Here you’ll find some useful Compostable Coffee Capsule FAQs and answers, plus coffee capsule troubleshooting advice about our products to ensure you have the very best coffee experience.
Capsule Advice & Troubleshooting
Why aren’t my capsules pouring correctly or stopping mid-flow?
One of the most important yet simplest ways to improve the capsule flow rate and get the best from our capsules (or any capsules in fact!) is to clean your machine!
Although it might sound silly, it can make all the difference to not only the performance of the capsule at the point of brewing, but it also lifts the taste of the coffee…and there’s no point buying quality coffee if the machine taints its taste.
Our Nespresso Tips & Tricks blog post will guide you through you get the most from your Nespresso machine & our capsules, going into detail about important ways to not only maintain your Nespresso machines but tips that’ll produce the best cup of coffee every time. As a quick summary though, the most common issue with Nespresso Compatible capsules, whether cornstarch like ours or those nasty little plastic capsules, is that they don’t easily sit correctly in the brewing chamber due to the cleanliness of one’s Nespresso machine.
This in turn can lead to issues with extraction and water leakage – as you can imagine, over time and with regular use of your machine, there is a build up of old coffee oils and residue in the brewing chamber (see images on the right!). Every time you extract a shot of espresso, it leaves a layer of oil behind in the machine which flushing with water alone does not help. As well as affecting the taste of your coffee, this residue can also mean the capsule does not fit in the chamber as it should and so when the highly pressurised water is forced through the capsule, water can end up leaking around the side and dripping out from the capsule area. So to solve these issues and more, please head to our capsule Tips & Tricks blog post…it’s a great excuse for a cuppa and bickie!
Should I descale my Nespresso machine?
Depending on the Nespresso® machine model you own and the water hardness where you live, we’d recommend descaling every 6-12 months. Find the specific Nespresso® machine troubleshooting advice for your model, where you can also see a whole section on descaling your Nespresso® machine. As for a descaler to use, we’d recommend the organic certified Cafetto@Home eco pod/capsule coffee machine cleaner available on Amazon.
Further Nespresso® machine Troubleshooting and solutions
Nespresso® give some brief advice on their website that should help you to solve machine issues yourself at home, but should the problem persist you should visit the Nespresso Club Assistance webpage, then just select your Nespresso® machine model and you can then access Nespresso® instructions guides and videos as well as troubleshooting guides. You should also download the Nespresso maintenance guide for your machine to get specific advice.
In the meantime here is a summary of common issues and solutions from Nespresso’s own website::
- The machine doesn’t switch on: check the power cord and fuses.
- The coffee isn’t warm enough: preheat your cups and descale machine.
- No coffee extraction: clean and descale if necessary.
- Leakage in capsule area: clean the capsule holder and ensure the capsule is inserted correctly.
- No hot water or steam: clean and descale if necessary.
- The milk doesn’t froth: clean the frothing device. We also recommend using semi-skimmed milk.
- No water flow: fill the tank and make sure it is correctly inserted.
How should I dispose of your compostable and biodegradable coffee pods?
We always recommend you place our coffee pods into your council-run food waste collection bin, safe in the knowledge that our capsules will have broken down within 6-12 weeks!
You can also add your used capsules to your home compost pile, if you have one. Conditions do vary greatly from one compost pile to another though, so it is hard to put an exact time frame on things, so please allow 18 to 24 months to decompose naturally where the ideal temperature in healthy compost piles need to be around 20° to 40°. Even so, it will disintegrate and improve your compost when it does, so it’s a win-win!
We’d of course always encourage you not to add to landfill, but the incredibly diverse (bonkers!) recycling requirements between UK councils means you might not have these options. In which case you can put your used capsules into your standard rubbish bin as our capsules are also biodegradable – in fact they are one of the only eco-capsules to be 100% bio based with no petro-chemical content whatsoever (not all are, sadly, despite their compostable claims!).
Are your capsules best for an Espresso or Lungo?
To fully appreciate all the complex, and intense flavours our capsule coffees deliver, we’d recommend you first drink them without adding any milk.
Shock horror for those who love a milky coffee, but once you try it you’ll soon see why so many people are getting more into their coffee these days as they discover what coffee really should taste like!
