Capsules or Pods?
The industry-standard usage is that a coffee portion contained within paper packaging is a pod, whilst anything in other material, such as aluminium or plastic, is a capsule.
Eric Favre developed the first coffee capsule system in 1976, and we saw a gradual development of the concept, mainly for use in offices. Then Nestle entered the arena in 2006 and brought about an explosion in uptake for use in the home.
Today, Green Mountain sells 5 billion capsules a year in the USA, with less than 20% market penetration, Nespresso is turning over €2 billion per annum and Lavazza is selling 2.5 billion capsules into all market sectors.
At the 2013 London Coffee Festival, Barry Kither, (Sales and Marketing Director AFH for Lavazza Coffee UK Ltd), went into the Lion’s Den and gave a presentation on coffee capsules to an audience of East End Hipster Baristas. He lived to tell the tale.
We caught up with Barry, to ask what he saw as the driving factors behind his capsule crusade:
‘Firstly, the consumer has a growing appreciation of good food and drink, as reflected in the number of Food Programmes in television schedules.
Nowadays, we perceive ourselves to be Time Poor, and an efficient coffee system delivering a perfect product with minimal mess is well received in the home and workplace.
Thirdly, the growth in UK Café Culture has heightened the customer’s knowledge and expectations, much as our appreciation of wine developed over the last 20 years.
We see acceptance among consumers of a premium price for High Street coffee, against which capsules deliver real value for money.’
The Move of Capsules Into Foodservice
When asked to give his views on the move of capsules into Foodservice, Barry addressed the three key concerns, which Lavazza identified among potential clients:
- Is the quality of espresso as good as the traditional method?
With the Lavazza BLUE system, in most cases, it will be better. The coffee portion is exactly measured, perfectly tamped and sealed for freshness. As long as a few very simple rules are followed, every member of staff can produce the same quality of espresso, every time.
- Can this capsule equipment cope in a busy coffee shop?
The equipment used by Lavazza BLUE in Foodservice is traditional espresso machine technology, with a simple modification to take capsules. Espresso is produced by inserting a capsule into a specially adapted handle, which is then inserted into the group head as normal.
The reduction in contact of coffee grounds with the group head makes cleaning easier, and you’ve excluded the noise and mess of a grinder and the need to tinker with the grind setting every time the wind changes direction.
When compared to the performance of a bean to cup machine, Lavazza BLUE deliveries enhanced speed, flexibility and reliability, (plus servicing is easier and cheaper).
- Will the consumer accept capsule-espresso as real?
There’s an unsubstantiated anecdote making the rounds that 30% of Michelin Starred restaurants use coffee capsules. Whatever the true figure is, we can say that there is a growing trend in the use of capsules at the top end of our industry. The driving forces in this trend are about delivering consistency and authenticity.
James Hoffmann, (former World Barista Champion and Proprietor of Square Mile Coffee Roasters), touched on one of the reasons behind this when he recently said:
‘No matter what we do, most espressos in most restaurants brewed on traditional equipment will have quality issues.’
Leading restaurants have recognised this issue and are welcoming a solution which ensures that the traditional finale to a fine dining experience is Heavenly.
Visiting London’s 2013 Caffé Culture Show? Lavazza BLUE Capsules In Action
You’ll find the latest Lavazza BLUE foodservice machines on Bluecap Coffee’s Stand. Make sure that you call in for an espresso and become a capsule convert.
Bluecap Coffee is Lavazza’s leading distribution partner for Lavazza BLUE in UK Foodservice.
Visit bluecapcoffee.com for details of the Lavazza BLUE system.
For information on Caffe Culture, visit caffeculture.com