Coffee pods are a great invention that makes using your trusted coffee machine that much simpler. They are little paper packets containing the exact measure of ground coffee that you need to make the perfect drink. After unwrapping them from their film seal, you just put them in the brewing chamber if you have a coffee pod brewer or in a filter holder adaptor in a normal coffee machine. The machine then takes care of the rest – all you have to do is remove the used pod and place it in the bin. That’s it – no more messy portafilters to clean out.
Coffee pods come in three different sizes depending on which machine you are using and whether you are making one shot or two. The standard size is the 44mm pod which contains the 7g of coffee needed to make one shot of espresso. The 55mm pods make two shots and a few machines take the 62mm pods.
There are many coffee blends available for you to sample in the coffee pod range including flavoured coffees such as hazelnut and vanilla. They are sold in multi packs which are the most cost effective way to purchase. You can also buy packs of mixed blends so you can try different varieties without having to buy a whole bag of coffee beans or grounds. Tea pods are also available for the tea lovers in your family.
Most coffee machines these days are either pod ready or are easily adapted to use them. The coffee industry standard on pods is called the ESE format. This means Easy Serving Espresso pod and defines the 44mm standard pods that will work in all machines with the ESE sign. If your machine does not have this sign, you can probably still buy an adaptor filter that will convert your machine to be pod friendly. If you are looking to buy a machine that uses pods you can either choose a semi automatic machine with the ESE sign which will allow you to make coffee the traditional way as well as the convenient pod way or a cheaper pod brewer that only takes pods.
Buying pods in bulk is the most economical option. Prices will vary according to the brand and blend you buy but start from about $0.20 per pod.
Semi automatic machines are great if you know what you are doing with them but with so many steps involved in getting a great coffee from them, you may be inclined to take the easy option and use coffee pods. They make the whole process a lot quicker and involve far less waste and cleaning. They also give a consistent quality to your coffee with each cup and have been developed to produce a great crema on the top. The only disadvantages are the higher cost when compared to packets of beans or grounds.
Gaggia 102532 Espresso-Pure Semi Automatic Espresso Machine – Black
For $249 you can make espressos, lattes, cappuccinos and much more to the quality you would expect in a café from the comfort of your own home. The stainless steel boiler ensures each shot is delivered at exactly the right temperature. There is a cup warmer that is passively heated that ensures you do not lose any heat when the shot is poured. You can just sit back and relax and enjoy your espresso with its thick golden crema layer. The chrome plated brass group head and filter holder also helps to keep the temperature stable. This machine is flexible in that it can take either coffee pods or ground coffee and it comes with a steam wand for making excellent frothy milk to add to cappuccinos and lattes. It also delivers hot water only for those who prefer tea or hot chocolate. The control panel is simple to use and you can make two shots at the same time. There is also a large 42 fluid ounce water tank that can be removed for easy filling. The design is classy and will look good in any kitchen. The unit also comes with numerous accessories including two filter baskets, a coffee tamper and scoop. Overall this is a great coffee machine for the price.
Gaggia 102534 Espresso-Color Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine – Red
Selling for $399, this stunning red Gaggia coffee machine has an exceptional design and is semi-automatic. It has a stainless steel boiler and uses either coffee pods or ground coffee. There are two filter baskets for brewing either single or double espresso shots. The heat stability is maintained through the use of chrome plated brass in both the group head and filter holder. You can even pre-warm your cups on the cup warmer. If you fancy a change from espresso shots the frothing wand attachment can be used to make cappuccinos or lattes. This is easy to use to foam and steam milk.
Gaggia 16109 Evolution Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
For around $350 you can treat yourself to this Gaggia coffee machine and brew any number of quality coffees at home. The unit is semi-automatic and holds 44 fluid ounces of water in its easily removable reservoir. The control panel is easy to use with its three buttons that you simply push for either power, brewing or steaming. The aluminium boiler holds 3.5 fluid ounces of water and has two elements to speed up heating. Temperature is further controlled by the commercial style brew group and portafilter which is made of brass with chrome plating. To keep the vibration noise down in your kitchen whilst brewing the unit is fitted with rubber mounts. As with most Gaggia coffee machines the filter can work with either coffee pods or ground coffee. There is also a Turbo Frother steam wand to add that professional touch to your coffees. Further features of this stylish machine include a cup warmer, a lightweight casing and a design that is easy to clean. It comes with two stainless steel filter baskets, a coffee tamper and a measuring scoop and is available in either black/silver or silver/chrome colours.