RealCup puts single-serve taste to the test
Two seemingly divergent but in some ways overlapping trends have dominated coffee consumption in North America for the last decade and a half: one is about simplicity and the other complexity. Let’s start with the latter.
The underlying ethos of the artisanal or craft coffee movement is an appreciation for coffee as more than just a mass-produced commodity. There’s an increased interest not just in which region a coffee bean comes from but which farms, when it is harvested and how it is roasted. There’s a new lexicon about tasting notes similar to that of wine enthusiasts and a romanticization of the meticulousness that could go into producing a cup of coffee using traditional methods. This is often called 3rd wave coffee—the first wave refers to the period when freeze dried ground coffee was being bought for almost every home and the second wave refers to the rise of Starbucks coffee house culture and espresso based specialty drinks.
In reality, the 3rd wave coffee culture is a small subset of the much, much larger coffee community. But even if you had no interest in becoming a student of coffee beans or never been near a 3rd wave coffee house “cupping” to learn about tasting notes, the North American cultural zeitgeist has absorbed the idea that coffee could and should taste better than what our parents and grandparents consumed through most of the 20th century. That’s good. But it also brings us to our second trend.
Busy people love simplicity and there’s nothing wrong in a hectic world with wanting the small pleasures of your day—like a really good cup of coffee—to come just a little easier and be just a little more convenient.
In roughly the same period that craft coffee was catching on, the at-home coffee market has been transformed by the remarkable surge of single serve coffee makers.
The single serve option is perfect for coffee drinkers who love the convenience and variety that the traditional drip machine doesn’t offer and, very importantly, the coffee is much fresher. Oxygen is a cruel enemy of great tasting coffee. As soon as you open that vacuum packed bag the coffee starts to stale. Not so with airtight single serve coffee capsules.
It’s an option that barely existed at the start of the century, but one that has seen sales increase by more than 133,700% since then. (No, we’re not kidding, it is one hundred and thirty-three THOUSAND). Most of that growth occurred towards the end of last decade. By last year single serve coffee accounted for nearly 40% of all retail coffee sales in Canada and the U.S.
But as popular as single serve machines became, says Brian Miller, director of business development at Mother Parkers, some people were, frankly, underwhelmed with the taste. “They felt the flavour, the body, the aromas, the mouthfeel with single serve just wasn’t the same as what they were getting from their old drip brewer.”
That shortcoming was a central focus for the product development team at Mother Parkers when the company decided it was time to start making coffee pods for single serve machines. “We didn’t want to just be compatible with the single serve machines, we wanted to deliver a better single serve experience,” says Miller. “We wanted to taste better.”
What changed, of course, is the actual brewing process itself. With a traditional household drip brewer the brew time—can last several minutes. With a single serve brewer, this process is typically less than a minute.Mother Parkers has been in the coffee business for more than 100 years and has grown into the fourth largest roaster in North America. Its reputation for high quality coffee comes from a deep institutional understanding of the ethical sourcing of the best coffee from around the world, the roasting process and the packing process to maximize freshness in every pack. Those coffee fundamentals remained the same for Mother Parkers as it prepared to get into single serve.
Taking that into account, Mother Parkers still wanted to give consumers a full bodied cup of coffee with the richer aromas and better taste that was more similar to the coffee produced from a French Press—generally considered the gold standard for home-brewing. They wanted a better tasting coffee with the push of a button. The goal was simplicity, but the solution wasn’t.
“One of the key innovations is the filter,” says Paul Yang, Mother Parkers’ manager of packaging development and sustainability, when explaining Mother Parkers RealCup® single serve format. Inside the plastic cup of most single serve coffee pods the ground coffee rests inside a paper filter. The problem is that paper filters are very absorbent and so during the brewing process, as the coffee passes through the filter, the paper actually captures and retains a lot of what makes coffee taste great.
The breakthrough at Mother Parkers came with their FlavourMaxTM Filter that allows all of those flavours, the natural oils, the aromas to flow right into the cup. The result is RealCup® coffee using FlavorMaxTM filters delivers a more authentic beverage experience.
In addition the team at Mother Parkers can tailor the FlavourMaxTM filter to customize the single serve experience for different blends & beverages.
Fresh, high quality coffee beans, sourced ethically, expertly roasted, precisely ground, mixed with the right amount of water for just the right amount of time in an innovative coffee filter that was years in the making. Mother Parkers spent a great deal of time and effort perfecting its RealCupÒ single serve coffee format. But all consumers have to do is pop a RealCupÒ into their machine and push a button. It’s simple. And it’s simply a better tasting cup of coffee.