Pod coffee makers are all the rage with companies like Nespresso and Keurig dominating huge chunks of market share.
However, there’s quite a fierce debate whether pod coffee makers are good or bad. Some people swear by pod coffee, while others feel it’s not really coffee and would not touch it with a ten-foot pole.
So let’s dig in a little more detail: are pod coffee makers good or bad?
Advantages of pod coffee makers
Pod coffee makers have the obvious advantage of speed and convenience.
Normally, to brew coffee, you’d have to get freshly roasted coffee beans and order them every two weeks so you always have a fresh batch of coffee accessible.
Next, you’d need to grind the coffee beans just before you brew. That includes setting up the grinder, making sure the grind size is accurate, and actually grinding.
Once the beans are ground, you’ve got to actually brew the coffee.
It takes about 10 minutes to make one cup of coffee in this way, and even longer if you’re making coffee for more than one person.
With a pod coffee maker, you just fire up the machine, pop in a pod, press a button, and you’ll have a steaming cup of coffee in less than a minute.
That’s the convenience and speed of pod coffee makers for you! Keurig coffee makers have a special boiler that keeps up to one cup of water hot and at the ready so you can always brew coffee nearly instantly.
Varieties of coffee
Next, you have a huge variety of coffee to choose from. Not that you would not have such a variety with fresh coffee beans, but the smallest bag of beans you can probably get your hands on would still be 6 ounces.
How many different bags would you keep around?
With pod coffee makers, you can buy variety packs that have many different coffees in a single package. So if you like to switch it up every now and then, pod coffee makers offer this convenience.
Finally, pod coffee makers are really easy to clean. In some Nespresso machines, for example, there is an auto-eject feature that tosses the used pod into a container that you can empty later.
There’s also very little dripping, and for any drip, the drip tray is quite easy to remove and rinse.
Compare this to regular coffee makers where you have to deal with coffee grounds and in some cases, wiping down the machine too!
What about freshness?
Freshness is one area where pod machines do fall a little short, but Nespresso and Keurig package their pods in such a way that they use nitrogen to fill up any empty space between the coffee grounds and the lid.
Nitrogen is an inert gas so it does not react with the coffee grounds and there are no chemical reactions or changes.
Disadvantages of pod coffee makers
Now that we’ve sung enough praises of pod coffee makers, let’s talk about the disadvantages.
It’s not the same as fresh coffee
As convenient as pod coffee makers are, the taste they produce will never quite match that of fresh coffee prepared by hand.
Even though pods are packaged quite well and coffee grounds remain relatively fresh, you never know how long the grounds have been sitting out before they were packaged into the pod.
Additionally, the brewing methods are rather unorthodox so baristas will usually raise their noses at pod coffee.
Pod coffee machines are expensive and the cost of pods also adds up over time. It’s always cheaper to buy coffee and grind yourself to brew.
The convenience of capsules comes at quite a cost, as the cheapest capsules are still going to be twice as expensive as making the same amount of coffee at home with beans and/or grounds.
They generate a lot of trash
Until recently, some pods were not recyclable. Nespresso pods are aluminum so those are ok to an extent, but Keurig pods are plastic. For the longest time, they were not recyclable and causing huge piles in landfills.
Recently though they’ve started a recycling program, but that still depends on consumers sending them the pods to be recycled!
If you’re really passionate about the environment, you can sign a petition here to make your voice heard to Keurig.
As you can see, capsule coffee makers have distinct advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day, it will boil down to convenience. Do you need your coffee in a jiffy and on the go? If so, consider getting one.
Otherwise, a regular coffee maker will mean a much better flavor and will be better for the environment, too.