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Are Coffee Capsules Sustainable?

Coffee capsules have transformed the way we drink coffee, but are they sustainable? We explain why coffee capsules are a sustainable way to enjoy your espresso.

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Our Double Walled Glass Cup, designed to keep espresso warmer for longer.

Combining your love of espresso and coffee with a desire to live a more sustainable lifestyle isn't impossible. Nowadays, you can enjoy your morning cup of coffee or afternoon pick me up while still being green. With access to reusable coffee cups, sustainably sourced coffee beans, low energy coffee machines and recyclable coffee capsules, you can easily combine your love for coffee with your desire to live a greener and more sustainable lifestyle.

Although there is a lot of debate around coffee capsules and their sustainability, capsules do tend to be greener than filter or drip coffee and traditional espresso because capsules tend to need leave less waste and are made from recyclable materials like aluminium. However, to increase their sustainability, you still need to find eco-friendly ways to dispose of your used coffee capsules like using a Dualit Ecopress machine.

With the release of our new sustainable coffee capsules, we've created a guide to help explain coffee capsules, their sustainability, and how you can recycle them to ensure minimal impact on the environment.

What are Coffee Capsules?

Simply put, a coffee capsule is single-use, single-serve, and a quick and easy way to brew coffee at home. It is their single-use nature that questions the sustainability of coffee capsules, but if you invest in capsules made from recyclable materials and recycle them properly, they can be a sustainable coffee brewing method.

There are various types of coffee capsules out there, all differing in tasting notes, strength and intensity, but typically, each coffee capsule will provide you with a single shot of espresso. Because of the coffee capsule providing you with an espresso shot, you can enjoy your coffee black or add milk to it once poured.

What is the Difference Between Coffee Pods and Capsules?

Although there are similarities between coffee pods and capsules (they both offer a single-portion dosage of coffee), there are also differences between them. Coffee pods can be comparable to tea bags ??? made from a similar material used for tea bags but containing coffee powder instead. Coffee capsules, on the other hand, have a protective casing made from plastic or aluminium and come in various sizes. Before purchasing coffee capsules, check that they are compatible with your coffee machine.

What are the Advantages of Using Coffee Capsules?

Speed - The coffee extraction process is fast, and due to the flash heating, there is very little time waiting around.

Simplicity -
 Most capsule machines are incredibly easy to use and do not require barista training to be an expert.

Space-saving - Coffee capsule machines are among the smallest of coffee machines and can often fit on any kitchen counter. They are also incredibly lightweight, making them easy to move and clean throughout.

Variety - With such a variety of coffee capsules out there, there's not shortage of choice. Whether you like a strong ristretto first thing in the morning, a long post-lunch latte or a decaf after dinner, there's a coffee capsule to suit all tastes.

Energy efficient and less waste - When making coffee with capsules, less energy is used than other brewing methods, as only the required water dose for each extraction is 'flash heated'. Single-use capsules generally produce less waste than other methods, as there is less surplus coffee produced. This means that you can extract the same taste and strength using less coffee beans.

Freshness - Coffee taste is dependant on freshness, and as coffee capsules are sealed straight after roasting, the coffee can be much fresher than other sources.

What are the Benefits of Aluminium Coffee Capsules?

Aluminium coffee capsules have several benefits over other materials. Firstly, aluminium is strong and durable, perfect for protecting the contents of each capsule. They also provide an effective barrier against oxygen and moisture, keeping your coffee fresher for longer, and do not cause your coffee to obtain a metallic taste. Aluminium coffee capsules ultimately help deliver the best taste, keep your coffee safe and prevent unnecessary waste.

TIP: While most coffee capsules will provide you with a single shot of espresso, you can find coffee capsules that include milk for an easy cafe au lait. However, if you would like to achieve a frothy, barista-style top for your coffee, we have a milk frother which is ideal for creating that perfect cappuccino or latte. Simply add milk to the milk frother while your coffee machine is making your coffee.

Grand Cru

There are numerous ways to enjoy your coffee capsules, but coffee capsules are meant to be enjoyed in specially designed coffee machines. Before buying coffee capsules, make sure the capsules will fit in your coffee machine. Once you know the shape and size, purchase a coffee capsule that suits your tastes - most brands will have a variety of coffee capsules varying in strength and intensity.

