Edible Innovations: Growing Mushrooms from Coffee Grounds and Making them into Burgers

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Edible Innovations: Growing Mushrooms from Coffee Grounds and Making them into Burgers

From Singapore to the USA and all around Europe, Edible Innovations profiles food makers that engage in improving the global food system at every stage, from production to distribution to eating and shopping. Join us as we explore the main trends in the industry from a maker perspective. Chiara Cecchini of Future Food Institute — an ecosystem with a strong educational core that promotes food innovation as a key tool to tackle the great challenges of the future — introduces you to the faces, stories, and experiences of food makers around the globe. Check back on Tuesdays and Thursdays for new installments.

Despite its name, Funghi Espresso isn’t about making coffee. We’ve actually covered them before. The company teaches others how to quickly grow mushrooms in their home with the use of coffee grounds. Chiara got the chance to sit down with Marco Vitale, creator of the Funghi Burger, to discuss how he took this mushroom growing process a step further and used the mushrooms to make delicious burgers.

So what is a Funghi Burger?

The recipe is made with mushrooms cultivated from coffee grounds that were recuperated from the bars. It is possible to get a vegetal burger to stir-fry in a pan by using the remaining mushrooms in the coffee pot filter. And with the same preparation, adding water and flour will create the burger buns.

What’s the relation with moka? You’ve mentioned that you got the idea for the burger from when you were using moka to brew your coffee.

As soon as I noticed that the moka could be easily extracted without any issues, I knew I had to use it for something nice. The taste needed to be adjusted with a natural flavor enhancer to get a good quality broth.

How did you made the first prototype?

I added some grated potato to the mixture of mushrooms, thyme, chickpeas, and miso. And voila!

What do you think is the crucial steps to taking this product to the next level?

For me, it’s thinking about how to obtain a long lasting product that can be commercialized all over the world. Easily accessible ingredients is also important so that the burgers can provide nourishment and be reproduced anywhere on our planet.

What motivated you to start this project and keep you going during difficult moments?

The moment I saw the faces of Italian people using the moka to cook mushrooms, I just knew that I needed to continue this project. I’ll never forget their astonishment after they finished drinking the final beverage and tasting the burger obtained from the filter. I have never stopped believing in this recipe, as it is just so cool! Even if it took me two years to perfect it.

In your opinion, how does this project impact society?

It’s fun to use the coffee pot to cook mushrooms and delightful to eat the final product when you know you’re not creating any waste. As Antoine Lavoiser said: “Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything transforms.”

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Chiara is fascinated by food as a means to impact bodies, minds, and environment. She has studied international business in three different countries, and is an alumni of the Food Innovation Program and US Director at the Future Food Institute.

Based in California, she is also a Research Scholar at Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, working on building the first comprehensive Internet of Food to enable food care through food systems semantics. She is a selected member of Barilla Center Food Nutrition Foundation, a Research Affiliate at Institute For The Future, Board Member at Maker Faire and selected member of the Global Shapers, a young global network of innovators promoted by the World Economic Forum.

She is passionate about social entrepreneurship and impact investing, and aims to leave her mark on society.

View more articles by Chiara Cecchini


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