Santa Cruz, CA–based Steeped Inc. promises a cure for the guilt you may feel when using single-serve coffee pods for your morning brew. The company’s innovative Steeped Coffee brewing method is similar to making tea: The nitro-sealed Steeped Bags are made from renewable and compostable materials. The new method offers single-serve coffee without the use of plastic pods.
Steeped Coffee earned Best New Product award for its innovative packaging at the Specialty Coffee Expo.
Josh Wilbur, self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur and coffee lover, launched Steeped Coffee to combine the convenience of a single-serve brew method with the premium quality of ethically sourced coffee. He also wanted to redeem the environmental dilemma created by wasteful coffee pods, pointing out that more than 10 billion unrecyclable pods accumulate in landfills each year.
After seven years of experimenting, Wilbur developed a system that promises fresh roasted, pre-portioned, precision ground, micro-batch coffee in customized Full-Immersion Filters. “Premium coffee roasters have shied away from offering their specialty beans in single-serve packaging because it’s been nearly impossible to keep ground coffee fresh, which quickly ruins the taste,” said Wilbur. “With our nitro-sealed bags, oxygen is replaced with nitrogen, so the coffee stays fresh as if it was ground moments ago.”
The process involves simply steeping each bag in hot water for about five minutes to allow the coffee to develop its distinctive body and flavor. There is no machine, no noise, no cleanup and no destructive waste, said the company in its announcement.
When PlasticsToday inquired about the materials used to support the compostability claim, we received this reply from the company: “Steeped Coffee brews just like tea, but in order to brew fresh ground coffee in a bag, the material of the bag (filter) needs to be extremely specialized. This is one area where our ‘secret sauce’ and intellectual property exists. If you put coffee grinds into a standard tea bag, they’ll simply fall out when you add water. The Steeped Bag is also known as a Full Immersion Filter. It is specifically engineered from non-GMO materials to regulate ideal water-in and maximum flavor-out.”
The edges of the Steeped Bag are ultrasonically sealed so that no glue or staples are used.
“The Steeped S-110 packaging film (outer packaging) is another area of innovation and IP unique to Steeped,” said the company’s reply. “It’s a 280GA clear film that is home and industrial compostable. It’s made with a blend of renewable plant-based resources. Adhesives for the film layers are water-based and also compostable.”