Lab-grown coffee to start your day

Finnish scientists have successfully made genetically engineered coffee that ‘tastes and smells like the real thing’

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Genetically engineered coffee is now more than a possibility.

A company is Finland has produced coffee cells in a bioreactor through cellular agriculture and claims it smells and tastes like the real thing.

VTT has stated that a lab-grown cup of Joe can be far more sustainable and beneficial for the environment than drinking standard coffee. Due to higher demands, it explains more acreage is needed for production, leading to deforestation, particularly in sensitive rainforest areas.

The scientific approach involves cells floating in bioreactors filled with nutrients to produce animal and plant-based products.

The coffee produced is still in an experimental phase and is yet to be approved by the appropriate bodies to be sold to consumers worldwide.

Dr Heiko Rischer, Research Team Leader, said: “At VTT, this project has been part of our overall endeavour to develop the biotechnological production of daily and familiar commodities that are conventionally produced by agriculture. For this, we use many different hosts, such as microbes, but also plant cells.”

“In terms of smell and taste, our trained sensory panel and analytical examination found the profile of the brew to bear similarity to ordinary coffee. However, coffee making is an art and involves iterative optimisation under the supervision of specialists with dedicated equipment.”

“The true impact of this scientific work will happen through companies who are willing to re-think food ingredient production and start driving commercial applications.

“VTT collaborates and supports large enterprises and small companies in adopting opportunities in their product development. Ultimately, all efforts should result in more sustainable and healthy food for the benefit of the consumer and the planet.”