Single serve portion control coffee has been growing at an incredible rate in Australia since the major shift in domestic appliances occurred in the 2011/2012 period.

Sure, pods and capsules have been around a lot longer than 2011, but as we explain further in this article, there has been a distinct evolution in domestic consumption of coffee in Australia.

The earliest stages of domestic coffee consumption in Australia involved jars of instant or in more elaborate places you could find a basic bulk brew systems using pre-ground coffees – percolators, drip, filter, stove top espresso, etc.

Coffee was consumed “hot” to the point of boiling and a dash of milk with sugar, although many contemporary coffees are a lot sweeter and don’t need added sugar.

The European espresso culture had not really taken hold in Australia in either the cafe or the domestic segments as Australian coffee drinkers tended to prefer “large” cups wit dairy added.

Similarly, the bulk brew culture of the US also failed to take off in Australia as coffee drinkers became more discerning of sweeter coffee flavors and milk-based coffee beverages.

The growth in quality cafes during the period from 2007 through to 2013 throughout Australia – called the 3rd wave specialty coffee segment – managed to create something rather amazing.

Specialty coffee conditioned our palates (the ways in which we taste) to prefer higher quality coffees and at the same time imparted an almost zero-tolerance for bad coffees.

Ironically, towards the mid-point in the birth of specialty coffee there was also a boom in cooking and home renovation shows on our TVs.

All of a sudden, everyone wanted a brand new kitchen with the latest European appliances so they could practice and show case their cooking skills.

It’s often said that shows like “The Block” and “Masterchef” were responsible for an eventual death in fine dining establishments as those new kitchens spawned a new type of “restaurant quality at home” generation.

It was also in these new kitchens where a space in the corner was assigned to the coffee “station”- a shiny stainless espresso machine and equally impressive grinder.

The coffee station became a shrine to a new breed of home barista. Soon it was evident that people at home were pumping out better coffee than their local cafe.

This new spectrum of the coffee market in Australia started to widen like never before whilst traditional instant coffee segment began contracting at a rapid rate. 

With the specialty coffee bean market growing at a phenomenal rates to feed to the hungry demands of cafes now more concerned about competitive quality and stepping up their game against a home consumer dreaming of creating their own superior cafe experience in their kitchen.

The resources required to produce cafe quality coffee at home are not lost on those who don’t want to fork out big money for equipment, are impatient or time-poor.

For some people, it’s just too much effort, mess and time – or the equipment consumes valuable bench space. These people just want a caffeine hit but their palate will not contemplate instant, so they yearn for a solution in the middle.

Enter the automatic espresso machine – think Jura, DeLonghi, etc.

The concept was challenging – grind, dose, tamp, extract, clean, texture milk to perfecting standards……in a small footprint, low noise, clean and remain ultra reliable.

Automatic espresso machines for the domestic market reached their peak in popularity between 2009 and 2014. From around 2013, the portion control market (pods and capsules) started to grow considerably.

Ironically, during the period around 2010 – 2012 the 2 big Australian appliance brands – Breville and Sunbeam – invested heavily into their coffee equipment portfolio to counter the increased market share of Jura and the Italian-branded Chinese-made autos from Saeco, Gaggia, DeLonghi, etc.

But Breville and Sunbeam somewhat lost the plot in our opinion as they suffered from a case of tunnel vision and being caught up in their “arms race” of delusional grandeur thinking they could build a $2K Italian espresso machine for $600 (at the time).

Whilst some of the market innovation they introduced was indeed admirable, they kept ignoring the primary market signals of a growing capsule segment whilst utterly blinded by their own lofty goals of espresso supremacy.

What Sunbeam and Breville failed to notice at the time was a market turning towards portion control – thanks to that successful man-god George Clooney and his deep-pocketed sponsor Nespresso (Nestle).

You see, right under the nose of Breville and Sunbeam was an existing portion control system that was perfectly suited to the Australian market and really popular in Europe – the Easy Serving Espresso (E.S.E) but both Sunbeam and Breville failed to see the big opportunity in front of them.

Sure, both of them would throw in a basic single E.S.E. filter in some of their machines, but it seemed at the time a terrible after-thought when both Breville and Sumbeam failed to leverage the competitive edge that E.S.E. had over Nespresso – that being a higher dose of coffee, 5.2g in a Nespresso capsule versus 7.2 grams in an ESE pod.

In the world of coffee flavor, dose is everything. That extra 40% makes a huge difference when extracted properly.

Sure enough, soon sales of Nespresso-compatible capsule machines started to skyrocket. It was simple really – a cheap appliance, far more reliable than domestic grade, plastic automatic machines that broke down after 6 months and took another 3 months to be repaired, very small foot print. Ideal you would say !

Also add super-quick heat up time, no mess and fast brewing that in reality defied the laws of quality coffee extraction. Making espresso in 14 seconds is not real……neither was the taste !

Nespresso also made some great inroads towards feeding a fundamental need of the fussy Australian coffee drinking palate – textured milk.

More than 92% of brewed coffee in Australia has milk added. It’s become such a critical component that the Europeans were in denial of this fact until 2015 when the big European coffee companies that export their product to Australia started to roast and supply locally (that’s a different discussion about freshness and quality).

The number of capsule machines being sold outstrips espresso machines by a factor of 8:1.

We have worked in this market for the last 13 years, providing specially prepared coffee beans that are converted in Australia to either ESE pods or capsules.

Creating coffee for the single serve portion control market is not easy or simple.

The dosage levels are very low in comparison to what is served in a quality cafe. There is also expectation that the coffee from a pod or capsule will be good (well, that’s the hope of those folks who own such machines).

Quality, premium coffees do not essentially result in an improved coffee experience when converted to pods or capsules.

Generally speaking, quality coffees are cleaner and therefore have less “bite” that translates into a smoother and richer cup of coffee when dosed correctly, however, when it comes to 5g capsules and 7g pods, this very low dosage means a quality, clean coffee may taste weak at those dosage levels.

How to get improved flavor in the cup without resorting to harsh, rubber-tasting robusta is a big challenge.

Our experience in developing various portion control single serve coffee consumables can be leveraged to provide you with an improved level of quality and freshness.

We have existing processes and relationships with Australian converters to prepare a quality product for the market.

We specialize in custom roasted coffees with a range of over 40 premium grade coffees we can create something unique for your business.

The majority of ESE Pods and Nespresso compatible capsules sold in Australia are imported. We offer a locally roasted quality product that is also converted in Australia so there are clear competitive advantages to our fresh product compared to those that have spent up to 2 months in hot containers in ports and on ships.

Heat degrades the quality of roasted coffee very quickly – in fact it can ruin coffee in a matter of hours. Can you imagine what is happening to those imported coffee capsules that are sitting in 70 degrees C containers for weeks at a time ?

We have a specially constructed storage system for the finished product that preserves the quality in temperature controlled environment.

We can also value-add by drop-shipping your products to your customers in any location around Australia.

Currently supported formats are ESE pods and Nespresso capsules.

To see some examples of our quality portion control single serve coffee products you can see our capsules on the site – for Nespresso compatible capsules click here and our ESE pods click here.