Caffemotive’s Tablì system: The capsule without a capsule

The Tablì system, by Caffemotive, was unveiled at last year’s TriestEspresso exhibition in Italy. As a pre-packed, portioned serving of coffee, the Tablì system joins a long line of single-serve releases in what it’s offering. But what is particularly revolutionary about this system is the same characteristic that makes it look like a used puck of coffee. At a time when households, businesses and municipalities are seeing the waste pile up from used single-serve packaging, or spending ample fuel trucking around recyclable capsules, the Tablì system offers the convenience of single-serve – with no individual packaging requirements. In simplest terms, the Tablì is pre-ground, packed, and portioned coffee in ‘puck’ form. It sticks together without the need for any individual, external packaging requirements. Still in its development phase, the Tablì is currently sized for use in stove-top coffee makers. The main ‘revolution’, however, will come around with the developers’ plans to release the Tablì for commercial espresso machines, and eventually for use with a compatible single serve system. Fabrizio Polojaz, a co-founder of Caffemotive, explains that they first came across the tablets a few years ago by the original inventor, a company called Kompresso. While Kompresso had this idea for a compact tablet, they had no machines or direction for where the product would lead. “Together, we started to experiment with this idea, playing around with the advantages and disadvantages,” Polojaz says. “The main advantage that kept coming up was the environment. As we saw that the Tablì could work, we realised here we could create a coffee without sin, so to speak, in combining the convenience of single-serve without the guilt of all that waste.” Following some trials of the Tablì among family and friends, the group underwent laboratory tests to show that the Tablì could maintain its freshness for at least a few months. The next step was to test the general market, and the group chose TriestEspresso as its waters. “Our aim was to better understand if the market would accept this product with enthusiasm,” Polojaz says. “And the answer to that was an absolute ‘Yes’.” Following this positive market reaction, the company is now entering the next phase in producing the Tablì on a commercial scale. At present, they’re able to produce just 15 to 20 units a minute, not enough for any level of industrial production. Once the Tablì can be produced at 50 to 60 units a minute, then Polojaz says they’ll be ready for commercial release. A major advancement, however, will be the move towards using the Tablì in espresso machines and with a compatible domestic and office single-serve system. With a large amount of restaurants and other venues offering espresso coffee, Polojaz points out that many of these venues aren’t serving high volumes. These venues have turned to coffee capsules to ensure the freshness of their coffee, as single-serve systems offer a longer shelf-life than whole beans. Furthermore, low-volume venues are unable to employ trained baristas, so capsules have allowed these venues to serve well-prepared espresso from any staff member. In fitting the Tablì system to espresso machines with an adaptable group head, these venues will be able to serve quality espresso, produced on their flash equipment, with the same convenience of a capsule – without the waste. Even for high volume venues with well-trained staff, however, Polojaz says the Tablì could prove useful in enabling them to serve a wide variety of coffee without the restrictions of equipment. “This is not only a revolution for the environment, but a revolution in the way coffee can be presented,” he says. “Think about a venue with one machine, and one grinder, or even one machine and two grinders. They will always be restricted to serving one coffee per grinder. With the Tablì system, there are no equipment restrictions.” The commercial potential for the Tablì system in the at-home single-serve space has not escaped Caffemotive. Polojaz says consumers may be able to look as early as next year for a system that offers all the convenience of a capsule system, without the “sin”. All good reasons not to dismiss this coffee puck too quickly. GCR

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