which coffee pod

Which Coffee Pod For You?

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Which Coffee Pod For You?

October 8, 2020

Coffee pods, coffee pods…so much choice. Which coffee pod for you? We hope we can help you in this post.

We no longer live in a world where the moments spent carefully crafting the perfect coffee are moments to be enjoyed, lingered over, even. Crowding around a freshly brewed coffee pot that’s shared between co-workers and friends may be a thing of the past for most of us.

Even the simple pleasure of waiting for a cafetière to brew is replaced by a sense of impatience, a longing to bring your favorite coffee mug to your lips, and take that first delicious sip, that much sooner.

These days, just like everything else in the perpetually busy, modern-day lives of people today, coffee has taken yet another step towards convenience and left the previously favored, laborious roast and ground coffees of yesteryear behind.

With coffee shops becoming a place where hipsters go to discuss the latest news over a double macchiato, or where office workers escape to on their lunch hour, or where more and more people are choosing to sit in with a coffee and get some work done thanks to a permanent connection to wifi, it’s no wonder than people are choosing to stay home for their morning coffee instead of venturing out to get their caffeine fix.

As a result, coffee machines have become increasingly popular and there have been serious advances in recent years in the technology they use to produce great-tasting coffee at home.

The development of coffee pods means coffee machines can make good-quality coffee in practically no time at all!

They’re the ultimate convenient choice for any keen bean (pun intended) who wants to get that first hit of caffeine in the morning even quicker, but as their focus is on ease of use and efficiency.

nespresso coffee pods

What Are Coffee Pods?

Coffee pods are single-serve portions of coffee that can be used with various coffee machines to produce a quality cup of joe from the comfort of your own home.

They come in various shapes and sizes, and they can be manufactured with either a plastic or an aluminum casing.

Ground coffee is sealed inside the pod or capsule container, lined with some type of filter paper, and sealed in using foil, which is great for ensuring the coffee stays at its best and helps to retain that original, fresh coffee flavor.

This also means they’re easy to store at home, and you don’t have to worry as much about the coffee getting stale.

How do you use Coffee Pods?

Choosing the correct coffee pod for you and your coffee machine is essential if you want to make the most of them and retain their original coffee taste, but another way to ensure coffee pods retain a great flavor is to make sure you’re using them correctly.

It’s a pretty simple method to grasp, hence their selling point of being able to provide ‘ultimate convenience’ for the user.

Simply switch on your coffee machine, and when it signals that it’s ready – this will usually be via a flashing light or button – you can insert your coffee pod into its designated place within the machine.

Once the pod’s securely in place, all it takes is the touch of a button and a short wait before you can have a great cup of coffee!

The machine will break through the foil seal of your coffee cup and will use high pressure to force hot (but not boiling, as this can burn the coffee which will give it an unpleasant taste) water through the pod, where it mixes with the ground coffee before it pours out of the machine and into your cup.

Oxidation draws out flavors and aromas, so coffee machines are designed to maximize the oxygen levels as the coffee goes through the pod in order to make the most of the original flavors of the coffee.

do coffee pods retain original flavor of coffee

Types of Coffee Pods

It’s important to know which type of pod you’re using in your machine, as this will determine how you make your coffee and how well they retain their intended flavor. For example, certain pods are designed to produce an espresso shot, whereas others are designed to produce larger amounts of coffee.

If you use the wrong pod with the wrong setting on your coffee machine, the resulting coffee can end up tasting too weak, too strong, or just plain bad, which is an unnecessary and not altogether fair strike against coffee pods in the debate of whether or not they can retain their original flavor.

Nespresso and Keurig K-Cups

Brands like Nespresso and Keurig K-Cups are extremely popular, although they’re not the only coffee brands who’ve branched out into coffee pod-use. They are however leading brands, and their coffee pods are among some of the best available.

Initially, you could only choose from a select few different types of coffee pods. These were marketed as high-end products after Swiss and French success, and they produced more traditional variations of coffee.

But coffee is an incredibly personal thing, and this was simply not enough choice to find the right pod for each person’s individual tastes whilst achieving that original coffee flavor we all know and love.

These days, it’s the opposite! There’s an overwhelming amount of possibilities when it comes to coffee pods with a huge range of different blends and styles of coffee.

They come with different strengths and intensity of flavor, and you can even find non-coffee based pods to work in your machine, such as tea or hot chocolate variations, or blends to replicate those you’d find in Starbucks for that coffee-shop taste.

