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Kaffe Bueno Closes €1.1 Million Seed Round to Unlock Coffee’s Health Potential

Kaffe Bueno co-founders planning the coffee
Juan Medina, Camilo Fernandez and Alejandro Franco – Kaffe Bueno Co-Founders

Danish Industrial biotech startup Kaffe Bueno receives €1.1 million from, PINC (Paulig Group venture capital, FI), Vækstfonden (DK), The Yield Lab (IE), and a Danish business angel. The money will be spent on scaling up production, growing the team, IPR, and further process and product development.

Kaffe Bueno is an ingredients company using green chemistry and biotechnology to upcycle coffee by-products into active and functional ingredients for cosmetics, nutraceuticals, and functional foods.

“Kaffe Bueno is a perfect fit for PINC and Paulig, who also have been delivering coffee grounds to Kaffe Bueno for the past year”, says Marika King, Head of PINC. “At PINC, we aim to support startups with a strategic, financial, and societal focus and impact. Kaffe Bueno scores high on all of these parameters. Paulig is a front-runner when it comes to ensuring sustainability within the coffee industry, and what could be more sustainable than getting better use out of the industry’s by-products?”

“Vækstfonden is thrilled to invest into this great sustainability case. It is more important than ever that we have companies like Kaffe Bueno who works with greener and more sustainable solutions. We have been following the case for a few years and have been impressed with the progress made. Now it is time to scale, and are excited to be part of this journey together with great co-investors,” says Otto Bjerg Hausgaard, Investment Manager at Vækstfonden.

Health, Food, and Beauty Products Derived From Molecules within Coffee Grounds

Founded in Denmark in 2016 by three Colombian entrepreneurs, Kaffe Bueno’s mission is to unlock coffee’s health potential where harmful emissions are minimized, and coffee’s by-product usability is maximized. So far, their circular business model has yielded three products that are currently on the market:

Kaffe Bueno Oil – lipid used in personal care and food products

Kafflour - a gluten-free fibre- and protein-rich functional flour

Kaffibre – upcycled natural exfoliant for cosmetics

Kaffe Bueno Oil, which is sold as an active ingredient for anti-ageing, moisturizing, and skin-protective skincare due to its richness in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, can be found as an ingredient in cosmetic brands across Denmark, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and the USA.

In June 2020, Kaffe Bueno partnered with Givaudan – the Swiss-based global leader of flavours, fragrances, and beauty ingredients – to globalize their core product: a coffee oil extracted from coffee grounds. Givaudan commercializes Kaffe Bueno’s oil under the tradename “Koffee’Up”.

Kaffe Bueno plans to use the seed capital to:

  • Launch new food, nutraceutical, and cosmetic ingredients into the market throughout 2021 and 2022.

  • Scale up production of their existing ingredients to meet growing demand.

  • Cover IPR costs for patents for their technologies and processes.

  • Grow the team (vacancies below)

“The power of coffee is amazing. Growing up in Colombia, coffee is much more than a beverage, we use it for everything: wounds, skincare, desserts, you name it”, says Juan Medina, CEO and one of the three founders of Kaffe Bueno. “Our goal is to play an important role in the up-and-coming bio-economy by unlocking the health potential of coffee, using its by-product and upcycle it into health-promoting ingredients. Our pure Kaffe Bueno Oil® is already available globally for high-end personal care products, and our versatile Kafflour® is being used for healthy baking. With this capital injection, we can really switch the gears and scale up production to meet customer demands and accelerate the development of our next wave of products”.

Why Care About Coffee Waste? Almost 10 billion kilograms of coffee are traded yearly worldwide. More than 30% is consumed in the EU. When brewing a cup of coffee, less than 1% of its health-beneficial compounds end up in your cup, making it also one of the most wasteful beverages. The remaining 99% left remains intact in the coffee grounds, which usually end up in landfills or use for energy production.

Denmark alone consumes over 50 million kilograms yearly (8.7kg per capita * 5.8 million Danes), and although most of it ends up as biogas to produce energy, this is far from being an optimal use for spent coffee grounds. Incinerating them is even worse as it is well-known that this process generates tons of CO2. Plus, the real value of coffee is still undermined.

More importantly, a recent study by IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative revealed there are tonnes of hidden emissions on agricultural products such as coffee, cocoa, palm oil, and others. These are hidden emissions that impact EU countries specifically, as 12 European countries account to 70% of the continent’s overall imports of these products. These countries are; Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Portugal and Norway.

With an average 40% increase on national emissions, these hidden emissions are coming from production processes, deforestation and transport of these raw materials.

Now, if we consider only 1% of coffee’s value is being exploited (to make the coffee beverage), it is obvious why farmers have been historically paid for 1% of the true value of their product.

Kaffe Bueno’s circular biorefinery model takes advantage of the whole spectrum (100%) of bioactive molecules within coffee and commercializes them as ingredients within the WellCare sector. To produce these, they use environmentally friendly technologies that recycle heat, water, and CO2, enabling emissions reductions in coffee’s value chain.

When the final destination of coffee grounds is landfills, as it is the case in most countries, they decompose and generate tonnes of methane, a greenhouse gas 25-86 times more harmful to the environment than CO2, according to the EPA. The worldwide emissions of coffee waste are equivalent to the yearly emissions of 10 million cars.

By this logic, Kaffe Bueno is aiming at not only unlocking coffee’s full potential value, but further redistribute wealth across the value chain in a fairer manner.

Would You Like to Join the Bueno Movement?

If you are interested in joining a young, forward-thinking, fast-paced team and have a passion for using business and science as forces for change, Kaffe Bueno would like to hear from you. Currently, they are looking for people to cover the following positions:

  • Bioprocess Engineer

  • Quality & Regulatory Manager


Kaffe Bueno is a Copenhagen-based biotechnology company, upcycling coffee by-products into active and functional ingredients for cosmetics, nutraceuticals, and functional foods. Through a circular economy business model, Kaffe Bueno is on a mission to unlock coffee’s health potential where harmful emissions are minimised and coffee’s by-product usability is maximized.

Paulig Group is family-owned food and beverage company, growing a new, sustainable food culture – one that is good for both people and the planet. Paulig provides all things tasty; coffees and beverages, Tex Mex and spices, snacks and plant-based choices. The company's brands are Paulig, Santa Maria, Risenta, Gold&Green and Poco Loco. Paulig’s sales amounted to EUR 921 million in 2019. The company has over 2,000 passionate employees in 13 different countries working around the purpose ‘for a life full of flavour’. At Paulig, we want to be at the forefront of change because we know that taste is key in building a better world. What we put on our plate or cup today, will make a difference tomorrow. PINC is the venture arm of Paulig and invests in early stage start-ups, working in and around the future of food.

The Yield Lab Europe is an AgTech venture capital fund investing into early stage 'European agri-food technology companies to improve the sustainability of global agrifood systems. In addition to investing capital, The Yield Lab Europe provides access to individualized mentoring from industry experts, access to corporates and investors, and access to the Yield Lab global network of early stage accelerators and venture capital funds.

Vaekstfonden is the Danish state’s investment fund. Working in close collaboration with banks and domestic and international investors, Vækstfonden discovers and develops the companies that Denmark cannot afford to miss out on. The power of innovation yield to society and responsibility are the three signposts that guide Vækstfonden in finding and choosing new projects. Since 1992, Vækstfonden has contributed more than DKK 33 billion to help develop and grow more than 9200 companies.


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