Retail in Asia


“Standards are meant to be broken” EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Nespresso

With Vertuo, Nespresso is introducing an all-new brewing system with innovative technologies that offer a variety of coffee styles and cup sizes to satisfy the tastes of a wide range of coffee lovers. Taking advantage of the success of the Vertuo series in North America, Europe, and Asia, Nespresso is delighted to unveil 33 new coffees in Hong Kong along with the Vertuo Next machine.

SEE ALSO: Tim’s China opens 500th coffee shop

As part of Vertuo’s introduction to Hong Kong, Nespresso is meeting the needs of consumers across the city in a more personalised approach. The brand’s extensive collection of coffee is presented to customers by way of Your Vertuo Coffee Persona – a Vertuo Personality Quiz that guides coffee lovers to their perfect Vertuo blend based on their lifestyle and personal coffee preferences.

Retail in Asia had the pleasure of catching up with Mr. Justin Lam, Business Executive Officer, Hong Kong and Macau at Nespresso, together we discussed the standards Nespresso are trying to “break”, Hong Kong local coffee preferences as opposed to that of other markets and the brand’s new RE:FARM concept at K11 Musea.

RiA: The tagline for the new Vertuo System is “Standards are meant to be broken”, what kind of new standard is Nespresso setting with it? How does the Vertuo System work? 

Lam: With Vertuo, Nespresso aims to redefine the home coffee experience with all at the touch of a button. The Vertuo System elevates coffee moments through groundbreaking innovative technologies which allows it to make a wide variety of coffees in five cup sizes (from Espresso to Carafe size) for the coffee lover who enjoys a wide variety of coffee styles.

Nespresso’s new Centrifusion™ technology introduces a dynamic extraction process that combines centrifugal force and water infusion. By spinning the capsule at speeds of up to 4,000 rotations per minute and optimizing the temperature and flow of water, Vertuo meticulously extracts the flavor and aromas of each specific coffee blend to craft the perfect cup every time. Vertuo is also an intelligent system; the machine’s barcode reading technology works in tandem with Centrifusion™ to automatically scan the barcode marked on each coffee capsule to determine the exact parameters needed to brew the perfect cup.

Together, these two technologies work in sync to deliver a one-touch brewing system that creates a simple, effortless coffee-making experience, regardless of coffee type or cup size.

RiA: How does the Hong Kong coffee preference differ from other markets? And how is Vertuo Next responding to that?

Lam: Hong Kong has a vibrant coffee culture and we have seen increasing interest from local consumers for new coffee experiences. With the fast pace of Hong Kong, consumers require both quality and convenience. With Vertuo, we are expanding the premium, at-home coffee options for Hong Kong coffee lovers who enjoy the high-quality coffee taste Nespresso is known for.

Source: Nespresso

With the increase of at-home coffee consumption over the past few years, consumers’ interest in coffee has grown. They want to expand their coffee knowledge and enjoy a variety of coffee styles at home. We believe that Vertuo, with its brewing technology and range of coffees, offers a unique proposition to these consumers.

RiA: The online Vertuo Personality Quiz that guides coffee lovers to their unique Vertuo Next blend is a pretty interesting and innovative concept. Can you share more about how the questions reflect a person’s taste in coffee? 

Lam: We have 33 flavors in Vertuo’s permanent range and have different limited editions available depending on the time of year. In-store, our coffee specialists can lead a tasting so an individual can hone in their preferred flavours, at home, however, the wealth of choice can be overwhelming. We created the Vertuo Personality Quiz to help hone in the flavours and styles most suited to each individual. After answering questions about palate (i.e. do you skew towards salty or sweet?) and lifestyle (i.e. do you prefer a quick and easy espresso or do you prefer to savour a latte?). The quiz suggests the Vertuo capsules that would match your coffee style and cup size preferences.

RiA: Are you seeing the pandemic as a challenge or an opportunity to the business? 

Lam: The pandemic resulted in more people working at home and entertaining at home as well, with that came individuals who were looking for solutions to create a higher-quality coffee experience at home. With the launch of Vertuo, we cater to the consumer who is seeking a premium high quality home coffee experience and enjoys variety in their coffee routine. For instance, the Vertuo carafe size (535ml) is the perfect answer to someone who wants to extend their coffee moment at home, be it for a long work call or to share with visiting friends.

Source: Nespresso

Although the world is opening up and social activities are resuming, people have become accustomed to their home coffee rituals and we believe this is where Vertuo can come in – to elevate and evolve these rituals.

RiA: Did you see any changes in the trend of home coffee during the pandemic? How did the business transform to provide advanced home coffee experiences to the consumers?

Lam: During the pandemic, we saw that consumers wanted newness and excitement in their home coffee experiences. We have seen an increase in consumers exploring different types of coffees, such as single-origin coffees like our Master Origin range, or by experimenting with new ways of preparing coffee such as using flavoured coffee or plant-based milk for their regular recipes.

In response to this, we provide seasonal recipes and food pairing suggestions so consumers can enjoy Nespresso coffees in different ways.

RiA: Nespresso has a few physical stores and pop up venues in Hong Kong. Can you tell us how important this consumer experience is to the business?

Lam: At Nespresso, we want to provide our consumers with the best experience wherever they would like to engage with us, be it online or offline. Our stores and various in-person activations provide us with an opportunity to showcase our machines and our range of coffees, and most importantly, they allow us to provide our guests with a guided tasting experience led by our trained coffee specialists. By honing in on each individual’s palate and preferred styles of coffees, we can ensure that everyone can have their most ideal home brewing experience.

Another essential part of our in-store experience is our recycling program. All our capsules are recyclable, simply bring them into any of our store locations and let Nespresso do the rest. We will process them and use the recycled aluminium to create new capsules as well as second life products. At Nespresso, we seek ways to make a difference anywhere we can and our recycling program is one way we encourage sustainable consumption.

Source: Nespresso

As a newly certified BCorp, Nespresso’s sustainability journey continues to evolve in new and innovative ways. With this in mind, we recently launched RE:FARM, a 9-month experiential showcase that highlights the full circular journey of coffee, in partnership with K11 MUSEA and Common Farms, a local Hong Kong indoor agri-tech farm.

At RE:FARM, consumers can see the entire journey a recycled capsule takes, from separation into coffee and aluminium, to composting, to an indoor farm growing produce with a nutrient-rich compost that contains Nespresso coffee grounds. Consumers can then enjoy produce grown on site at selected K11 MUSEA and Rosewood Hotel partner restaurants. The entire process takes place under one roof!

At Nespresso, we are always looking to adapt and innovate in order to use coffee as a Force for Good, so you can also expect to see Nespresso continually evolving when it comes to sustainability initiatives.

RE:FARM will have residency at K11 MUSEA until June 2023.

RiA: After the newly launched brewing system, are there any upcoming plans for the brand in the near future?

Lam: For our festive collection – Nespresso is collaborating with world-renowned pastry chef and chocolatier Pierre Hermé to launch a capsule collection. The collaboration consists of 3 limited edition coffees crafted by Pierre Hermé which will sure to be a treat to delight all palates. Every year, the Nespresso advent calendar is a hit among consumers for gifting, this year features the three co-created Nespresso x Pierre Hermé coffees, as well as favorites from the permanent range. Of course, the advent calendar also includes a surprise gift for the last day.

SEE ALSO: Nespresso achieves B Corp certification

Be sure to check out the Nespresso x Pierre Herme collection in our stores and website starting October 24th.