'Time flies when you are having fun'! Yes it's five years already since we launched our 'Nespresso' compatible and compostable Specialty coffee capsules.
A bit on the past, the current and the future.
How it all started:
Well we noticed, prior to 2018, that more and more people were buying and using Nespresso machinery. Because of the ease of use and the excellent coffee extractions, but also for the low price and reliability over the years. So literally a no-brainer for a lot of people.
Inside the Capsules:
While the technology was great and the value for money unseen, the bottleneck for us, coffee nerds, was lying in the quality of the coffee beans used to fill up those tiny capsules. Oh yes, most capsules were plastic or aluminium, so we also questioned their negative impact on planet earth, but we'll come back on that later, first the coffee itself: almost all coffee used in capsules sold in Belgium was, simple said, 'cheap stuff'. That doesn't specifically mean you may not like it, but for sure we thought that could be a lot better. Both for sourcing, but also from a roasting stand point. The beans used by Caffenation were probably twice as expensive and roasted a lot lighter than anything else on the market in 2018.
Challenges in replicating taste:
It was more difficult to copy the taste of our espresso (from our bars) into our cups, using capsules. And that's mainly because there's only 5 grams of coffee inside a small capsule, while our (double) espresso's were made with appr. 18 grams of freshly ground coffee. But also because the Nespresso machine was not capable of playing with variables like brewing water temperature and extraction times to improve taste. These problems were solved later on thanks to the arrival of this fantastic piece of equipment a couple years later:
The Morning machine:
These beautiful machines were fabricated in Singapore co-founded by Singapore-based Bowen Chiou and Leon Foo'.
The thing about Nespresso is that it's not just a marketing exercise dreamed up by some bored Nestlé marketing folk. It's a very good coffee delivery system that gives precise control over brewing temperature and extraction time. The whole point of it is it gives consistent results and has controllable parameters. It's almost like a classic espresso maker for a fraction of the price. The only problem is that most Nespresso machines are set up literally to make the same basic coffee over and over again, for people who are not all that passionate about coffee.
The Morning Machine, by contrast, lets you play with temperature, extraction times and even pressure to your caffeine-addled heart's content. It also claims to extract based on volume – ie: how much coffee is dispensed – rather than time. This might seem like a rather marginal difference to most people, but to 'real' coffee enthusiasts, it is probably very important.
And it's strongest quality; the Morning machine is flawless with every capsules you feed it with. So, any material, any coffee, any time or any when; it always works!
Well, enough publicity on the Morning equipment, let's go on with our 'capsules project'. (at this point we work together with homebarista.be for all sales)
Caffenation capsules Assortment:
Five years ago we had a lot of lovely beans and blends we already used in our coffee line and copied these to capsules. Roast ED, Mister LGB and Caps. SAUL were the first three colors/flavours to start with.
Later on we launched Brazil IAN, Nature AL, Sweet JOSE and Kenya KEN. Some were copies from our line of coffees you'll buy in the old traditional bags, but also new stuff, especially conceived for our Capsules line.
Customer Engagement and Resolution:
The quality of the capsules were not always as consistent as we hoped for. Some periods we had more complaints. Mainly because the machine couldn't puncture them. And so many people gave up on our capsules. Meanwhile a lot of improvements are made and we can say that it works almost all the time.
For those who ones bought our capsules and were not so happy with the extraction: write us a mail (at firstname.lastname@example.org) and we ship you a free sample pack to test them again.
Sales and Future Goals:
The sales were, due to quality and personal taste, up and down, but thanks to the Morning machinery and a couple of good online platforms, better than ever, and we have to ambition to surpass in 2024 the quarter million capsules a year mark.
And so now it's time for probably the most important news for today, the announcement of two new flavors/colors in our line up (to replace Ken and Saul).
Super NOVA (washed Specialty coffee) and MISS XX (natural Specialty coffee) are programmed to be available soon (we expect somewhere at the beginning of December) - it's a little bit too early for photo's, that's something for later.... We keep you posted.
Commitment to Transparency and Quality:
But one thing for sure, for all our capsules we use Specialty Coffee beans and mention clearly (online) what beans are inside the caps, with a yearly 'Transparency Report' explaining origins, cupping scores, volumes and even buying prices. So for all other companies bragging on their coffee beans quality, let's start with telling openly what coffee you use and then we can eventually start comparing.
To finish of some more info from the 'green side':
We recommend popping the used capsules in the organic waste bin. So they can be whisked away to an industrial composting plant. Composting at home comes with its difficulties. Finding the sweet spot where the microbes in your home compost pile can flourish can be quite tricky. The pros at an industrial composting facility can do this with ease, and in their hands, it will take around 12 weeks for the caps to decompose.
If you throw away your used capsules in the regular waste bin, then they may end up in landfill, recycled, or incinerated. In all three cases, the Green Ring coffee capsule will have less of an impact than the conventional coffee capsules. But to get the best out of our caps, put them in the bio-bin.