Colonna Labs compostable pods review, Designed to be composted in domestic food waste, Local council food waste and compost collection services taking time to review

From Londons Best Coffee May 2, 2017.

“The Value of Colonna Labs Compostable Pods

Let’s get this out of the way with before we begin. Capsules are a valid brew method: an extremely efficient and consistent one. Colonna Coffee, headed by three-time barista champion Maxwell Colonna Dashwood, and known for their superb roasting, are focussed on the highest of qualities and ethical sourcing. Mi Benedicion, the coffee showcased in the first Colonna Labs compostable capsules, is a small farm in Honduras. This coffee is described by Colonna Labs as round and complex, showcasing a praline-like depth and soft spice, accompanied by juicy notes of red apple and honeysuckle. That is almost exactly how it tastes. Every single time. When it comes to the opportunity for customers to taste a variety of coffees and develop their own preferences and coffee knowledge, quality capsules are almost ideal.

It is exciting that the huge amount of work Colonna have put into the compostable model has been realised. Ever one to challenge the coffee world’s preconceptions, Colonna has realised that capsule technology suits achieving amazing results at home: there’s an oxygen-free chamber with a weighed and perfectly-ground dose of coffee ready to brew. This, combined with a machine calibrated to deliver an exact amount of pressure and water at the correct temperature, means that using Colonna capsules are able brew incredible coffees using home equipment.

Of course the compostable version of the capsules reduces the visible waste of single serve coffee. To achieve this was not a simple matter, making packaging that degrades, meets compostable accreditation specifications, functions perfectly in the machine and prevent the coffee from degrading in the meantime is a challenge. The materials must not impart any taste to the coffee. Being compostable means that the capsules age quicker than the standard plastic and aluminium ones and for this reason they arrive in sets of five in a nitrogen sealed bag (also compostable). Colonna advise using the five capsules inside within a week once the bag is opened.

To achieve this release, Colonna Labs first ran a limited run pre-order of compostable pods but they are now available from Colonna at prices working out at 60 pence per capsule. The design of the boxes themselves in very classy, with two bags each containing five capsules that are themselves very elegant. Packaging includes details subtly presented on the side of the box giving details of origin and tasting notes.”

“After reading the article by David Burrows in Caffeine, we contacted local council food waste and compost collection services. While it is true that at present, these services would not compost the pods, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. The reason given by the council services was that compostable coffee capsules were too new a product, and that councils would take exactly the same approach with compostable cups and packaging. Surely, one positive value then of switching to compostable pods is that they will soon no longer be new. Other companies follow Colonna, Halo and Volcano’s lead and there will be a change of policy by council collection services. In addition, although our time spent digging around articles on landfill and incineration was inconclusive and often based on studies in the US, there is at least a strong possibility that compostable pods might break down more quickly depending on the method used for waste disposal. They are still going to break down eventually. The drive towards composability is part of a larger post-industrial movement and waste management services are quickly evolving.

Colonna Labs capsules are designed to be composted in domestic food waste, we just need to wait for the council services to catch up. Even if they currently are wary of collecting pods in their council compost collections – as compostable gradually becomes more common, this is bound to change. ”

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