from cheaper and more sustainable ingredients.

Like what? Atomo is one of the first companies to bring synthetic coffee to the market. It’s made from a mixture of date seeds, ramon seeds, lemon, pea protein, fenugreek, guava, millet, fructose, sunflower seeds, baking soda and caffeine taken from green tea.

And does all that taste like … coffee? A recent taste test in the Wall Street Journal said that the drink was indistinguishable from traditional coffee, although slightly less bitter. Which actually sounds nicer.

Great! So I won’t have to pretend to like coffee any more? This is not just limited to coffee. A huge amount of research is being thrown at synthetic meats and cheeses. In 2021, MIT even developed a method for growing lab-grown plant tissue.

Yuck! Oh please. Synthetic food isn’t exactly new. In 1869, margarine was invented by a French chemist from beef tallow after Napoleon III wanted a cheap alternative to butter for the working classes.

I don’t much like margarine either … Well think about it this way, if things continue like this, your choice may well be synthetic sustenance or nothing. A mug of synthetic coffee could just be the start of humanity’s great fightback.

So the world won’t end if we start supporting the sale of synthetic coffee? Oh no, the world is definitely going to end if we wait long enough. But hey, at least this way we’ll see out the final moments with a coffee in our hands.

Do say: “Synthetic coffee will save the world.”

Don’t say: “Do you sell pea protein in pumpkin spice flavour?”

Source: theguardian.com