See that ruby red coffee cherry? No plastic. And that lovely cup of freshly brewed coffee? Nope, no plastic there. So why are we packing our coffee in plastic pods midway through??
Where did coffee pods come from?
Coffee pods first came about in the eighties. Inspired by the Italian espresso, aerodynamics engineer and coffee fan Eric Favre began experimenting with quick alternatives to instant coffee. He aimed to create a single serving device that replicated the freshly brewed espresso. No mean feat, we hear you say…
Nestlé (the super-brand that owns Nespresso) weren’t convinced, either, and it was a good few years before they gave the go-ahead to Eric’s invention. They did, however, and began introducing coffee pod machines to businesses in 1986.
Coffee pods have skyrocketed in the past decade. 350 million pods are used every year in the UK alone. Yep, 350 million! That’s more than the number of users logging onto Twitter each month. People like pods because they are convenient, cheap and come with the allure of Mr Clooney. But they come with a cost. Big cost.
Environmental impact of coffee pods
Plastic-anything isn’t good for the planet. Especially as we’re all trying to make changes and live more sustainably. We’ve put the stopper on plastic bottles and ditched single-use shopping bags, so why are we still packing fresh coffee in excess plastic? When there is such a simple, sustainable and drop-down delicious alternative (pssst… it’s speciality coffee!).
So, yes, coffee pods are bad for the environment. How bad? Well, 60 billion coffee pods end up in landfills each year. And each one can take 500 years to decompose. Enough said.
Coffee pods have to be strong, which explains that 17-generations-long decomposition time. Tough materials are great for the high pressures and hot temperatures inside a machine but show no mercy when it comes to the environment. They do damage before this stage, too: think about all the emissions and excess packaging needed to make and transport the pods.
Thankfully, coffee capsules are losing their shine. Even the inventor of the Keurig K-Cup coffee pod regrets his idea because of all the waste pods produce. So, if you’re obsessive about good coffee but don’t want the plastic, let’s get you sorted with some brew-tiful sustainable coffee. Coffee pure, simple and pod-less – what could be better?
Eco pods with plenty of problems
Now, we know there are some eco coffee pods out there. But slow down before you hit ‘buy’. Are these green pods quite as saintly as they look? No, it turns out. Hidden snags and shady guidelines make eco pods a less-than-perfect solution.
There are three main types of plastic pod alternatives: compostable, reusable and recyclable aluminium. The problem is, none of them are a quick fix.
Take the aluminium pod, for instance. They claim to be recyclable, which is great, but you can’t just bung them in the brown bin with your newspapers. If the pods are not emptied and washed, they will be picked up as contaminated at the recycling plant and go straight in the landfill. And that’s if your pods can even go in with household recycling.
Many councils don’t accept pods because of the silicone coating that lines their insides. This is complex to sort and requires its own recycling process. You can drop used pods at recycling points (cue more transport emissions), but this is so much faff that they usually just end up in the bin. How do we know this? Because the recycling rate of coffee pods is only 25 per cent.
Yes, but what about reusable pods?
Reusable pods aren’t much better on the extra-work front. They have to be filled by hand, can be tricky to wash out and are pretty pricey to buy. Plus, taste tests found them to produce a watery coffee. Hmmmm…
And it’s not third time lucky with compostable pods. The guidance between ‘recyclable’, ‘biodegradable’ and ‘compostable’ isn’t always clear, so very often pods end up in the wrong place, doing more damage than good. Compostable options also have a tendency to misbehave in the machine. They are made to break down, so are not always resistant enough to take the heat and pressure needed for a good brew. So, a great idea, but in practice, not so much.
With pods and eco(ish)-pods racking up a list of problems, why not do away with them altogether? Go for it! Go coffee commando and start brewing better, more sustainable coffee with Two Chimps! Let’s do it! ?
Speciality coffee from a sustainable coffee roaster – yippee!
If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of coffee pods, you’ve come to the right place. We know that super-duper, dance-on-the-table kinda coffee doesn’t need to harm the planet and would be thrilled to welcome you to the troop! Come on in! We roast and post the best ethically sourced beans to coffee lovers up and down the country. Frequent roasting multiple times each week means we’re always sending out the very freshest coffee; this is coffee at its absolute peak!
