Richmond-based Black Hand Coffee Co. is developing its own branded single serving coffee pods, which are used in popular Keurig-style coffee machines.
Black Hand owner Clay Gilbert said the new products could be in full production by the end of the year.
“We’re looking for a bigger footprint,” Gilbert said. “We’re looking to be in the offices of those companies with 200 people and give them a local option when they go to use the [the single serving pods].”
Gilbert, who bought Black Hand in 2009 and moved it to 3101 Patterson Ave. in 2012, said the idea of targeting coffee pod users occurred to him about a year ago.
“I wanted to expand the wholesale side of my business,” Gilbert said. “I thought, ‘What’s not out there? What about a local [single serving pod]?’ Why not do something that operates kind of like a small craft beer?”
Gilbert said he reached out to a contract coffee manufacturer last spring about producing pods with his coffee. The deal is still being negotiated, he said.
Black Hand Coffee roasted 36,000 pounds of coffee in 2012, 30 percent of which was sold for at-home brewing. A pound of Black Hand coffee runs about $11.
Gilbert wouldn’t disclose the cost to develop Black Hand’s new product but said he plans to sell an 18-count package for about $15. He is speaking with coffee distributors and hopes to be in full production by the end of 2013.
He also said he welcomes any competition.
“If five other roasters get in on this, then great,” Gilbert said. “Then we’ll have a category.”
Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify that Black Hand is developing a single serving coffee product that is not specifically a K-Cup brand. K-Cup is a trademarked brand owned by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.