Creating our very own coffee pod, filled with spectacular, speciality Pact Coffee might sound like it’d be pretty straightforward, right? Wrong! As we’ve found over the last couple of years, perfecting our pods has been much, much, much trickier than we thought.
Creating a pod that contains great-tasting coffee and works smoothly in a vast array of different machines is no mean feat. Here’s the story of how we got to where we are today…
A labour of love.
Between the moment we decided to take the plunge to enter the pods market, and the moment we spilled the beans (sorry for the pun) to our customers, there were two years of testing and development. We spent those two years going over every detail. We needed to find the optimum coffee particle size for water to pass through to achieve excellent extraction AND establish the perfect distribution of different particle sizes to produce coffee with the ideal strength. Phew! There was a lot of trial and error.
Once we knew the grind and roast that would bring out the best qualities of our speciality coffees, we needed a pod manufacturer to work with. We tried producers from all over the world with consistently disappointing results.
The reason for this soon became clear.
Most independent pod producers fill their pods with very coarse coffee, because that allows the machines to extract coffee in an acceptable amount of time (extraction takes longer with fine ground coffee). To ensure their rapidly extracted coffee still tastes of something, they use a really dark roast; the coffee is roasted to the point it loses almost all its naturally occurring characteristics.
That wasn’t going to cut the mustard for us.
Then we met with an intrepid manufacturer in the UK, who was only in the initial stages of pod production at the time. It was clear we were kindred spirits. They appreciated the quality of coffee that we source and the hard work that goes into producing it for each individual farmer. They understood that over-roasting these hidden coffee gems would deny the drinker of those delicious, distinctive flavours and would also undermine the hard work of the farmers, who take pride in their own personal coffee masterpieces.
Together, we started work on a new type of pod.
Trial and error…
If you’re one of the people who has supported us in our work to bring a different type of coffee pod to the market, thank you. You will have noticed small developmental changes to your pods over the past year, as they’ve evolved in a way that’s almost organic. We’re right on the tip of new pod development technology, so it hasn’t all been plain sailing. It’s only now that we’re confident to represent three different farmers as part of our pod range.
Punchy enough for pods, while maintaining their unique characteristics.
Our roasting, grinding and packing techniques have now developed enormously, so we’re using coffee that would typically suit a much lighter roast to fill our pods. These coffees boast stunningly delicate flavour notes, while also maintaining the ‘strength’ required to brew well in pod form. I am very proud that the coffees in these pods haven’t been roasted into oblivion, they still taste the way their producers intended.
I hope that you really love the new range of pods we’re adding the the Pact range. I think they offer something for everyone and reflect the unique farms from which they hail. And doing those farmers proud is what we’re all about, after all they’re the best in the world at what they do.
By Will Corby
P.S. One thing Will didn’t mention above is that, as we’ve previously written about on The Perc , our pod range is all recyclable. We know it’s a bit of a fiddly faff removing the foil from the plastic so have re-doubled our efforts to find a biodegradable version. We’re just in the last stages of testing and are confident we’ll have a selection of biodegradable pods available later this summer.