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Seattle’s climate-friendly ‘beanless’ Atomo Coffee has announced the closing of its Series A, with a $40 million investment led by S2G Ventures, AgFunder, and Horizons Ventures.
Reverse engineering the coffee bean to help address the climate crisis, Atomo Coffee says the Series A funding will help accelerate the development of its beanless coffee products and scale its two ready-to-drink cold brews, Classic Black and Ultra Smooth.
“With Atomo in the hands of the consumer we are empowering them to drink coffee they love while making a choice to do something better for the planet every day,” Andy Kleitch, CEO and co-founder of Atomo, said in a statement.
The company, which launched in 2019 in the U.S. coffee capital Seattle, is using plant-based ingredients to create a “premium tasting coffee experience” that’s better for the environment than traditionally grown coffee. Atomo uses date seed, chicory root, and grape skin, among other ingredients to achieve the coffee flavor. It adds an equivalent amount of caffeine to the product as found in a cup of coffee, about 84 milligrams.
Coffee is one of the crops most impacted by the climate crisis. According to one study published in the journal PLOS One earlier this year, climate change could take a drastic toll on coffee production by 2050. It found that regions growing Arabica, one of the most common coffee beans used by chains like Starbucks, will be “drastically” less suited to coffee cultivation as a result of warming temperatures.
Coffee is also a leading contributor to biodiversity loss as sun-tolerant varieties took over traditional shade-grown coffee in the 1970s, which has been linked to significant losses in bird populations, among other species.
According to Atomo, drought, frost, as well as rising temperatures, have made current coffee-growing regions less suitable, “leading growers to deforest areas of virgin rainforest uphill to reach more tolerable climates for their coffee plantations.”
Atomo says its coffee produces 93 percent fewer CO2 emissions and requires 94 percent less water than conventionally grown coffee.
But how does it taste?
“The demand for coffee is increasing year over year with climate change significantly impacting the farming regions, which in turn will impact the consumer through price and availability,” said Rob Leclerc of AgFunder. “Breakthrough technologies pioneered by Atomo are going to be a part of the solution for future generations to be able continue enjoying their favorite brews.”
A blind taste test conducted by National Food Labs found Atomo’s cold brew performed better than conventional cold brews by 2:1. According to the findings, survey participants were unable to detect that Atomo’s coffee was made without beans.
“Atomo’s cold brew products deliver great environmental benefits and their taste is superior to other products on the shelves,” adds Chuck Templeton “Great taste and better for the planet is a win-win combination.”