Coffee in space
African, Central and South-American coffee beans sent to the stratosphere and back - Oxfordshire, March 2015
COFFEE IN SPACE - London, March 2015
Bompas & Parr sent coffee beans into the stratosphere as part of an investigation into the future of food and drink in space. The studio then collected them back on terra firma to make the world's first 'Space Coffee'.
The studio obtained a Civil Aviation Licence to launch a helium weather balloon, to which was attached 500g of African, Central and South American beans, a GPS tracker and a Go-Pro video camera to document the journey.
The balloon was released in the UK’s unofficial spaceport of Edmonds Park, Didcot, Oxfordshire and soared up to 37km - roughly the same altitude that Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped from. At that point the balloon had expanded to 10m in diameter, it was -50C and the atmospheric pressure was just 1% of ground level.
When the balloon popped, the beans then plummeted back down to earth at 200m/s. Happily it didn’t end up in the sea, or in France, Spain or further afield, but safely landed in Kingston Bagpuize, 11.7 miles north west of the launch site.
The endeavour raised some gastronomic questions beyond the sheer novelty of the act - would the high altitude, low atmospheric pressure and exposure to cosmic rays affect its taste?