Anyone in the world of espresso pods will likely know the name Nespresso. They deliver a rich and robust espresso experience that's become a global standard for espresso lovers around the world. But as popular as Nespresso has become, there's a huge market for alternative espresso pods that are not only recyclable but deliver a rich flavor at a fraction of the cost.
Enter Woken Coffee, an environmentally-conscious company that helps fill a great a need in the industry: fully compostable nespresso-compatible pods.
Woken is an aptly named company with its focus on environmental sustainability and waste reduction. In an era of growing concerns over the environmental impact of espresso and coffee pods, this becomes more relevant than ever. Fortunately for us espresso lovers, they focus on a good cup of espresso all the same.
Woken Coffee has produced a 100% compostable nespresso-compatible pod that sources both Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. If those terms sound completely foreign to you, read this article on the difference between Arabica and Robusta for more details. Their blends are quite diverse offering varying degrees of intensity from their South American blends to their earthen Indian blends. These beans are roasted and ground in the espresso capital of the world: Italy.
Compostable Espresso Pods
As some of you may already know, plastic and aluminum just disappear after they're recycled. In fact, some plastic items can take up to 1000 years to decompose while aluminum espresso capsules can take between 150-200 years. Not the best sign when you consider how many K-Cups, espresso pods, and coffee pods are made out of plastic. With Woken Pods, you can just toss them into your compost bin to send off to a municipal compost facility. In about 90 days, the pods will decompose into plant and soil.
Woken Coffee Review
For this Woken Coffee review, we'll specific take a look at two of their offerings: their standard Arabica blend and their Single Origin Colombian (Pure Colombia) brew.
The Arabica blend includes beans sourced from Brazil, Columbia, Honduras, Ethiopia and Tanzania. This particular mixture of beans makes for a sweet and spicy cup of Joe. According to Woken's intensity scale, this ranks at about a 4 and it seemed pretty accurate. The beans are medium roasted and contain a solid 110mg of caffeine per capsule. This is a very even and medium-bodied blend that combines subtle floral and fruit flavors with all the strength you'd expect in a standard espresso. It's unique and impressively smooth. It's not hard to see why this is one of their most popular blends.
Next up was their single origin Colombian espresso pod. I've tried many single origin brews in my lifetime and I can say this is one of my favorites. This had an excellent balance of strength, acidity, and smoothness. There's a subtle brightness that also characterizes the aftertaste. Their tasting notes which describe the coffee as “vibrant and clean” were also spot-on. I always appreciate it when the tasting notes match my experience. I can't say enough about how much enjoyed this specific coffee as it was a perfect match for my flavor profile.
When it comes to Nespresso alternatives, the biggest concern for most consumers is coffee strength. I admit to having the same concern.
Compared to Nespresso, many of these alternatives seem weak and diluted in flavor. It's worth noting that is absolutely not the case here. Woken may not have the exact strength of Nespresso, but they still deliver a robust coffee that's by no means weak.
At the end of the day, I'd gladly pay Nespresso prices for Woken Coffee.
I personally prefer my espresso to be at about a 5 in intensity so Woken Coffee works just fine for my palette. Where Woken's Nespresso-compatible pods may lack in strength, they more than makes up for it in smoothness.
Lastly, and most importantly for some, Woken's price point is very competitive. They are significantly more affordable than Nespresso while still delivering a great-tasting brew. 10 pods go for $6.75 which is a steal when considering the quality of espresso you're getting.
Some Nespresso customers have noted a subtle metallic taste as a result of their pod's aluminum packaging. Woken nespresso-compatible pods have no such taste which is likely due to the fact that they don't use plastic or aluminum packaging.
Woken Coffee espresso pods are compatible with the following machines:
Nespresso® OriginalLine* machines including Delonghi C190, D290, Citiz, Essenza, Maestria, U, Le Cube, Inissia, Latissima Plus, Latissima Pro, Latissima Touch, Pixie, KitchenAid and Prodigio.
In the end, Woken Coffee has created something I think will really resonate with even the most uncompromising espresso lovers. Yes, it's not as strong as a Nespresso pod. But that's not a bad thing as some coffee drinkers prefer a more balanced brew as opposed to one that knocks their socks off. At half the price of some Nespresso pods, Woken Coffee offers a distinct value that's tough to beat.