New Coffee Pod Brewer Aims For Sustainability

Keurig seems to have a stronghold on the single-serving pod coffee market, and Nespresso corners the espresso segment. So is there room — or even demand — for another brand? Coffee industry veteran Mel Elias thinks so.

The former Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf CEO co-founded Bruvi in 2018, and just came out with a new brewing system that combines the convenience of single-serve coffee with a responsible solution to the problem of pod disposal. Bruvi also offers consumers the ability to make seven different beverages – including filter coffee, true espresso and Americanos, and the first cold brew from a single-serve system — so they can declutter their kitchen countertop and use a single, stylish brewer.

I’ve been trying it out for a week and have some opinions. First off, the machine itself looks sleek – with clean lines and touches of bamboo. It’s roughly the same size as the latest Keurig that sits on my countertop. And I love the sustainability aspect of Bruvi. The company developed proprietary bio-enzyme infused coffee pods – coined B-Pods – that substantially break down in a landfill much faster than untreated plastics through an organic process that leaves no microplastics behind. That eco-friendly aim will strike a chord with plenty of consumers. The pods are slightly larger than the K-cups you’d get for Keurig, and no they are not interchangeable with them. I love the machine’s large, digital interface, as well. It’s very intuitive and easy to traverse. Very well thought out. And I especially like that it offers to brew a low acid cup. Also, the coffee goes straight into your mug without touching the insides of the brewer for a more hygienic brew without flavor cross contamination or daily rinsing.

But that’s kind of where my positives end for this. At $298, I feel the machine’s a bit on the pricey side – even considering you get the first 22 coffee pods included. And because the pod system is new, there are limited coffees and espressos available. My included bundle offered four different coffees from Wonderland and Mulholland Roasters. According to the company website, there will be other roasters coming on board soon. I wanted to get a brew-your-own pod – so I could conduct an apples-to-apples comparison with my Keurig and my regular old coffee pot – but that’s apparently not available yet.

I thought the Mulholland espresso tasted excellent, but that the various coffees in the box were just okay. Mind you, they were full of flavor but just not great flavor. So I brewed cups for two other people – without first expressing my opinion. One felt the same way as I did, and the other raved how the coffee tasted “way better” than her regular morning Starbucks.

I honestly would love for this brand and its sustainability concept to succeed. But I don’t see how it will carve a niche in the market, with all of the popular coffee brands and grinds already available for Keurig. And eco-minded people who don’t like using pods just tend to make pots of coffee on their own. Bruvi officials say they’re only sourcing coffee that’s verified sustainable, 100% Arabica craft coffee for its pods. And I applaud them for that. But getting traction in the market may be a grind.

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