Made in Thailand
28 September 2017
In Thailand, the price of coffee machine capsules is a turn-off for many. This observation, and others, led to the idea of creating CafeCaps, capsules of black gold compatible with all the main coffee machines on the market.
For 4 years, CafeCaps has been offering coffee-lovers their own brand of capsules, in Lavazza or Nespresso-compatible formats, made with coffee from northern Thailand roasted freshly and locally. At the helm of the family company is Guillaume de Vaulchier. After working 25 years for Nestlé and after extensive experience abroad, he chose to leave the company and stay in Thailand, starting out as an entrepreneur. “I realized that every time I went back to France, I’d come back with my Nespresso capsules, and I knew lots of people who did the same thing. The idea then came to me to make capsules in Thailand where there are very good local varieties of coffee, and where compatible capsules started appearing on the market,” he says. Ranking third in Southeast Asia after Vietnam and Indonesia, Thailand, where imported coffee can be taxed up to 90 %, does indeed produce its own robusta and arabica, mainly meant for local consumption.
To launch his business, Guillaume went through all the different stages, from the coffee bean to the capsule, including the manufacturing process of the machine. He went to China, Europe and Thailand to look for his suppliers and for the best products, analyzing the differences in taste between the Thai and Western palates. “The coffee in Thailand is good, but it’s made for the Thai palate, meaning that it is usually mixed with syrup, sugar and milk. The purpose of this coffee is to be strong so that you can taste it after adding all the rest of the ingredients. In general, it’s the robusta variety. However, Europeans generally drink black coffee, so we usually chose arabica,” he adds. In order to have perfect control over the quality, everything is now done in Bangkok, from roasting to encapsulation and packaging.
At the very beginning, CafeCaps was only available for its own machines in the Lavazza format, but it quickly became adapted to Nespresso-type machines. “We use the same varieties for the Nespresso capsules,” says Guillaume. The company currently offers 6 varieties of coffee plus one decaf option. Starting in September, it will be adding 2 additional flavors: a “ristretto” coffee for those who love strong coffee, especially Thai people, as well as one limited edition. CafeCaps also plans on regularly releasing exclusive flavors, so starting in September, consumers will be able to discover a type of coffee from Bali.
Today, the family company produces 50,000 capsules and roasts 400 kilos of coffee a month. It is preparing to quadruple its production capacity of Nespresso capsules and “the big plan for late in the year is to launch our third capsule format, Dolce Gusto, a brand that has been present in Thailand for many years. Thai people in particular buy this brand, and we have to show that we are here with compatible capsules and different tastes. The machine base is already there, which is an advantage,” says Guillaume, who is already thinking about his next steps, the next investments and other markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as eventually offering more eco-friendly capsules that would be biodegradable, or better yet, compostable.