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Impossible Foods Investor Wants to Make ‘Coffee Without the Coffee’

Plus, the return of the pumpkin spice latte, and more news to start your day


Would you like a with coffee-free coffee to go with your meat-free burger?

Coffee growing is not as environmentally taxing as, say, beef production, but that’s not stopping some companies from trying to make lab-produced coffee into a thing. Grub Street reports that venture capital firm Horizon Ventures has thrown a chunky $2.6 million at Atomo Coffee, a Seattle-based company specializing in “molecular coffee from a range of chemical compounds. It’s a high-tech version of old-school coffee substitutes like chicory or carob, only those substitutes were caffeine-free alternatives. Atomo wants to essentially duplicate coffee.

Horizon Ventures has dipped its toes into these waters before: It was an early investor in fake meat magnate Impossible Foods, and it’s the first outfit to give Atomo substantial financing (Atomo had previously relied on crowdfunding). Atomo says it just wants to “offer a sustainable alternative” to coffee. Coffee racks up its fair share of emissions as it gets transported from tropical areas to places like the U.S. and Europe, so it’s a small comfort to know that Atomo will make sure you get your java, even as the world melts around as if you’re the “THIS IS FINE” dog.

And in other news...

  • Starbucks has confirmed that its dessert-like fall fave, the pumpkin spice latte, will be back August 27, its earliest release date yet. The company even has a Facebook group for those suffering from intense fall fever. [Business Insider]
  • The reboot of Alton Brown’s cooking show Good Eats is here, and available to stream online. [Food Network]
  • Companies like McDonald’s and Trader Joe’s are getting into podcasts, and people are actually listening to them. [NYT]
  • It’s day three of Popeye’s versus Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich madness and Popeye’s continues to sell out of them, with one Maryland man selling a cold, presumably soggy sandwich for $100 online. [Washingtonian]
  • Someone is suing Lisa Vanderpump’s LA restaurant SUR, claiming that it gave them food poisoning that caused them to vomit and poop on the floor of the restaurant itself. There does not appear to be any evidence that this incident happened. [Yahoo]
  • The battle in the war against sugar: the juice box. [WSJ]
  • The Times talked to the kombucha-tasting Texas woman whose facial reactions became a meme, enrapturing the internet. [NYT]
  • McDonald’s seems to be testing more international menu items at its Chicago headquarters restaurant, including a halloumi McMuffin and sweet potato fries (no word on any plans to serve them more widely). [QSR]
  • Make yourself or your offspring into a walking billboard with Taco Bell’s “Back to School” line of clothing. [Yahoo]