FABULOUS article by David Warr at Warr on Words blog.
In today's society we are constantly looking for labour saving ideas and in the espresso market the large global corporations have only been too happy to feed our desires.
Nestle through their "Nespresso" system which incorporates the use of dedicated capsules are making a huge impact in the domestic market. They have built a series of domestic machines that will only take their capsules, thereby eliminating competitor offerings. On top of this they only operate a mail order service which means that you can't simply purchase capsules from your local high street store. The range they have developed has been quite incredible, but as with all global brands regional choice gets lost as Nestle attempt to keep the whole market to themselves.
However, they are not alone, Lavazza are another vast coffee business producing capsules solely for their machines. At the last count I believe they were manufacturing 1 million capsules per day.
On the regular coffee front Philips have collaborated with Douwe Egbert (part of the Sara Lee corporation) to offer a single portion "soft pod" machine called Senseo. Once again an attempt to force the consumer to only use the Dowe Egbert product. Thankfully in this case there has been a little more pragmatism on the part of DE, as other manufacturers are now able to produce "soft pods" under licence using their own coffee. On top of this other machine manufacturers, most notably Bunn have now produced their own soft pod machines.
However no sooner does one corporation allow a little choice into the market than along comes another one, this time in the shape of Kenco with their "Tassimo" system who attempts to close it down again.
This then bring me on to the one system which is both convenient and offers choice, namely the "hard pod". A number of manufacturers of Espresso machines now offer an interchangeable system. For convenience you can use a pod, however if you have a preferred local coffee roaster you can also use their fresh ground coffee in the same machine by simply changing the insert in the group handle.
Now that's what I call choice, it benefits both the consumer and the smaller regional businesses. This is why these are the kinds of systems you will find on our website.
We believe that the consumer, the grower, everybody should be allowed to benefit from this business not just a select few with very deep pockets.