tartups often astound us with ideas that are not only deemed impossible but also carry a touch of eccentricity. With an inherent inclination for innovation, startups have left an indelible mark on the world in various domains. They have breathed life into concepts that seemed implausible, if not downright peculiar, until they became tangible realities.
Numerous nations have reaped substantial rewards from this entrepreneurial spirit, yet Ethiopia has long been absent from the scene. However, a new dawn is emerging as a handful of startups begin etching their names in the annals of history.
Among these trailblazers is Coffee Resurrect – a groundbreaking Ethiopian company founded by the enterprising Almaw Molla.
Coffee Resurrect has focused its efforts on Ethiopia’s unparalleled export commodity: coffee. Despite its reputation as one of the world’s largest coffee producers, the nation has predominantly shipped raw coffee beans for far too long, failing to extract the full potential and benefits of this precious resource. However, recent times have witnessed a shift, with various companies striving to add value to the exported coffee by embracing processes like roasting.
Almaw, founder and CEO of the company, however, has conceived a truly unconventional notion—one that diverges from the norm. He envisions extracting value from coffee waste, transforming it into something exquisite and valuable.
Almaw, along with Seblegenet Aklilu, the co-founders and CTOs, draw inspiration from their audacious goal: to spearhead the fifth wave in the coffee industry through the recycling of coffee waste. The company recognized the immense potential in repurposing discarded coffee grounds, addressing the mounting waste generated by the industry itself.
Their noble mission revolves around “Giving Coffee A Second Life,” creating 100 percent natural, high-quality products – breathing new vitality into this cherished commodity while leaving a positive environmental footprint. Coffee Resurrect, heralded as Africa’s first Industrial Biotechnology company, is at the forefront, pioneering the sustainable production of personal care products, nutraceuticals, and food ingredients derived from coffee waste.
The coffee industry has witnessed four transformative waves, each marked by significant shifts such as the surge in global trade, the introduction of unique coffee varieties from diverse origins, an emphasis on the narrative behind each cup, and the fourth wave’s resolute focus on value addition and sustainability throughout the coffee supply chain.
Coffee Resurrect aligns seamlessly with the ethos of a circular economy, an idealized model for the coffee sector.
“After witnessing the sight of coffee grounds needlessly discarded in cafes and restaurants for years, a sense of weariness and determination grew within us—an urge to find a purpose for coffee beyond its conventional use,” Almaw explained.
Driven by extensive research and a quest to uncover the untapped potential of coffee, Almaw and his team embarked on a remarkable journey, laying the foundation for Coffee Resurrect. This pioneering Ethiopian company has harnessed the residual value of coffee grounds, ensuring that no part of the coffee plant goes to waste.
Through the ingenious application of biotechnology and advanced extraction techniques, Coffee Resurrect has breathed new life into coffee waste. The company’s innovative product lineup includes Coffee Resurrect Oil, Coffee Resurrect Fiber, and Coffee Resurrect Flour.
The company says these ingredients are derived using state-of-the-art Supercritical Carbon dioxide technology, guaranteeing their purity and preserving their natural composition—an aspect the company takes great pride in.
Beyond the realm of product innovation, Coffee Resurrect is on a mission to address the significant environmental impact of coffee waste. Improper disposal of coffee grounds can lead to acidic soils and the release of harmful greenhouse gases, exacerbating climate concerns. By sourcing and upcycling coffee waste from hospitality venues, the company aims to tackle this pressing issue.
Almaw passionately emphasizes the company’s commitment to combating the climate crisis.
“We contribute to addressing the climate crisis by redirecting coffee waste away from landfills. To quantify our impact, recycling one ton of coffee grounds prevents the release of 340 cubic meters of methane into the atmosphere,” he proudly states.
Coffee Resurrect’s innovative approach not only gives coffee a second life but also exemplifies its dedication to environmental sustainability. The company’s remarkable strides in promoting green practices is a shining example for other eco-conscious startups. By prioritizing the delivery of high-quality products and services while maintaining a steadfast focus on environmental consciousness, the company believes it is reshaping mindsets, highlighting the inherent value that materials possess even after their primary purpose has been served.
The company is heralding a revolution in the utilization of coffee waste, transforming it into valuable resources and embracing a circular business model. It’s commitment to creating local solutions for global challenges, fostering positive social and environmental impacts, ultimately strengthen communities.
Aligned with their vision of prosperity and employment growth, Coffee Resurrect recognizes that climate and technological changes present both challenges and opportunities for the development of environmentally friendly jobs.
With this ethos at its core and the company’s dedication to devising local solutions for global issues has earned it considerable acclaim and recognition. The company was honored with the title of ‘Best Green tech in Africa’ at the Global Startup Awards (GSA) Africa, exemplifying its unwavering commitment to a circular business model and its capacity to tackle global challenges head-on.
Furthermore, Coffee Resurrect secured a coveted spot in the prestigious list of Top 100 participants in the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) 2021, surpassing over 100,000 applicants worldwide.
Almaw envisions Coffee Resurrect as more than just a groundbreaking startup. It is an advocate for Ethiopian coffee producers, generating additional income for small-scale African farmers and advocating for fair prices in the global coffee market.
As Ethiopian startups like Coffee Resurrect continue to challenge conventions and pioneer innovative solutions, the country’s entrepreneurial landscape is poised for a remarkable transformation.