Food Trend: This Gluten-Free Flour Is Good For You & The Planet

by Simona Terron

Coffee makes the world go round, or so we’d like to think. And science has proven that drinking the brown brew reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, could possibly boost your sex life, and even shield you against breast cancer recurrence. While there’s no denying that it leaves you feeling more alert and makes you feel good in general, it’s not doing the planet a favor for sure.

The Food Wastage Dilemma
It took a guy called Dan Belliveau a while to realize that the coffee production process was a rather wasteful one—something he learned in his years working as director of technical services at Starbucks. The dried and roasted coffee beans that we grind to make our Joe actually start out as seeds that are removed from bright red coffee berries. Several billion pounds of these pulpy berries are then discarded despite being edible, rich in nutrients and delicious. Some coffee-growing countries do dry some amount of them to make a kind of tea, but these berries are mostly allowed to rot and get sent to landfills where they pollute natural water sources.

In Search Of A Solution
Belliveau couldn’t bear to see this colossal and depressing wastage, and two years ago decided to start experimenting with these waste berries. He dried and powdered them to create flour, which his wife used to bake shortbread cookies and granola. They found that it tasted delicious and as a bonus, was a fantastic gluten-free option. As if that wasn’t mind-blowing enough, further research revealed that this flour had three times the iron content normally boasted by spinach and three times the protein that kale is renowned for. While most flours have between five to 12 percent fiber, this one was found to have 55 percent fiber—that’s five times the fiber found in whole grain flour. It also has way less fat than coconut flour.

The Miracle Discovery
Christened ‘coffee flour,’ this wonder food also brings hope to impoverished farmers and coffee plantation workers, many of who survive on daily wages, which are directly affected by the ups and downs in the global demand for coffee. Belliveau’s Vancouver-based startup, CF Global Holdings, has plans to help these workers earn an extra 30 to 50 percent over what they make during the standard coffee bean production process.

Passing The Taste Test
No—it doesn’t taste just like coffee but has a subtle, bittersweet, fruity flavor resembling that of cocoa. And no—it won’t give you the caffeine buzz you would get from drinking regular coffee; you would have to eat almost 15 slices of bread made from this flour to get the same jolt a single cup of java would give you. Whatever little caffeine is contained in the flour anyway tends to have a much slower and sustained release in the body compared to liquid coffee.

Folks have begun experimenting with this lovely ingredient and have discovered it makes great cookies, brownies, cakes and savory goodies like pretzels, even being used to create coffee mustard, as well as a topping for popcorn and nuts. Chef and Coffee Flour’s creative director Jason Wilson uses it in his Seattle restaurants to make delicious gnocchi, beverages, sauces and even jams.

Keep an eye out for this amazing ingredient, which should hopefully hit shelves soon.

Image Courtesy: Coffee Flour’s Facebook Page

PS: Here are some more recipes and tips for a Gluten-Free Diet.
Also, head to our Food section for the latest food trends.

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