Naturals Archives - bio-bean

Natural coffee flavour extract from spent coffee grounds: a sustainable ingredient solution

The flavours and fragrances sector is a vast industry that pulls significant resources from our planet. So as awareness of climate change spreads, and the need for sustainable change has become critical across all industries, there is now growing demand for natural alternatives which can deliver the same profiles as synthetic additives, with no compromise on quality, but with a more sustainable model than virgin sourced materials.

Spent coffee grounds retain flavour and fragrance compounds

The process of roasting green coffee beans generates the volatile chemical compounds responsible for coffee’s famed flavour and aroma. But brewing the coffee grounds does not fully exhaust those compounds. In fact, spent coffee grounds still retain up to a third of the volatile aroma compounds as contained in the fresh roasted beans. This makes them an ideal feedstock for sustainable natural flavouring products by displacing the need for virgin and synthetic products.

Through the implementation of our innovative supply chain model, we work within the existing logistics infrastructure in the UK to collect spent coffee grounds from businesses at every scale, ensuring the grounds remain within the food chain throughout the entire collection and renewing process. With these food-grade spent coffee grounds we can produce natural flavouring products for deployment in the food and beverage industry.

Spent grounds are a clean raw material feedstock

Spent coffee grounds lend themselves perfectly to being processed as a separate raw material feedstock. They are a naturally clean feedstock, segregated at source by baristas and bean-to-cup machines, and are readily identifiable. From the barista preparing the coffee and depositing the used grounds into specified food-grade coffee bags through to bio-bean manufacturing our natural flavouring products, the grounds stay within the food chain.

Once the grounds reach the processing plant, they are screened to the required specification and undergo a patent-pending green extraction process. This process separates the residual volatile aroma compounds from the spent grounds, yielding high-quality extracts for use as sustainable, natural flavouring ingredients in foods and beverages. We are thus able to introduce coffee’s original, natural and non-depleted chemical compounds back into the supply chain as an ingredient which has a vast range of applications across multiple FMCG sectors.

Spent coffee grounds are a sustainable solution to virgin and synthetic flavour extracts

So how do our natural coffeee flavouring extracts from spent grounds differ from virgin coffee extracts? While some of the key compounds responsible for the characteristic coffee flavour and taste are extracted at the brewing stage, the residual compounds that we are able to efficiently extract give our products a unique profile and composition. This massively widens the scope of potential product applications compared to traditional extracts from virgin coffee beans.

What bio-bean receives as a raw material are coffee grounds, previously seen as waste, containing the bulk of the more desirable and abundant compounds found in coffee, which include pyrazines – the second most abundant class of compounds present within coffee, contributing to its key characteristic flavours. Through our proprietary extraction methodology we selectively extract these compounds and ensure that the ratios of this key group of aroma compounds are maintained.

By displacing conventional virgin and synthesised ingredients that drain the world’s natural resource base, we are connecting the two ends of the linear economy into a circular model.

To find out more about our natural coffee flavouring extracts from spent coffee grounds, visit the Natural Flavours page on our website.


This blog has been updated from the original, posted 29th August 2019.

Coffee oil

Creating bioplastic from coffee oil: our Horizon 20:20 project

Spent coffee grounds are not a waste. Following the brewing process, coffee grounds still have considerable residual value. One aspect of that value lies in the oils. In fact, spent grounds contain up to 20% oil content!  

These oils have a wide variety of potential uses as a sustainable material, from cosmetics to a substitute for palm oil, or even as a precursor in the production of a sustainable bioplastic. This latter application is our current focus for oils from spent coffee grounds, as part of our work within the EU-funded Horizon 2020 WaysTUP! pilot project. And this week our Product Development & Technology team has been in France taking a step forward in the scale-up of this work. 

Scaling up the process

With lab-scale tests in our own facility successful and complete, we took a major step in the pilot project this week when we began using a specialised extraction facility to maximise the volume of oil we can obtain. The facility features a clean, environmentally sustainable extraction method and allows us to model the economics of scaled coffee oil extraction. 

How will the project work?

We start by collecting spent coffee grounds from businesses across the UK. Once we’ve processed the grounds and have extracted the residual oils, we’ll ship the product to Nafigate, our partner in the WaysTUP! project, who will prepare the oil for incorporation into a biodegradable food wrapping.  

Seeking viable new products from a material that was previously thought of as a waste is a long and challenging process. As a member of the WaysTUP! Consortium, though, we have the resource to explore the coffee oil opportunity, as well as access to partners who have the capability and potential customers for a final product. 

Stay tuned for a further update in 2022 on how the oil-to-bioplastic production is progressing. 

What is bio-bean Naturals?

At bio-bean we’re playing our part in furthering a more circular economy by innovating through coffee waste. Our team of experts are continuously researching, developing and innovating to process the residual value of spent coffee grounds into an array of sustainable products.

In our blog focused on bio-bean Renewals, we discussed how, by recycling and renewing coffee grounds, we create valuable materials whilst reducing emissions. This time the focus is on bio-bean Naturals.

