Nuclear Nespresso

Oct 22, 2012



Consumers will pay less as capsule war goes Nuclear


Recent news that Apple is to be paid $1 B in damages by Samsung over copyright infringements, makes interesting reading, especially in the current context of the single serve espresso coffee market place!

In the case of the phone trade, such rulings will inevitably lead to less competition and higher prices, at least for the time being, as the intellectual property delivers the proprietary, value add benefits it intended.

The so called phone ‘clone wars’, found that Apple innovations, such as the ‘pinch and zoom’ touch screen and ‘rubber band’ like ‘bounce back’ effect at the bottom of a page, were unique and proprietary developments which had been copied by Samsung.


Some industry experts believe that the ruling is good for innovation, as it protects invention and intellectual property, others believe such protectionism simply reduces competition and delivers a price hike to the poor old consumer.

Well, here in the simpler world of coffee, we have a similar ongoing sore with Nestle Nestecs Nespresso system…

Around since the late 19080s/ early 1990s , darling of the espresso cool brigade since the early noughties and now a style must have for every discerning home counties  social competitor the system was /is indeed unique.

It delivers great quality coffee, in a stunning array of original varieties, beautifully and imaginatively marketed, delivered through a tightly controlled distributive channel and with an amazingly low cost of goods ( Viz only 5 > 5.5g of coffee for a traditional shot which usually needs 7 g of the black stuff) it has been the ‘holy grail’ for the coffee trade to match for many a year….

Kraft’s Tassimo, Tchibo’s Cafissimo, Cafitaly’s open system and myriad non pressured systems the other side of the pond, such as that supplied by ‘Green Mountain’, have in the main failed to ignite the same consumer passion  – hence, the recent two year battle to over come the Houdini like legal patent protection which Nestec had wrapped its money making machine in…

…And as this now unravels we are on the cusp of an almighty Tsunami of  me too compatible systems and capsules in the European retail market space

Every roaster and entrepreneur wants a slice of the $ 4b + Nespresso cake and the world over we are seeing new entrants from South Africa/ Israel / Portugal/ and even good old Lincoln and York here in the humble ‘espresso heathen’ UK produce and press retailers with their copy versions.

Many are not as good as the original, simpler imitations with poorer quality liquor and a higher failure rate…but it is the ‘free market’ principle which makes this an intriguing game… the patents have expired, but I am sure Nestle will not consider imitation the highest form of flattery!!

Similarly, it will be interesting to se if Kraft foods follows the band wagon…..How can one corporate monster copy another’s  holy grail?

Guru thinks  this sets a dangerous precedent in an otherwise ‘oligarchically’ , tightly controlled and managed market place …..Two animals who live symbiotically now attacking one another…? Possible but unlikely – which means good news for the smaller boys!

Watch this space for some major fire works in the New Year as Nestle feels the force of 20 years pent up competitive angst!


Those in the know and we here at Aromo understand great coffee is not about the marketing and Tom Cruise style cocktail goings on..its about great quality coffee…fresh water …good pressure and the time and skill to make and enjoy your espresso moment
Guru ( Andy Grelak) writes for Aromo Coffee – They are coffee experts focussed on providing convenient and tasty ways for the caffeine addict to take their medicine. Aromo supplies excellent ESE Coffee pods and superlative Senseo pods,  both of which offer the espresso and filter connoisseur  a no mess, no fuss,  super fresh and environmentally conscious method to make stunning coffee… the guys at Aromo also have a range of Dualit branded capsules which make a brilliant and economic alternative to nespresso capsules

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