I know how you feel about the environmental impact of pods. I felt the same way about this and for years.
I have always loved the convenience of pod coffee but always had this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that what I was doing couldn't be good for the environment. But like you, as soon as I could smell the coffee brewing and brought the rich golden crema up to my lips, I convinced myself that it wasn't so bad after all and the small amount of waste was worth it, right?! Because well, any damage to the environment wouldn't be noticeable during my lifetime and some smart person in the future would find some wiz bang solution to magically fix it, so who really cares?! Well that was my ignorant take on it!
There I was in 2015, at this point having created an award winning coffee pod manufacturing business and was in Germany looking for new opportunities. I was 3 days into a 5 day trade show, and I got that phone call, you know the one that you think only happens in the movies?! Well I’m proof this really does happen. A complication with my wife’s pregnancy meant that our baby wasn’t going to arrive on the planned date 4 weeks away, the little critter was going to come out in 48hrs!!! Ummm what?!
You can imagine my head spinning! I was on the other side of the world and not only had to get myself back but work out what the hell I was going to do about my coffee stand at one of the biggest trade shows in the world no less! I hand wrote a sign explaining the situation and left everything there; coffee machines, TV’s, stock, signage... Basically thousands of dollars worth of equipment and promotional material I was supposed to pack up and bring home with me, it all got left behind and I made a big dash to the airport.
Over the next 48 hours I found myself begging, pleading and crying... you can imagine I was a complete mess. The airlines were doing everything they could to get me home, but a late flight into Dubai meant I missed a connection. Yep, can you believe it?!! I had been flying regularly for years and never missed a flight... Never!... Ever!... It was so cliché that it was happening to me now! It was too much for me to bear on top of the stress and jet-lag I broke down when I had to call my wife and explained what had happened. Thank goodness she was calm and said she could push back the emergency cesarean for a few hours from morning to afternoon, when I was now expected to land.
Luckily my next flight landed giving me just enough time to get off the plane, get into my scrubs and be rushed to the delivery room! Can you believe it, I actually made it! There I was majorly jet-lagged, completely buzzing but I made it to see the most perfect little creature born. This little guy, well he completely changed my life forever.
To be completely truthful, before my son Louis was born, when I used to think “some smart person in the future will solve our environmental issues”, it didn’t really even bother me that much if I was wrong about this. It really didn’t matter, it wasn’t my problem so I had a 'who cares' attitude (don’t hate me, I’m just being honest!).
Wow, it’s amazing how one littler person can completely change a mindset! I started to care about his life more than my own and when I stopped to consider that global warming might cause some serious problem within his lifetime, well, this changed everything for me!
With this shift in mindset, my other baby was born…My new passion project called ‘Urban Brew’ and it quickly turned into an obsession. We had sold biodegradable pods earlier, but they had never done well because they were more expensive than the rest of our range (for both us to make and for customers to buy). This led me down a deep rabbit hole trying to solve the puzzle ‘how can we offer much more for much less, while remaining commercially viable?’.
Over an entire year of planning I realised the task I set myself was not easy... If it was someone would have already been doing it by now. There was no single silver bullet! Instead, we had to outsmart our competitors in every way from improving manufacturing efficiency and cutting marketing budgets to pieces, to selling direct from us the producer to our customers and many other improvements in-between (including the introduction of our very own handmade ‘Cuppa Choc's’ which are edible wafer and chocolate cups – get yours free if you order 50 pods or more!). It was a very challenging journey, but we made it!
To learn more about our Cuppa Choc's click here.
Welcome to Urban Brew. I sincerely hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed creating it!Be happy,Toby Strong (aka The Podfather)Founder & Customer Happiness Specialist
Where to from here?