Published: 00:01, 14 April 2019
| Updated: 15:47, 15 April 2019
A former Sir William Nottidge pupil hopes to take the coffee world by storm with capsules made of a paper byproduct.
Stuart Wilson, 37, is founder of micro-roastery Lost Sheep Coffee, based on the Joseph Wilson Estate in Whitstable.
He has developed what he claims to be the first Nespresso-compatible airtight compostable capsule, made from lignin - a woody waste product from the paper industry which can rot to nothing in a matter of weeks.
He says he was inspired to revolutionise the coffee market after becoming a dad.
“When I started researching this some of the figures I read were just staggering,” he said.
“One said in excess of 500 million capsules every year go to landfill. It blows your mind.
"My little girl is 20-months-old, and her generation is going to inherit this whole environmental issue. I didn’t want to be part of the problem.
“We have coffee shops in Ashford and Canterbury and we sell our coffee through our online shop.
"We started getting lots of people asking for us to sell capsules to use in machines, but we didn’t want to because we’re not keen on single-use plastics or aluminium pods.”
After careful research Mr Wilson found a carbon-neutral firm that could make environmentally-friendly alternatives.
“It’s not the first-ever compostable capsule,” he said.
“But it’s the world’s first air-tight and fully compostable Nespresso-compatible capsule.
“With other compostable options, there’s a level of permeability - oxygen gets through, and makes the coffee go stale within a couple of months.
"We don’t want that, especially as we use speciality coffee, graded the top 5% in the world.
"But these are air-tight, so we can offer a shelf life of beyond 12 months.
"Once you've used the capsule, you throw it in your food waste bin and 12 weeks later it's gone" - Stuart Wilson
“Once you’ve used the capsule, you throw it in your food waste bin and 12 weeks later it’s gone.
"Since they went on pre-sale last month, the uptake has been immense. It’s been beyond what we could have hoped for.”
Mr Wilson said that while he did not create the coffee specifically for the Whitstable market, he hopes the product will be popular in his hometown.
“We want to make compostable capsules accessible to people across the country - but I think this will do very well in Whitstable, where many people are quite eco-conscious,” he said.
Mr Wilson is now in talks with supermarkets and some of the country’s top hotels. But he says he is not worried about other companies copying his idea.
"We want more people to do this. There’s no point in having the solution to a problem if you don’t share it,” he said.
"I hope everyone will follow.”
The pods cost £3.95 for a pack of 10 on the Lost Sheep Coffee’s website.
More by this authorLydia Chantler-Hicks