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Consortium E.S.E.

Consortium E.S.E.

Profile / The E.S.E. collective mark

The Consortium for the Development and Protection of the Standard E.S.E. is truly unique as it unites leading coffee roasters and coffee machine manufacturers who actively compete on the global market while collaborating within the Consortium to develop new offerings and strengthen the single-servings coffee “system” (machines and paper pods).

The Consortium for the Development and Protection of the Standard E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) was established on 23 February 1998, in accordance with the wishes of seven founding members (companies in the coffee roasting and espresso machine manufacturing sectors).

The Consortium is a non-profit organization that owns, manages, and promotes the E.S.E. (*) collective mark and the homonymous international industry standard by:

  • raising the consumers and sector operators’ awareness of the E.S.E. collective mark and brand name products marketed by each member company;
  • controls and protects the mark from being used by companies not associated with the Consortium;
  • implements communication activities across different sectors.

With the support of its members (listed below), whom partake in all strategic choices, the Consortium E.S.E. has consolidated its role and the position of the Standard E.S.E. as a global reference point for espresso market stakeholders world-wide.

The Consortium was founded and established the E.S.E. mark – now recognized in many different countries – within a newly emerging market characterized by great confusion both in terms of the roles and goals of its stakeholders.

The Consortium E.S.E. seeks to stimulate and foster an open, frank and constructive debate among different players in the single-servings coffee market (pods and capsules in paper, plastic and aluminium), especially in view of:

  • its being the only platform where national and international market-leading coffee roasters, coffee machine manufacturers and retailers can meet and interact;
  • its wealth of technical knowledge and market experience;
  • its intent to promote “coopetition” (cooperative competition) among different operators and systems.

(*) The E.S.E. collective mark is registered in more than 100 Countries (list available upon request).
The Consortium provides Members with the means by which to use the E.S.E. mark on their packaging and for communication and promotional initiatives, in addition to stimulating ideas and opportunities for cross-marketing and co-operative advertising.
The Consortium is an intermediation platform as well as the “institutional voice” for the advantages of the system; as such it does not “sell the E.S.E. product” but advocates and facilitates its distribution.

Chronology of an idea


illycaffè liberalizes access to the E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) patent to create a single standard for the industry and promotes the industrial propagation of the espresso coffee brewing system it originally invented.


Interested espresso coffee roasters and manufacturers begin to meet and interact with each other.


Marks the establishment of the Consortium.

Founding members: Briel, Euromatik, Girmi, illycaffè, Little Italy, SGL, Unic.


The Consortium strengthens its role.

E.S.E. members hold 80% of the global market for coffee machines and 40-50% of the paper pods market.

The standard E.S.E. fosters technological improvements that optimize the performance and quality of paper pods and espresso machines.


The standard E.S.E. “servings culture” has been embraced by operators world-wide.
The Consortium has achieved its initial objectives.
The single-servings market for standard E.S.E. paper pods grows primarily outside of Italy.


The pods market is increasingly being crowded by different brewing systems and products, is fragmented, fiercely competitive and confused. It is ever more profitable and still has enormous potential for growth.
The Consortium also switches gears and initiates an open debate on the evolution of the coffee market, by which “basic” product offerings (like ground or whole bean coffee) have been eclipsed by a dazzling range of product/service combos (espresso coffee served “in the cup” by different open or closed systems).
The Consortium organizes the “First International Single-Serving Coffee Symposium”.


The Consortium undertakes to further improve the E.S.E. quality standard.
To enhance the consistency and accuracy of standard conformance tests, the pods dimensional parameters are tightened, and different types of coffee beverage are studied and classified.
Quality Assurance committees (composed of members from different companies) studied two prototype “dimes” made of silicone, which perfectly mimic the dimensions of the two E.S.E. pod sizes currently in existence, to further standardize and enhance the accuracy of standard conformance tests.


The execution of preliminary compostability certification tests marks the successful completion of all tasks foreseen by the Standard E.S.E. Total Quality plan.


The Consortium E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) is a volunteer, non-profit association founded for the purpose of:

  • overseeing the production and marketing of E.S.E. Standard compliant pods (servings), espresso machines and pods manufacturing machinery;
  • ensure the proper use of the E.S.E. collective mark;
  • promote consumption and production of E.S.E. pods, espresso machines designed to use E.S.E. pods, and E.S.E. pod manufacturing equipment;
  • favour optimization of production and quality improvements for E.S.E. pods, espresso makers and pod manufacturing machines, by providing Members with the necessary guidance and technical support;
  • oversee the production and marketing of E.S.E. pods, espresso makers and E.S.E. pod manufacturing machines;
  • ensure the correct application of the standard, the Easy Serving Espresso (E.S.E.) denomination, the Consortium logo and collective mark, and promote the actions – including any lawsuit – necessary to prevent or curtail any illicit or incorrect use thereof;
  • uphold the consumer guarantee by which all products sold under the E.S.E. mark effectively meet the quality and technical requirements set forth by the E.S.E. Standard and the Consortium Articles of Association.

