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Reimagining the coffee experience

A new hi-tech countertop micro-roaster delivers freshly roasted coffee from raw green beans in minutes…

Some more fascinating foodbev tech out of Israel is start-up ansā Roasting that is applying new green technology to redefine the way coffee lovers indulge in their favourite beverage.

Its sleek, fully autonomous mini-roaster, designed to elegantly perch on any office countertop, introduces on-demand roasting of raw green coffee beans. ansā’s pioneering initiative offers a more Earth-friendly approach to savouring coffee and promises a new dimension to the enjoyment of the world’s most beloved brew.

“Beyond downsizing the industrial roaster, we set out to change the game on sourcing and roasting fresh, specialty-grade coffee, conferring a whole new level of enjoyment to coffee drinking while making it a more eco-responsible experience,” enthuses Matan Scharf, ansā’s co-founder and CMO.

Rewriting the coffee narrative

Bringing coffee “from shrub to cup” encompasses a long and complex journey that involves extensive mileage, energy resources, and layers of packaging. On the traditional route, coffee berries are cultivated, in dedicated fields in Central and South America, Africa, or parts of Asia before being bulk packaged for their first voyage to an industrial roasting house in Europe, the US and around the world.

The roasting process involves heating the beans to high temperatures often exceeding 200°C in gas-operated roast ovens. Once roasted, the beans’ delicate flavours become volatile and susceptible to degradation. Vacuum packaging in aluminum and plastic materials or in single-use coffee capsules is essential to preserve some of their flavour properties before they embark on the second leg of their long journey to retailers globally.

Every step of this chain subjects the prepared coffee beans to potential insults that diminish their freshness and fragrance.

“A coffee bean may find itself crisscrossing the globe two or three times before it reaches a consumer’s mug, which exacts a huge carbon footprint,” explains Scharf. “During this time, the quality degrades, and distinctive aromas and flavours are lost.”

Moreover, coffee farmers, relying on third-party brokers and intermediates to market their beans, are trapped into narrow profit margins. As a result, the coffee industry is struggling to be sustainable and profitable for coffee growers.

ansā is paving a greener path to the coffee experience, one that bypasses the intermediary and the need for capsule packaging and delivers bespoke raw green coffee beans directly to the consumer in 100% recyclable boxes.

A fresh perspective

“Savouring a mug of coffee made with the raw, green coffee beans that you selected and were roasted just for you at the point of consumption brings a whole new experience — the chance to taste coffee in its freshest and truest form,” says Scharf. “And all with the knowledge that you are doing something good for the planet and the farmer.”

Under the ansā system, consumers have the option to select from a range of specialty, single-origin cultivars consisting exclusively of 100% Arabica beans. These beans are delivered directly from the grower’s farm to the consumer in their raw green state for roasting on-demand in the ansā variety e23 micro-roaster.

Shift from “roasting” to “energising” coffee

Co-founders of ansā: CEO Yuval Weisglas, CMO Matan Scharf, COO Jonathan Scharf.

The compact appliance “activates” the beans, working from the core to the shell using a dielectric heating system. This process produces the characteristic aroma that arouses all the coffee-senses, without smoke or noise, as the beans are not charred in any way.  

Using computer vision algorithms, the ansā micro-roaster calculates the exact amount of energy to apply to each bean in real time for a perfectly homogenous roast.

“Our system works within minutes and autonomously. It’s simple to use” explains Yuval Weisglass, co-founder, and CEO of ansā. “You can even tell it how much coffee you want and by what time seamlessly through the ansā app. Our system is an ideal enhancement to the office environment, which is a bustling hub for coffee drinking. Our micro-roaster can feature in any setting, such as a hotel lobby, restaurant, or cafe.”

The “ansā” to the fresh coffee conundrum

ansā means “the answer” in Japanese. The coffee start-up emerged unexpectedly in Japan. The two founders met at a conference they were attending for business ventures completely unrelated to coffee. Over cappuccinos at a Japanese café chain, the two discussed the opportunities in the coffee industry, sparking the birth of ansā.

After the two returned to Israel, Matan, an experienced tech entrepreneur, introduced Yuval, who founded the cybersecurity company TowerSec, to his brother Jonathan Scharf, the founder of MAE café – a direct coffee sourcing, roasting and specialty espresso-shop chain.

Well-versed in the challenges and intricacies of coffee sourcing and roasting, Jonathan Scharf led the two to his coffee roasting facility and shared his vision: “If we can turn this noisy, high-maintenance coffee roasting oven into a small, fully-automated, user-friendly device that can easily be fitted onto the countertop, we would have something ground-breaking.”

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