Myth 1: I'm a Specialty Roaster – capsules aren't the right "fit" for me back to top
Customers come in all shapes and sizes, tastes and preferences. Chances are you already supply pre-ground coffee for filters, plungers, stove-top and home espresso machines. Of course none of those coffee offerings are suitable for your café or hospitality outlets… but they are well accepted in homes and small businesses throughout the country and you are meeting your customers' needs by providing them.

But times have changed. Many one-time filter or plunger-ground coffee drinkers have graduated to capsule systems; some people with group-head machines have even exchanged them for capsule machines seeking convenience, fast serve and less hassle. For small workplaces in search of a foolproof solution, capsule machines are helping to improve the quality of what a novice can offer, minimising waste and keeping the bench clean.

Add to this what you can see all around you. NespressoTM continues to advertise heavily and to open new stores across the country; larger New Zealand coffee brands are placing imported capsules into supermarkets; appliance chains offer capsule systems at cut prices or with cash-back; some of your friends and relatives have even moved to "the dark side" and bought their own capsule machine for their home or bach!

Remember the days of wine in corked bottles? Corks were "the only way" to seal quality wine if you were a serious player. Remember the unrecoverable backlash on vintners who dared to embrace the "new" screw cap? Hmmm... we can't either.

Capsule systems are meeting a need and are growing in popularity. But just like plunger-ground, they are simply a means for customers to enjoy coffee the way they want it… so offering your roast – in a capsule is just the next step in fulfilling your mission to serve your customers. After all, coffee in all of its forms, is your specialty.
Myth 2: Capsule coffee is horrible - avoid it like the plague! back to top
In our travels we have found roasters who make this claim but have not ever tasted espresso from a capsule machine. Nor have they explored the convenience, variety, consistency and safety that capsule machines afford the user.

Capsules will never replace espresso prepared by a trained barista. However, how many homes or workplaces actually possess a qualified barista? Capsule machines remove the guesswork and hassle out of making espresso for a sizable group of people who simply wish for a better-than-average coffee experience. Capsule machines are, in fact, responsible for an overall improvement in the quality of coffee served in a non-commercial setting. In a sense, the capsule market is helping to drive higher expectations in the marketplace and indirectly supporting the fresh-roasted market.

Once you try your roast - in a capsule you will see that capsule coffee has its place in the appropriate context.

All that said, not all capsules are created equal. Some brands of capsule coffee are awful... and that comes as no surprise since the fundamentals Quantum offers are missing. By using Quantum's service, your roast - in a capsule will possess the following (and more):
  • freshness - not imported from some unknown source somewhere halfway across the globe
  • taste - blended and roasted in NZ, by you, for Kiwi taste buds
  • credibility - backed by a brand (your brand) that is already known and loved by your faithful customers
  • compatible - capsules truly fit and perform as intended in capsule machines
Myth 3: Capsules are a fad - it will all blow over in a year or two back to top
This is not the experience of the European and US markets. Single serve coffee machine sales have steadily grown on the back of significant investment in technology and advertising by large multinationals. The trend is being followed here and in Australia.

It is difficult to see why consumers would revert to less convenient options - once people settle on a preference, particularly when it comes to coffee, they are difficult to budge. The current generation of New Zealanders are going to continue to demand capsules for the foreseeable future.

What will change is the types and varieties of capsule systems on offer. Currently the NespressoTM system is dominant in New Zealand. Quantum capsules are compatible with NespressoTM systems but should other quality options arise, we will explore how we can extend your roast - in a capsule to include those systems.
Myth 4: Caspules are a blight on the environmental landscape back to top
As with any human activity, there is an impact on our environment. It is every generation's responsibility to keep their footprints "light" and pass the Earth onto future generations in good shape. Precisely how that is done requires careful thought, innovation and effort. Rhetoric is no substitute for meaningful action.

Capsules systems generate a stream of spent capsules which are the "visible" footprints of coffee consumed this way. By choosing recyclable materials in our capsule components Quantum enables this waste stream to be minimised. We encourage our customers to separate lids and cups, place the spent coffee in compost and put the lids and cups into recycling.

Some other imported capsules claim biodegradability or are "compostable" but the jury is still out on whether the overall impact of this approach is truly beneficial. However, the principle still applies that there are choices and actions a consumer can make to enable spent capsules to be dealt with acceptably and responsibly.

Regarding capsule systems as a whole, consider the following facts regarding the overall impact on our environment:
  • Energy use - capsule machines are highly energy-efficient because they typically heat just the small amount of water and steam required to make each drink. Other large machines with boilers (or simply the electric jug!) are constantly heating large quantities of water and steam, consuming more energy per cup of coffee served.
  • Packaging - Quantum capsules are produced and distributed fresh, requiring no non-recyclable oxygen barrier packaging. The majority of fresh coffee beans and pre-ground coffee is sold in non-recyclable composite plastic/foil bags which are necessary to keep the coffee fresh even for short a time until consumed. Composite bags represent an "unseen" waste stream seldom spoken of in the coffee industry and take significant periods (100+ years) to break down in landfill. Even if polypropylene capsules end up in landfill, they will typically degrade into their inert, non-toxic constituents within 30 years.
  • Waste - The measured serving under controlled conditions that capsules provide minimises the amount of waste coffee and cleaning required in the home or workplace. Grinding too much coffee that is thrown out (or consumed stale) and cleaning up spillages and complex milk steaming equipment with water and detergents are environmental overheads that are minimised by capsule systems.
Myth 5: Plastic capsules have a shelf life of 12+ months back to top
Like most imported capsules, Quantum capsules have a plastic cup. Quantum's cup is recyclable, being made from BPA-free polypropylene (PP). The downside of using PP is that oxygen will diffuse through the cup very slowly over time, causing the coffee inside to deteriorate in aroma and flavour. The good news is that the process is so slow that even after six months the quality of the coffee is still great so we specify a Best By date of 6 months from the date of packing.

However we recommend buying local and buying frequently to ensure you get the freshest best roast on offer. Consumers of Quantum capsules will typically be drinking capsules that are less than 3 months old so no special measures are necessary to deliver them a quality fresh espresso.

Importers of plastic capsules, however, are faced with a dilemma. It is unlikely that the last capsule sold from a large imported batch of capsules will make it to the consumer within a six month window. Freight and distribution times plus large minimum run sizes create a need to extend the shelf life so you will discover they mark their product with a Best By date of 12 (or more!) months.

To extend the shelf life of a plastic capsule, there are only a few options:
  • Choose a cup made of a oxygen-barrier plastic - this will protect the coffee inside but renders the cup non-recyclable
  • Flush the capsule with nitrogen at the time of packing - but this simply eliminates oxygen at the outset and does not stop diffused oxygen from aging the coffee over time
  • Pack the capsule itself into a foil bag or similar "extra" packaging - but this just increases the packaging waste stream and is itself often non-recyclable
  • Pack capsules in unprotected packaging and claim a long shelf life anyway - gamble on freight times, distribution and turnover to keep the product fresh... and ultimately hope the coffee drinker doesn't notice.
None of these options is desirable and all are eliminated by Quantum's small run sizes and short distribution time-frames.

Local really is better.
* Quantum capsules are compatible with NespressoTM espresso machines. NespressoTM is a registered trademark of Societe Des Produits Nestle S.A. and is in no way associated with Quantum Specialties Limited.
 

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