Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, has banned coffee pods and other disposable products from its council buildings as part of a drive to reduce environmental waste.
Announced as part of a 150-page “Guide to Green Procurement”, the city introduced a ban on buying "certain polluting products or product components" with council money. The ban therefore includes bottled water and beer, chlorine-based cleaning products, air freshener, plastic plates and cutlery.
The report states: "These portion packs cause unnecessary resource consumption and waste generation, and often contain polluting aluminium.”
Jan Dube, spokesman for the Hamburg Department of the Environment and Energy, told the BBC: "The capsules can't be recycled easily because they are often made of a mixture of plastic and aluminium."
"It's 6g of coffee in 3g of packaging. We in Hamburg thought that these shouldn't be bought with taxpayers' money."
Around 10 per cent of Britons polled by The Grocer, a supermarket trade magazine, said they believed coffee pods are “very bad for the environment". However, 22 per cent of those asked said they owned a machine.
Five third wave coffees to know
Five third wave coffees to know
1/5 Long black
Espresso and hot water, simple. A stronger, shorter Americano. A coffee for purists who want to savour it. Water first, espresso second. Always. The drink retains more of the crema than an Americano, is less voluminous and more strongly flavoured. An antipodean classic taking UK menus by storm.
Who drinks it: The café purist
Coming from the Italian for restricted, forcing less hot water through the coffee granules at a faster speed makes for a very short shot – typically 45ml for a double compared to 60ml for the same espresso. Say hello to a coffee with more flavour and less bitterness. A pain to make on pre-calibrated machines, it's "a fusspot's coffee," says Kamal Yusuf of Etcetera Café in London.
Who drinks it: The nuisance
Originally from Italy, this one gets the thumbs down from many third wave baristas. Pulling more hot water through the bed of espresso – a minute's worth, rather than 30 seconds – gives a longer coffee, typically 90–120 ml. But, some say, the grains are overused and the bitterness is drawn out. "If someone asked for one, I'd tend to put a touch of hot water in the bottom of an espresso shot instead," says Estelle.
Who drinks it: The poseur
Consists of two shots of espresso 'cut' (cortado is Spanish for cut) through with textured milk. The ratio of milk to coffee is between 1:1 and 1:2 (our diagram has 1:2), with the milk added after the espresso. Also known as a piccolo and – less commonly – a Gibraltar. "They're normally served in a 4oz glass. Like a mini strong latte," says Estelle Bright of Caravan in London.
Who drinks it: The trend-setter
5/5 Flat white
It's the coffee that started it all. Soon after the flat white came to these shores from its native New Zealand, it found its way on to the menus of the big chains from Pret a Manger to M&S. But its pleasingly simple blend of foamed milk and a double shot of espresso, sees it hold its place as the third wavers' favourite coffee. Shorter than a latte, with higher coffee to milk ratio, typically served in a small 150–160 millilitre ceramic cup.
Who drinks it: The blogger
In the last year, more than £112m-worth of coffee pods were sold in the UK, up by a third from 2014, according to analysts. Sales are expected to treble by 2020, at which point coffee capsule sales are projected to overtake those of tea bags.
Nespresso, the most popular provider in Europe, first sold single-serving coffee pods in 1986. In the US, roughly 13 per cent of people drink a coffee made from a single-cup brewer every single day.
A Nespresso spokesperson said: "We are frequently asked whether individual portions and the use of aluminium contradict sustainability - in our opinion, the opposite is the case."
Last year, Caffe Vergnano, an Italian producer, developed a type of capsule that can decompose naturally.Reuse content