In episode 188 of the Disruptors for GOOD podcast, we speak with Mel Elias, co-founder of Bruvi, on disrupting and innovating the in-home, single-serve coffee experience with a more tastier and sustainable alternative.
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Mel Elias is an accomplished investor and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. With a strong background in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, he has served as the President & CEO of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, leading the brand to significant growth and international success.
Mel’s expertise extends to various consumer-facing businesses, both in the United States and internationally, where he has served on boards and provided guidance as an advisor.
Currently, Mel is deeply involved in the start-up venture BRUVI, which he co-founded. BRUVI recently launched an innovative coffee capsule system in the United States in early 2021.
With a focus on consumer technology and a razor-blade business model, BRUVI aims to offer noticeably tastier coffee through an eco-conscious capsule system.
With a market potential exceeding 62 million households, BRUVI aims to revolutionize the coffee experience.
Mel’s journey in the specialty coffee industry began in 1998, and he assumed the role of President and CEO of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in 2008.
Under his leadership, the brand expanded to over 1,000 stores worldwide, generating over $500 million in systemwide sales and employing more than 12,000 individuals.
Mel remained on the Board of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and continued to provide advisory services until its recent sale in September 2019.
Before venturing into the coffee retail sector, Mel Elias served as the Managing Director of the Tower Records Franchise in Malaysia.
He also practiced law in Singapore for two years following his graduation from the London School of Economics. Additionally, Mel has a background in the Singapore Military, where he served for 2.5 years.
Bruvi, the innovative single-serve coffee brewer, presents a remarkable solution for those seeking a tastier and more convenient coffee experience. Bruvi firmly believes in the possibility of combining supreme quality with enhanced convenience in the realm of single-serve coffee.
With a vision to reimagine the entire coffee brewing experience, Bruvi has revolutionized brewing and pod technology, curated a selection of high-quality coffees, and introduced the first Guilt Free Toss™ capsule.
By engaging all the senses, Bruvi aims to completely transform the way people enjoy coffee in the comfort of their homes.
At the heart of Bruvi’s mission lies a commitment to transforming the coffee brewing experience into something extraordinary.
Addressing the Plastic End of Life Challenge:
Plastic has become an integral part of our lives, particularly in the form of food packaging. Its convenience, affordability, and ability to preserve freshness have made it a popular choice.
However, the issue lies not in plastic itself but in the problem of plastic waste. While consumers have embraced the concept of recycling, the reality is far from simple.
Shockingly, only around 9% of all plastic is effectively recycled, and the disposal of certain items, like small coffee capsules, poses even greater challenges.
The unfortunate truth is that untreated plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.
Although compostable bioplastic pods may seem like a viable alternative, the lack of proper industrial composting infrastructure often leads to these pods ending up in landfills, yielding similar consequences.
Recognizing the urgent need for a more practical solution, Bruvi has made a significant investment of time and resources into tackling this complex issue.
The company’s sleek and compact Bruvi® Brewing System combines cutting-edge technology with convenience, offering coffee enthusiasts an unparalleled experience in the comfort of their own homes.
Superior Brewing Technology
Bruvi’s coffee pods, known as Bruvi® B-Pods, are crafted with meticulous attention to detail. They use precision-controlled flow rates, optimal water temperature, and specific brewing times to ensure a consistent and exceptional cup of coffee every time.
This innovative technology guarantees a rich, flavorful, and aromatic coffee experience that surpasses traditional single-serve alternatives.
Wide Variety of Coffee Selections
Bruvi caters to diverse tastes with its extensive range of coffee options. Whether you prefer a bold espresso, a smooth medium roast, or a delicate single-origin blend, Bruvi has you covered.
They partner with renowned coffee roasters from around the world to source high-quality beans, ensuring an impressive assortment of flavors and profiles for their customers to choose from.
Customizable Strength and Size
One of the standout features of the Bruvi® Brewing System is its ability to customize the strength and size of each cup.
With a simple touch on the intuitive control panel, users can adjust the coffee’s strength according to their preference, whether it’s a robust and full-bodied brew or a milder cup for a more delicate palate.
Additionally, the machine offers multiple serving size options, from a small espresso shot to a large travel mug, catering to various caffeine needs throughout the day.
Guilt Free Toss®
Say goodbye to guilt and complicated recycling processes with Guilt Free Toss® and its revolutionary B-Pods. It’s true – B-Pods can be simply thrown in the trash after use.* No more peeling off lids, separating coffee grounds, or washing cups.
