It was a rainy Thursday morning in Montreal. It wasn’t the kind of rain that required the simple use of an umbrella or a raincoat. It was torrential. It was the kind that had people running for shelter, the kind where you decided just to enjoy your meal at the restaurant instead of taking it home, even though you lived a few blocks away. The rooftops of the city’s skyscrapers disappeared into the low hanging fog and the rain pounded heavily against the windows of the Nespresso Academy. It was grey and moody outside but the atmosphere at the Academy was jovial. The concept of the Nespresso Academy was executed first in Paris, France, and its newest location in Montreal, Quebec is the first of its kind in North America. Its purpose is to educate their employees and partner agencies on the inner workings of their premium coffee.
We were one of the lucky few who were invited to experience the services they provide!
As we walked into the Academy space, Nespresso’s latest machines were organized in clean formation against the wall and a large poster of George Clooney was coolly placed at the end. We continued into the test lab tucked away in the far right corner and inside there were two tables with sinks installed within them. It’s here where we learned about the “cupping” process, a step that comes before the coffee beans are roasted. The process, which can take up to fifteen steps, will allow Nespresso’s experts to determine the flavour profile and the level of quality of the bean. It begins by pouring hot water over the green beans and it is as if you are drinking tea. In order to fully pull the flavours from the beans, you would then need to slurp, not sip, the liquid into your mouth using a silver spoon. This material is ideal for tasting because it does not carry smells and flavours. To slurp is necessary because it allows air to pass through and spread evenly across the palate of the tongue. It also activates the olfactory system, as the aroma will pass through the soft palate and travel into the nose. The cupping process can be likened to wine tasting because it also requires a disciplined and highly skilled sommelier to ensure a consistent cup of coffee.
After watching a short that highlights the process that Nespresso takes to ensure there is quality in every cup – we were left with a deeper understanding of their coffee making process. The visuals paralleled the process of choosing the coffee beans to diamond cutting, which requires an extreme amount of skill and technique. And why shouldn’t Nespresso’s coffee be approached with a similarly expected approach? How else could consistency be achieved? This process has been fully brought to our attention during our time at the Academy.
On the surface, we see the celebrity appearances and the contemporary cafes, both of which serve as an extension of the elegance and simplicity that the brand does so well. But it goes so much deeper than that. Everything from the cherry to the cup has been considered and carefully examined by Nespresso. Starting with the AAA farms where they source their beans from. They ensure that the coffee cherries are carefully picked for their readiness, while others are left to ensure that the crop can continue to grow. Their sustainability goals include an aluminum capsule collection initiative that aims to have one-hundred percent of their used capsules recycled. Nespresso is also committed to reduce their carbon footprint as a company year after year.
It is exactly this process that goes unseen by many, so we invite you to take a closer look at Nespresso’s sustainability initiative here.