Two Exeter coffeemakers have announced three world firsts. They have just launched the first Nespresso Eco Pod Coffee Advent calendar.
The £32.99 calendar contains best-selling all-organic, ethically sourced pod coffees as well as the world’s first Sail Ship coffee in a pod and the world’s first bird-friendly coffee pod for Nespresso machines. Some contain golden eggs with prizes like free coffee subscriptions and coffee-making machines.
Lex Thornely who founded Blue Goose Coffee with Nick Ratsey, says:
“We set out to help pod machine owners to make an easy swap away from plastic and aluminium pods without sacrificing taste. From the premium we pay our growers to the way our coffees are grown and the charities we support, we are putting purpose not profits at the centre of our coffee business. We’re actively embracing green technology.”
The Devon company is named after one the world’s rarest breeds of bird, the Absinnian Blue-Winged Goose. It supports Project Waterfall’s work to bring clean drinking water, sanitation and education to coffee growing communities.
Londoner Ratsey was educated at Gordonstoun School in Scotland before attending the University of York where he studied Computer Science and Business Management. He began his marketing career at the height of the dot com boom for what is now Google-owned DoubleClick, building their fledgling online advertising business in Europe before then moving to Australia to work for Vodafone in their mobile marketing group. He comments:
“Returning to the UK in 2011, I started The Orange Cow and began consulting, working with businesses to help develop and deliver their digital marketing strategies. The consultancy grew to four partners in the initial years which is how Lex and I met.”
“We focussed on coffee, being something both of us loved, and our initial foray into the coffee market was driven through a partnership with Café Saula – a Barcelona based, family roastery – that at the time was a premium coffee brand selling well in Spain but was not yet available in the UK. We secured an exclusive distribution contract with them for the UK and that was the beginning of our journey.”
From there, as we began to navigate the world of coffee it wasn’t long before we became exposed to the huge problem of single-use capsule waste and we were immediately drawn to the idea of a range of pod coffees that both delivered as a premium coffee drink, but yet did not have the lasting effects on the world that aluminium and plastic pods both have. And so was born Blue Goose Coffee.”
Thornely was born and grew up in Hong Kong before moving back to the UK at the age of 10. He attended the University of the West of England. He worked as a journalist on mountain bike magazines, reporting on the Tour de France through to cycling World Championships.
“I then moved into tourism with Surrey based Discover the World, managing PR and journalist trips to various destinations, from Greenland and Antarctica to the Bahamas and Alaska. Marrying my fiancée, we moved back to Exeter in Devon where she grew up. I found work with a food, drink and tourism marketing agency. I’m super proud to have created Blue Goose Eco Coffee with Nick Ratsey, offering a range of plastic-free, compostable coffee capsules for Nespresso machines and our range of speciality coffees in compostable pouches. Basically, every coffee we sell is in plastic-free packaging.
Plastic and aluminium pods really are poisoning our planet – from extracting the resources required to make them, to the billions that are thrown away to be burnt or buried in landfill. They truly are a dormant eco disaster that we’re doing our best to highlight among Governments, businesses and press alike through proactive communication and dialogue. We are the only coffee company using plastic-free glue to stick the cartons that contain our pods.”
The first entirely aluminium and plastic-free coffee pod Advent calendar of its kind is crafted from sustainable sourced board and printed using vegetable inks, making it 100% kerbside recyclable and home compostable.
All coffees are organic certified, maximising biodiversity and minimising fertiliser-associated emissions in the field. Organic, shade grown coffee reduces CO2 emissions by 15kg CO2e p/KG of coffee grown versus non-organic grown coffee.
The calendars are packed by the Devon Disability Collective, a Social Enterprise that provides quality employment and training for people with disabilities and those furthest from the labour market.
The world’s first sail ship coffee pod is filled with organic, Fairtrade coffee grown by four indigenous communities in Columbia’s Sierra Nevada region. This coffee was transported to Europe on a 1920s sail ship, saving 3483kg of CO2 versus a container ship (the equivalent emissions of an 18,000km car journey).
“Our Columbian Clave De Sol coffee is helping preserve critical habitat for birds and wildlife, fight climate change, protect biodiversity and support farmers committed to conservation and sustainable farming too. Our Ethiopian Forest Coffees nurtured under the canopy of huge ancient trees in the wild forests of Ethiopia’s Oromia region by a 3rd generation farming family on wild coffee plants sourced from the Choché forest, which is considered the birthplace of coffee.
“Our Aymaran coffee represents a direct fight against consultants advising the Yungas people of Bolivia to strip their coffee plantations of any biodiversity and use man-made crop chemicals. We launched the UK’s first Swiss Water® Decaf pod in 2017 and it’s been a top seller ever since. Grown organically in Peru, it is naturally decaffeinated without the paint-stripper solvents commonly used in over 50% of the world’s decafs.”
Kevin Pilley is a former professional cricketer and chief staff writer of PUNCH magazine. His humour, travel, food and drink work appears worldwide and he has been published in over 800 titles.
Photographs courtesy of Blue Goose Coffee