About Coffee Pods

What is a coffee pod ?


 

What is an ESE Coffee Pod?

 

A coffee pod is the coffee making equivalent of the teabag: a pre-portioned serving of coffee wrapped in paper filter, ready to be infused with water. ESE (Easy Serving Espresso) is the worldwide industry standard for coffee pods, and has a size of 44mm.

 

Any pod that meets the ESE standard can be used in any espresso machine that is ESE compatible.

An ESE pod contains between 6.7-7.5 grams of coffee, with the normal weight being about 7 grams, but this all depends on the flavour profile of the coffee beans used.

 

The ESE pod is placed in a special pod holder that fits inside the portafilter, on some machines this is the same one that is used for ground coffee, but with other manufactures the filter basket needs to be changed, this is to ensure that the ESE pod fits correctly, and that the water runs through the pod, and not around it.

 

The extensive use of espresso pod machines in the home only really become popular during the 1990’s, when Illy cofounded the ESE Consortium and created the ESE standard.

 

With the launch of this ESE standard, Illy made a concerted effort to mass market these machines as a convenient way to enjoy espresso in the home. In addition, as the ESE is open standard, other coffee roasters could adopt the design and produce their own brand of ESE 44mm pods; and this then encouraged other coffee machine manufacturers, such as Gaggia, Dualit, Delonghi etc.to produce ESE friendly coffee machines.

 

ESE pods vs. Coffee Beans

The key selling point of ESE pods is convenience. The handcrafted preparation of espresso requires skill and is somewhat messy. Grinders have to be calibrated; the coffee needs to be dosed and tamped correctly; and afterwards all the equipment and the surrounding workspace needs to be cleaned. With an ESE pod there is none of this. The pods are already pre-dosed and pre-tamped and the coffee grounds stay contained in the paper filter. Once finished with, the pod can simply be discarded like a teabag.

However, the convenience of ESE pods comes at a price: the taste of a carefully handcrafted espresso is by far superior to that of an ESE espresso. In fact, an ESE pod isn’t even in the same ballpark. In comparison to handcrafted espresso, ESE pods lack depth of flavour and liveliness in the mouth. There are two main factors for this:

1. The coffee in ESE pods is not as fresh as that used for handcrafted espresso. When making espresso by hand, the coffee is ground immediately before use, to preserve all the flavours. This is because the actual grinding process releases aromatics from the coffee which are lost from the end cup if not used quickly. Ground coffee also has a much larger surface area than that of a whole bean, leaving it more vulnerable to the elements.

ESE pods are pre-ground at the factory so can’t compete for freshness. However, the coffee in these pods is far from stale: most manufactures seal their pods in individual foil packages and these are usually flushed with nitrogen to remove oxygen, further preserving their flavour.

 

Using ESE pods does offer a saving in the short term. The fact that they’re pre-ground means you don’t need a coffee grinder, which is a substantial saving. A good grinder for espresso making will cost well over £100. However, the cost of ESE pods is considerably more than coffee beans. Expect to pay upwards of £20 a kilo for ESE pods.

On the positive side, unlike with beans, no coffee is wasted with ESE pods.

 

2. ESE pods brew too quick to extract the fullest flavour from the coffee. The flow rate of an ESE espresso is quicker than that recommended for a handcrafted espresso. When brewing by hand the aim is to produce an espresso of around 35ml (1.25 fl oz) in volume within 20-35 seconds, as this is thought to be the optimum time to extract as much flavour as possible from the grounds before releasing bitter compounds and excessive caffeine into the drink. With an ESE pod it can take less than half that time to produce the equivalent volume.

 

ESE pods are intentionally designed to have a quicker flow rate to improve consistency from shot to shot. However, the quicker flow rate is caused by less resistance to the water during the brewing process and this in turn leads to a lower brewing pressure, resulting in a lesser extraction. Also as there is no way to control the flow-rate with an ESE pod, it would be impossible to make espresso variations such as a ristretto or lungo.

 

 

ESE pods vs. Other Coffee Capsules 

There are many different types of coffee capsules available on the market other than ESE & Senseo pods, such as Nespresso, Tassimo, and Dolce Gusta.

In terms of price and taste, there is a premium price to be paid on most capsule systems, and we consider the flavour of coffee produced from an ESE pod to be far better.

The major problem with these other capsules systems is that, at present, they’re closed standards and so are exclusively made by one roaster: Nespresso is made by Nestle, etc. So, if you choose a Nespresso compatible machine you are stuck with Nestle coffee.

We now have compatible capsules from four manufactures for the Nespresso system, so the choice of coffee and blends is increasing, and so the price per capsule is also being reduced, but court cases are still pending over the manufacture of these. 

 ESE pods are made to an industry wide standard and are consequently available from a vest number of roasters, including big names such as: Illy, Lavazza and Sagafredo. So with an ESE compatible espresso machine, you have a much wider choice of coffee.

Not only that, but with many ESE compatible machines you have the option of making espresso the traditional way too.

Coffee pods are freshly roasted coffee, ground perfect, tampered to the correct pressure and then encapsulated in a paper. Pods are made to a standard size of 44mm with 6.8g - 7.5g of coffee per pod, as well as the 62mm coffee pod with 8g of coffee used in the Phillips Senseo coffee maker. The original pod was designed by Illy cafe over 20 years ago, in 1996 Illy opened its idea to the coffee industry to bring a standard pod size to the market. Many machine companies now offer adaptors with their machines to accept pods. By using pods in your machine not only can you guarantee perfect results, there is no mess and pods help to look after your machine. In fact used pods can even be used as fertiliser for your garden !

Also know as coffee pads, coffee pod or espresso pod, pods are a simple way to make perfect espresso and with excellent results.

By replacing the filter plate in the portafilter/group handle, most traditional machines can use easypods, no need to tamper, no stale packets left open and no need for a separate grinder. Our coffee pods are individually packed in laminated bags to preserve the fresh flavour and aroma. 

There are many sizes of coffee pods now available, but mainly the two sizes are now used by most coffee machines. The 44mm pod mainly in espresso pump machines and the 62mm pod used in philips senseo and black & decker home cafe, as well as other makes.

 

Pod Adaptors

Many new espresso machines can now accept the 44mm pods, a consortium of the leading manufactures have come together known as the ESE format. By choosing a machine with this logo you are assured that any ESE or 44mm pod will work perfectly in your machine. For older machines we have exclusively designed pod adaptor filter that easily convert your machine to use 44mm pods.

 

Making great espresso

Espresso is an art, there are many ways of getting it wrong ! The grind, the measurement, freshness, the roast, tampering, temperature, water pressure.... the list goes on. Some people judge an espresso by the crema, some by the flavour, acidity and liqueur. By using coffee pods you get it right first time every time.

 

Single Serve Coffee

The pod market has expanded rapidly of the past few years, with low pressure single serve coffee machines. Philips Senseo*, Black & Decker Home Cafe, Melitta One:One, Kenwood Mok Abista & others 

Using Coffee Pods

Using www.thecoffeepod.co.uk  you not only have a choice of over 20 blends and more to be added all the time.

We have selected the finest choice of coffees, expertly roasted in Europe by hand, home of the espresso, by Coffee Sense

Our traditional Italian espresso, ! We have also selected some machines that use pods or we offer filter adaptors if you would like your machine to use pods.