Ardagh Group

Pursuit of coffee perfection leads to specialist Nitro Can filling line

Inspired by Ardagh Group’s Nitro Can, Hamburg beverage company Rapide Food has become a contract filler for other companies wishing to use the technology. Not only did Rapide Food’s founders, Hendrik and Sebastian Lepping, choose Ardagh’s innovative Nitro Can to package their new cold brew black coffee Dock-18, they were so convinced by its taste and appearance benefits that they decided to build a bespoke Nitro Can filling plant.

Seeking the highest possible standards of taste, stability and sustainability for their cold brew beverages, the Leppings were frustrated at the lack of a contract filler who could guarantee the top quality they demanded. However, having developed Dock-18 over an extensive series of taste tests and lab trials in close collaboration with Ardagh, they gained a deep understanding of the entire production process of Nitro Cold Brew beverages themselves, and worked further with Ardagh to develop their own specialist filling line dedicated to the slimline Nitro Can – the first of its kind.

With no need to transport ingredients to distant facilities, the whole production process is carried out in one place, enabling total control over the quality and handling of the raw materials, essential for cold brew products. Production from start to finish is fast and efficient, from grinding the coffee beans, through to the cold brewing process, to the on-site filling of fully recyclable 250ml aluminum cans. This ensures product consistency and quality while increasing the sustainability of overall production.

Cold brew coffee is an increasing trend because of its purity and clean taste, and Rapide Food’s vision for Dock-18 was an all-natural, sustainable, fantastic tasting product, free from the added sugar and chemicals of other RTD coffee drinks. Their dedicated Nitro Can line has made that possible, and is particularly attractive for companies who, like Rapide Food, want to keep their products completely natural. Thanks to Ardagh’s Nitro Can technology and Rapide’s unique facility, Dock-18 is the first cold brew coffee to achieve a notable shelf life without additives. As well as bringing a silky mouthfeel and attractive ‘crema’ to the coffee, the micro-bubbles of nitrogen released on opening the Nitro Can add a slight sweetness, without any sugar or artificial sweeteners. The process on the specialised filling line also sterilises the coffee, eliminating the need for any preservatives. This means Dock-18 is incredibly natural; in fact, its only ingredients are coffee and water.

As a contract filler, Rapide Food now offers other German and other European beverage companies the same benefits. Sebastian Lepping says, ‘Our production facility gives young companies the chance to produce Cold Brew or similar high-end products in small to medium quantities, something that just isn’t possible at other facilities.’ Informed by their own experience as artisan beverage producers, they work alongside the customer to get everything right: ‘We develop the qualitative conditions for perfect taste and stability at every stage of the process,’ says Sebastian, ‘from initial lab trials, through a larger factory trial, and finally, once everything’s approved, into a main run of the product which the customer can sell on the market. This close cooperation ensures the customer’s taste requirements are completely fulfilled.’

While Dock-18 is the company’s flagship product, they will also launch a Latte Macchiato in 2019, and Nitro Ice Teas in different flavour profiles.

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