For the love of Pod

Posted on Posted in Coffee, Pact News

A photo of Pact Coffee pod range

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.

Avoiding corner-cutters…

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.

Working with fellow coffee-lovers…A photo of Will Corby, Head of Coffee at Pact

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.  

Enjoy!

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.

25 thoughts on “For the love of Pod

    1. Hello!

      We have done tests across lots of Nespresso machines and our pods work well in all machines.

      However, we have noticed that the following machines can occasionally encounter problems with Pact pods:
      – Expert
      – Prodigio

      We’d recommend you give our pods a try, even if you have one of the above machines – we’d be happy to send a sample pack if necessary! If you are experiencing any issues with your pods please get in touch, and we’ll help you troubleshoot!

      Please note: none of the VERTUOLINE series of machines work with our pods as they use different capsules.

      Hope this helps!

    1. Hi there,

      We will be launching fully biodegradable pods later this summer so we are looking at ways to reduce the impact of our coffee consumption on the environment. At the moment, recycling our existing pods is a small reduction of the impact to the environment – so we have information of how to do so inside the packs.

      1. Unable to recycle pods where I live, wondering how many people bother?!??
        Also what does ‘biodegradable’ mean – is it that the plastic breaks down into tiny particles and enters the food chain & whatever other damage it can do – or does it break down into something that won’t do ANY damage to the environment??

  1. Will, congratulations on developing your new coffee pods. I generally use my pod machine to make a quick espresso and don’t put too much effort into sourcing the pods i.e. I buy from the machine manufacturer. But the effort you’ve put into creating what sounds like a brilliant product has convinced me to give yours a try.

  2. The best part is the fact that they are recyclable! What a way to show concern for the environment. Can’t wait to try these pods.

    1. Hi Migueal,

      We are currently focussing on perfecting NespressoⓇ-compatible pods.

      We have run 1000’s of tests across lots of Nespresso machines and are pods work well in all machines tested. However, some machines we have noticed will occasionally have problems are:
      – Expert
      – Prodigio

      None of the VERTUOLINE or Nespresso-Gemini series of machines work with our pods as they use different capsules.

      We’d recommend you give our pods a try, even if you have one of the above machines – we’d be happy to send a sample pack if necessary! If you are experiencing any issues with your pods please get in touch, and we’ll help you troubleshoot!

    1. Hi Tabitha,

      If you’re asking about our packaging, we’re working on some bio packaging that will work perfectly with the pods 🙂

    1. Hi Linzi,

      We are currently focussing on perfecting NespressoⓇ-compatible pods. We’ll be sure to let you know when we offer pods that are compatible with other brands.

      We have run 1000’s of tests across lots of Nespresso machines and are pods work well in all machines tested. However, some machines we have noticed will occasionally have problems are:
      – Expert
      – Prodigio

      None of the VERTUOLINE or Nespresso-Gemini series of machines work with our pods as they use different capsules.

      We’d recommend you give our pods a try, even if you have one of the above machines – we’d be happy to send a sample pack if necessary! If you are experiencing any issues with your pods please get in touch, and we’ll help you troubleshoot!

  3. SO pleased to read that these pods are recyclable, I don’t own a machine but hated that these were adding to landfill although I also read some customers can’t recycle them in their area (!?) but glad to know you’re working on a biodegradable pod, keep up the good work.

  4. I will cancel my PACT subscription unless you remove pods from your offering. These single use Pods take 500 years to biodegrade. It completely goes against PACT’s supposedly sustainable ethos. Pods, whether you recycle them or not are extremely damaging to the environment. Please let me know if you will remove Pods otherwise I will cancel by end of Sept. Thanks

    1. Hi Tom,

      Really want to thank you for your feedback on this issue.

      Whilst coffee pods are the favourite method of some coffee drinkers, we have been taking the environmental impact of them into seriously and so we’ll soon be launching all our coffee pods in a biodegradable option – hopefully by the end of the summer.

  5. It is really sad that your business needs to offer coffee pods in order to grow in the way you want it to. I can’t think of any other small uk roaster that has had to take this step so I don’t see why it is necessary. I hope you are not doing this in response to performance pressure from investors. Really sorry but my hate of coffee pods leads me to cancel my subscription and sign up elsewhere.

    1. Hi Suzannah,

      We’re really sorry to hear that you’re leaving Pact. For our customers that require the ease/convenience of using a pod machine we’ll very soon be offering biodegradable coffee pods, which will be kinder to the environment than our current recyclable pods. “Making coffee a force for good” is our mission at Pact – so hopefully this shows that we’re moving in the right direction to achieve that goal.

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