Two Chimps is a climate-positive sustainable coffee roastery, which means we successfully offset all our carbon emissions. We don’t believe in greenwashing, either. We do what we say we do because we know that the planet is priority. Why not take a look at our Ecologi forest? You can see just how many extra trees we’ve planted and how much CO2 we’ve offset! Planting trees instead of plastic pods. Sounds like a good switch to us.
Ahead of the pack: recyclable coffee packaging
Rather than single-use coffee pods with more pod than coffee, our freshly roasted coffee comes in one resealable, recyclable pouch. Our 250g and 500g bags are made from low density polyethylene (LDPE) and have a nifty one-way valve in the back to keep your coffee fresh. LDPE can be recycled numerous times, so there’s a fair chance your Two Chimps pouch will find new life as a drinks bottle or shopping bag! We also use eco-friendly stickers and glue dots to keep things nice and easy for the recycling machines. No snags here, no sir!
You can recycle your coffee bag at home, but do bear in mind that some rules differ from area to area. Check out what’s recyclable in your area right here!
It tastes, well, okay…
Coffee pods are never going to be as good as the real thing. We’ve just got to say it. Why? Because it’s not fresh coffee and never will be. It’s a bit like comparing tinned peas to ones just popped from their pod. No contest.
Coffee is always best when fresh. To get the best from your lovely coffee, you want to drink it within twelve weeks of the roast. You can rarely do this with coffee capsules, which have a startlingly long shelf life. Now, we know pods are vacuum-sealed, but coffee starts to lose some of its sparkling flavour as soon as it’s ground, so the deterioration process has begun before it makes it to the pod. You have no way of knowing when the coffee in a pod was ground, either – it could have been several months or even a year before. So, yes, they taste better than instant but, no, they’re not the real thing.
It’s the polar opposite at Two Chimps. We’re talking about a left and right kind of difference. That’s because we only send out the finest, freshly roasted beans ground on the day of dispatch. Andy, head roaster at the treehouse, roasts our speciality beans in small batches multiple times a week to make sure you’re always putting the freshest coffee in your cup. Choose a bag of Two Chimps, and you know you’ll receive lovely coffee roasted only a few days before. And we do write the roast date on our coffee pouches, so you know just when your beans got roasty-toasty.
Take a sip of our fresh coffee, and what will you taste? Flavour fireworks. It’ll be vibrant, lively and every inch delicious. A proper cup to rival any coffee shop brew!
One size doesn’t fit all
There’s one more reason why coffee pods are a no-go for great coffee: their rigidity. Coffee pod machines offer only a handful of pre-dosed settings, meaning there is no room for experimentation. Coffee is individual, and creating bespoke methods is all part of the fun. To find that cup of coffee – the one that puts your head in a spin – you might want to tailor basic brewing recipes to your taste. A little more coffee here, a slightly shorter brew time there: even small changes can have a big impact. With a coffee pod machine, however, creating uber-delicious, bespoke coffees is so much harder. Your taste buds aren’t controlled by the push of a button, so we don’t think your coffee should be, either!
But pods are just… handy
Don’t think you’ve got to start pulling shots or setting up drip machines if you want great-tasting, plastic-free coffee. We’ve got plenty of devices to help you brew fuss-free coffee in minutes!
The AeroPress is great for speedy single cups. Lightweight, easy to use and a dream to clean, it’s just what we need to brew bleary-eyed in the morning. Just fill the tube, add your coffee and (aero)press away!
Or, if you like a more robust coffee, why not try a cafetière? You can find neat single-serve models, so you don’t need to brew for the masses if it’s just you calling for caffeine. Cafetières are perfect for coffee lovers migrating from pod to proper ground coffee. They’re easy to grasp and nice and repeatable, so you know you’ll have top coffee on repeat. And, just like the AeroPress tube, pushing down on that cafetière plunger is infinitely more satisfying than flicking a coffee machine switch! Just look at that coffee extract…
So, coffee pod lover, why not step off the podium and say hello to real ground coffee? Leave pointless plastic and sub-standard espressos behind with top coffee roasted by real people (well, chimps). You’ll find pure, proper coffee rather than pod-swaddled grounds. And more coffee, too. Because the average coffee pod only contains around five grams of coffee – a ¼ of what you’d have in a real espresso…
Pod-less and perfect: get brewing eco-friendly coffee from our sustainable coffee roastery!