If you prefer your caffeine in food form, CafeButter is crafting a unique treat that might be right up your alley. Think Nutella – only with coffee.
Created by OSU senior Michael Arato, CafeButter mixes six ingredients together to form a spread of coffee-flavored goodness. The lineup includes peanuts, sugar, coffee, coconut oil, salt and soy lecithin, an emulsifier that keeps the whole thing together. Arato uses locally-roasted Thunderkiss Coffee for the signature ingredient.
The food science major was thinking about the popularity of peanut butter in the U.S., it’s lack of fans elsewhere, and the other regional spreads that different parts of the world prefer, when he decided he wanted to create his own product.
“My first thought was something spicy to help people wake up,” Arato says.
The wake-up factor led to the realization that there were no caffeinated spreads out there, and his thoughts immediately turned to coffee. Putting the two together, CafetButter was born.
The operation started in Arato’s kitchen with a lot of trial and error.
“At first it was really bad, honestly,” Arato says. “But I thought that there was definitely something there.”
After a few more months of tinkering he landed on a formulation that’s remained the same for the last several months.
Arato has turned to the resources available to him through Ohio State, enlisting the Food Industry Center at the school to continue making the product. The center has also been instrumental in helping CafeButter navigate regulatory law and insurance. As a last step, the new spread business is waiting to get its license from the Ohio Department of Agriculture in January.
With license in hand, it’s on to full-scale production and product available to the public. (As it navigates the legal end of things, CafeButter isn’t for sale just yet.) Once approved, Arato plans to sell CafeButter through Etsy and is setting up meetings with local outlets, from restaurants to retailers, eyeing places like Katalina’s and the North Market.
Aside from family and friends, hundreds sampled CafeButter and the first-ever Columbus Coffee Fest.
“I’ve been really pleasantly surprised with how positive the reception has been,” Arato says.
He says it hasn’t always been easy balancing being a student with starting a business. He doesn’t always mind the time crunch though, getting to do something he truly enjoys. Post-graduation Arato hopes to pursue CafeButter full-time.
For more information visit eatcafebutter.com.