Pod or capsule coffee machines are becoming evermore popular, as they leave less mess behind, are easier to use and are quicker. But is the taste a better quality from a pod machine, to justify cheating your way to a cup of espresso, as some coffee affionados would say. I would state that unless you are a real coffee fanatic, who has worked for several years as a barista for a top London restaurant or coffee bar, you are not going to tell a great deal of difference between a pod machine and a normal espresso one. So let’s cut out the coffee snobbery and have a look at these easy to use pod devices, made with the microwave and fast food generation in mind.
Pod coffee machines are easier to use because instead of messing about with loose coffee grindings, you simply take a pre packaged pod, or it could even look like a tea bag full of coffee, (these are called ‘easy serving espresso’ or ESE for short) and insert it into the machine, press a button and hey presto, the gorgeous coffee nectar starts to drip forth. Coffee capsules work in exactly the same way as they are hermetically sealed capsules of ground coffee that you insert into your espresso machine. Your machine will then pierce the capsule and force hot water through to make espresso.
Pods and capsules both contain just enough coffee for one shot and some coffee machines are now compatible with both coffee pods and ground coffee. The one drawback is however that capsule machines typically only take one brand of capsule, think Dolce Gusto or Nepresso for example. But if you love the coffee that they make, and if they have enough variety in their range, you should be ok. It is worth checking however before you buy as you could be stuck with a device that only takes a few varieties of capsules. Another factor to consider is that you are paying for the price of convenience when you buy a pod or capsule machine, especially when it comes to purchasing the pods or capsules. Typically you can expect to pay around 25p for a pod or capsule, whereas if you bought the ground espresso it would work out at approximately 10p per cup.
All said and done, if your heart is set on one, and mine is, then here are our five best buys.Tassimo Capsule – T40 Classic Machine – £119
With TASSIMO, we think simplicity is best. That’s why our TASSIMO machines feature easy-to-use ‘intelligent’ barcode technology, meaning you only need to push a single button for a perfect cup. Whether it’s espresso, cappuccino, tea or hot chocolate you can have the drink you want whenever you want it. No fuss. The barcode printed on every T DISC contains information about the amount of water, brewing time and the precise temperature of each drink. Very large variety of capsule range including well-known brands such as Twinings, Cadburys, Carte Noire, Kenco and speciality coffees such as tiramisu and creme brulee. Capsules start from around 23p. Definitely my favourite.Nespresso Capsule – Magimix M190 60’s White – £149
A union of high technology and retro-modern design, the compact dimension of CitiZ fits perfectly into all environments. The Nespresso capsule range has a large variety of 17 capsules including decaffeinated. Weight : 3.4 kg. Removable water tanks : 1L. Used capsules container capacity : 10. Dimensions(WxDxH)(cm) : 13 x 27.8 x 37.2 cm. Folding drip tray for Latte Macchiato glass. Plus, receive £40 club rewards when you buy a new Nespresso machine between April 5th and June 3rd. Capsules start from 29p each. This is for a real coffee connoisseurs.
Show your appreciation of good coffee and your taste for fine design. The award-winning Circolo will leave your guests impressed and you coming back for more. Whether you prefer a frothy cappuccino, a shot of espresso, a multi-layered latte macchiato or a rich caffé lungo, Nescafé Dolce Gusto delivers a quality coffee for every mood and occasion, to satisfy all your guests. Available pods of 20, including Cafe Lungo, cappuccino and hot chocolate.
This unique twin pressure system provides 15 bar for making espressos or low pressure 3.5 bar for longer drinks to suit your coffee preference. No mess with its sealed capsules which drop into an integral drawer when used and this is an Eco friendly machine with auto shut off and recyclable capsules. The Dualit machine can use coffee pods, ESE bags and Nespresso capsules so the range is impressive.La Piccola Sara Classic – £320
The Sara is the most compact in the range as it combines advanced technology with classic form, underscored by the durability and elegance of its black body and stainless materials, resulting in an almost sculptural presence suited even to the most demanding furnishings.
This patented thermo block machine produces one espresso or tea at a time. A simple switch controls pod extraction time. This machine is ideal for people who want to enjoy Tea, Espresso and Regular Coffee (also known as Americano). This machine is made by Italians who truly know and love their coffee. With only 7 coffee and tea blends, variety is not great, but you can be sure that each coffee pod has been measured and tampered to exact requirements to produce the perfect espresso.