Single-serve coffee machines have become increasingly popular. But according to Connecticut-based Brioni’s, much of the coffee brewed in those machines comes in a single-use plastic pod that is not recyclable. For consumers who want to be environmentally friendly and well caffeinated at the same time, Brioni’s said it spent two years of research in developing the “Green Cup,” which it describes as a compostable coffee pod. These pods are essentially tea-bags that are filled with coffee instead of tea. These coffee-bags are placed in an adapter --- a special container that Brioni’s has specifically designed for Keurig single-serve brewing machines.
The supermarket chain Whole Foods Market has been selling Green Cup coffee at some of its stores in Connecticut, and now Whole Foods is planning to make the Green Cup product line available at about a dozen of its stores in Greater Boston, Brioni’s said.
Whole Foods Market will initially sell five varieties of Brioni’s Green Cup pods: Brioni’s Blend, Sole’ Breakfast Blend, an all-natural Hazelnut, Firenze Bold, and Brioni’s Decaf, the company said.
The coffee comes in a $12.99 starter kit, which includes 12 coffee pods and two adapters. Each of the adapters is good for brewing between 1,500 and 2,000 cups of coffee and then will hit its usable life. The adapter is 100 percent recyclable, Brioni’s said. Once the consumer uses the 12 pods from the starter kit they can purchase the replenishment packages of 18 pods for $12.99 without the adapters, the company said.
Brioni’s press release included a statement from Drew McLachlan, who holds the title of “local forager” at a Whole Foods store in West Hartford.
“Caring for our environment is a core value for Whole Foods Market,” McLachlan said. “Compostable coffee pods are a smart environmental choice for our customers, while the Green Cup adapter is reusable for hundreds of cups of coffee and is then recyclable.”
Meanwhile, Keurig says it is taking “positive steps to address its environmental impact.” Keurig makes single-serve brewing machines that use single-serve pods of coffee called K-Cup packs. One option that consumers have is buying a My K-Cup, a reusable cartridge that has a suggested retail price of $17.95. A consumer simply fills this cartridge with the ground coffee beans of his or her choice.
Keurig also offers the Vue System, a single-serve brewing machine that allows for more customization. One feature of the Vue System is that it uses single-serve coffee pods made from number-five plastic, which can be recycled in many communities, the company said.
Keurig is a division of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. of Vermont. Much of Keurig’s operations are based in Massachusetts.