AFL brothers turn to instant coffee

Lay Day coffee is available in light and dark roasts, with a 45-gram can costing $14.50, a 90-gram can costing $24, and a 210-gram can costing $49, or about 70 cents a cup.

The beans are grown in the foothills of Mount Elimbari in Papua New Guinea by a local group before being roasted, brewed and freeze-dried in New Zealand.

“We’re targeting the next generation of coffee drinkers,” Ed Langdon said.

“Young consumers who want to know where their coffee comes from and who are price sensitive to the inevitable rises in coffee prices.”

Former AFL player Tom Langdon (left) and his younger brother Ed, a current player, want to overhaul instant coffee through their new company Lay Day.

His brother Tom says their aim is to make Lay Day as socially and environmentally responsible as possible, as the freeze in Brazil at the end of last year almost doubled the price of green coffee – the raw product bought by roasters .

Price C, an index commonly used to sell coffee, is around US$2.20 per pound (450 grams), while it has been hovering between US$1.20 and US$1.40 over the past eight previous years.

“Global production of arabica beans is facing a crisis and climate change is having a huge effect,” the 27-year-old said. AF Weekend from Wuerzburg, a town an hour’s drive from Frankfurt, where he works for a German food company.

“Farmers are turning away from coffee in favor of crops that are more resistant to harvest. Why would you grow a crop that is finicky and inconsistent when you can grow a crop that can provide much more stable yields and therefore more stable income for your family?

“So we will continue to see coffee prices go up…but from there we will see a level of innovation and experimentation.”

He thinks lab-grown lattes have a bright future, citing Finland’s VTT Institute, which produced its first cup of coffee made from plant cells in September.

Former AFL player Tom Langdon, pictured while at Collingwood, says lab-grown lattes could be the future. Paul Jeffers

Research team leader Heiko Rischer said VTT was about four years away from ramping up production and gaining regulatory approval for its lab-grown coffee, a seemingly outlandish creation that was actually first presented by an academic in 1974.

The company says there is a pressing need to find other ways to produce coffee because, due to high demand, more land is needed to produce enough coffee beans, leading to deforestation, in especially in sensitive areas of the rainforest.

“Lab-grown coffee may sound ridiculous, but I think we’ll see it in the future, and I’m excited about that,” said Tom Langdon.

And as the former Magpie goes into business, he takes a lesson or two from the AFL with him, drawing a comparison between the importance of maintaining self-confidence and blocking out unnecessary negativity in both worlds.

“With football, you are in the public eye, and you constantly face criticism and doubts, both internally and externally,” he said.

“It’s no different starting a business because you put yourself out there.”

Lay Day coffee can be ordered online or purchased from select Melbourne retailers.

About Glenda Wait

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