Slashing CO2

Founded: 2020

HQ: San Francisco, CA

Coffee minus coffee.

The Big Idea

Coffee is at once a contributor to climate change and in its crosshairs. Growing, shipping, roasting, and serving add up. Each of the 450 million cups consumed daily in the US accounts for 17x its weight in CO2 and 140x its volume in water. On the other hand, by 2050, rising temps and intensifying droughts will decrease suitable coffee-producing land by 50% and put 60% of all coffee species at risk.

How it Works

Minus (fka Compound) makes beanless coffee. Their team of synthetic biologists and food scientists have identified the compounds that give coffee its characteristic aromas, flavors, and effect on energy levels. Leveraging advances in precision fermentation, they engineer yeasts to recreate these volatile and non-volatile compounds in a precise formulation to premium hot and cold brew coffees. 

Their Superpower

Growing coffee was already labor- and land-intensive. Now, a warming climate is squeezing yields and forcing farmers to cut down rainforests to make room for more crops. Minus’s engineered yeast can brew coffee with identical aroma and flavors at a fraction of the cost and environmental impact. It also has a longer shelf life. The result is the best-tasting and most sustainable coffee in the world. 


Tons of CO2e

avoided per ton of coffee


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

Follow: @maricelsaenz

Compound Foods brews up $4.5M to make coffee without beans


Your Morning Cup of Coffee is in Danger. Can the Industry Adapt in Time?


How Climate Change is Killing Coffee

The University of Pennsylvania