Coffee Waste Biomaterial – Exploratory

Turkish Coffee Waste Biomaterial Close Up

For a long time, we have been excessively consuming plastics in a way that has now caused significant pollution. Researchers have been trying to create and test recipes for biomaterials that would eventually allow us to replace plastics with more eco-friendly materials.

In 2019 I attended the Fab Conference in Egypt, and there I got to experiment with biomaterials for the first time in a workshop led by Julia Hansen. I could see a collection of materials made by makers and researchers from all over the world. Each material has the main component from what is considered waste in different areas in the world.

In my recipe, I used Turkish coffee; dark roasted beans ground extremely fine. It is then typically added to hot water, with sugar or cardamom to taste, and then brought to boil together. Almost every household from the Levant favors Turkish coffee. Most of us have memories of waking up to our parents sipping coffee as the aroma and music fill the air. The remaining grounds either get thrown away, used as fertilizer, or if a fortune reader is around, predict your future!

I was trying the “Agar Agar+Clay” recipe by Anastasia Pistofidou from her Bioplastic Cook Book when I noticed how similar the texture of the clay was to the wastes of Turkish coffee. I decided to replicate the recipe using dried used Turkish coffee grounds. The first few results weren’t what I hoped for, and there were several iterations before getting to this recipe.

The resulting material has a rubbery texture, and it can be described as a soft solid that’s a little flexible. I’ve tried soaking these resulting pieces in water for almost a week, and they kept their characteristics. Currently, I’m trying to develop and test the usage of this material as a coffee cup (a Coffee Coffee cup).

Thia recipe was featured on Turkish Coffee Waste | Agar Agar Recipe

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