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Atomo ‘Beanless Espresso’ Drinks Are Coming to Bluestone Lane

Atomo coffee chicago

The Atomo booth at the recent SCA Expo in Chicago. Daily Coffee News photo by Nick Brown.

Popular New York-based specialty coffee chain Bluestone Lane is placing a bet on the emerging coffee-free coffee movement, partnering with Seattle-based startup Atomo for “beanless espresso” drinks.

Atomo’s proprietary blend of farmed or upcycled plant-based but non-coffee ingredients — pitched since the company’s inception as “beanless coffee” — will be featured in all of Bluestone Lane’s 58 locations nationwide come August of this year.

[Semantics note: What are often described as coffee “beans” can be more accurately described as the seeds of the coffee plant.]

The two companies, both of which have been boosted by investment firms in recent years, announced the menu partnership during the 2024 SCA Expo last weekend in Chicago. (See DCN’s complete 2024 Expo coverage here.)

Atomo bags

Atomo bags. Daily Coffee News photo by Nick Brown.

In Chicago, Atomo representatives were preparing shots and lattes using their ground Atomo powder, which will be featured beginning April 22 at approximately 10 Bluestone Lane locations in six major metropolitan markets.

A nationwide rollout of Atomo-based drinks — including espresso-substitute-based hot beverages and potentially cold beverages — is planned for August, Atomo Chief Operating Officer Ed Hoehn told DCN in Chicago.

“Coffee shops is the only place we’re making our product available initially,” Hoehn said. “For us, this is a bit of a love letter. Our product is a love letter to coffee. We’re not trying to replace coffee. We see an opportunity to build something together.”

Since its inception, Atomo has repeated a kind of pitch-deck-like problem-solution proposition regarding sustainability, particularly within the coffee industry. The company has repeatedly cited the landmark study suggesting that half of the currently available land suitable for growing coffee production will become unsuitable by 2050 due to climate change.

Atomo ground

Atomo powder. Daily Coffee News photo by Nick Brown.

With climate change potentially slowing arabica production amidst increasing global demand, the company says its solution is to help satiate the market with the coffee substitute.

“We think that we can help live in that gap to help coffee, maybe help with coffee pricing a bit, which is ultimately what will impact consumers,” Hoehn told DCN. “But we want to be part of the solution, not a threat to coffee.”

Atomo currently uses a formulation that includes date seeds, ramon seeds and other natural ingredients. Its production is soon to be boosted with the opening of an upcycling facility for date seeds in the Coachella Valley — where water is supplied by the overstressed Colorado River — as well as a new production plant and ingredients roastery in Seattle.

Opening about a mile away from the Starbucks U.S. headquarters, that factory will be able produce approximately four million pounds of Atomo product per year, according to Hoehn.

Despite its stated concern for sustainability in the coffee sector, the company has at this point not offered transparency regarding raw ingredient sourcing in its own supply chains.

“What we do say very publicly is we have farmers, too,” Hoehn said. “All of our ingredients are farm-grown or upcycled ingredients.”

Atomo ingredients

Atomo ingredients. Daily Coffee News photo by Nick Brown.

For its part, Bluestone Lane said the addition of Atomo products will complement the coffee company’s existing cafe offerings.

In an announcement, Bluestone Lane CEO Nicholas Stone said, “This presents an opportunity for our customers to enjoy an innovative coffee option that maintains our high standards for quality and taste while aligning with our commitment to environmental stewardship.”

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