In preparation for my interview with Nespresso Coffee ambassador Mitch Monaghan I intentionally avoided caffeine beforehand, knowing full-well that their Newmarket Boutique (shown above) has an entire section for coffee-tasting, featuring all of their current 24 Grand Crus coffees. One Nespresso soy flat white later and I was ready to hear Mitch talk me through the Nespresso way and their environmental goals… Can you explain the Grand Crus to me a bit, as someone that’s used to drinking espresso? Grand Crus are French words that translate to English as ‘great growth’. The words are originally applied to the highest quality French champagne to that season, so we borrowed the terminology and have applied it to the quality standards that we apply to our coffee. Of all of the coffee grown in the world, only 1-2% of it meets our quality and taste standards – so it’s a very high level to make sure that the taste is consistent and the bean in the cup is to that level. What’s actually inside one of the little Grand Crus pods? Inside is 100% ground, roasted coffee. It can be a mix of either 100% Arabica, which is a bean type or a blend of Arabica and Robusta - another bean type. Essentially what you’ve got in the capsules is the work of sourcing of the beans, bringing them together, doing all those quality checks, roasting and grinding them, and as soon as the grind happens, sealing them to ensure the coffee stays totally fresh. What goes into sourcing the coffee? We source from 11 different countries of origin; all of them are along the equatorial line. From sourcing the coffee to getting it to our HQ there’s quite a lot of steps. The easiest way to think about it is through the relationship that we have with the farmer - finding out how to grow the coffee properly and working with them to develop the trees so they can provide a better yield, figuring out which cherries to handpick and which beans to put through a particular processing method to get the best result. If you liken it to wine, it’s pretty alike in the processes. Can you tell me a bit about ‘cupping’? Basically, we get the beans, roast them, grind them, and then put them into a cup and pour water about 92 degrees over top of them. After scraping off everything that floats to the top, what you have is called ‘brew’. Using a silver spoon, and slurping some of the brew off the spoon onto the pallet detects the quality, bitterness, acidity and the notes in the coffee.Cupping happens at the farm, it happens through quality checking and it happens after a roast - all the way through the journey to make sure the results are completely consistent. Tell me a bit about your latest addition… While we have 23 permanent Grand Crus coffee, we have limited editions throughout the year as well. The current limited edition we have is Peru Secreto. This is a coffee that is specifically sourced from four regions in Peru because where the beans are growing is really unique – places like the Andean Hillsides, the Amazon and in the rainforest, which gives a really unique coffee quality. It’s got a distinct cocoa note to it and you also get this level that’s really quite smooth. For me it’s one of the best coffees I’ve seen coming through as a limited edition. What is the positive cup program? It’s a way that we have committed ourselves as a business to sustainability initiatives. What it means is, by 2020 we’ve committed to having 100% of our coffee certified through that program. Positive cup ensures economic, environmental and social conditions are managed and improved through partnerships with Fair-Trade and Rainforest Alliance, to really ensure that the whole way through sourcing those conditions are improved. The second element is about ensuring that co2 is reduced and becoming 100% carbon neutral, in addition to that we want to increase recycling capacity globally to 100%, so lots of work to do! We set some initiative in 2009 and hit them in 2013, so this is the next step in our journey. Click here to check out the Nespresso website.