Big news for coffee lovers who care about the environment: Metropolis Coffee Co. is the first coffee company in the U.S. to produce compostable co-packer pods that work in Nespresso machines. Metropolis is determined to take over the U.S. coffee capsule market while keeping debris out of the landfills.
“We know we won’t be the first company to introduce capsules to the U.S. in the coming years, but we want to be the first to bring truly sustainable capsules to market so people can consistently enjoy great espresso anytime, anywhere, without growing their ecological footprint,” Tony Dreyfuss, cofounder and president of Metropolis Coffee Company, said in a press release. “And we want to do so at scale, as real impact and systemic change can only come from scale.”
The coffee company is cagey about the capsules’ composition. The press release left out this basic info (probably in the classic American spirit of capitalism and proprietary technology). But when pressed, the company’s representative told me, “The capsules are made of patented monolayer plant-based materials, with a patented oxygen barrier.” The company added that their technology provides the capsules with an impressive 24-month shelf life.
Metropolis has shown its dedication to sustainability by investing more than one million dollars into its packing and filling machinery and technology. The Chicago-based, family-owned business can pack up to 300,000 coffee capsules a day, and more than 90 million annually. It plans to pack its own ethically-sourced coffee, as well as manufacturing capsules for other brands.
“Because we’re an accoladed specialty roaster with tremendous capacity, in addition to our own program, we’re also all about helping other specialty coffee companies to bring their own sustainable capsule brand to life – from product development, to roasting and grinding, to custom cartons, everyone has the opportunity to benefit from Metropolis’s sustainable capsule technology,” Anne Djerai, executive vice president of Metropolis Coffee Company, said in a press release.
Nestle patented the first Nespresso machine in 1986. The popularity of the coffee capsules grew slowly at first, but gathered steam in the 2000s, with Keurig taking a heftier market share. When some of the original patents started to lapse around 2012, the pod market really exploded. In the last five years, capsule espresso machines have become hard to avoid, especially if you stay in a lot of hotels. And if you’re like me and feel bad about throwing away two to three plastic pods per day during hotel stays, you surely share my excitement about the new Metropolis compostable pods.
Lead image via Pexels