Nespresso opening new experience center

The coffee brand has a holiday offering and a new type of space for aficionados

Nespresso has been in the Czech Republic with boutiques for 10 years now. Soon they will be opening up a new type of space, a Nespresso Experience Center, where people can learn more about coffee and how to taste it. The center is now in a testing phase. Next year it will be available for corporate events or to valued customers and other groups on an invitational basis.

The premium coffee brand is also introducing three special flavors just for the holidays, along with limited edition festive cups and travel mugs.

The special flavors available in the Czech Republic and much of the world are called Variations Sachertorte, Variations Apfelstrudel and Variations Linzer Torte. All three are based on Austrian desserts and are inspired by Vienna's coffee culture. Different flavors are in the US and Canada.

This year's Variations for the holidays are a blend of Nespresso's Livanto coffee with natural flavors. They can be paired with the desserts they mimic or with other holiday treats. Nespresso coffee ambassador Michaela Illiková said she liked the Sachertorte flavor in particular. “You feel the chocolate first then suddenly from somewhere the marmalade comes,” she said, adding that the flavors added were all natural and without any allergens. Livanto was chosen as a base because of its caramel notes and velvety texture. There are also some simple recipes available for making coffee-based holiday beverages.

Cups in several sizes and travel mugs with silver festive designs are also available online and in Nespresso boutiques.

Bigger news, though, is the opening of the Nespresso Experience Center on Pařížská Street in Prague 1, not far from the Nespresso boutique. The center is in a luxury apartment-type space with a good view, and informative posters and pictures on the walls. The center will have events similar to wine tastings, and other events that are more instructional about the coffee process from growing to brewing. “The center is dedicated to coffee knowledge. Coffee culture in Czech Republic is improving and we would like to help people understand why coffee is not just one flavor but many different aromas and smells,” Illiková said. There are three different aromatic families, for example, and people can taste them and learn what foods and other flavors they can be best paired with.

The center will be opened next year to small groups. People who have shown interest in Nespresso at events the company sponsored such as the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival or Designblok, for example, may hear about invitational events. Companies can also use the space for events.

Some valued customers may also get invitations. “We will give those members something so they can feel really rewarded. They are really our best ambassadors in a way because they speak about Nespresso and often bring new customers in, and they like the quality of the coffee,” she said.

The Nespresso system, according to Illiková is not just about convenience. The capsules are designed to deliver the perfect cup of coffee. The capsules have the right amount of grounds made at the proper grind for the Nespresso machines. “The magic is the green coffee team and the experts with the know-how to get the best of the coffee into the capsule,” she said. Even if you grind your own coffee, you may not get the right grind for your method of making coffee. “If you don't know these differences you will never get the best out of your coffee at home,” she said.

One concern people have over capsule coffee systems is that the capsules themselves add up to a lot of waste. Nespresso has addressed this by starting a recycling system for the aluminum capsules. A company was located two years ago in the Czech Republic that can clean the metal and reuse it to create new aluminum products.

Corporate clients can arrange for the used capsules to be picked up at the same time than new ones are delivered. Home customers can also arrange for pickups or bring the capsules to a Nespresso boutique. “It is nice, and if you step into the Pařížská boutique or any other you will see within 20 minutes people bringing the capsules in. I think Czech people are very responsible. It is up to us to make it convenient and hassle free,” she said.

Another concern people have with all coffee is environmental sustainability and economic fairness. Nespresso has programs in place to address this. Nespresso has been following a three-pillar policy for 10 years now. The first pillar involves paying above the market value for coffee, as Nespresso uses specialty coffees. The second pillar is working with agronomists to teach the farmers how to be more efficient in their operations and how to lower the cost of production. “We find a farmer that would be great for us because he has the coffee we need, which is quite limited in the planet,” Illiková said. Once the farmer is found, Nespresso tries to make a long-term working relationship. “It is a benefit on both sides. The farmers will get more money, we will get the coffee we need. It is a cooperation,” Illiková said.

The third pillar is sustainability. “Agriculture gives money to millions of people but it may destroy the planet. So we try to do sustainable agriculture in a way that the planet can be here [for a long time.] We have 11 countries and more than 63,000 farmers who are in the program where we monitor where the coffee comes from and how it is grown. The whole program is certified by Rainforest Alliance,” she said.

Illiková has been to Brazil to see the program first hand. “I saw the people, I saw how they speak about the experience with Nespresso,” she said. One thing she pointed out was that Nespresso urges the farmers to do basic accounting and budgeting. This can get the farmers' wives involved as often they prove to be very good at this. Illiková has also seen younger family members returning from the city to get involved in farming, as it can be profitable.

Nespresso Boutique Pařížská
Nespresso Boutique Centrum Černý Most
Nespresso Boutique Centrum Chodov

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