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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW : Nespresso and the growing coffee culture

Nespresso Limited Edition Cradle Coffees

While tea culture is very well established in China, Hong Kong, and Macau, coffee is still a growing trend differently from countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, and more recently Korea, where waking up with the smell of coffee is a daily routine.

Recently, Retail in Asia has joined a coffee tasting organized by Nespresso to present Nespresso Limited Edition Cradle featuring exquisite coffees from Ethiopia – the birthplace of Arabica coffee, and Uganda – one of the alleged origins of Robusta coffee.

SEE ALSO : Korea coffee market grows to 512 cups per person

Taking inspiration from captivating myths on where coffee originated, Nespresso took the participants through a sensorial journey into the origins of coffee.

Retail in Asia has met Mr. Roger Staeheli, Country Manager of Nespresso Hong Kong and Macau to ask him how his company is working in those countries to establish a coffee culture.

Nepresso_Roger Staeheli_1_Low res
Source : Nespresso

RiA : Nespresso has rapidly built a strong brand identity globally. What are the key elements that contributed to its success?

Roger : As a pioneer and reference for premium portioned coffee in the world, Nespresso operates successfully with the fundamental foundation known as the Nespresso Trilogy.

This comprises of the three core pillars of the brand that differentiates Nespresso and allows the company to take up a unique positioning in the market:

Quality Coffee and Unparalleled Expertise

Nespresso premium coffee blends are produced from an exclusive selection of the finest coffee grown in the world. From the bean to the cup, Nespresso has stringent controls at each stage of the coffee production chain – ensuring that each cup of coffee consistently meets our high standards.

Innovative and Stylish Coffee Machines

Nespresso offers innovative, stylish and easy to use machines that work in perfect harmony with the Nespresso capsule – and the perfect espresso is dependent upon this. Only when the machine uses the right pressure (19 bar pressure) with the correct brewing time and ideal water temperature will it unleash the full aromas. Nespresso machines are specifically developed to complement and enhance the aroma, crema and flavour of our coffees.

World-class Customer Services

To suit Hong Kong’s busy lifestyles, Nespresso Hong Kong offers a 24 hours service hotline, so that members can order their capsules at any time of the day. Capsules will also be delivered to the customer’s home or office within 24 hours of ordering bringing the ultimate convenience to Club Members. What’s more, the delivery staff will also collect used capsules for recycling (when delivering new ones) for extra convenience.

We have been very successful in Hong Kong appealing to local coffee drinkers and a growing number of coffee connoisseurs as we understand our customers.

Hong Kong consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their choices, regarding coffee in the same way that sommeliers view wine.

As a result they are demanding higher quality, premium coffee, which is where Nespresso’s gourmet coffee offering comes in. Whilst Hong Kong coffee lovers appreciate high-quality coffee, they are also seeking an ‘exclusive’, indulgent and personal experience. And Nespresso is not just a coffee.

It is a genuine experience, a ritual that combines perfection and pleasure, simplicity and aesthetics. We understand that consumers in Hong Kong also want to be continually surprised and delighted by new coffee offerings and experiences, and that is what Nespresso strives to offer.

RiA : Asia has a very strong tea culture. How do you work to educate customers about coffee culture?

Roger : Tea has long been a dominant drink in Hong Kong and many Asian countries. However, over the past decade, the coffee culture in Hong Kong and Asia has greatly blossomed, with local consumers becoming increasingly interested in discovering coffee’s distinct, flavourful and complex variations.

We see significantly more consumers showing a real interest in top quality, gourmet coffee. Today, Hong Kong coffee drinkers regard coffee as much of a lifestyle beverage as it is a functional one. It is an experience which coffee lovers seek and indulge in the ultimate coffee moment, which is what Nespresso is about.

More and more coffee drinkers in Hong Kong are keen to learn the origins and aromatic profiles of the coffee they are drinking. They appreciate our extensive range of 24 permanent coffee varieties that offer quality coffee from different origins, blends and of different intensities and flavour profiles to suit different tastes and preferences.

RiA : We recently joined the introduction of two limited edition collections. They give value to their countries of origins and upgrade the status of specific grains. Can you share the process behind their creations?

