Intellectual Ventures spins off new ‘Coffee Flour’ startup

Coffee_Flour_600_400_70_c1_center_center_0_0_1A new Seattle-area startup called CF Global has been spun out of Intellectual Ventures, aiming to develop a market for a new product called Coffee Flour, a food ingredient derived from discarded coffee cherries.

Intellectual Ventures, the patent holding firm and technology company run by former Microsoft technology chief Nathan Myhrvold, says CF Global is the first spin-off from its Invention Development Fund, which works with outside inventors on patents and product development.

Update: Here is the Coffee Flour website.

The inventor of Coffee Flour, Dan Belliveau, is a Starbucks veteran who is founder and CEO of the new company. Another Starbucks veteran, Ken Poppe, has been leading the project at Intellectual Ventures.

The product is created by drying and milling the coffee cherry, the pulp that gets separated from the coffee bean and is normally discarded as part of the coffee production process. Coffee Flour can be used in baked good, pastas, energy drinks and other recipes that would normally call for flour. IV says it will provide a new revenue source for small coffee farmers. Early users include Jason Wilson, head chef and co-owner of the restaurant Crush in Seattle.

Other partners in the project include NohBell Corporation and global coffee companies ECOM Agroindustrial Corp. and Mercon Coffee Corp. Intellectual Ventures declined to disclose the size of its equity investment in CF Global.

All of this comes as Intellectual Ventures and other technology patent firms face increasing scrutiny of their business models, and the Supreme Court considers a case that could significantly alter the landscape for software patents.

Here’s an Intellectual Ventures promotional video with more background on Coffee Flour and the new company.

  • http://www.extendedresults.com/ Patrick Husting

    This is a great idea! congrats!

  • billg

    Boycott anything the patent troll, Nathan Myhrvold, and his various companies are involved in.

    • Bingo98122

      haha and what have you invented to help the planet?

  • Coffeevines

    That is actually a fantastic idea! I should start carrying that as an online coffee retailer .

    • PRspicacious

      You exploit the story by trying to turn it into a commercial opportunity.

      Crass.

      • Coffeevines

        Oops.

  • guest

    Could be a great idea, could be mktg BS. There is precious little actual information in this PR site.

  • christopherboffoli

    I think it is always a positive thing when you can create a commodity out of something that is essentially a waste product. But it is interesting that neither this article or video say very much about the taste of this product. 99% of the story seems to be about how great it is to have culled something new from nothing. As most of the coffee flavor that consumers identify with is from carefully processed and roasted beans, and the fresh pulp of coffee cherries tastes nothing like coffee, I’m left wondering about the flavor profile. Also, recognizing the incredible amount of chemical pesticides used in coffee production, I wonder how much is left in the pulp they’re using to make this stuff.

    • Nothanks

      Or how to cook with it, or anything. Totally free of useful content. Smells more and more like PR spin for IV and little else.

  • Natasha Jarmick

    …still no real info on how you would actually use it as food…and is it organic? GMOs? Recipes? Seems a bit light for a product intro article…

    • Nick Gibson

      Great question — coffee flour is rolling out commercially in 2015, but here are a few example recipes that the coffee flour team has come up with so far: http://coffeeflour.com/?post_type=coffeeflour_recipes

      • Logical

        Nick, why do all the recipes use only a small amount of “Coffee Flour” and large amounts of regular flour or grains??

    • I’d imagine that as you can have organic and non-gmo coffee, that you could do the same with the pulp, being part of the same plant.

    • Coffeevines

      Use it baked goods like cookies or breads, etc. Yeah, a recipe or two would’ve been good but this is the internet, a simple Google search isn’t complicated.

  • Kevin Pierce

    You lost me at “Intellectual Ventures”

  • http://cobaltpm.com/ Ben Ferris

    What about the caffeine aspect? Not exactly a replacement for flour in most baking.

  • Mike

    Good lord, it’s not like the discarded bits are not used. Fertilizer/Mulch and other food sources are already taking advantage of the same thing. http://www.honolulumagazine.com/Honolulu-Magazine/Biting-Commentary/January-2012/Is-coffee-cherry-the-new-acai/

  • Logical

    I looked at the website with “sample recipes”, and quickly realized that all of the given recipes require large amounts of “regular” grains or flour, with only a small (maybe 5-10% of recipe maximum) being coffee flour. I’m calling bull**** and shenanigans on this articles claim that “Coffee Flour can be used in baked good, pastas, energy drinks and other recipes that would normally call for flour”. It seems all the recipes STILL call for flour – normal, milled processed flour – and only a SMALL amount of coffee flour. What is the point of this additive? If it is used as a spice, then market accordingly! Otherwise this advertising is false, and this start up is just trying to make bread out of garbage (probably as a PR effort for the notorious IV troll)

    • GF

      In the world of gluten free baking, you usually have to combine flours from multiple sources. Google around a bit and you’ll see it. Plus, this is very new — once the GF folks get a crack at these you’ll probably see more.