Friday, February 23, 2024
HomediningIs coffee without coffee beans still coffee? We tried this new made-in-Singapore...

Is coffee without coffee beans still coffee? We tried this new made-in-Singapore alternative from upcycled food waste

Yes, we know – “bean-free coffee” sounds like a heinous abomination to coffee lovers. But we just had to find out, in the interest of science, what the product from local bean-free coffee maker Prefer tastes like.

Founders Jake Berber, a former neuroscientist, and Tan Ding Jie, a food scientist, said they embarked on the project because coffee farmland is diminishing and climate change threatens to erase 50 per cent of coffee by 2050. According to them, coffee also has a big carbon footprint as 1kg of coffee requires as much as 29kg of carbon dioxide.

Berber and Tan believe they are the first in Asia to have launched bean-free coffee.

So, what’s the verdict? Well, it works quite nicely when mixed into a medium, like in the Prefer Iced Yuzu Espresso Soda served at Dough cafe. And when it’s served as an oat milk latte, for example, it lends a depth of malted flavour bordering on umami.

A hoppy, even slightly savoury taste is discernible to varying degrees, depending on what it’s blended with. But if I were you, I wouldn’t try it as an espresso shot. It’s not ready to be drunk black yet, Tan opined.  

Does it look like coffee? Yes. Does it smell like coffee? Not far off. Does it taste exactly like coffee as we know it? Not so much. But does it give you the feeling of nursing a cuppa at a cafe while revelling in the smug satisfaction that you’re helping to save the whales? Absolutely.

Prefer bean-free coffee is available at Dough, 30 Victoria Street #01-30; Brash Boys, 8 Biomedical Grove #01-12 Neuros; First Story Cafe, 149 Serangoon North Ave 1 #01-917; Parched by Parchmen, 55 Ubi Ave 3 #01-11; and Foreword Coffee Roasters at 64 Club Street and 1 Stars Avenue #03-02.

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