June 28, 2024

Why is co-packing coffee capsules so popular with specialty coffee roasters?

Metropolis co-packing coffee capsules
In case you weren’t paying attention, the coffee capsule market is booming. In fact, it’s estimated to see double digit growth each year over the next several years. As a result, many roasters and retailers are considering sourcing their own espresso capsules. Read on to discover how co-packing coffee capsules allows these businesses to launch and scale their own coffee capsules without investing in infrastructure or equipment.

How does co-packing coffee capsules work and why is it so popular? We spoke to Metropolis Workshop President and Co-Founder, Tony Dreyfuss, to find out.

A full coffee roasting machine

Co-packing coffee capsules with Metropolis

Before we look at why co-packing is specifically popular with roasters, let’s break down how it works.

“Co-packed coffee capsules are your coffee and your label, processed, filled and packaged at our facility using our equipment,” Tony explains.

Unlike private label capsules, which use the manufacturer’s coffee, co-packing allows roasters and businesses to use their own beans in the products. Metropolis’s co-packing process begins with understanding the brand, target market and vision for the product. This sets us off on the right path. Then we create sample capsules and begin the collaborative packaging design.

Once we finalize the capsule quality and package design, we’re ready to schedule production. We begin your run by first grinding your coffee on an industrial roller mill. Our proprietary grinding technology allows us to customize and optimize the grind setting using a variety of tools including an optical grind analyzer.

We run the ground coffee through our state-of-the-art Italian filling line which doses using artificial intelligence, then nitro-flushes and seals each capsule consistently and protectively. Capsules that have inconsistent doses, stale coffee or poor seals will inevitably taste terrible to the end consumer so we’re extremely careful in each stage of the process to prevent errors.

By relying on an external manufacturer like Metropolis Workshop, you eliminate the upfront investment required to train staff and source equipment. You won’t need to invest thousands of dollars into factory space for the equipment and inventory. You also benefit from the co-packer’s specialized expertise in co-packing capsules and their deep knowledge of the industry.

Tony explains why working with an external partner like Metropolis Workshop can benefit roasters specifically.

“As a specialty roaster and product developer with decades of experience, our process is unique to the industry. With most co-packers, your product goes in and capsules come out – you don’t have any input into the final product. It’s black box. As a specialty roaster that’s been on the receiving end of co-packed products, we know how frustrating that is for a brand with a reputation for quality. That’s why we decided to start a co-packing and private label company that takes a more collaborative, transparent, and flexible approach. We invite our clients into the process,” Tony says.

“We work to understand your brand, market, and vision, then use our experience, knowledge, facility, and tools to help that vision become a reality.”

A capsule brewing machine pouring coffee into a mug

Why should specialty coffee roasters start co-packing coffee capsules?

As the coffee capsule market continues to expand, specialty coffee roasters will want to have their own capsule filled with their own coffee. Co-packing becomes the obvious choice to meet that need.

Tony explains: “Specialty coffee roasters spend so much time finding the right coffees for their brands – Their focus on values like transparent sourcing, quality roasting, highest quality packaging including the oxygen barrier. They’re worried about giving up control over their product and thus their brand.”

“Co-packing allows these roasters to have more control over the process than private label, which uses our coffee instead, or over co-packing with a more opaque process.”

Tony acknowledges that it is technically possible for roasters to produce capsules in-house, but warns that the level of expertise required makes it far simpler to rely on a co-packer.

“Our unofficial motto at Metropolis is “We don’t do it because it’s easy. We do it because we thought it would be easy, and capsules are no exception. In fact, they’re the most complicated and investment-intensive product we’ve ever produced. Any reasonable brand should strongly consider co-packing over doing it themselves.

“It’s not easy or cheap to make high-quality coffee capsules. By collaborating with a co-packer for this, roasters can focus on building and expanding their brand instead of investing in a complex process and expensive machinery,” Tony explains.

“It’s an incredible investment in equipment to get the highest quality in grinding, filling, nitro-flushing and sealing. Any roaster that cares about quality would be hard-pressed to make their own at this level of quality without a very significant investment.”

A coffee roaster

Co-packing coffee capsules helps roasters reach new buyers

By entering the capsule market, you can reach customers you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. There are plenty of home users who primarily brew with capsule machines – not to mention hotels, bars, and restaurants you can sell into.

“Though it’s true that many customers will brew their own espresso on a traditional machine, capsules democratize espresso for those who want to enjoy it without investing the considerable time and money required.” Tony explains.

“Think about all those venues this technology opens up: Bars, hair salons, ice cream parlors, apartment lobbies. These places will never invest in a traditional machine, let alone the training, cleaning or maintenance they require.”

Furthermore, consumers are increasingly looking for more sustainable products, something that prevents many businesses from considering single serve. At Metropolis, our espresso capsule shells are certified commercially compostable by the BPI and CMA, so you can responsibly dispose of them at any commercial composting facility across the US.

Metropolis coffee capsules

Metropolis co-packing coffee capsules

With the demand for capsules continuing to grow, there has never been a better time for specialty roasters to enter the market.

Tony explains that Metropolis has invested over a million dollars and years of research and development into our capsule-filling line and processes – so our partners don’t have to.

“We analyze the size and shape of the grind, then fill, flush, and seal in a way that protects against oxygen for over a year,” explains Tony. “None of this is easy or cheap.

“Thanks to our state-of-the-art capsule technology, we can make four capsules every second, or tens of millions per year. No matter how you grow, we have the scale, capacity and food safety certifications like SQF to meet your needs,” he adds.

We also offer low MOQs and quick turnaround times – meaning that you can test new coffees and pivot easily if you need to.

“As a highly accoladed specialty roaster with over 20 years of experience, we have a deep understanding of this segment of the coffee industry,” says Tony. “We do it like you’d do it if you really put your mind and money toward this product.”

Want to learn more? Check out our co-packing coffee capsule solutions here.


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.


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