Magazine article Newsweek

How One Entrepreneur Is Reinventing the Coffee Pod for Gourmet Brews; Move over George Clooney-Amir Gehl Is Coming for Your Nespresso Machine

Magazine article Newsweek

How One Entrepreneur Is Reinventing the Coffee Pod for Gourmet Brews; Move over George Clooney-Amir Gehl Is Coming for Your Nespresso Machine

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Foulkes

Since Nestle began selling Nespresso in the 1990s, its little capsules have changed the way many in the West consume coffee. Thirty percent of Michelin-starred restaurants now serve Nespresso pods, and the machines sell all over the world, generating an estimated $4 billion in 2015. The capsule-coffee maker is part of kitchen geography, right there between the toaster and the kettle.

The convenience, novelty, variety and perhaps even the pretty-colored capsules made at least one convert: Amir Gehl. Gehl, the 39-year-old son of a tobacco family, did his postgraduate studies at the London School of Economics, followed by stints at Harvard Business School, the Kellogg School of Management and the London Business School. He spent the earlier part of his career as a consultant to the energy drinks business; then, in 2014, his wife convinced him to buy a Nespresso machine. From that moment on, he was a pod-convert--so much so that when he drank filter coffee after a meal in a restaurant, he felt that "a Nespresso [at home] was actually tastier."

Gehl saw an opportunity. Three years after that first cup of Nespresso--for the record, a purple-capsuled Arpeggio--his Difference Coffee Co. is selling both beans and pods of specialty coffees, using "coffee from the finest [coffee-growing] estates." The customers on his mailing list include some of the most discriminating names in the U.K. and Europe, including the Palace Hotel in Gstaad, Switzerland, and chef Heston Blumenthal, who will begin serving Difference Coffee at his Hinds Head restaurant in Berkshire, England, at the end of January. …

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