Nespresso and the emergence of coffee capsules

Coffee capsules were first introduced by Nespresso in the mid-1980s and have since become popular around the world. Today their variety is huge, there are many to choose from and we can enjoy almost any beverage.

Coffee capsules

Coffee capsules are a popular and convenient way to enjoy acup of coffee at home or in the office .

They are small disposable capsules that contain pre-measured portions of ground coffee that can be inserted into a compatible coffee maker. Once inserted, the coffee maker pierces the capsule and runs hot water through it to brew one cup of coffee.

Kávové kapsle GP

History of coffee capsules

The idea for capsule coffee was born in 1975. Swiss inventor and engineer at Nestlé, Éric Favre, wanted to prove to his wife Anne-Marie that could make the best espresso.

And so the couple set off to where else but Italy. Their main goal was to find out how to make the best espresso. And they did! InItaly, they found inspiration and, of course, great coffee.

The curious couple noticed that many locals frequented a certain coffee bar and decided to learn the tricks and interview the staff. The barista at the coffee shop generously told the couplethe secret to their coffee.

The key is to constantly pull and pump the levers on the coffee machines. This will increase the pressure and change the way the coffee is extracted. This releases theflavors and aromas into the perfect cup of espresso.

So Favre created a prototype of the first machine in 1975 and presented it to Nestlé, but they weren't particularly impressed with his invention.

The first Nespresso coffee capsules

The first capsules were not produced until 1986 by the then Nestlé director, Helmut Maucher. Nestlé feared failure, so the company started producing the capsules under the umbrella of a newly created brand - Nespresso.

Nespresso initially marketed its coffee machines as versatile and easy-to-use coffee machinesprimarily for businesses, hotels, bars or offices. However, this did not go down well and the company's beginnings were difficult and Éric Favre was forced to leave Nestlé in 1991.

He was replaced in 1988 by Jean-Paul Gaillard, who came up with an innovative way of selling coffee machines.

If they wanted to succeed with their coffee capsules, it was time to find another way with a different target group. Instead of focusing the product on businesses, he wanted to sell it to domestic consumers as a luxury item. He even increased the price of each capsule by approximately 50%.

And sales took off! Around the same time, Gaillard created "Club Nespresso", which made customers feel part of an exclusive coffee lifestyle.

The fight for the patent

So who was behind the creation of coffee capsules? Éric Favre or Nespresso? The fight over the capsule patent lasted until 2003, when peace was signed.

Éric Favre published a book in 2014, where he himself states that he made some mistakes but moved forward because of them.

Nespresso achieved popularity mainly in the 1990s. However, gradually other big coffee capsule companies appeared with new and improved capsules and technologies. Today, we can find as many as 400 companies in the world making them.

It is estimated that Nespresso alone produces approximately 14 billion capsules annually and that hundreds of their drinks are drunk every second.

Coffee capsule production

What are the basic steps in production?

  • The green beans arrive at the roasting plant to be roasted and ground.
  • The coffee mixture is then filled into pre-prepared capsules.
  • Once the coffee is filled into the capsule, thetop of the capsule ishermetically sealed to keep the coffee fresh and airtight.
  • The filled and sealed capsules are then packaged and ready to go to customers.

Trends in coffee capsules

Coffee capsules have undergone several trends over the years,driven by changes in consumer preferences and technological advances. As a result, they are gaining popularity in the coffee world.


In recent years, the range of coffee capsules has expanded significantly. Many brands offer a wider range of flavors, blends and roast types to cater to different taste preferences.

From espresso, to cappuccino, specialty drinks such as Pumpkin Spice Latte or hotchocolate, to filter coffee. The options are many. The coffee capsule market is growing and struggling to keep pace with consumer demand

Choice coffee capsules

Newly available coffee capsules also come with quality choice coffee, allowing coffee lovers to enjoy a high quality cup without having to grind the beans themselves or master alternative brewing methods.


With the growing concern for the environment, there is a trend towards more sustainable coffee capsules. Many brands now offer eco-friendly options that use biodegradable or compostable materials, reducing the environmental impact of coffee capsules.

Professor Alf Hill of Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath's research took into account all stages of coffee production, from bean growth to waste disposal, and assessed the impact on the ecosystem, climate and water consumption. He found that coffee capsules are thesecond most environmentally friendly way to make coffee after instant coffee.

Organic coffee capsules. Image source: Green Plantation

Coffee Balls

Swiss retail chain Migros has launched a greener alternative to coffee capsules. Instead of capsules, usesballs of pre-ground condensed coffee called Coffee Balls.

The balls are created by a machine called The Globe. Each coffee ball has a thin outer layer of seaweed that is tasteless and colorless while providing capsule-like structural integrity and maintaining freshness.

Coffee Balls are a completely new and different single-serve coffeebrewing system than we have been used to. Since it is a fresh innovation, Coffee Balls are only compatible with the Coffee B Globe.

Making coffee with the Coffe B Globe

Health benefits

Some coffee capsule brands now offer coffee blends that contain functional ingredients such as vitamins, minerals and plant extracts that provide health benefits beyond the typical coffee experience.


Coffee capsules have advantages and disadvantages that can vary depending on individual preferences and priorities.

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Overall, coffee capsules can be a convenient and enjoyable way to enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee, but they do come with some trade-offs, especially when it comes to quality and cost.

What do you want to know about coffee capsules?

What are coffee capsules?

???? Coffee capsules are small containers filled with a pre-measured amount of coffee. They are designed for use in special capsule coffee machines that prepare coffee by piercing the capsule and forcing hot water through it.

What are the advantages of using coffee capsules?

The main advantages of using coffee capsules are convenience and consistency. Coffee capsules are very easy to use and provide consistent quality and taste every time. Unlike???? automatic coffee machines, they are really low maintenance.