Behind the scenes in the Nespresso kitchen

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Nespresso is what you call a well established name in coffee country. And no ladies and gentlemen I am not referring to icon George Clooney, but I am referring to their coffee as they are one of the major players in the market when it comes to portioned coffee. When I was invited to take a look behind the scenes I was intrigued. What happens before that moment that you put that little shiny cup into your machine at home? Where does the coffee come from and what is behind the philosophy of Nespresso?

Alleen het meest neutrale water wordt gebruikt om smaakverschillen door het water te voorkomen

Tasting is done only with ionised water to ensure no taste differences occuring due to the water

We started our discovery in snowy Lausanne where we stayed in hotel Palace for our first night after arrival. Early the next morning we went on our way to Avenches which is where the Nespresso factory is based and the heart of the company. Photography is not allowed by visitors but we did receive photos that showed exactly that what we saw. So all the photos you see here are supplied by Nespresso.. I thought the tour was very impressive. There is so much more behind the company than you might suspect. Sustainability is one of their key points and their triple A status for the coffee suppliers is an example of good business practice if you ask me.

Proeven gebeurd altijd met een zilveren lepel

Tasting is always done with a silver spoon

Tasting of the green coffee is something we got to do ourselves and I can tell you first hand that it is not so simple! And remember we ‘only’ had to taste four different coffee’s. Which were essentially just two; one correct one and a faulty one. One was brazilian and the other was Ethiopian. That first tasting is done on single origin. The blends are created much later in the process. I found the difference in smell really hard to find, I don’t think I would be a really good coffee sniffer.. 😉 But when it came to taste I thought the Brazilian coffee was clearly much more my taste than the more flowery Ethiopean coffee. I could taste that one was good and the other was not so good, but I couldn’t really say what was wrong with the defected coffee.

There is a good reason why a taster on the panel goes through a one year training before they are considered to be good enough to become a taster. But it was fun trying it out for ourselves. The quality checks on all the coffee are done straight from the source right on to the moment the coffee arrives by train to Avenches.

Once there, only 1% is rejected as not being good enough but when the coffee gets to that point it has already been tested extensively.

The demands Nespresso has on the coffee are really high and the ending quality of the final product is a reflection of those quality demands.

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To make sure the base of the coffee growing process is good, Nespresso has people on the grounds in the countries they purchase coffee from. The coffee is not bought on a market but they work together with the producing farmers. That way Nespresso has influence over the entire process from the beginning and by educating the farmers on the triple A criteria they make sure the success rate is as high as can be. That is not only good for Nespresso but also – largely – for the farmers who benefit by a higher production, better environment and a better price for their coffee. To give an example of the quality demands: out of all the coffee produced in the world, only 1-2% meets the Nespresso quality standard. If you want to know more about sustainability and how Nespresso handles it check out the information on their website which will give you much more information.

I was really impressed with their way of working, the care that is taken to ensure a premium product, the care that goes into their focus on sustainability and of course the end result. Later in the day we went to the L’Atelier Nespresso in Lyon where we got two masterclasses and also enjoyed a dinner prepared by three star Michelin chef’s Emanuel Renaut en David Toutain, with the focus on coffee, but more on that later

Disclaimer: I was in Avenches and lyon by invitation of Nespresso. All opinions are my own as always 

Simone van den Berg

Food- and travelblogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Loves to taste good food the world over. She also loves to share travelstories, delicious recipes and ok, cat pictures too. She sometimes feels the need to get really healthy for a while, always mingled with periods of insanely delicious sweets and other decadent treats. Lives together with Tom and their two cats; Humphrey and Buffy. Profession: Food photographer

3 comments

  1. Really interesting! Nespresso markets really good coffee. We don’t do the single-serving stuff, but if we did, theirs would be the brand we’d buy. Fun post — thanks.

  2. In Hawaii we are the only state in the United States that has the climate to grow world renowned and ranked Kona coffee. There are some farmers that grow as a co-opt meaning the beans will be mixed from various farms and others that grow and sell as single estate. Most farmers as a source of extra income have added bean to cup tours eco tours to walk you through the whole process. Most all 8 major Hawaiian islands have coffee farms on them but by law only those farms located on the Big Island of Hawaii in the Kona region of that island can label their coffee “100% Kona Coffee”. Any farm or coffee sold using a mixture of Kona coffee must under law print the percentage of Kona coffee in the blend. Because Hawaii is a state within the United States, child labor laws and immigrant apply. Hawaii also grows the world’s best ranked single estate cacao (chocolate).

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