These pods are specifically designed for landfill disposal, making the process hassle-free. What sets B-Pods apart is their unique composition, allowing them to break down rapidly and significantly, without leaving behind harmful microplastics.
In certain landfills, B-Pods can even contribute to Landfill Gas to Energy projects, generating renewable energy and adding value to their end-of-life cycle.*
While the breakthrough B-Pods may not be the ultimate solution for waste management or climate preservation, they provide a practical alternative within the constraints of the existing recycling and waste disposal infrastructure.
*Please check local waste disposal regulations for proper disposal guidelines.
From Trash to Potential Energy: Redefining Waste Management
Unlike traditional single-serve pods made of untreated plastic or even compostable alternatives that take centuries to decompose in landfills, Bruvi B-Pods break down significantly over just a few years. Through an organic process, these innovative pods leave no harmful microplastics behind.
Today, every one of the 1,280 municipal landfills across the United States, where our household waste is deposited, operates within highly regulated environments.
Moreover, an impressive 493 landfills have implemented Landfill to Gas Energy (LFGTE) projects, repurposing collected methane into clean and renewable energy.
To put it simply, the existing capacity for electricity generation from these projects can power over one million homes for an entire year.
Even more promising, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified an additional 474 candidates for these initiatives.
In applicable landfills with active LFGTE projects, B-Pods can play a part in this renewable energy creation, fueling cities and driving turbines.
Bruvi is proud to contribute to these efforts, one pod at a time, as we strive to bring enhanced end-of-life value to our pod packaging. And there’s nothing trashy about that.
Experience waste management that leads to a brighter future with Bruvi B-Pods – transforming trash into potential energy.
Bruvi’s Impact Commitment
Bruvi recognizes the importance of sustainable practices in today’s world. To minimize their environmental impact, the company has implemented several initiatives:
- Supporting Sustainable Coffee Sourcing: We prioritize sourcing coffee beans from sustainable farms and cooperatives that adhere to responsible farming practices. By partnering with these producers, we ensure that every sip of our coffee contributes to a more sustainable future for the coffee industry and the communities involved.
- Long-Term Relationships with Producers: We believe in building strong, long-term relationships with our coffee producers. By fostering direct connections and providing fair compensation, we create a sustainable ecosystem that benefits both the farmers and our customers. These relationships enable us to maintain consistent quality while promoting social and economic well-being at the source.
- Impact Fund for Local Producer Projects: We go beyond traditional support by establishing an Impact Fund. Through this fund, we direct capital to local producer projects, allocating up to 10 cents per pound of coffee sold. By investing in initiatives that enhance sustainability, education, and community development, we empower producers to thrive and create a positive ripple effect in their regions.
- Fewer Resources Used Compared to Batch Brewing: Bruvi® single-serve brewing utilizes fewer resources than traditional batch brewing methods. This means we can achieve a satisfying coffee experience while minimizing our environmental footprint.
- Reducing Coffee Waste: With Bruvi®, coffee waste is significantly reduced. Unlike other brewing methods, there is no wasted coffee from unused portions. This means every cup is brewed to perfection, eliminating unnecessary waste.
- Minimizing Water Waste: We are committed to conserving water resources. Bruvi® helps reduce water waste in two ways. Firstly, there is no water wasted from unused brewed coffee. Additionally, by minimizing coffee waste, we contribute to the reduction of water waste in the coffee production process. It is estimated that approximately 140 liters of water are used to grow and process a single cup of coffee. By using Bruvi®, you actively participate in water conservation efforts.
- Streamlined Cleanup: Bruvi® single-serve brewing simplifies your coffee-making routine. With no carafes to wash or brewers to clean daily, you save time and water. A recommended weekly cleaning ensures that maintenance is efficient and manageable.
- Energy Efficiency: Contrary to misconceptions, single-serve brewing, including Bruvi®, is designed to be energy-efficient. Our system optimizes energy usage, minimizing energy waste and environmental impact.
Bruvi is more than just a single-serve coffee startup; it’s a brewing revolution. With its dedication to superior technology, wide selection of coffee blends, customizable brewing options, and sustainable practices, Bruvi has carved a niche for itself in the coffee industry.
Whether you’re a coffee aficionado seeking a new brewing experience or a sustainability-conscious consumer looking for eco-friendly alternatives, Bruvi is an excellent choice. Embrace the future of coffee brewing with Bruvi, and unlock a world of exceptional coffee one cup at a time.
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