Even though Keurig’s K-Cup single-serve coffee brewing system has been around for 20 years,it wasn’t until Paradise Coffee started marketing the products that they took off on Grand Cayman.
Drip coffee makers at work can be problematic. They can be messy, they require filters and they need regular cleaning.
There’s often a fair amount of wastage because usually an entire pot is made, even if there isn’t a desire for it.
If the coffee brewed isn’t immediately consumed and the machine stays on for a few hours with beverage still in the carafe, it can start to smell unpleasant, even to those who like the aroma of coffee.
Then there’s the variety issue. Everyone, it seems, has a favourite type or flavour of coffee, and some people prefer the decaffeinated version to the regular kind. With drip coffee makers, choosing a different kind of coffee requires making a separate pot, and in any cases, few offices have more than two or three different varieties on hand.
The K-Cup system eliminates all of those issues. Brewed by a special Keurig machine, the foil seal on top of the filter-lined plastic K-Cup is pierced by a spray nozzle while at the same time the bottom is pierced by a discharge nozzle. After brewing a single cup of coffee, the K-Cup is thrown away – no mess, no old coffee smell, no wastage.
Massachusetts-based Keurig was founded in 1992, so the K-Cup revolution didn’t happen over night. In fact, here in the Cayman Islands, it took the better part of two decades.
However, thanks to Paradise Coffee, a local company that sells the products, K-Cups are in homes and businesses all over Grand Cayman.
Gary Sheppard says the product has become
popular for businesses here over the past couple of years, particularly after the company set up a booth at the last two Chamber of Commerce Business Expos.
“We have somewhere in the region of a couple hundred [business clients] ranging from small to medium to large companies,” he said.
There’s also many Keurig machines in homes, which has led to all of Cayman’s major supermarkets carrying the K-Cups.
But the system isn’t just popular here.
“It’s the number one single brew system in North America,” Sheppard said.
The key to the K-Cup system is that it is neat and easy. The coffee inside is freshly ground and then covered with a foil seal.
“They put a shot of nitrogen in to keep it fresh,” Sheppard said. “That’s what gives it its long shelf life.”
The other key aspect of the K-Cup system is variety. With some 300 different flavours and brands available – and about 70 of them sold by Paradise Coffee – users can choose coffees to satisfy their own tastes. There’s light, medium and strong coffees; traditional as well as flavoured coffees like French Vanilla, Kahlua and Hazelnut; regular and decaf; plus a variety of blends and limited edition coffees.
Users can also control the strength of their coffee by choosing the pour size, with the large servings containing more water and therefore being less strong.
“You don’t get that variety when you’re brewing a pot of coffee,” said Sheppard.
In addition, a variety of teas ranging from herbal to English Breakfast are available in K-Cups, plus hot chocolate,
Paradise Coffee’s Kevin Hunter said the K-Cup system actually improves office productivity. Since a K-Cup serving only takes about 30 seconds to brew if the machine has already been preheated, and only about two minutes if the machine is not heated, businesses don’t have people standing around a brewing pot of coffee for five or 10 minutes.
In addition, employees don’t have to go out of the office to get a cup of coffee.
Sheppard pointed out that while the K-Cup is more expensive than drinking drip-brewed coffee, it is considerably less expensive than going out to buy a cup of coffee
Free trial machines
Paradise Coffee also sells seven different Keurig machines, including three home models and four commercial models, some of which can be plumbed directly to a water source.
Sheppard said that sometimes people are sceptical about coffee coming from the K-Cups.
“But once they try the product and like it, they stick with it.”
To encourage people to try the K-Cup system, Paradise Coffee offers businesses a three-day free trial with no obligations.
“We bring along a brewer and some free product,” said Sheppard.
Hunter said the conversion rate from the free trials is high.
“Mostly everyone who tried it, kept it,” he said. “Some who turned us down ended up coming back to us later.”
The K-Cups are available at all the major grocery stores on Grand Cayman, but also through Paradise Coffee. With a small minimum order, they offer free, next-day delivery to commercial clients. Their Eastern Avenue store in the dms Centre is also open for purchases on a limited basis.
“We’re not a full-time retail store; we primarily do deliveries to supermarkets and businesses,” Sheppard said. “But if we’re here, the ‘open’ sign will be up and we so advertise that we’re open on Saturdays from 10am until 3pm.”
Used K-Cups can be recycled. They are extra handy for getting ready for gardening. Simply peal the foil off the cover, fill the cup with potting soil and bury the seeds of your favourite vegetable. Once the seedling are big enough, remove them from the K-Cup and plant in your garden or large container.