A Welsh gin produced from recycled coffee grounds will launch on World Gin Day this Saturday (June 12th).
The coffee based but caffeine free spirit is the latest product from Grounds for Good, a lockdown-launched range, created in October by medical doctor turned beauty entrepreneur Dr Rosie Oretti and friend and fellow beauty expert Amy Adams.
With a shared love of coffee and a value for all things sustainable and ethical, Rosie and Amy’s first products were three body polishes of repurposed coffee grounds destined for landfill, followed by candles. And now Rosie is taking the brand forward with the GFG London Dry Gin No.1, distilled at award-winning The Gower Gin Company.
GFG is a social enterprise, with some profit donated to The Wallich, a homeless charity which supported many of Addiction Psychiatrist Rosie’s patients, and where she is now a Trustee, since retiring after 30 years within the NHS.
“This is a cause close to my heart,” says Rosie, who, as one of Wales’ few Addiction Psychiatrists, advised Welsh Government on substance misuse strategy and policy for ten years.
“And yes, I recognise the irony – I certainly did not envisage that I would be producing and selling alcohol in my future!” she says.
While some GFG profits go towards supporting The Wallich, these aren’t from the gin. As many homeless individuals suffer from alcohol or drug related problems, it wouldn’t be ethical to donate assets from this type of source, which Rosie feels, doesn’t align with the charity.
Drawing on their years of green, clean beauty experience – having met while they both worked for vegan, cruelty-free sustainable UK franchise Tropic Skincare – Rosie and Amy harnessed a three-pronged approach or ‘three angles of good’ – good for you, good for the community and good for the planet.
In terms of community, as well as The Wallich, local independent Penarth coffee houses Brød and Foxy’s Deli and throughout lockdown have supplied GFG, saving on commercial waste spend, with grounds being a wet and heavy expense.
“Going forward, in order to be part of the ‘GFG gang’ businesses will retail some or all of our products in return,” says Rosie, who has a 21-year-old son and got her very early love of good coffee from her Italian father. “I want to align more with coffee shops that have the same ethos for sustainability as GFG.”
GFG Dry London Gin No.1 is a relaxing, versatile summer tipple, rather than having the kick of an Espresso Martini, as the distillation process removes caffeine.
Neither does it have a strong coffee flavour, although the grounds do add subtle and unique flavour to the gin base in a similar way to popular products featuring ingredients like juniper, seaweed or lemon.
“Domestic coffee users can pop any of their grounds onto their garden or into a composter – it’s a great soil fertilizer,” says Rosie, who qualified with a First Class Honours Degree in Pharmacology in 1985. “Failing that – always place into food waste rather than general waste, so it doesn’t go to landfill.”
Coffee grounds are typically used only once before going to landfill. Decomposing them in bulk, and under anaerobic conditions, emits harmful methane gas around 34 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Rosie’s interest in coffee developed at Cardiff charity and non-profit coffee shop Bigmoose, where she volunteered for a year after retiring.
She says: “I really can’t remember an actual ‘eureka’ moment, but it was around that time that I started noticing the vast amounts of coffee waste. The more I researched, the more I realised what massive potential there is for grounds as a biofuel in coffee logs; clothing and shoes; mushroom grow kits; ink…the list goes on.
“I’ve always been someone who cares about the planet and I hate thoughtless waste. Working in the NHS stifles creativity and innovation and so launching GFG, where I have such a creative reign, has been sheer pleasure.
“We have a bean to cup coffee maker at home and we have four shots in the morning. That’s it! I find I only need this amount of great quality coffee and it keeps me going all day. My dad never drank instant coffee and my poor mum would have to make fresh coffee with a Moka pot on the stove!”