The Coffee Fabric: The Next “BIG THING” in Eco-Friendly Textiles

A hot cup of coffee every morning helps improve our mood, sharpens our alertness, and stimulates our energy by giving a mental boost. Once the coffee bean is grounded and used up, the left overs are either thrown away or used as a fertiliser. A new process has now arrived  in the fabric market, where waste grounded coffee beans have been made to undergo an innovative process in becoming recycled fabrics.


This idea triggered when the CEO of a Taiwanese fabric manufacturing company Singtex was sipping his cup of coffee at “Starbucks”. With a hot cup of coffee in his hand, he noticed a group of women collecting the ground coffee beans from the counter. Curiosity led him to ask the purpose of collecting that waste, and later on he found out that, it was used in the manufacturing of cosmetic products and also deodorants to prevent body odour.

What was considered as waste, was being used in a huge market of high potential. Singtex did not stop there and wanted to research and find if the waste coffee powder can be used for something else. They then invested 1.7 million USD to set up a unit to convert waste ground coffee beans into fabrics. These grounded coffee beans are spun into yarn, which is woven to form shirts.  The waste coffee bean powder is turned into interlaced fibres, which is transformed  into fabric, and then tailored into garments. The coffee bean fabric can be manufactured  in woven form, knitted form and even in the form of non-wovens.

Soybean, which is similar to coffee bean is already in the global spotlight due to its eco friendly virtues, and is also  praised as vegetable cashmere. The caffeinated  substance  has  entered the fabric market, and is expected  to create ripples in the global garment  market in the days to come.

A study says two T-shirts can be manufactured  from a single cup of coffee. It has the look of a typical sportswear fabric . Having advantages such as fast drying and UV Protection, eco-friendly fabric with odour control abilities, the fabric’s usage is limitless. The fabrics can be washed with water, even without using a detergent!

The production methodology is environmentally safe, energy efficient and consumes less resource for the process. Apart from fabrics, grounded coffee can be used for making socks, soap, luggage, shoe sole, and various products.

Conceptions  about organic clothing is undergoing a sea-change, with fashion designers and ramp shows improving  the concept with an array of trendy, and stylish eco-friendly apparels. With a shower of sufficient attention, eco-fashion has now entered the mainstream consumer consciousness.

Taiwan leads the world in the manufacturing  of green textiles. Almost  60 to 70 percent of organic textiles made in the world come from Taiwan. This  approach of reusing, and recycling materials, reducing energy consumption, and moving to renewable energy must be adopted by all the other countries as well. With this method, waste coffee grounds no longer need to end up in landfills. After providing a refreshing beverage and being a biofuel, the multi purposefulness of the coffee bean deserves appreciation.



There is a great range of coffee related products such as coffee yarns, coffee fabrics, inner wear, bedding and shoes. Over 100 international brands are now into manufacturing such products which symbolizes the great scope for eco-friendly products.


Singtex the Taiwan based fabric industry  is now collecting waste grounds from coffee drinks to turn them into sportswear.

Singtex says the fabric is ideal  for adrenalin-powered sports such as rock climbing,  walking, running, yoga. The company also boasts of  having 100+ clients all over the globe. Adidas, Timberland, Victoria’s secret, Patagonia are some among them.


Coffee is found to have other benefits such as coffee oil. This oil is used to manufacture cosmetic products. A recent patent relating to coffee oil is a series of coffee shampoo that is manufactured using a super critical extraction system.


The coffee beans are entirely free, from cafes and stores such as Starbuck, 7-Eleven and lot more. The employees will pick up the grounds on their way to work. Each day an average of 500 kilograms of coffee grounds are used. It’s a very small fraction of the coffee waste.

The methodology used in this process is combined  to our coffee drinking culture. This means that there will always be coffee grounds to be collected and processed. The products that can be manufactured with this, range from outdoor to household which means that there is endless possibility of this material to sustain.

A farmer can never earn more than  thousand dollars for a ton of coffee, but now it’s waste is used as an input to manufacture fabrics. Your next cup of coffee could end up meeting you at the gym !


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