Nespresso is a brand that is gaining popularity in the UAE, especially in the recent years but like most people I never had a keen eye on them.. Until recently. So this is what I have learnt about the company, a quick review of one of their latest products, and an aspect of environment consciousness I had not expected! Welcome to Nespresso.
Introduction & History
It all started in 1976 when an employee at Nestle invented the Nespresso concept but it wasn’t until the early 90’s when they had signed a contract with Turmix to sell Nespresso machines in Switzerland, that the concept became a success. The initial concept came to life by a simple idea, an idea with the intent of enabling everyone to make the perfect cup of espresso just like professional baristas. In the late 80’s the Nespresso Club became a distinct offering by Nespresso that supported exclusive and personalized customer services. In 1991 they initiated a recycling campaign for their capsules at 34 collection points, which created the brand’s initiative toward recycling and introduced their machines to France and the USA which was their first major expansion branding them as the “Ultimate Coffee Experience” and by 1993 they had installed a second line of coffee production. This was considered their first start up stage, which at the status and progress seemed they were advancing quite a lot!
In 1995, the company reached break-even and at this time Nespresso machines were introduced to the first class sections on Swissair. Along the years up till 1999, they had launched their 8th Nespresso coffee, a breakthrough Nespresso machine with automated functionalities, online website with online ordering and free shipping, and a professional series of machines with their own dedicated coffee pods for small offices and the premium F&B sector as their second stage of advancement.
In 2000, Nespresso introduced a new brand identity with a new headquarters in Switzerland and had opened up their first boutique in Paris. From then on till 2005, Nespresso launched a new machine concept with even more breakthrough advancements and automated features which generated record sales, opened a dedicated production centre in Orbe, Switzerland expanding coffee production by 400%, launched a compact line of micro-brewing machines in various colors and a range of Lungo coffee. Later they had opened their first Nespresso Boutique Bar in Munich, which later extended to New York and it took off internationally from there.
Beyond 2006 success poured in with Nesspresso exceeding a Billion Swiss Francs in revenue and had placed George Clooney as their global brand ambassador. By 2008 they had launched several new Nespresso machines pushing revenue beyond 2 Billion Swiss Francs, launching several new coffee blends and by 2010 had once again exceeded revenue expectations to 3 Billion Swiss Francs! At this point they had began launching boutiques in various international cities and the expansion continues till today.
A lot of people do not know the strict quality standards that Nespresso demands for their production, and there is an estimate that only 1%-2% of the world’s coffee production that satisfies Nespresso’s standards while maintaining a commitment to course 80% of the coffee directly from farmers in their AAA program.
Nespresso’s AAA program is a quality sustainability program to ensure the highest quality green coffee, while protecting the environment and enhancing farmer welfare. The program provides farmers training and technical assistance to coffee farmers to improve coffee quality and to promote sustainable agriculture practices and productivity.
Nespresso’s experienced professionals select, blend, roast and grind with intense attention to detail to only offer the best coffee combinations, and the utilization of their patented hermetically sealed capsules ensures that the coffee blends preserve their aroma and taste.
Nespresso produce 21 main blends of coffee ranging from Ristrettos to Lungos with various intensities. More details of their range can be found here: Nespresso Grand Crus
One of the best things about Nespresso is that they have machines that are suitable for every requirement. Currently according to the UAE website, there are 6 models that vary in sizes, capacities and coffee making abilities from pure Expressos to Milk-infused drinks. The current range of devices are:
Maestria, Essenza, Lattissima, Citiz, Pixie and U. They also come in various colors. (These do not include professional models)
More information on their machines can be found on their site: Nespresso: The Machines. Fortunately though, I have had the opportunity to try out their latest U line of machines for a few weeks to give a little, personal insight.
The U is a beautiful looking machine, it is fairly compact and actually very flexible, certainly more than I expected.
Mine was the Matte Red model which had a gorgeous finish to it. The device (As seen above) comes in a long but slim design. At the back sits the water tank, but the best part is, the position of it can be swivelled to either side of the machine, meaning that it can be stored in any way that is convenient and is removable.
Along the front, everything is neat, clean and chic. There is a tray for spillage (Not that it would often happen since the device has drip/drop control), but the best part is, it is attached via a magnet, which means for bigger glasses/mugs can be catered for by pulling it off the device. Storage is not a problem either because, there are two magnets on either side of the device so all its components remain on the device.
