Canadian Vending

Features Coffee Service
Coffee Trends: R’n’R and R Café

R’n’R and R Café


March 6, 2008
By Brian Martell

Topics

The Western world is thinking green. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
As far as trends go, this one has been able to hold on to and even gain a bit of momentum over the course of the last decade. The blue box programs are ubiquitous, people are composting, and the drive to find “eco-friendly” products has become a passion more than a pursuit.

The Western world is thinking green. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

As far as trends go, this one has been able to hold on to and even gain
a bit of momentum over the course of the last decade. The blue box
programs are ubiquitous, people are composting, and the drive to find
“eco-friendly” products has become a passion more than a pursuit.

So what have we done in the coffee business to keep pace with the green
wave? Well, for starters, the ingenious folks who buy coffee have found
a whole host of alternate uses for coffee, both fresh ground and spent
grinds. The following are some of the things people are doing with
coffee, other than drinking it:

Advertisment

Ant control – Apparently, ants hate coffee. If you have an ant problem,
then a bit of loose ground coffee on the anthill does the trick and
keeps the critters from coming back Cat control – If you have an issue
with cats using your garden as their own personal privy, then a mixture
of coffee grounds and orange peel seem to have a repulsive effect on
feline noses.

coffeefilterCompost
– Want your plants to look like the ones in the movies? Add a bit of
spent coffee grounds to the soil and watch the wonders work. The spent
grounds are also good for controlling plant munching bugs, so much so
that some backyard farmers will mix spent coffee grounds with vegetable
seeds to prevent infestation and promote healthy growth.

Dust Compound – Spent coffee grinds are a perfect solution to keeping
down the dust level when sweeping out the garage or basement. Spread it
on the floor as you would a sweeping compound and then sweep up without
the dust clouds.

Odour suppressant – A trucking company not too far from our roasting
plant put in a strange request for bulk ground coffee. When I asked
what he uses it for, he replied that one of his customers has a
particularly smelly product that leaves his trailers more odiferous
than he would prefer or for that matter, the next customer.
To help absorb and remove the offending smell, he spreads ground coffee
throughout the trailer on a Friday afternoon and then sweeps it up
Monday morning. The end result is a trailer with the sweet smell of
coffee (what a way for the trucker to get going in the morning).

Coffee “Cleansing” – Not to put too indelicate a point on this one, but
some people are using coffee as an enema. This is definitely something
that is on the fringe and I suspect will stay there, not really making
it to the prime time mainstream any time soon, but apparently there is
a following for this practice.

In the OCS business, a particularly sticky point has been what to do
not with the spent grinds of coffee, but with the packaging that has
been left over.

Coffee packaging has to be tough to maintain freshness and consequently
the construction of the bags does not lend very well to recycling.
These empty bags are always destined for landfills and will take as
much as 1,000 years to decompose.
To put this in perspective, if Leif Erikson had an OCS in L’Anse aux
Meadow, only now would his Viking Coffee bags be returning to the soil.
Using new technology that has only recently become available, Heritage
Coffee’s bags will be produced using bio-degradable film which will
fully revert back to the soil in four years. This amazing packaging
will have all the properties necessary to keep coffee fresh, but unlike
the houseguest from Hades, it will know when it is time to go.

This new packaging will also have great potential in retail
applications as well as foodservice where certain chains are looking to
make sure their statement of earth friendliness is followed by concrete
applications on the operational side.
As single-cup brew coffee packs (cartridge-style coffees, pods, etc.)
become more and more popular, the question of waste packaging will be
more pointed. Being able to proactively say to your customers that your
coffee packaging is eco-friendly may just be the easiest part of your
sales process.

Questions or comments? E-mail Brian at Brian@heritage-coffee.com.