October 09, 2023

Co-packing coffee capsules: How does it work?

The meteoric rise of coffee pods and capsules in recent years has been clear to see. Demand continues to grow – which is why so many hospitality businesses and coffee roasters and brands want to offer their own.

Many of these businesses already have a coffee or product in mind for their capsules. However, theylack the infrastructure and expertise to pack it into espresso capsules.  

That’s where co-packing comes in. But what, exactly, is co-packing? How does it work? Read on to find out.

Co-packing coffee capsules at our lab.

What do we mean when we talk about co-packing coffee capsules?

Co-packing means that a manufacturer creates a product to specification for another brand, under that brand’s label. In fact, co-packing (or private label) is not specific to coffee capsules. Heck, you can co-pack peanut butter, wood screws or playing cards.

In our case, however, when we talk about co-packing coffee capsules (or private label coffee capsules, to put it another way), we mean that we use our roasting facility to manufacture and package coffee products for another brand under that brand’s label. 

When it comes to private label espresso capsules, we grind, fill, seal and package the capsules, totally customized for each client individually, to their exact specifications.

Co-packing coffee capsules is a perfect fit for businesses that have or see a market for capsules, but that don’t have a facility dedicated to creating and filling coffee capsules. They may be roasters looking to diversify their portfolio, or other businesses (such as hotels, retailers, restaurants or distributors) that already have a need for the product.

OK. I understand what co-pack coffee capsules are. What is your private label espresso capsule development process?

When we get a new inquiry, we’re extremely curious about the client’s vision for their co-pack coffee capsule, what channel they plan to sell into, and many other unique details about their plan.  We gather all the preliminary info, we’ll ask the client for a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This lets us share proprietary information about our pricing, process and more. Once we receive the NDA, we can get to work on product development.

Product development 

In the Product Development stage, we work with the client to develop a sample capsule and package. This process may take a little back and forth until we get it just right, but once we do, we lock it down and carefully document the recipe and process so that we can re-create the product again and again.


When the product development is complete, it’s time to run the final product! We’ll fill all the capsules to spec, test them carefully for quality and consistency, then ship them to the client very carefully.

An example of how co-packing coffee capsules can help hotels.

Why should you work with a co-packer for coffee capsules?

Tony Dreyfuss, Founder and President of Metropolis Coffee Company, breaks it down. He explains that to do it (filling and packing wholesale coffee capsules for espresso), you really need a whole team and facility dedicated just to this product. It’s that nuanced. 

He says: “It’s the most complicated product we’ve ever produced. Full stop. A co-packer can handle scale in a way that [customers] cannot. They will have space, the precision, high-speed equipment, process, operations and quality assurance built in. 

“Instead of focusing on all these things, you can focus instead on your brand and sales, leaning on the wholesale coffee capsule co-packer to make your product and package it safely and with integrity at any scale." 

Tony points out that Metropolis Coffee first developed its co-packed coffee capsules for a large international hotel brand, investing heavily in equipment, processes and infrastructure to ensure consistently produced, high-quality specialty coffee capsules. The goal? The best coffee capsule on Earth. 

"We invested a million dollars in a filling line from Italy and teamed with Smile Beverage Werks on our commercially compostable capsule shells,” he says. “The team spent around a year between construction, product development, and so on before we launched in December 2022.”

More benefits of working with a co-packer

Tony points out that the US market for Nespresso original line compatible espresso capsules is growing by double digits each year.

“It's a perfect item to co-pack because it’s a niche item that’s incredibly difficult to do well, but that can totally differentiate you in your offerings.” he elaborates. “Private label espresso capsules give you some in-room options at luxury hotels, more shelf space at retailers and grocery stores, convenience for your customers… There are so many applications." 

Plus, working with Metropolis, you’ll get a much longer shelf-life than if you were to do it yourself, freeing up your supply chain.

“A co-packer will also have professional, high-speed packaging lines, ready to be filled in with your graphics,” Tony adds. “We’ve worked most of that out so you can go to market quickly and without much fuss”.

What about certifications?

There are several certifications to consider for capsule filling. These can include food safety certifications or other certifications such as Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified or Kosher. 

“You want to sell into Costco, Walmart, Target, Walgreens,  QSR or hotels?” Tony asks. “Well, they want to know that your product is safe and that a third party is auditing the facility to keep customers safe – and their business lawsuit-free.”

Metropolis Coffee wholesale espresso capsules are also commercially compostable, certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), North America's leading authority on compostable products and packaging. They are also CMA certified, meaning they meet the requirements set by the Composter Manufacturing Alliance (CMA).

“You can lean on your co-packer’s certifications,” Tony says. “Ride our coattails to fame, fortune and glory!”

Our manufacturing facility.

Metropolis Coffee: Co-packing coffee capsules

The market for espresso capsules is growing by double digits every year, and entering it isn’t easy on your own. 

That’s why working with a co-packing and private label partner like Metropolis is so valuable: you’ll be able to guarantee consistently high quality and meet meticulous food safety standards, all while offering customers commercially compostable coffee capsules with a 12 to 24-month shelf life.

We handle all the hard work for you – from precision grinding to dosing, flushing and sealing. Our state-of-the-art production process allows us to produce 14,000 capsules every hour – or four per second.

“The magic,” says Tony, “is in the seal. Our filling and sealing machine is customized to our exact material.”

Ultimately, co-packing coffee capsules is an excellent way to easily diversify your product offering and reach a whole new segment of consumers. 

“A co-packer will help you create and launch exciting new products and line extensions quickly and easily,” Tony says. “Your brand can have a large variety of products without taxing your operations, capital expenditure or sanity.”

Interested in learning more? Check out our wholesale co-packing and private-label espresso capsule services today.

Certified compostable facilities may not exist in your area. To find a composter near you, visit www.findacomposter.com or www.compostnow.org on all packaging and marketing materials.

Metropolis espresso capsules are made under license from Smile Beverage Werks, P.B.C.

Metropolis Coffee is not affiliated with, endorsed, or sponsored by Nespresso. Nespresso is a registered trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé.

Metropolis Coffee

Interested in wholesale espresso capsules? Click here for more information.