Coffee startup ansā looks to make a “good cup of coffee” more sustainable with novel roasting technology

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Image credit: Guy Lahav
Image credit: Guy Lahav

Related tags Coffee Coffee preparation Sustainability

Tech startup ansā is in the business of creating a good cup of coffee in all senses of the word with its unique roasting method and consumer appliance that circumvents the need for traditional roasters; all in the pursuit of a greener cup of Joe, company CMO and co-founder Matan Scharf told FoodNavigator-USA.

"When we say a good cup of coffee, we mean that it's good for the person who's drinking it. It's delicious, but it's also good for the world, for the environment, and the farmer. The term good coffee ... has a very deep and wide meaning for us — we think it should be for everyone.​"

A different approach to roasting coffee beans

The ansā device allows consumers​ to take coffee beans straight from the field and brew it in their home or office, which has a host of sustainability benefits to the supply chain, Matan Scharf claimed.

"We don't roast the coffee; we energize the coffee, and the semantics here outside of the scope or the context of marketing are genuine because there's something about the way that traditional roasting works that it has the advantages in the sense of creating large volumes, ... but really what you're doing is you're burning coffee. You're using heat, and you need to apply a lot of energy, a lot of heat to get the coffee to roast it, and then [there are] lots of issues that come from that.​"

Unlike traditional coffee roasting, ansā uses “a principle called dielectric heating​” that applies magnetic waves to beans, which “cause molecules magnetic polarity to shift,​” Scharf said. At the molecular level, this process creates friction and the heat needed to roast the bean, he explained. "The heat comes from inside the bean, and then it spreads outwards, so we never char the coffee,​" he added.

Since the coffee bean doesn't have to first go to a roaster before they use it, consumers have more control of the coffee-making process and exactly how they want their coffee to taste, ansā co-founder Jonathan Scharf explained. 

"Flavors are being set by the roasters,​” he said. “We give you the tools; you're the chef. We give you simple tools, but you will define if you like your coffee from Costa Rica because it is sweeter than coffee that comes from Brazil, or you want the coffee from Colombia because of [the] ... acidity​."

A greener coffee supply chain without the need of roasters

Ansā is also looking at ways to create more sustainability across the supply chain, which includes supporting farmers and working on ways to package the product as close to where it’s harvested as possible, Scharf said. “We can pack it in the US, or we can pack it in the region, and we want to pack it in the region because we want to leave more value in the region,​” he added.

And a big part of ansā sustainability effort comes from the fact that it doesn’t have to rely on coffee roasters, eliminating all the costs and energy used in that process, Matan Scharf said.

The traditional coffee industry is the one where you have centralized roasting facilities, where coffee is roasted and packaged sometimes months before it arrives at the retailer. They have to use packaging that is not recyclable,​” said Scharf. “That makes the whole product much more expensive, and all of this is in an effort to preserve the freshness that was there in the first place, and it was lost because it roasted the coffee once before we were actually consuming it. So, we don't have any of these issues.​”

Go-to-market strategy: Moving beyond offices into homes   

With its machines now hitting the US and Israel markets, ansā is getting the word out with a coffee pop-up where it will demo its technology in Manhattan later in the year, Matan Scharf said.

For a young company looking at a big, big, big mountain, which is the coffee industry, there's so many ways to go about trying to conquer this mountain,​” Scharf said. “And I think that for us, the first step was to find a place where we know that we can bring a lot of value, where there's a real need for a better coffee solution, and that we could really make a difference in terms of like the impact.​”

Currently, ansā has focused its go-to-market strategy on supplying workplaces and offices with a greener cup of coffee, but it has ambitions to grow beyond it into homes, he said. And just as Keurig and espresso machines found a lot of adoption first in the office and then in homes, Scharf sees a similar trajectory for its coffee roasting technology.

We're very much focused on what's the future of coffee, and how ansā be a part of the forces that are shaping this future and contribute back to this community that we're a part of. For us, we launched our product that is for the office segment; we want to see the product being adopted. We want to see the demand for green coffee growing. The more green coffee we get out there the better the world is.​”

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