Coffee Pods Explained
Coffee pods are an innovation in coffee machine use that ensures making great coffee is simple. They are paper capsules that contain measured amounts of freshly roasted, ground and compressed coffee. The paper filter package is made of food safe materials. All you do is pop a coffee pod into a pod adaptor in your machines filter holder or into the brewing chamber of a pod coffee maker and wait while it is brewed into delicious coffee. After you have drunk your fix of the brown nectar the only mess you have to clear up is a used pod that you pop in the bin.
Types of coffee pod
There are three sizes of coffee pods you can find. The standard size of 44mm includes about 7g of coffee and is used mainly in espresso pump or semi-automatic machines. The larger 62mm pod is used with Philips, Senseo and Black & Decker Home Cafe machines. You can also find 55mm pods which contain twice as much coffee to make two shots of espresso with only one brew.
Coffee pods are an ideal way for you to try many of the different blends of coffee that are available. Rather than buying a bag of a certain blend, you can buy large, multi packs that contain coffee pods of all different blends. You can then try differing varieties such as Italian (from the home of espresso), dark roast (a strong dark blend), decaffeinated, flavoured (including vanilla, and hazelnut), or specialties like the smooth, sweet Ethiopian blend or the creamy and mild Crema Milano. You can even get tea pods for those households where coffee is not the only hot drink choice.
Most coffee machines, even if they are marketed as machines where you are in full control over the coffee making process, have the ability to use coffee pods for those days when you need a bit more convenience. The leading coffee machine manufacturers came together and defined the ESE coffee pods format. This stands for Easy Serving Espresso pod and is the term given to 44mm pods that can be used with any machine bearing the ESE logo. Your machine may take the pods directly or you may need an adaptor but if you buy an ESE compatible machine, the adaptor will be included. If you have an older machine without this logo, you can probably buy an adaptor filter to convert your machine so it can use coffee pods. There is also a rapidly expanding range of single serve coffee machines that use only coffee pods.
How much do coffee pods cost?
The price of a coffee pod will depend on the brand you buy, the blend and whether or not you are buying in bulk. Prices range from as low as $0.20 per pod up to a few dollars. Multi packs are the most economical way to buy coffee pods and variety packs give you the opportunity to try blends you might not want to buy a lot of before knowing you like them.
Benefits of coffee pods
There are many steps involved in making the perfect espresso such as grinding, measuring, using fresh beans, roasting, tamping, heating the water and using the right water pressure – most are handled by your coffee machine but some involve you. Even if you buy ready ground, fresh roasted coffee you still have to measure the correct amount out and tamp it perfectly in the filter holder. The coffee pod alleviates these two steps making drinking great coffee more convenient.
As well as the speed and convenience of preparation, coffee pods allow for easy cleaning and less waste of your coffee grounds. They also ensure the taste of your coffee is consistent from cup to cup. Traditionally specialist training was required to use espresso machines but pod brewers have allowed a standardized quality to be repeated time after time. Coffee connoisseurs think the taste is inferior to that served by an espresso specialist but for the average consumer, the results are likely to be far better than if they used a traditional machine with fresh coffee beans. The famous espresso crema has been incorporated into the coffee pod technology making the resulting coffee highly comparable to what you would be served in a current espresso bar.
Other advantages of coffee pods are that you can try a variety of blends easily, there are no packets of coffee left open to go stale and there is no need for you to invest in a coffee grinder as well as a maker.
As with everything there are disadvantages to coffee pods. These include a higher cost per cup than from normal coffee grounds as well as fewer suppliers to buy from. There is a small amount of packaging waste from the film the pods are packed in and from the paper of the pods themselves. The used pods are easily degradable though and can be used as compost.