Nestlé scientists developing slow-release coffee

By Hal Conick contact

- Last updated on GMT

Could slow-release coffee change the market?
Could slow-release coffee change the market?

Related tags: science, Scientific method, Caffeine

Scientists at Nestlé are working on a new formula for slow-release coffee, something that could conceivably spread the effects of caffeine out over a longer period of time.

Dr. Laurent Sagalowicz of the Nestlé Research Center, who is also the main author of the scientific publication for slow-release coffee, told BeverageDaily that this research began four years ago and is the first step in this direction.

“It is a promising concept from the technology point of view, however, still a lot of open questions remain concerning next steps,”​ he said.

The science behind the new coffee

Coffee can potentially become more long lasting due to structures called “cubic phases” or “cubosomes” that would ensure a slow release of caffeine instead of the usual quick rush, Sagalowicz said.

“This would hypothetically provide longer effect of caffeine and prolonged alertness to the consumer,”​ he said. “In terms of future development, the publication sets out the potential for application in the pharmaceutical field although we are very much focused on nutritional possibilities.”

Commercial use tough to predict

When asked what kind of commercial use this slow-release coffee could have, Sagalowicz said it’s tough to predict, as research is still in very early stages.​ It’s also hard to predict what kind of impact there would be on the taste or how it would be consumed.

“We are considering what the next steps are now in terms of further research and future product potential,”​ he said. “Hence, we are really not at the point where we could offer people a choice between slow-release or fast-release coffee.”

Sagalowicz said there are still many “open questions” concerning next steps, but he believes this is an extremely promising concept from a technology point of view. 

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