How Are Coffee Capsules Made?
Coffee capsules have recently received some flack; pro-capsule people love the convenience and taste of this perfectly packaged and tidy product, while anti-capsule people will tell you that capsules are one of the leading causes of landfills overflowing and exorbitant waste accumulating.
Both of these people are right. If you are a responsible capsule user, you’ll likely have collected all your used and empty capsules, and gone to have them recycled. Yes, some of the brands are non-recyclable, while others using recycling their pods as part of their brand activation, so choose wisely.
But what exactly goes into making your favourite coffee capsule? It’s all a very similar processes, with one or two differences between each, but generally the process is as follows:
Coffee Capsule Manufacturing
The manufacturing of coffee capsules is done on an industrial-scale; conveyor belts, heavy machinery – you get the idea.
- Firstly, and within an entirely different machine, your coffee beans are ground to one uniform size. This is one of the most vital steps, as consistency in your product’s quality is what really makes a brand stand out.
- On the assembly line, all the pre-form plastic “cups” (usually different colours to denote different flavours or variants of the coffee) are slotted into place on the packaging machine.
- Once all the cups are allotted to the right place, a conveyor belt moves the cups along the assembly line. The cups are filled with pre-ground coffee; while the cups are being filled, aluminium caps are being cut out, to be placed over the top of the cup and sealed immediately. This is usually done with laser precision, as sealing the capsule is the one and only way to guarantee freshness.
- Some coffee capsule manufacturers make use of internal plastic filter, which allow for a greater pressure to be placed onto the coffee brewing process when they are inserted into the capsule machine. Not all coffee capsules contain this mechanism. If the filter needs to be fitted: One filter is fitted with the pre-form plastic cup, and the other is added just after the cup is filled with coffee, before capping it.
- Once the aluminium top has been fitted, the capsule is removed from the assembly line and inspected for leaks, cracks, broken pieces and general defects. This inspection is performed with advanced tools, to check the Carbon Monoxide levels within the capsule (this is an indicator as to whether any air has been able to seep into your capsule and thus destroy the flavour of your coffee).
- Some of the capsules are actually fitted into a capsule machine and brewed, to ensure that the brewing of the coffee still produces top quality drinks. If any imperfections are detected – even until this stage – the entire batch may be pulled or recalled.
- Once this is done, they are packaged according to coffee type of capsule style into their respective boxes.
- Your coffee capsules are then delivered to you, and into your cup.
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