A sustainable footwear brand, made of coffee grounds and other recycled or vegan materials, to reduce the ecological footprint.
Grain by grain, you can make a difference. In the case of Re-Coffee’s first collection, the lees of some 33 espresso coffees, the most likely destination was the landfill, were used to produce a pair of trainers. “As it is a residue that releases carbon monoxide, it is a problem for the environment”, explains Rui Monteiro, the project’s mentor. The will to create a sustainable product, with added value, began to take shape at the table of a coffee, attended by the student of the Master in Materials Engineering of EEUMinho. It was there that he realised the amount of waste generated and how urgent it was to think about its reuse.
The use of coffee grounds in shoes was not the most obvious solution, but after a year of thinking about different applications, he developed this idea with the help of Bolflex, a producer of footwear components, and realized that he had legs to walk on. Many hours of research and experiments followed until the final result was achieved. “Besides being a unique material, it still has the advantage of a slight coffee aroma, which neutralises other more unpleasant odours, and the rubber doesn’t age so quickly”, says Rui. The Kaffa Gávea (the name of Re-Coffee’s first collection) is made of coffee leather (50% coffee grounds and 50% recycled rubber), the interior is made of coconut fibre, the insole is made of recycled polyurethane, while the sole is 30% coffee grounds and 70% recycled rubber. For now there is only one model, unisex and comfortable, in six different colours (EUR119 to EUR129), from latte machiatto to matcha. But the brand should launch boots, classic shoes, bags and backpacks throughout this year. “Coffee leather is quite versatile”, adds Rui. And other applications of coffee lees are already being considered.