I have to start this article by putting my hand up and saying that I’m a Nespresso hater. It’s not just because everyone has one it’s the waste created by the capsules and the cheap appliances that will have inevitably short lives before joining their capsules in landfill.
I’ve heard and subsequently re-told stories about how Nespresso capsules really have instant coffee inside them, how they don’t have as much cafeine as real coffee and how they use artificial chemicals to imitate the flavours (without knowing if any of these things are true). What’s worse is that I did this before I’d even tried coffee from a Nespresso machine!
Whilst out one day I noticed my coffee (which I really enjoyed) had come from a commercial capsule system and my views began to weaken a little. Then whilst staying with friends for a couple of weeks it was the only caffeine available and so I drank some, well, lots. It really wasn’t that bad, actually it was often good. Most of all though the convenience was really nice.
Whilst I’m still wedded to my ROK and wouldn’t change, I do wonder if I’m going to become a current day version of my grandmother who won’t use ATMs.
Manual machines aren’t for everyone, so if you’re a capsule coffee person here are three things you can do to reduce the impact of your convenience:
1. USE BIODEGRADABLE COFFEE CAPSULES
Produced by the Ethical Coffee Company and sold exclusively in Australia by Eco Cafe these capsules are made entirely from plant based material. They will completely decompose within 180 days so you can throw them straight into your compost bin.
If you love your Nespresso setup for the convenience then this is by far the best option.
Fairtrade and Organic capsules are available.
2. EMPTY AND RECYCLE YOUR STANDARD CAPSULES
Let’s face it even the greenest among us are going to be too lazy at times to prize the capsules apart to extract the 13grams of coffee. That’s where an Outpresso device can help. A quick squash and you’re done.
Their website looks terrible but as best I can tell they are shipping these devices.
3. USE REFILLABLE COFFEE CAPSULES
I’ve put this last as it’s the most cumbersome of the changes you can make. Personally if you’re going to do this I think you’re better off just choosing an eco coffee machine. If you already have a Nespresso machine though this option might be for you.
Refillable capsules are a plastic devices that can be used over and over again. It has the advantage of letting you choose your favourite coffee. On the downside it’s going to be a little fiddly to pack and consistency of results might be an issue.
There are a few different people making these as listed below. Of these, the Emohome appears to be the most developed product having clearly gone through a few design iterations.