Put simply, bio-bean Naturals is all about discovering new ways to repurpose the remaining compounds within spent coffee grounds, before the grounds are transformed into our solid bio-fuels (bio-bean Elements).

From flavours and fragrances to bio-plastics and oils, through Naturals we seek to provide sustainable solutions derived from the compounds within spent coffee grounds.

bio-bean Naturals: Natural Flavours

One such solution is our natural flavours – extracted from food-grade spent grounds – for use primarily in the food and beverage sector.

The process of roasting coffee beans generates volatile chemical compounds responsible for coffee’s distinctive flavour and aroma. And whilst brewing the subsequent grounds exhausts many of those compounds to create a delicious drink, the resultant spent grounds still retain up to a third of this unique, aromatic blend of compounds.

It is precisely those leftover compounds that we extract to create natural flavours for use in other foods and drinks.

And with our first-of-its-kind, certified supply chain model that ensures these grounds stay within the food chain, we’re able to verify that our natural, sustainable flavourings are the highest possible quality and fully safe for consumption.

Unlike virgin coffee extracts, the unique flavourings we extract from spent grounds do more than just enhance the taste or aroma of coffee. In fact, the potential applications of our natural, sustainable flavours extend beyond the obvious coffee-flavoured products to serve as a base note, top-note modifier or basis for an overall flavour profile in products such as savoury snacks, sweet treats and spirits.

But bio-bean Naturals doesn’t stop here…

bio-bean Naturals: Research and Innovation

As we continue to learn more about spent coffee grounds, we see more and more opportunities to create sustainable products for a circular economy.

In consistently seeking to innovate, we have more projects in the pipeline to deliver commercial-scale solutions and displace virgin or synthetic materials, furthering our impact in creating big change that lasts.

Our ongoing EU Horizon2020 project WaysTUP! is just one example. Collaborating with international partners, our aim is to create new value chains for spent coffee grounds with a focus on bio-oils and plastics.

And of course, there is more to be found in the residual compounds and characteristics of spent coffee grounds. From pigments and dyes to cosmetics, we’re exploring the vast potential of this resource once considered waste. bio-bean Naturals is ever evolving in a bid to continue creating a more circular economy through coffee waste.

Next month, we’ll be exploring bio-bean Elements in more detail, so you can find out how coffee is fuelling industry and heating homes, sustainably.

In the meantime, take a look at our Naturals page for more information, or look back on our What is bio-bean Renewals? blog to discover more about what we do with spent coffee grounds.

bio-bean wins award

bio-bean wins at the Made in Central & East England Awards

We’re delighted to share that our team received some well-deserved recognition last night at Insider Media’s Made in Central & East England awards, taking home the Food & Drink Award for our natural extract made from food-grade spent coffee grounds. Hosted by Insider’s Regional Business Editor, Philip Cunliffe, the awards ceremony was a celebration of the achievements of high quality manufacturing and engineering businesses based in the Central & East England region.

Our natural extract is a first-of-its-kind, made from food-grade spent coffee grounds collected from Costa Coffee through a certified supply chain. The extract is certified kosher and halal and offers a truly sustainable and innovative coffee flavour solution for food and beverage manufacturers. By recycling spent grounds we save on greenhouse gas emissions, ensure maximum value from a material previously discarded as waste and contribute to the circular economy.

Winning this regional award automatically enters us as a finalist in the same award category at the Made in the UK event, to be held later this year.

To find out more about our natural coffee flavour, get in touch.

Horizon 2020 WaysTUP! Project: turning urban biowaste into biobased products

Turning urban biowaste into a resource is key to a circular economy, and it’s an activity we’re intimately familiar with.

In consistently seeking to innovate more valuable uses for coffee waste, we’re taking part in the EU-funded Horizon 2020 project WaysTUP!, which aims to demonstrate the establishment of new value chains for the use of urban biowaste through a multi-stakeholder approach in line with a circular economy.

The project is designed to showcase a portfolio of new processes converting urban biowaste from different feedstocks into biobased products; e.g. fish and meat waste, spent coffee grounds, household separated biowaste, used cooking oils, etc.

These processes will result in the production of food and feed additives, flavours, insect protein, coffee oil, bioethanol, biosolvents, bioplastics, and more.

The WaysTUP! Project, which kicked off in October 2019, will involve the following activity:

  • End-product characterisation and safety assessment;
  • Assessment of environmental impact through Life Cycle Assessments of the value chains;
  • Development and implementation of a behavioural change approach with citizens and local communities by improving their current perception of urban biowaste as a local resource;
  • Enhancement of citizens’ active participation in the separate collection of urban biowaste and an increase in consumer acceptance of urban biowaste-derived products;
  • Development of new profitable business models from the new value chains;
  • Preparation of market entry for the demonstrated technology solutions and the resulting end-products; and
  • Provision of guidance to city managers on adopting new organizational models supporting the valorisation of urban biowaste, as well as evidence-based EU level policy recommendations for decision makers.

