Daily Markup #933: Prefer lands US$2M Seed to serve sustainable, bean-free coffee made from upcycled food

Photo credit: Prefer

Bean there, done that

  • Did you know that climate change is affecting your coffee? Rising global temperatures means that coffee beans will become more difficult to farm, whether they’re from Brazil, Indonesia, or Vietnam.
  • Getting ahead of this looming challenge is the team behind Prefer, who have found a unique way to get you your coffee the sustainable way — the bean-free way — and they raised a US$2M seed round backed by 500 Global, Forge Ventures, Pickup Coffee, and other investors.
  • Co-founders Jake Berber and Ding Jie Tan are replicating the sensory experience of coffee using fermentation at an estimated 10x less carbon dioxide compared to traditional coffee.
  • The “recipe” for Prefer’s coffee is upcycled food such as surplus bread, soy pulp, and spent grain like barley, which are fermented, roasted, and ground.
  • The resulting product is naturally caffeine-free, allowing customers to customize the caffeine levels according to their preferences by adding caffeine powder.
  • Prefer provides ground coffee compatible with standard espresso machines to cafes, coffee chains, distributors, and flavor houses, and also offers ready-to-drink bottled coffee for quick-service food businesses, events, and retail shelves.
  • The fresh funds will allow the team to invest in growing the capacity of its production facility, and expand its ground coffee and ready-to-drink bottled beverages across Asia-Pacific, starting with Singapore and the Philippines. 
  • “Prefer’s novel fermentation technology is tackling this challenge by seeking to enable us to recreate many of the foods and flavors we take for granted, starting with coffee,” shared Vishal Harnal, Managing Partner at 500 Global.
  • Prefer intends to eventually move beyond coffee and into products like cacao, vanilla, and hazelnut. The team plans to tackle one product at a time, with expansion currently slated for 2025.
  • Congratulations to the Prefer team!
  • Read the full story on Tech in Asia.


Daily Markup