Immunity coffee: Australian firm creates postbiotic blend in Nespresso-compatible capsules and instant powder

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Postbiotics, being heat-killed, can be incorporated into functional beverages such as hot coffee. ©Getty Images
Postbiotics, being heat-killed, can be incorporated into functional beverages such as hot coffee. ©Getty Images

Related tags Australia postbiotics Coffee

An Australian firm has created a barista coffee blend containing postbiotics designed to be beneficial to the immune health.

The coffee blend is currently available in capsules compatible with the Nespresso machine and instant freeze-dried powder.

Created by Queensland-based Coffee Roasters Australia, the blend consists of four heat-killed postbiotics, including Lacticaseibacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium, ​and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.

It also consists of cell bound exo-polysaccharides (C-EPS) Lactobacillus plantarum, ​cells and media of Lactobacillus paracasei, ​and Lactobacillus acidophilus.

Founded in 2002, Coffee Roasters Australia started off as a distributor of coffee roasting machines and equipment.

However, after the firm swapped hands in 2009, it began manufacturing coffee roasting machines and subsequently, the contract manufacturing of coffee capsules, instant coffee powder, and drip coffee bags in 2012.

The postbiotic coffee have been sold via the firm’s website since July, however, Alana Beattie, director, revealed to NutraIngredients-Asia ​that the products were first launched in 2019, but withdrawn only after four months – due to misconception towards the idea of postbiotics coffee.

Part of the scepticism stems from not knowing that postbiotics are heat-stable, she recounted. 

“The products were launched this year. I did launch it a couple of years ago, and its just a capsule product. But I stopped and re-assessed the situation when I realised that there wasn’t enough supporting evidence for the product originally.

“I pulled it out from the market and did the CSIRO-Griffith study and I relaunch the product this year. ​ 

“The postbiotic coffee was met with scepticism and I wasn’t overcoming that well enough with the information that I had [back then]. I believe in this product so much that I don’t want to go out there with the wrong message and be destroyed by falsehoods.

“It was a very difficult decision at that point, but I felt that it needed more supporting information for the general public to understand the product,” ​Beattie said.

Some of the comments that she received back then were that probiotics had to be kept in the fridge.

“They didn’t understand [postbiotics] and there wasn’t enough data…I wanted someone to take away my product and analyse on their own, independently.”

As a result, she approached the national research agency CSIRO which partnered with Griffith University to conduct an independent study on the effects of her barista blend on human cells.

According to Amanda Cox, senior lecturer of Immunology at Griffith University who was part of the research team, the team conducted tests to investigate the postbiotic’s ability to activate isolated human immune cells in the lab.

“We found the patterns of response to the different postbiotics were generally similar between the independent samples, suggesting the immune cells were responding in a similar way to a specific postbiotic.

“We also found the strength of the responses did vary between the samples, and this is consistent with how the strength of immune responses can vary between individuals,” ​Cox said.

Combining FMCG and health together

Beattie, who used to work at Nestle as the category development manager for foods and national sales, as well as category development for pharmacy at Pfizer, said her experience at these firms had influenced her to create a functional coffee.

“My background is in pharmaceutical and FMCG. Before starting my own business, I worked at Nestle and Pfizer respectively. I also had a big passion for pharmacy and FMCG and coffee in particular.

“The thought of being able to bring those two passions together was something that was important to me…These passions brought me to look at the functional coffee space.

Aside from postbiotic coffee, she has also created a collagen supplement containing the postbiotic under the brand name Renew and a cognitive health supplement under the brand Inspire. 

“Renew and Inspire were born because I wanted to have a product that has the benefits of postbiotics and other ingredients.”

The upcoming plan is to launch a drip coffee version of Barista Blend, as well as a hot chocolate postbiotic.

Over 100 trials

Beattie first toyed with the idea of combining probiotics with coffee in 2017.

However, challenges with keeping probiotics alive under high temperature and finding the right delivery system had led her to trialled with over 100 formulations.

“I started to put probiotics into different oils and different ways which it could be delivered in order to survive heat.”

It was only until Probiotics Australia introduced her to postbiotic that her dream of creating a functional coffee came to fruition.

“Meanwhile, I was working with an Australian probiotic manufacturer to try and solve this problem or try to get a solution to what I was trying to achieve – which was having the benefits of a probiotic in a hot coffee product.

“For years, I had lots of fails, and at that time, technology was also moving in the probiotics space. And in that time, we came together with what was called a post biotic. It is heat resistant and can still give you the functional benefits,”​ she said. 

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