These designers think that making coffee is the perfect time to grow mushrooms

An article on Yanko Design has profiled the concept of the HIFA coffee maker, which takes advantage of spent coffee grounds and the energy embedded in that process to grow mushrooms. Designers Adrián Pérez and Mauricio Carvajal have placed the mushroom growing process inside a relatively typical looking coffee maker.

The coffee industry operates on a wasteful process. World coffee consumption is a year totals around 150.2 million bags, weighing 130 lbs each, with only 1% of the whole grain consumed in a cup of drink, effectively meaning that millions of tonnes of high nutrient product is not utilised.

In the HIFA coffee maker, coffee grinds are reused in a process that transfers materials to the mushroom growing section of the appliance, where optimal darkness and humidity for mycelium growing are maintained. Perfectly healthy and edible mushrooms can be grown by adding mycelium and a drop of water to the spent grounds.

There are some great visuals and we recommend taking a look at the original article: A New Coffee Ecosystem.

Of course it is unlikely that it will be a threat to the sales of traditionally grown mushrooms any time soon and the appeal of growing food in your coffee maker is probably quite niche, not to mention accompanied by some practical difficulties. However, what this design thinking does represent is a playful and enjoyable visualisation of the concept of cascading by-products of one good or service into the feedstock for another and quite directly asks the question, are these spent coffee grounds waste to be dumped, or do they contain valuable nutrients that could feed another process?

Credit: HIFA and Yanko Design

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Seb Egerton-Read

Seb Egerton-Read

Seb writes daily content for Circulate across the full spectrum of the website's topics. Previously he has spent five years as a freelance writer for a number of websites and blogs. You can e-mail Seb at seb[at]