February 4th, 2019 / 4 min read
As the Terra Kaffe team sets out to reshape the home coffee experience, I thought it would be worthwhile to step back and explain what prompted us to embark on this mission in the first place.
The catalyst was a single shopping experience in the Summer of 2017 with the hope of finding a new home coffee machine. A personal passion for quality espresso and the desire to have it available on a daily basis at home turned into the discovery process that led to Terra Kaffe being born.
The ask seemed simple: what is the best coffee machine for the home that conveniently brews high-quality espresso coffee; the answer was not.
The hunt was on for a machine that could not only brew delicious espresso worth savoring, but also seamlessly fit into a busy Monday to Friday schedule. Although fully aware that morning coffee was a great opportunity for reflection, the slow and contemplative coffee routine was something reserved as a weekend luxury.
In this pursuit, the vast majority of friends and colleagues suggested that the only good option would be a pod machine, such as Nespresso. It seemed that the coffee output was generally respected and the convenience was certainly there. However, there was one major trade-off to these pod machines that was, in our eyes, inexcusable: their environmental footprint.
“It [coffee pod waste] will be a disaster and it’s time to move on that. People shouldn’t sacrifice the environment for convenience.” — Jean-Paul Gaillard (Former Nespresso Chief Executive)
At that time that I was searching for a new coffee machine, it felt as if nearly every month I was reading a new article about discoveries surrounding the amount of waste from plastic and virgin aluminum coffee pods. Even worse than the statistics about how wasteful pods had become, was the deception and tactics used to mask the eco-impact and green-wash the company.
For several years, Nespresso has touted its recycling program as a crowning achievement to protect the environment. However, the company has never released data on what percentage of capsules are actually recycled or how “clean” their recycling methodology really is. We only have accounts of a few ex-Nespresso executives who have come out in strong opposition to the company and its recycling efforts.
Last year, Financial Times research estimated that potentially less than 1% of all Nespresso capsules are currently being recycled. At the end of the day, the recycling program seemed to be more of a marketing initiative than a true problem-solver, as it simply did not work. With that, there was no way I could justify purchasing any such device.
Unable to find a strong home coffee machine contender, I was left wondering if I would be stuck burning a hole through my wallet only consuming espresso & specialty coffee out-of-home.
In this research, I did, however, come across a product category called fully-automatic bean-to-cup machines that offered a glimmer of hope.
These coffee machines were able to brew quality espresso from fresh whole or ground coffee beans, as opposed to capsules/pods, at the push of a button. The machines themselves were, however, nothing to get excited about as they utilized 1990’s user-interfaces, sold on average for $1,200 and were produced by brands that were more akin to diversified appliance manufacturers than true coffee aficionados.
A path forward began to seem clear. Already having experience in hardware and manufacturing, I decided to take it upon myself to bring about a new offering that taps into this nascent opportunity of bean-to-cup machines. It would combine the quality and experience progressive consumers desire with the convenience and ease-of-use that nearly every career-oriented person needs.
Simply put, this new venture will make quality, eco-friendly espresso accessible to more people. This new company will cater to the conscious consumer that cares about what they put in their body and seeks options that fit their lifestyle and values.
Hence, the beginning of Terra Kaffe.
Terra Kaffe Team
At Terra Kaffe we are committed to furthering the growth of conscious consumption by reducing waste from coffee pods and brewing from fresh whole beans. Learn more about our bean-to-cup espresso machine here.