Although each coffee machine is different, they will typically have the same features such as a water tank and coffee capsule holder - all you need to do is learn how to empty and fill your coffee machine's water tank and where to place your coffee capsule before using it.

How to Use a Coffee Machine

Each coffee machine is different, so always read the instruction manual that's provided with your chosen coffee machine. You'll find that when browsing coffee machines, you will be told the type, shape and size of coffee capsules best suited for your machine.

These steps roughly explain the typical process of using a coffee machine:

  1. Fill the water tank with fresh water. Typically, each coffee machine will mark the maximum amount of water allowed in the water tank, stopping you from accidentally overfilling the basin.
  2. Remove your coffee capsule from its packaging.
  3. Locate the coffee capsule holder, open it, and place your coffee pod inside. Close the pod holder once the pod is securely in place.
  4. Place your mug underneath the coffee machine's spout (where the coffee pours from), press the start button and wait for your coffee machine to brew your coffee.
  5. Once your coffee is made, take your now full mug, add milk and sugar (if you want to) and enjoy.
  6. Coffee capsules can be quite warm after use, so allow time for the pod to cool down before opening the coffee pod holder and removing it.

How Do Coffee Capsules Work?

Explore the Grand Cru Range

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Strength: 4
A creamy, smooth full bodied taste with nutty notes
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Strength: 6
Roasted and well balanced with chocolate, caramel, and berry notes
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Strength: 9
Intense decaf blend with light acidity and intense afternotes
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Strength: 9
Dark, smokey roast with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg
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Strength: 10
A silky, full bodied and intense citrusy flavour
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Coffee capsules can be sustainable, depending on how you use and dispose of them. Much like anything else, the sustainability of your coffee capsules rests on your shoulders and is your responsibility. While most coffee capsules are recyclable, the issue of coffee capsules and sustainability comes down to coffee capsules not being disposed of correctly - it is all too easy to throw away your used coffee capsules in the bin, but by doing this, your coffee capsules end up in a landfill and taking many years to breakdown. We have created sustainable coffee capsules that can be recycled within your own homes.

Learn How to Dispose of Your Coffee Capsules

There are numerous ways to recycle your coffee capsules, the methods simply depend on the brand of coffee capsule you have bought. Make sure to find out how you can recycle your chosen coffee capsules by reading their instructions or researching the brand on the internet.

Use the Dualit Ecopress Machine

This handy gadget allows you to recycle our Grand Cru coffee capsules at home, helping you lead a more sustainable lifestyle. The Dualit Ecopress is easy to use and makes recycling much simpler - the contraption inverts the coffee capsules, meaning that you can put the emptied capsules into your domestic recycling bin.

The Dualit Ecopress is simple to use. Pop in the used pod (once it has cooled down), put the lid on and push down (this requires a bit of pressure, so be careful when pressing down). Once the used coffee granules have been removed, rinse out the capsule before placing it in the recycling bin. Furthermore, if you love to garden, add your coffee granules directly to the soil as a fertiliser. Coffee granuales have a great amount of nutrients.

Regularly Maintain Your Coffee Machine

A working and efficient coffee machine can make a world of difference when using coffee capsules to make your own coffee. This is because a coffee machine that isn't properly cared for and looked after will struggle to run normally, causing your machine to use more energy (which is bad for the environment).

Learning to care for your coffee machine is time well spent. Not only does it help your coffee machine run more efficiently, which is better for the environment, but it also ensures the best taste and helps to preserve the lifespan of your coffee machine.

Again, each coffee machine is different in terms of its shape, size and where each component is, but each coffee machine is designed to be easily cleaned. Make sure to read the instructions before cleaning your coffee machine, just in case they have specific requirements. Luckily, capsule coffee machines are the easiest to clean.

Descaling your coffee machine is the most important thing to do if you want to avoid any problems from occurring. You should descale your coffee machine regularly, with most experts recommending that you descale once every two months. Some capsule coffee machines will let you use vinegar or baking powder to descale your coffee machine, while others will suggest a commercial descaler.

TIP: We've written an in-depth guide on how to can clean and maintain your coffee machine or maker, extending the service life of your coffee makers and ensuring that your coffee machine keeps making flavoursome coffee.

Are Coffee Capsules Sustainable?

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Featuring our beautiful ProCook Glass Cafetiere with Soft Grip Handle for added comfort.

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