Protection of the Mark

The Consortium for the Development and Protection of the Standard E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) is the owner of the homonymous collective mark registered in more than 100 Countries world-wide.

The use of the E.S.E. collective mark and definitions associated thereto are strictly reserved and regulated by the relationship between the Consortium and its Members.

Only member companiesbound to abide by the requisites and technical specifications set forth in the Consortium Standard are authorized to use the mark and definitions associated with E.S.E. on their brand name product packaging (servings and espresso machines) to keep faith with consumers who rely on them.
In lack of said relationship, any instance by which the E.S.E. collective trademark is used by anyone other than legally entitled entities (E.S.E. members) constitutes a violation of the E.S.E. intellectual property rights (article no. 2598 c.c. no. 2 of the Italian Civil Code), which also infringes upon one of the principal objectives set forth in the Articles of Association of the Consortium E.S.E.


As manager of the E.S.E. collective mark, the Consortium is bound to:

  • verify the correct implementation of the standard, to protect the end consumer;
  • promote optimization of production and quality improvements for both servings and machines;
  • simplify the consumers and operators’ choice by way of a unified industrial standard;
  • serve as a venue for interaction between operators;
  • provide adequate means of communication;
  • develop proposals for initiatives targeted to promote the E.S.E. system (machines and servings).

Areas of activity

Tre sono le aree in cui si concentrano le attività del Consorzio ESE:

1. Institutional management area: maintenance, control and protection of the collective mark and management of the Consortium institutional activities.

2. Member services area: gathering, management and distribution of useful information to members.

3. Communication and promotion area: creation, organization and management of external information regarding the Standard E.S.E., the Consortium and its Members.

Chairman and Board of Directors

The General Members’ Meeting is composed by representatives of all associated companies. All members are equally bound to abide by its decisions.

All Members have the right to attend the General Members’ Meeting, express their opinion and cast a single vote on each topic on the Agenda. The Meeting is chaired by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, which is the Executive Body of the Consortium and holds the highest authority within the scope of operations.

The Board of Directors is elected by the Members’ Meeting and composed of a minimum of three up to a maximum of nine directors who remain in charge for three years.

Board of Directors (2016-2018)
Chairman: Furio Suggi Liverani (illycaffè)
Director: Mario Cerutti (Lavazza)
Director: Renaud Gey (Groupe SEB)
Director: Franco Guzzi (Cohn & Wolfe)

How to become members

Becoming part of the Consortium is a strategically important choice for any company looking to face the challenges of the market from a position of knowledge and strength, especially in terms of approaching the end consumer.

Companies in the sector can join by filing a membership request form. Once the eligibility conditions and compatibility with the objectives foreseen by the Consortium Articles of Association are verified, the Board of Directors decides whether or not to approve the Company’s membership request.

Consortium Membership is limited to the following types of Company:

  • coffee roasting companies who produce and/or sell coffee servings made according to the E.S.E. Standard;
  • companies who produce and/or sell machines that use E.S.E. Standard espresso pods;
  • manufacturers who produce machines for making E.S.E. servings;
  • trade associations directly or indirectly interested in the development of the E.S.E. Standard, headquartered in Italy or abroad;
  • companies who produce raw materials used to make coffee servings and espresso machines;
  • mass distributors of private label coffee servings.

Admission forms and documentation are provided upon receipt of a written request, which the interested parties should send via e-mail to the General Office of the Consortium E.S.E. at: redaelli@eseconsortium.com


The documents that will be required to request admission to the Consortium are:

  • Request for Admission letter
  • Enrolment confirmation letter
  • Letter of Assignment, appointing SGS as the authorized certification entity
  • Service price list for the execution of E.S.E. Standard compliance tests

Technical documents (to be requested from the Consortium Office via e-mail)

  • The Articles of Association, including its 5 attachments (Technical specifications and Instructions for the use of the Check-it-E.S.E. kit silicone pod prototype dimes)
  • E.S.E. mark user licence policy and agreement
  • E.S.E. product conformance tests execution agreement

“Special” Certification of Compostability

  • Certification of compostability technical data sheet
  • Technical document for the voluntary certification of compostable products (Standard E.S.E. paper coffee pod)