A new product shows us the dark future that lies ahead for coffee

According to current calculations, there will not be enough coffee for everyone in 2080 for reasons such as climate change. If this happens, what will we be drinking? These were the starting points for the Finnish coffee company Paulig’s launch of Blend 2080 – coffee without coffee.

The new product was developed in collaboration with the Australian coffee expert Matt Perger. With Blend 2080, Paulig wants to stir a debate on sustainability so that a bleak future for coffee can be avoided.

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Coffee farming is threatened by many big challenges, such as climate change and the often insufficient income level of coffee farmers. In the future, coffee may become a delicacy available to only a few.

Arabica coffee, favoured by coffee aficionados, is a delicate species. It is threatened by drought, excessive rainfall, frost and storms as well as pests and plant diseases caused by climate change.

If the global average temperature increases by 2–2.5 degrees, the area for arabica farming will be reduced by 50 per cent by 2050. In 2080, the role of coffee farming as a source of income for more than 25 million coffee farmers will be at stake.

Blend 2080 shows a glimpse of the future of coffee that no one of us wants to see, but, fortunately, it can be avoided. We believe that a sustainable coffee value chain – from plant to cup – is the key to guaranteeing a bright future of coffee. We work hard here at Paulig to achieve this,” says Senior Manager Minna Lampinen from Paulig.

Coffee has more than 800 aromas that are impossible to imitate

Paulig invited the Australian internationally renowned coffee expert Matt Perger to collaborate in envisaging and developing a future coffee. The other members of the team were experts from Paulig: Marja Touri, Head of Cupping; Jori Korhonen, Barista Training Specialist; Tomi Nieminen, Roaster; and Annina Hildén, New Product Development Coordinator.

The product development took a long time, and it was finally settled that the blend would be made of malt, dried figs, fermented Pu’er tea and carob bean powder.

We did our best, but good coffee is impossible to produce without coffee. With more than 800 aromas, nothing beats the taste of real coffee,” said Matt Perger.

Blend 2080 remotely resembles coffee in that it is black and wet, but the taste is bland and far from anything like good coffee. The taste of Blend 2080 is an eye-opening experience: we hope we’ll never have to make a product like this again and that future generations will be able to enjoy the same pleasurable flavour of coffee as we do today. Only by acting sustainably can we ensure that a product like Blend 2080 will never see the light of day again,Lampinen continues.

You will have the opportunity to taste Blend 2080 – for the first and the last time

A batch of Blend 2080 was made in early 2018. You will have the opportunity to taste the coffee substitute at Paulig’s own café, Café Kulma in Helsinki on 15 March, at the Helsinki Coffee Festival on 20–22 April and in the Baltics at the Vilnius Coffee festival on 23–25 March and Tallinn Coffee Festival on 27–28 April.

You can explore the product’s story in more detail in the case video and Paulig’s social media channels, where a debate on the happy value chain of coffee will be launched in the spring.

The advertising agency Bob the Robot assisted Paulig in the design of Blend 2080 and is the partner in the marketing of the Paulig brand.