Life is too short for bad coffee.
The sign outside Café Medina hangs like a beacon for the java fiend, a message that the beans inside are worth waiting in the line that forms outside the restaurant each morning.
On this particular day, those beans come from single-serve cups by Vancouver company OneCoffee—and indeed, they are good. The fair-trade, organic roasts are sourced ethically from countries including Peru, Ethiopia, and Colombia, and they come in pods that are 100 per cent commercially compostable.
Since the meteoric rise of the single-serve coffee pod for machines by Nespresso and Keurig, the environmental community has struggled with the negative effects of these throwaway cups. OneCoffee, from the team at Canterbury Coffee, says that its new pods—which launched in 2018—are fully certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute. The lid is made of plant-based plastic and printed with compostable ink, and the bottom is comprised of mesh that also breaks down in a commercial facility. Impressive, yes, although a major hurdle still exists: Canada’s green-bin composting standards do not yet accept the pods. As such, OneCoffee staff are reaching out to government officials at every level to advocate for an enhanced compost strategy.
Compatible with any Keurig machine, OneCoffee’s pods are sold in Vancouver at the likes of Choices, Nester’s, and Whole Foods. Between bites of brunch at Medina, OneCoffee vice-president of manufacturing and quality control John Gray called the beans “magic” and reminisced about travelling to remote parts of the world to meet with farmers and find the best products.
From the fruity flavours of the Ethiopian Blend to the bold darkness of the Sumatran Blend, OneCoffee’s offerings taste like they were freshly ground. According to a 2017 report by the Coffee Association of Canada, 36 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 79 own a single-cup machine. Coffee made easy should still be delicious, and now it can be sustainable, too.