‘I wish I could say that the idea to do Grind coffee pods came at the end of some sort of epiphany, but to be completely honest, people just wouldn’t stop asking us to do them,’ says Grind’s creative director Ted Robinson.
A lot has changed since the pod technology of Nespresso machines revolutionised our home brews, about a decade or so ago. Back then this easy and instant form of espresso was on a par, or in many cases better, than much of the coffee being served in cafés, and the slick and stylish machines became a covetable addition to the kitchen of any serious coffee drinker. However, this phase was to be surprisingly short lived, soon up-seeded by the arrival of third-wave coffee, which saw an epidemic of new coffee shops and highly trained baristas who were consistently upping their game and passionately educating customers on the best beans and the latest brewing methods. The once-beloved home Nespresso-style machines were fast replaced by the Aeropress, Kalita Wave or Hario V60 as proof that you were really into your coffee. However, an appreciation for the punchy impact and powerful flavour of an espresso never went away, we just couldn’t make it better at home anymore. Until now, that is.
‘We’d never realised how many people have the Nespresso-style machines going unused in their kitchen, and we felt we were up to the challenge,’ Robinson explains. ‘No one really approaches coffee from a pod expecting it to be as good as something made by a barista, on a huge machine. That’s the angle we came at it from – that it’s never going to be as good as the real thing, but we can make it pretty damn close. With that said, we were really surprised by the versatility of some of the Nespresso-compatible coffee pod machines we got our hands on, even the most accessible ones.’
Indeed, while the craft and process of making a great filter coffee has become almost a ritual for many coffee drinkers, there are certainly times when the speed and ease of making an espresso has its own merits, particularly when getting ready for work in the morning, as a quick pick-me-up in the midst of a busy working day, or for impressing guests with homemade espresso martinis.
‘While it was really interesting to work with some of our baristas and experiment as they went from these big, pressurised, 150kg espresso machines, down to their much, much smaller brothers, actually, what was most impressive was just how good the coffee could be in the hands of someone who’d never so much as used a kettle before,’ says Robinson.
Another reason for coffee pods becoming less popular was also the environmental impact of the waste, of course, but Grind has solved that issue too. ‘Having made all our coffee cups fully compostable, we knew we wouldn’t go any further with the idea unless we could make the pods completely compostable too. Every part of the pod is 100 per cent compostable and will disappear in less than six months – that’s something we’re really proud of,’ says Robinson.
Grind’s fully compostable, Nespresso-compatible, organic coffee pods are available in two blends – Grind’s famous House Blend is ideal for making espresso-based drinks such as flat whites and lattes, while the Black Blend is recommended for those who prefer a straight espresso or long black. A tin containing 21 pods costs £12 and refill boxes containing three packs of 10 pods are £15; available to purchase from The Royal Exchange Grind café-bar on Threadneedle Street.