Roger : Every year, Nespresso launches new Limited Edition coffee collections to offer Club Members new and unique coffee experiences from around the world. This Spring, we take customers on a journey to discover the fascinating and fundamental stories of the birthplaces of coffee. Taking inspiration from captivating myths on where coffee originated, Nespresso Limited Edition Cradle features exquisite coffees from Ethiopia – the birthplace of Arabica coffee, and Uganda – one of the alleged origins of Robusta coffee.

The two new coffees truly demonstrate the sensorial profiles of their unique origins.
Arabica Ethiopia Harrar is 100% Arabica from Harrar, the region where coffee was first commercialised on a large scale and exported globally. Best served as a delicious espresso, it contains notes of ripe fruits, fresh flowers that boasts a remarkably velvety body. Robusta Uganda is 100% Robusta from Uganda. It has surprisingly intense yet sweet and rich cacao notes.

RiA : You have engaged a London-based illustrator to realize the packaging for these two collections, would you elaborate on this collaboration?

Roger : To bring the mythical coffee origin stories to life, Nespresso partnered with London based illustrator, Mariana Rodrigues, who designed the Limited Edition Cradle coffee capsule sleeves. Inspired by the captivating tales of the coffee cradle, Rodrigues depicted the vibrant cultures of Ethiopia and Uganda to pay homage to their beautiful backstories and ingrained heritage.

RiA : We have looked at the storytelling behind the Nespresso capsules that describe each aroma. Communication plays a key role in creating experience in an online environment, can you elaborate on how you communicate to your target market that has been embracing coffee culture quite recently?

Roger : At Nespresso, we believe the story behind each coffee is a significant part of savouring the taste. This is why we place focus on sharing our coffee stories from bean to cup with our Club Members.

It is important for them to understand that at Nespresso we offer the top coffee quality in the world, and that – like with our Limited Edition coffees – we are bringing new, unique and sometimes rare experiences for Club Members to enjoy wherever they are in the world.

A key focus for us that is always at the heart of our business is the consumer. We continuously strive to go above and beyond to delight our Club Members. Our unique and privileged relationships with our customers though the Nespresso Club allows us to anticipate their needs and tailor our offering and services based on the insight that they provide to us.

Our dynamic e-commerce channel and digital app enable Club Members to enjoy enhanced shopping experiences with utmost convenience and ease. Furthermore, our coffee specialists at the boutiques are key to developing and maintaining a close relationship with our Club Members.

Existing and potential Club Members can interact with our coffee specialists to find out more about our coffee and machine ranges through engaging conversations in person, as well as tastings and at the tasting areas in the Nespresso boutiques. Our knowledgeable coffee specialists can explain about the coffee origins, blends and flavour profiles of the coffee range, how to use the different machines and create coffee drink recipes at home, as well as how to recycle Nespresso capsules.

We will continue to focus on delivering unique coffee experiences to consumers by offering top quality coffees, innovative and stylish coffee machines and personalised, professional services. We believe this is what makes Nespresso unique and successful.

SEE ALSO : Cos opens HK coffee bar and pop-up

RiA : Any insights you could share about coffee culture in Asia, and if anything specific to countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia where they have their own coffee?

Roger : When it comes to coffee drinking, Hong Kong and China are white coffee markets. This is very different from southern European countries where the preference is for black coffee.

Specifically in Hong Kong, people prefer lattes, cappuccinos, and to add milk, cream, and soy milk to their coffee. And because of this preference, consumers usually select a more intense coffee to go with the milk recipes. Recognizing this, Nespresso has developed iced coffee and milk recipes as well as soy milk coffee recipes to cater to Hong Kong coffee enthusiasts.

We see significantly more consumers across Asia showing a real interest in top quality, gourmet coffee. They view coffee as a lifestyle in addition to a functional beverage, and they constantly seek new and unique coffee experiences to indulge in.

There are local coffee cultures in Asian regions such as Vietnam and Indonesia, where they have their own coffee farming, roasting and brewing methods and coffee drinking preferences. Nespresso also works with specific farms in Java, Indonesia, to source top quality coffee beans.

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