In the world of coffee, the value proposition is not what anyone would anticipate from this old bean. To start, pods seem practical. They come in single-serve cans for a quick caffeine boost in the morning. In regards to convenience, coffee pods user in the ease of automation and pre-set drink strengths, so no one would ever have to worry about running out of cream or too much caffeine.
Even though many products exist in the ready-to-drink format, from coconut water to tea, none of them has the global branding that an iconic beverage like coffee can bring to the table. In the long run, are coffee pods worth the hype or money? To understand if investing in these products is a high-risk move or not, it is important to first understand what they are.
Introducing Coffee Pods Officially
What comes to mind at the thought of coffee? A getaway from the afternoon slump, a caffeine surge in the morning? A bubbly boost to energy? All of the above? In truth, coffee is everywhere. Its enticing smoky aroma leaves the nose tingling for more, while its intense taste of dark refreshing goodness energizes the body and soul.
The famed ground beans’ distinctive rich black flavour has become the symbol of coffee, so much that other coffee-based products, like coffee pods, are likely to raise eyebrows. Does that mean that coffee pods are less invigorating? In truth, not all coffee pods live up to their names, leading to concerns that they aren’t up to pace with the renowned coffee beans.
But for the sake of those brands that still remind drinkers why they fell in love with coffee in the first place, a significant degree of faith is restored in coffee pods. This brings everyone to the next question…
Are Coffee Pods Real Coffee?
While some coffee lovers are of the opinion that coffee pods lack the distinctive kick that comes with each sip, others believe that coffee pods are on par with traditional ground coffee. One fact remains — coffee pods comprise actual coffee.
Each brand may have unique preparation techniques that set it apart. But then, preservation plays a role in dulling the taste of some of these products. The reason traditional ground coffee tastes “alive” stems from the fact that the beans are ground and used immediately.
On the other hand, coffee beans stored in pods over time slightly lose their freshness. This is due to the nuanced aromas (released during grinding) dissipating to some extent. But since they are stored in airtight containers and ridden of oxygen, they still retain a bulk of the signature aroma and flavour.
Making coffee using coffee pods is a mess-free experience for coffee lovers. There is less of a need for a bigger workspace, and cleaning is simple once the drink has been brewed. In most cases, there is no need to clean.
Coffee Pods: How to Use Them
One of the admirable perks about coffee pods is that drinkers don’t have to spend ample time brewing them — and no; they don’t have to be baristas to make savoury coffee. Each pod comes with a standard measurement (6.8g–7.5g). Ideally, making this drink would require an espresso machine — this also guarantees consistency, regardless of the servings.
If using a coffee maker for the first time, it is advisable to read the instructions on the appliance to ease the process. Generally, the steps are simple and are as followed:
- Fill the tank of the espresso machine with clean or distilled water
- Attach the coffee pod to the pod holder and click once in place
- Adjust the pre-sets to the desired setting and start to brew
Instantly, the espresso machine will pour the hot aromatic coffee into the cup. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Are Coffee Pods Compatible with All Machines?
Previously, coffee capsules were only compatible with machines of the same brand. Using a different machine to brew coffee proved impracticable. Fast-forward to today, coffee pods are compatible with nearly every coffee machine, including Nespresso, Cuisinart, Krups, Smeg, Sage, Nescafe, and Gaggia. To ensure compatibility, purchase coffee pods designed with this factor in mind.
Going Green with Coffee Pods
Environmental pollution has wreaked havoc on Mother Earth. It’s a challenge that most countries worldwide still battle to curtail. No recyclable items, such as coffee capsules, account for the majority of land pollution. More than two-thirds of the coffee pods produced are discarded — not recycled.
The root of this problem is mostly in the packaging component. The ever-increasing quantities of plastic trash in the environment are due to this disposable packaging method. Furthermore, because most people are unaware of environmental pollution, the concept of recycling has a lower popular acceptance.
Some coffee manufacturers are picking up the pace to raise environmental awareness through coffee pods. There are now both paper and reusable coffee pods on the market. These products come with zero-waste.
Ways to Recycle Coffee Pods
Due to the components used in packaging, not all coffee pods have the same recycling method. Most pods have water-saturated coffee residues after consumption, indicating that they cannot be recycled like other coffee items. Hence, coffee manufacturers gather them separately for processing.
Coffee pods made of aluminum may be recycled without their plastic caps. Paper coffee pods, on the other hand, are completely recyclable. Similar to teabags, they may be composted by drinkers. Another alternative is to bury them as free, natural fertilizer.
Coffee Pods Tips
When it comes to getting the best out of coffee pods, the following can’t be ignored:
- They don’t come in one-size-fits-all packages, so coffee lovers may pick and choose their favourite brands and flavours while on the move.
- Purchase coffee pods encapsulated with full seals.
- The degree of enjoyment obtained is determined by the sort of coffee pod used.
- Purchase high-quality coffee pods compatible with the coffee making machine available.
- Coffee beans stem from two different plants — Robusta and Arabica. Understanding the uniqueness of each plant will aid in the selection of the most ideal brand for a personalised coffee experience.
- For coffee to retain its pure freshness, it must be roasted, ground, and quickly extracted. Encapsulating the coffee beans after roasting them would only compromise their freshness.
The Bottom Line
The ease with which anyone can make “barista-grade” coffee from a coffee pod is undeniable — as is the quality. However, the cleanliness of a coffee pod machine affects the flavour and scent of brewed coffee. If filthy, the coffee will taste awful, and vice-versa. Coffee consumers have to clean their machines regularly to get a consistent refreshing taste.