Co-packing (sometimes known as contract packing) is when a company outsources the packaging of one or more products. It is used extensively across a range of industries – including the coffee sector.
Many different coffee products can be co-packed, including espresso capsules. Co-packing gives roasters the ability to sell coffee capsules without requiring the infrastructure and expertise to manufacture them on their own.
When working with a co-packer, you outsource all the grinding, filling, sealing, and packaging for your espresso capsules. You can choose to supply your own coffee, or outsource the coffee sourcing, roasting and blending as well. This means you can offer espresso capsules without the need to supply anything except for your brand!
While some single origins perform well in capsule form, many businesses choose to design a bespoke blend exclusively for capsule brewing. But how do you design the best blend for coffee capsules? And do some coffees work better than others? Let’s take a look.
Before we explore coffee capsule blends, let’s break down the difference between blends and single origin coffees.
Unlike single origin coffees, which come from a single farm, estate, or region, blends comprise multiple coffees.
Chris Petrovich, Director of Coffee at Metropolis, says: "Single origin coffees allow you to highlight one specific lot, while a blend lets you create something new and unique."
When creating a blend, roasters choose component coffees based on several factors. These include aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel. It’s also important to pick coffees that complement one another to avoid a mismatch.
These are two main ways that roasters will blend coffees: pre-roast and post-roast blending.
Pre-roast blending can lead to a more cohesive blend, but the beans need to have roughly the same density, or they will roast unevenly. Density variation could lead to some beans scorching, which will result in burnt or overly smoky flavors.
Post-roast blending, meanwhile, allows for each different coffee to be roasted according to an individual profile. Roasters then then blend the roasted coffees in different volumes to reach the desired flavor profile.
Chris explains that each approach has its place. "Post-roast blending gives you the most control,” he says. “You can roast each type of coffee to its potential and blend after that. However, some coffees will be more forgiving with pre-roast blending. It depends on the roast profile."
Many roasters offer blends that are “designed” for specific brewing methods. Filter and espresso blends, for example, are commonplace all around the world. But some roasters also create specific blends for coffee capsules – so what makes these different?
There is no simple answer to this question. The best capsule blend for your business will depend on what your customers want and the promise of your brand.
However, it is generally important to keep in mind that coffee capsules brew espresso-style coffee. This means that the coffee will be short, rich, bold, with plenty of crema.
Chris explains that it’s important to balance acidity, bitterness, sweetness, and richness.
"This is subjective, but to me, balance is key in a great coffee blend,” he notes. “All components should complement rather than disguise each other."
Beyond this, it’s also important to consider how your espresso capsules will be used. A versatile blend will work well on its own or with milk, for example.
This is one of the reasons why medium and dark roasts are popular for espresso capsules. These generally offer a more “traditional” range of flavor notes, including chocolate, caramel, fudge, and toasted nuts. They also pair well with milk – making them a reliable option in different situations.
Lighter roasts, meanwhile, are generally more delicate and nuanced, with more pronounced acidity and floral flavors in some cases.
Selling your own branded coffee capsules can help you reach a wider range of customers and tap into a rapidly growing market. But without the right infrastructure and expertise, manufacturing capsules can be extremely daunting. That’s why it helps to partner with an experienced co-packer – like Metropolis.
Our espresso capsules are the most complicated product we have ever produced. To accommodate for this, we’ve invested significantly in equipment and infrastructure – we have an entire section of our facility dedicated just to capsule production, with a cutting-edge Italian filling line.
This is where we grind, fill, seal, and package customized capsules for a range of businesses from hospitality businesses to retailers.
By working with a co-packing partner, you don’t have to worry about the complexities of manufacturing espresso capsules. This means you can enter a new, fast-growing market quickly without the need for significant investment or time-consuming training.
All you need to do is choose the coffee. Once you do, our team will guide you through how we’ll adapt it for capsule brewing. In addition, we offer minimal development times – which means we can get moving quickly, and provide industry low minimum order quantities (MOQs) for customized roasts and signature blends
Finally, you can also guarantee that your customers are minimizing their waste, too. Metropolis espresso capsules (and the capsules we co-pack) are commercially compostable. They’re certified by the CMA and BPI, which means they meet the most stringent requirements for composting in the US. This means that they can be responsibly disposed of at any industrial composting facility in the country.
Interested in learning more? Check out our wholesale co-packing and private-label espresso capsule solutions today.
Metropolis Coffee is not affiliated with, endorsed, or sponsored by Nespresso. Nespresso is a registered trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé.
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