We are no doubt in the middle of an instant coffee renaissance. The once-maligned product created solely for times of necessity and convenience has seen an unprecedented interest by the specialty coffee community in bringing to the table quality where it hasn’t historically been. There are single-use pour-over kits, coffee bags a la tea satchels from Steeped and Counter Culture, K-Cup style pods from April and Volcano Coffee Works, and brands like Verve, Black & White, ReAnimator, and specialty instant godfathers Sudden have all created rather tasty expressions of coffee in dehydrated form.
But all these various modes encounter the same problem that afflicts single-serve products: waste. Individually wrapped items means more packaging. Even with recyclable and/or compostable packaging, which many of these brands have and are objectively good things, it still relies on the end user to properly dispose of them in order to keep them from the garbage bin. Enter STIRZ, the makers of single-use coffee pods contained within dissolvable packaging.
As reported by Food Navigator USA, each STIRZ instant coffee pod comes wrapped in a “water soluble edible film from food grade polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), a colorless, odorless, and tasteless substance that dissolves completely upon contact with water.” All you have to do is drop the pouch in a cup of hot water and voila! A cup of coffee with no additional waste. (It should be noted that a 12-pack of STIRZ pods come assembled in compostable, 100% biodegradable packaging made of bagasse, a byproduct of sugar cane processing so it does not entirely avoid the packaging waste problem).
“People are really looking for convenience and taste but they are also interested in sustainability,” STIRZ founder Carl Pion states. Currently offering medium and dark roast options, STIRZ is positioning their product for the outdoorsperson with product names like “Angler & Hunter” and “Outdoor Enthusiast” as well as carrying kits in bark and camouflage patterns. While currently only offering a coffee lineup, Food Navigator states that the company is exploring other dissolvable pod-based products like hot chocolate, tea, oatmeal, and pasta.
In its current form, coffee pods from STIRZ probably won’t find too great a footing amongst the “specialty coffee only” crowd, but the implementation of dissolvable packaging—which is already being used for things like protein powders—may be the next evolution of the sustainably-minded instant specialty crowd.
A 12-pack of STIRZ coffee pods retails for just under $24. For more information or to purchase some for yourself, visit their official website.