In the beverage world the word “vintage” is usually reserved for wine or whiskey, but people have been quietly aging coffee for centuries. The practice didn’t begin with the intent to actually change the flavor of your morning cup though; it was just the reality of shipping during the colonial period. It would often take months for a ship to sail around Africa and drop off its caffeinated cargo in Europe. But intended or not, the long voyage changed the makeup and flavor of the beans. And as technology has advanced over the years coffee aging has continued the process has become much more controlled.
And while aged coffee has started to work its way into the mainstream recently—even Starbucks is now featuring it—vintage beans had not made their way to convenience seeking coffee pod users. Until now.
Today Nespresso released SELECTION VINTAGE 2014, its first aged coffee pods. In an email, Nespresso Head of Coffee Karsten Ranitzsch told us that the company wanted to “introduce an entirely new flavor” to its collection of pods—a flavor the company describes as having a woodiness and a more tempered fruitiness.
For Nespresso and others in the coffee aging game, the process takes place prior to roasting. The green coffee beans for the Nespresso pods were harvested in Colombia during 2014 and held under constant conditions, controlling oxygen, moisture, air, light and atmospheric pressure. That regulation is necessary Ranitzsch told us, because “any miniscule change…would affect the taste.”
Also worth noting, particularly for those afraid of the scourge of coffee pod waste, Nespresso is the only pod maker right now to ensure all its materials are recyclable. Nespresso drinkers can get pre-paid UPS recycling bags at a Nespresso shop or online so they can return them to the company for recycling. After the pods are mailed back, the grounds are turned into compost and the aluminum is turned into everything from window frames to bicycles.
And if you want to get a quick hit of vintage coffee, both the vintage pods and the recycling bags are available now at both Nespresso boutiques and online.