Slashing CO2

Founded: 2020

HQ: San Francisco, CA

Coffee minus coffee.

The Big Idea

Coffee’s impact is larger than just a caffeine buzz. Each of the 450 million cups drunk daily in the US spews 15x its weight in CO2e and consumes 140x its volume in water. And now the climate is fighting back. By 2050, rising temperatures and increasing droughts will decrease suitable coffee-producing land by 50% and put 60% of all coffee species at risk.

How it Works

Compound is recreating coffee but without the coffee beans. They have identified the compounds that give coffee its characteristic aromas, flavors, and effect. Leveraging advances in synthetic biology, Compound engineers yeasts to recreate the same volatile and non-volatile compounds found in a normal cup of coffee.

Their Superpower

Rather than sourcing labor- and land-intensive beans from remote corners of the world, Compound’s engineered yeast can efficiently brew coffee with 100% identical aroma and flavors as a conventional cup but at a fraction of the environmental impact. The result is the best-tasting and most sustainable cup of coffee in the world. 


Tons of CO2e

avoided per ton of coffee


Maricel previously founded Nextbiotics, a synbio company tackling antibiotic resistance.

Follow: @maricelsaenz

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The University of Pennsylvania