It is impossible to fail to notice the rise of cafes in Kuwait. Often the same vendor can be seen on opposite sides of the same street, or in different sections of the same mall. Plus we’ve got independents popping up all over the place. Supply is desperately trying to feed demand. Coffee has become so popular that now we are expecting that same consistent service in our homes and offices where we don’t all have the luxury of space to have a gargantuan tank grinding, percolating and pouring our cup of joe.
Here’s where Swiss Nestlé Nespresso S.A. didn’t stay neutral and for over thirty years has been indelibly making its mark in the premium-portioned coffee market. bazaar chatted over a Lungo to Nespresso’s Regional Business Development Manager for Middle East and Africa Julien Mario on the continued expansion of Nespresso in Kuwait and the gloriously fitted new boutique now open in Al Kout Mall.
A truly global citizen, the English-speaking Frenchman at the helm of expanding the Swiss brand in Kuwait, Julien Mario, celebrated the launch of Indonesian, Indian, Colombian, Ethiopian and Nicaraguan coffees within Nespresso’s permanent range of now 25 different profiles and aromas. The grand opening also revealed a new, yet limited edition, Essenza Mini machine. That’s some global experience right there, all wrapped up neatly in the brand spanking new Al Kout Nespresso Boutique, as colorful as the enjoyment of coffee is proving to be multi-cultural.
Brought up with the Gallic experience of a large (almost bowl of) breakfast café-au-lait, a lunch espresso and then a de-caff night cap, Julien went on to live and work in Taiwan, with a very different coffee culture. He presently resides in Dubai. “Moving to Taiwan and the Middle East, the way people consume coffee is very different you know,” says Julien. “It’s very interesting to see the different ways the coffee is consumed.” But there was one thing that was the same everywhere he went. “It’s a kind of ritual of sharing, generosity and hospitality, no matter where you are, that was something that was very clear to me.”
Certainly, when there is a whole gathering of people to share coffee with, they can have all manner of offerings with Nespresso. This recreates that café feel but at the touch of a button, taking only seconds to reproduce a barista order that would ordinarily take minutes to prepare for each coffee. That’s a long time when there’s a lot of you to make coffee for. “Nespresso has a very important role to play, which is to make it easy for everybody to practice their café coffee rituals at home,” Julien highlights.
The increased global desire for people to know what’s going into their bodies is something that Julien mentions in our conversation. “There is a need for people to understand exactly what they are consuming, not just for coffee but for everything. Nespresso is very good at this because we deal directly with our farmers so we know exactly what we are doing.”
In 2003 Nespresso established the AAA Sustainable Quality Program in partnership with the NGO Rainforest Alliance. Nespresso consider themselves to be the original pioneers of sourcing coffee from an ethical point of view to deliver sustainable agriculture and business practices through “ecolaboration”. The AAA Sustainable Quality Program invests in local coffee farming communities to deliver personalized assistance to improve environmental conditions on farms and surrounding landscapes.
This, in turn, increases both the quality and quantity of coffee harvests. Furthermore, the AAA Program implements fair and decent working conditions, and pays farmers premium prices for their coffee beans. There are now more than 75,000 farmers from 12 countries around the world in the AAA Program producing 90% of Nespresso’s range of coffees in a manner that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Nespresso aims to source 100% of their permanent range of coffee by 2020.
There is of course the question of the impact on the environment of having such a popular pod-life brand. How does Julien align business development and environmental concerns? “The impact of the pod is a very big concern for us,” he admits. “What we want to do is for the program to be relevant locally, so we want the right local partner to help with this initiative that can benefit the local community as well. I can tell you that this is our top priority, to recycle 100% of our capsules in the market.”
Ford famously said of his cars, “you can have it in any color as long as it’s black” yet at Nespresso, the absolute opposite is true when it comes to providing choice to the customer. Nespresso boasts 25 different coffee profiles, aromas and intensities, with an everincreasing capsules range. The Master Origin coffee range may seem like a step toward no frills coffee; five classic tastes from India, Indonesia, Colombia, Nicaragua and Ethiopia. Is Nespresso going back to basics?
“I don’t think so,” Julien replies. “Everything we are doing is about coffee, and relentlessly pushing the limits. We have experts sourcing coffee with farmers, and these experts decide the best way to process the coffee. When you look at “Master Origin” it’s a result of very traditional harvesting and modern processing techniques. We have so many different ways of harvesting and techniques that give you different aromas and tastes that it’s always exciting to find novelties and I think the Kuwait customer likes this too.”
There will always be something new with Nespresso it seems; if it is not coffee it will be a machine or accessories.
The latest machine to hit the market is the Nespresso Limited Edition Essenza Mini. A super compact and lightweight coffee maker that can “fit in the tightest of corners” they claim. It is certainly tiny to look at but elegant with its new matte-black finish. Even with its small frame, the Essenza Mini has two programmable coffee selections with automatic flowstop for Espresso and Lungo preparations. An easily removable water tank makes it simple to refill, and the eco-mode switches to low energy usage mode after three minutes of inactivity, or off completely after nine.
The new Al Kout Boutique has a left-hand-side wall full of the most beautiful machines and the “Tasting Area” is positioned directly in front of you as you walk in. The Coffee Specialists can quickly whip up any number of unique Nespresso recipes for you, as well as present for your deliberation any of the twenty-five coffee profiles you request to taste test. To discover the new Master Origin range, a set of duo, trio and five sleeves packs are available at all Nespresso Boutiques in Kuwait and also online.
The floor to ceiling glass façade of the Boutique showcases the resplendent coffee wall which stretches the entire length of the right wall. The attention to detail here is incredible, as each type of coffee has row upon row of sleeves stacked neatly one on top of the other, and all facing the same direction. It is so perfectly precise that it feels like the physical representation of a metaphor for the consistently, high quality coffee that you can trust Nespresso to deliver every time. But don’t just take bazaar’s word for it.
At least 700 leading fine dining restaurants around the world have chosen the Nespresso premium solution for their business. Indeed, hilinecoffee.com reports that, “30% of Michelin-starred restaurants choose Nespresso machines.” If it’s good enough for them…