Pilot demonstrations will take place in Valencia, London, Alicante, Prague, Athens, L’Alcúdia, Terni and Chania.

The WaysTUP! project, which runs until February 2023, involves 26 research partners, local authorities, businesses and city networks, including the following:
Sociedad Anonima Agricultores de Lavega de Valencia, Biopolis Sl, Aimplas – Asociacion de Investigacion de Materiales Plasticos y Conexas, National Technical University of Athens, Polytechneio Kritis, Universidad de Alicante, bio-bean Limited, Nafigate Corporation, A.S., Novamont Spa, Industrias Mecanicas Alcudia Sa, Centro de Investigaciones Energeticas, Medioambientales y Tecnologicas-Ciemat, Tbw Research Gesmbh, Metsa Tissue Oyi, Nutrition Sciences, Adm Wild Valencia Sa, Terra i Xufa Sociedad Limitada, Draxis Environmental S.A., Fundacion Circe Centro de Investigacion de Recursos y Consumos Energeticos, Interuniversitair Micro-Electronica Centrum, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias, Biosense Institute, Εταμ Sa, Area Metropolitana de Barcelona, Ayuntamiento de Valencia, Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature and Diktyo Poleon Gia Ti Viosimi Anaptyxi Kai Kykliki Oikonomia.


For further information on the WaysTUP! project, contact Dr Angela Perdones:

spent coffee grounds

bio-bean food-grade spent coffee grounds are kosher and halal certified

bio-bean has achieved both kosher and halal certifications this month for our food-grade spent coffee grounds, which we use to create natural flavouring products for the food and beverage industry.

The halal and kosher certifications apply specifically to food-grade spent coffee grounds collected via our unique and first-of-its-kind supply chain model, which features spent grounds from a traceable and segregated source. Our supply chain keeps the spent coffee grounds within the food cycle throughout the collections and processing procedures.

What does kosher certification mean?

Our kosher certificate attests that our food-grade spent coffee grounds are pareve (neutral) and satisfy the biblical doctrine of the Jewish religion, making them suitable for use in food and drink products destined for Jewish consumers.

We obtained the kosher certification from Badatz Igud Rabbonim (BIR) after completing successful checks attesting that our food-grade spent coffee grounds and processing environment are free from:

• all dairy-derived materials;
• all meat derived materials;
• all fish-derived materials, including shell food; and
• grape-derived materials.

What does halal certification mean?

Our halal certificate is a guarantee that our spent coffee grounds comply with the Islamic law and therefore are suitable for use in finished products destined for Muslim consumers.

We obtained the halal certification after completing a successful series of tests, and in our case attests that our food-grade spent coffee grounds and processing environment are free from:

• alcohol, such as ethanol, and all liquid and solid intoxicants;
• all insect-derived products such as shellac, cochineal etc;
• human-derived products such as L-cysteine;
• blood and blood-derived products such as plasma;
• all animal-derived products such as fats, oils, gelatine etc., unless obtained from halal sources or specifically authorised by the UK’s Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC); and
• ingredients produced from genetically modified organisms.

Why are kosher and halal certifications needed?

The kosher and halal markets represent a lucrative opportunity for food and beverage manufacturers as they are expected to reach a combined $9.7 Trillion (£7.8 Trillion) by 2025. However, trading in kosher and halal markets requires having the appropriate certifications in place.

In our globalised market, obtaining halal and kosher certificates enables food and beverage manufacturers to label their finished products accurately and to, therefore, expand their sales to additional consumer segments.

Jo Doyle, our HSEQ Systems Leader said: “We’re proud to have achieved kosher and halal certifications as these will enable our clients to use the food-grade spent coffee grounds we process in a greater number of end products, offering Muslim and Jewish consumers comprehensive traceability.”

You can find more information on our natural flavouring products derived from food-grade spent coffee grounds here.

bio-bean is sponsoring Flavorcon

With our newest product offering, a natural flavouring extracted from food-grade spent coffee grounds for the food and beverage industries, we’re sponsoring and attending Flavorcon in November 2019. Hosted in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the US this year, Flavorcon is a two-day conference and exhibition focused on organoleptic science & technology, ingredient trends, market insights, and product development for the flavour industry.

All presented by global thought leaders, this tailored event attracts attendees from around the world, including flavour, food and beverage innovators, connecting technical and business expertise with the latest insights into trends, ingredients, formulations, research and technology.

Our Company Director and Chief Commercial Officer, George May, will be speaking at the conference on Monday, 11th November, at 11:50am. He’ll be discussing how spent coffee grounds contain residual value that we’ve harnessed into a sustainable natural flavouring component for foods and beverages, and how our sustainable alternative to virgin or synthetic products offers improved environmental performance, clean labelling and the potential for unique flavour profiles.

We’ll be exhibiting at the conference as well. Stop by booth 416 to sample our latest product and to hear more about our bio-bean Naturals flavouring innovations.

Flavorcon runs 11-12th November. For more information about the conference and to register for tickets, visit the show’s website.