There are two trays which are stowed away, one for the empty capsules and one below it for excess liquid/coffee from the capsules. Everything is neatly designed and finished with lovely materials, it does have a very high quality finish to every component on the device.
On the top of the device is where all the coffee making happens, well at least that is where the making begins. There are only three, touch based buttons indicating the three available sizes; 25 ML for Ristretto, 40 ML for Expresso and 110 ML for Lungo. The active slider initiates automatic activation of the coffee making process.
The operation process is really simple. For frequent users, the machine remembers the last selected size for quick operation but the process itself is so simple that this barely matters. The first step is selecting the serving size, opening the active slider, popping in the capsule, closing the slider and within a few seconds the device heats up the water and the coffee is served (19 bars of pressure put to good use!). There is no other input from the user, the active slider punctures the capsules automatically.
The device comes with a complimentary tray of all the generally available coffee blends which can be picked up at the Nespresso Boutique or through the Nespresso Club, which can even deliver capsules to the members. The booklet/folder describes all the blends with their intensities and aromas.
The machine is not just simple but actually very smart. For visuals, even the power cord can be stowed below the device so only the required length is used with no excess cords around the counter. Automated functionality on the device allows it to automatically puncture the capsules, brew the coffee and eject the capsules without any input at a high pressure rate of 19 bar, it even indicates to the user when the water tank is empty and when the capsule tray has become full.
The machine is also very efficient! It has an automated time out to save energy when not in use or after brewing, it manages to head up the water in 25 seconds, and 1/3 of the plastics not in contact with the coffee is recyclable.
All in all, a very beautiful, efficient, simple and perfect brewing machine to have. I have used this for a few weeks and I absolutely love it. I even found a little secret! Some drinks are a little too intense and if one taps on one of the sizes right at the end of the brewing it will keep using the water in the tank with the used capsule to fill up your cup till you stop it, which would reduce the intensity, and increase the serving size.
Starting back in 1991, Nespresso has been keen on recycling and they have, ever since, been expanding their recycling program world wide, to ensure that their members and people wishing to become Nespresso Club members are aware of their recycling schemes and approach.
Back in 2009, Nespresso had set a series of commitments they had wished to achieve, two of which were related to their recycling and carbon footprint. They intended by 2013 to reduce their carbon footprint required to produce a cup of coffee by 20% (Which is a high margin to achieve) and had achieved 11% of that goal and plans to reach the original goal by the end of the year. They also intended to triple their capsule recycling capacity by 75% by 2013 and had achieved 76.4% by June 2012 (across 25 countries) surpassing their estimates by a large time frame.
As a part of their expansion of recycling programs, Nespresso had launched their very own capsule recycling program here in the UAE (First in the Middle East), based in Bee’ah, Sharjah (the Middle East’s leading and award-winning fully integrated environment and waste management company) with their very own Nespresso recycling machine.
The biggest challenge, aside from getting the device operational in the UAE, was getting back the used capsules. Nespresso set up several methods of doing so. The first is that owners can bring their used capsules back to selected collection points, or the more convenient “recycling at home” concept where owners are given recycling bags where they can store their used capsules, and these would be collected upon delivery of their next order. Offices and Retail outlets that use Nespresso Machines can also opt for this scheme.
Speaking about the launch of the first ever Nespresso recycling program in the Middle East, Pierre Debayle, Regional Manager, Nespresso MEAC, said: “Nespresso is committed to continuously improving its environmental performance across its value chain. We are therefore very pleased to launch our recycling program for used capsules in the UAE. Our Club Members can now actively contribute to sustainability by returning their used capsules for recycling at no extra cost.”
Being that the capsules are aluminium, and the fact that aluminium is indefinitely recyclable, recycling the aluminium would only produce 5% of the emissions that would be produced from primary aluminium production.
Here is the video of the advanced recycling machine that is located in Bee’ah, Sharjah. The machine is capable of recycling 8000 capsules an hour and outputs them into two dividends; raw aluminium and the left-over coffee in the used capsules.
Information on Nespresso’s Recycling Program
– Nespresso used capsule collection points are located in Nespresso Boutiques in Mirdif City Centre, Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Abu Dhabi Mall
– Recycling of used Nespresso capsules is available at no extra cost to consumers
– More information and details on the recycling program can be found at: http://www.nespresso.com/ecolaboration