You see, to achieve a consistent taste many (most!) capsule companies simply dark roast their beans as it’s the only way they can ensure their coffee tastes the same each time. But that means the coffee generally doesn’t taste, well…good.
Enjoy an eco-espresso!
If you love a good espresso, then try our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee capsules. Fragrant and clean, you’ll love the subtle notes of fruity spice with hints of chocolate. This espresso is more about enjoying a complex mix of flavours than a bitter, dark hit of coffee.
For lungo lovers and milk fans
If you like a long coffee or a good bit of steamed and frothy milk in your coffee, then our Swiss Water decaff and our Peruvian eco coffee capsules are for you (although our Ethiopian capsules also taste great with a splash!).
Don’t put too much milk in there though, or you’ll mask the more subtle flavours and it’ll be more akin to high street coffee, aka warmed milk hehehe…
Our Peruvian will give a smooth, syrupy lungo with hints of cocoa. Weird to think you’ll taste all of these flavours in a coffee isn’t it…but that’s what a lighter roast and quality coffee bean will bring to the table, versus overly-roasted beans.
Our Swiss Water Decaff coffee capsules will give you a slightly indulgent lungo without the caffeine kick.
Whichever you choose, have a lovely guilt-free mug of the good stuff!
What’s the difference between compostable and biodegradable?!
This can be tricky to get one’s head around, but in short Biodegradable refers to any material that will disintegrate in water, soil or air over time with the help of organisms like bacteria and enzymes.
Compostable also refers to a material that breaks down and returns to nature, but it has to turn into something that improves the nutrient levels of the soil – or rather it has to turn into a non-toxic organic material. It also has to do so relatively quickly, at the same rate as the materials with which it is being composted, like food waste, to be classed as compostable.
Getting technical, our capsules are compliant with EN13432 standard, which means they will be “bio-assimilated” by micro-organisms naturally occurring in an industrial compost without any biological additive. Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen in our capsules will essentially be biologically transformed into H2O, CO2 and biomass i.e. new micro-organisms.
Don’t be fooled by the EN13432 claims of other compostable coffee capsule capsule manufacturers though, as technically a company can still meet EN13432 requirements even if their product contains plastic or other non-natural materials. The key is that they don’t contain over a certain percentage of these nasties, so there’s a work-around. However, our capsules are proven to be made from 100% bio-based vegetable material. So if your compost pile is healthy, then they should break down within 18-24 months. Or as soon as 6 weeks if put into your food waste collection bin!
Why the tin and are they recyclable?
Yes! Our tins are recyclable in the UK and are made from recyclable material too. We also have some great ideas on our blog about how to keep using our tins long after you finish your lovely coffee.
The irony is that the need for the tin is due to the very nature of our capsules. As they are biodegradable and compostable, the material used to seal the coffee inside the capsules (the paper-like material) has to be too. Unlike the metal foil found on those nasty little plastic coffee capsules and Nespresso’s own capsules though, this material on our coffee capsules is permeable so can affect coffee freshness.
This is why our capsules come in a hermetically pressure sealed tin for freshness and we recommend you keep them in the tin after opening, to ensure the coffee stays fresh. However, this does not mean we’re resting on our laurels as we are developing alternative methods of packaging our capsules in the near future so keep an eye out for developments.
What is the Swiss Water decaffeinated process?
The Swiss Water® Process uses the elements of water, temperature and time to create decaff coffee. In their own words: “Swiss Water® is the innovative craft of using pure water to gently remove caffeine. Our 100% chemical free process decaffeinates coffee in small batches. This means we can remove caffeine from very select amounts of Speciality Coffee. Coffee that is grown and harvested with the utmost care. Coffee that we’re excited to taste. Coffee that once decaffeinated, will still taste every bit as delicious as it did before we got our hands on it!”. What this means is that you are helping minimise the use of industrial chemicals in the coffee decaffeination process, and thanks to our environmentally friendly Decaff capsules you are minimising the waste that goes into landfill or the energy and emissions used to get your used capsules back to Nespresso® for recycling. Not a bad argument to make the switch…