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Five from Finland

Coffee-related innovations

Finland is a fertile ground for coffee-related innovations.

Julia Helminen

Finland has emerged as a hotbed for coffee-related innovations, blending its rich coffee culture with advanced knowhow and sustainable practices.

Finns consume a whopping 10 kilos of coffee per capita yearly. The national affection for coffee, combined with a strong focus on science, technology and circularity, has spurred a number of exciting innovations.

Discover five novel coffee-related solutions carefully brewed by Finnish companies.


VTT’s innovative approach to coffee production is poised to revolutionise the industry by providing a sustainable and ethical alternative to traditional coffee farming.


VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has been making significant strides in the field of cellular agriculture, particularly in the development of laboratory-grown coffee. The production method developed by VTT involves cultivating coffee cells in bioreactors, where they are provided with the nutrient medium to grow and multiply.

The method has been found to offer multiple benefits. It reduces land and water use, minimises the environmental footprint of coffee, as well as promises significant productivity improvements. In late 2023, VTT researchers released detailed information on the process in a scientific article published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

“Our wish is that the publication of this scientific article, which clearly demonstrates proof of concept for lab-grown coffee, nudges forward the creation of an ecosystem or a collective that has the resources, knowhow and drive to pioneer an entirely new type of coffee,” stated Heiko Rischer, principal scientist and head of plant biotechnology at VTT.


Natural Indigo Finland, a producer of natural dyes on industrial scale, has found a valuable resource in Paulig's spent coffee grounds.


Prominent food and beverage company Paulig and Natural Indigo Finland, a Helsinki-based startup specialised in sustainable dye solutions, have embarked on an innovative collaboration that focuses on utilising ground coffee waste as raw material for making natural dyes for the textile industry.

The coffee waste comes from Paulig’s coffee roastery in Helsinki’s Vuosaari and gets a new life as textile dyes, ranging from different shades of gold and brown all the way to blue. The dyes have already been used by different Finnish textile companies, including Marimekko, as well as raised international interest.

“It is great to see the side stream of our coffee production find a new purpose as raw material in a completely different industry,” said Kaisa Lipponen, head of communications and sustainability at Paulig. “Our ambition is to be a sustainable frontrunner in the industry, and… we are also constantly seeking to find new solutions and support innovations through collaborations.”


Pirkka Kaffe gardening soil and fertiliser are made in accordance with the principles of circular economy.


Listed among the world’s 100 most sustainable corporations, retail giant Kesko is known for its efforts to integrate sustainable practices into every aspect of its business. Last year, Kesko teamed up with fellow Finnish company Berner to launch a new line of home gardening products made using leftover coffee grounds from Neste K service stations.

Sold under the name of Pirkka Kaffe, the coffee waste-based soil and fertiliser have proved favourable for growing seedlings, kitchen herbs, balcony plants and house plants. Each five-litre bag of soil contains used coffee grounds from 70 cups of coffee that would otherwise end up in organic waste.

“We are open-mindedly looking for new opportunities to strengthen circular economy, and this world-class project with Kesko is an excellent example of this,” said Jussi Petäjä, product group director at Berner.


Helsieni provides urban dwellers an easy way to start growing mushrooms from coffee grounds at home.


Founded with a vision to promote sustainable food systems, Helsieni specialises in growing gourmet mushrooms using coffee grounds as a substrate. The company offers grow kits for those interested in cultivating their own mushrooms at home, providing an easy and accessible entry into the world of urban farming.

“Coffee is a very nutritious and mineral-rich growing medium for oyster mushrooms,” explained co-founder Chris Holtslag. “It largely resembles the mushroom's natural growth medium, that is wood or sawdust.”

Helsieni has its urban mushroom farm in Espoo. Built from two shipping containers, it supplies delicious mushrooms to local restaurants and markets. The company also engages in various educational activities, workshops and projects aimed at raising awareness about sustainable food production and the benefits of circular economy practices.


Preloved Coffee brings coffee grounds into the economy as raw material for high value-added products.

Preloved Coffee / Facebook

Founded in 2022 with a mission to promote sustainability and circularity, Turku-based startup Preloved Coffee aims to address the environmental impact of spent coffee grounds by upcycling them into valuable biomaterials to replace conventional fossil-based materials across industries. The company’s first bioproduct, coffee oil, boasts a range of skin and hair care benefits which makes it a valuable ingredient for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Being a fresh player in the field, Preloved Coffee is actively seeking sustainability-focused angel investors and is a frequent participant in various startup events and business accelerators. In the spring of 2024, Preloved Coffee participated in the Urban Tech Helsinki incubator programme and secured first place at the Aalto Startup Centre Demo Day.

“This win is a huge validation of our innovative concept: creating the first Finnish biomaterials from spent coffee grounds,” wrote Tolga Karayel, founder and CEO of Preloved Coffee. “We're passionate about building a recycled business model with a strong value proposition, and this award recognises the effectiveness of our strategic plan and our talented team.”

By: Zhanna Koiviola