Not all coffee pods will work in every machine, however, so it’s important to check which types of pod are compatible with your coffee machine before you attempt to use them. Not only will this result in off-tasting coffee, but it could also potentially damage your machine.

Some branded coffee machines, like Nespresso and Keurig, simply won’t work with any other brand or knock-off coffee pods, so don’t waste your hard-earned cash on coffee pods you can’t use!

Nespresso and Keurig K-pods are usually manufactured using aluminum or plastic for the outer casing, and these are small containers which store ground coffee. This is the type of pod that Nespresso exclusively uses in their machines.

Nespresso has also recently moved to a much larger design with its Vertuo range of coffee pods. The Vertuo range was developed to give larger cups of coffee such as the American and uses the centrifugation method for extraction rather than the pump method. A good comparison between the original Nespresso pods and the Vertuo range can be found at ‘Which?’

Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pods

The ESE pods (also known as capsules) became popular in the 1970s when Illy coffee first developed the pod. and also partnered with ESE Consortium. It is due to illy’s massive marketing efforts that the ESE is one of the popular pod alternatives today.

It was Illy’s constant efforts that spread these ESE standard coffee machines on a mass level which gave people a new way to enjoy their daily espresso at home. And because the ESE was launched as an open standard, other coffee roasters also adapted to this new opportunity and coffee machine manufacturers like Gaggia, Dualit, Delonghi, etc. launched their own kind of ESE 44mm pods and produced their version of ESE compatible coffee machines that changed the way people drank their coffee.

Instead of a plastic container or capsule, Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pods more closely resemble the construction of a teabag, only they use coffee instead of tea leaves.

As standard, they come in 44mm size pods that are made using filter paper rather than plastic, which is a much better option for the environment.

Every ESE pod contains about 6.7 grams to 7.5 grams of coffee. An ESE pod or ‘capsule’ can be used in adapters to espresso machines or in machines designed especially for ESE pods. 

PurPod

PurPod is a recent coffee pod innovation. It is a fully biodegradable coffee pod. Currently, it fits only Keurig machines.

PurPod is very serious about recycling and wanted to ensure that they not only made great coffee but that the packing for the coffee was also great for the environment.

Refillable & Reusable Coffee Pods

There is a general move in society to prevent unnecessary waste. This is where the reusable and refillable K-pods and Nespresso Pods come in. 

You can get plastic or steel refillable containers designed either for Keurig machines or Nespresso machines. 

You can obviously fill these pods with your favorite coffee. You just need to ensure that you pack the coffee properly to allow water to flow through the coffee to extract the best flavor and aroma. 

Coffee Pods vs Coffee Beans

Most coffee enthusiasts would argue that in a fight of coffee pods vs coffee beans, coffee beans would win every time, but there are some benefits to using coffee pods that means they shouldn’t be discounted.

As we’ve already discussed, coffee pods are designed to provide the user with maximum convenience.

They’re easy to store and they come in conveniently pre-measured single-serve portions for you to use in your machine, and often you’ll find the strength of the coffee is indicated on the pod, which allows you to choose the intensity of the coffee flavor according to your personal preference.

This means there’s no more fussing as you try to measure out the correct level of coffee beans, and there’s less chance of affecting the taste of your drink by using an incorrect quantity of beans or ground coffee.

Coffee pods are also a great way to keep your coffee tasting fresh if you’re a little lax when it comes to storing coffee beans, thanks to the sealed container they come in.

Final Thoughts

As we’ve previously mentioned, coffee is one of those personal things that only the individual can judge, which makes answering the question of this article a slightly difficult one.

With that being said, any coffee purist would agree that coffee pods aren’t the same quality as using freshly ground coffee beans and they don’t produce quite the same taste.

The flavor you can achieve from coffee pods depends on the quality of the coffee used, the machine you decide to use it in, and the way in which you prepare your coffee.

There are multiple things you can do to ensure your coffee pod retains as much of the original taste as possible, but if you want that truly authentic, original coffee bean taste, you may have to sacrifice the convenience of coffee pods and invest in a more traditional coffee-making method.

Notes

Keurig and K-cups are trademarks of Keurig Inc
Nespresso and Vertuo are trademarks of Societe des Produits Nestle S.A. Corporation.
PurPod is a trademark of Club Coffee LP

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