CUP MENA has been able to partner with the likes of Dunkin Donuts.
CUP, or Coffee Utilize Product, is an Egyptian startup that collects SCG (spent coffee grounds) to cultivate mushrooms in order to create horizontal and vertical expansion of the raw material.
The initiative has partnered up with giants like Dunkin Donuts, Costa Coffee, Environeur, and Credit Agricole. Some of the mushroom species they harvest include the Shiitake, Gold Oyster, Agaricus, King Oyster, and Pink Oyster.
Commonly used as an effective fertiliser and composting material, coffee grounds actually contain several key nutrients for plant growth and can help decrease heavy metals in soil, while attracting more worms. This makes the raw material an excellent green substitute and keeps it from taking up unnecessary space in landfills.
The startup began its journey in 2017, when it started collecting SCG’s and testing it as an organic substrate for organically grown mushrooms. "The idea simply came from the fact that I drink a lot of coffee like so many people and sat in a lot of coffee shops. I started to look at different coffee beans, and learned that coffee grounds are thrown away and aren't used even though we can use them to harvest. And because I love mushrooms specifically, that's what I chose," says Mohamed Abdel Gawad, the Managing Director of CUP.
"Oyster mushrooms weren't common in the market, and we learned that coffee grounds could cultivate that species specifically, so it came naturally that we should fill that gap in the market," he said. The idea came into fruition in 2018 when the initiative was able to secure a fund from the GESR Incubator at Misr Alkheir, and was put on its track to manifest their ideas. The initiative has since solidified themselves as the first organisation doing what they do, and has made strides in providing quality agricultural product and keeping this planet a little greener.
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