Coffee drinking is as much an art as it is a necessity for busy work mornings and languorous Saturdays and Sundays. One of the revolutionary turns of recent years has been the appearance of the coffee pod. Whilst coffee pod machines are regularly reviewed, the coffee is really only as good as the flavour coming out of that tiny pod.
Coffee pods have the great advantage of convenience which is hard to beat under any circumstance although they have received some negative press because they are not wholly environmentally friendly. The coffee coming from these pods is relatively cheap compared to purchasing it from a coffee shop. They also offer considerable variety and are vastly simpler to prepare than some of the machines. All the pods are hermetically sealed to preserve freshness and aroma with minimal fuss and packaging. I even know some people think the coffee extract in a pod is not real but we know that only coffee from Arabica and Robusta beans is used.
Going back to the environmental issue, plastic is certainly frowned upon and legislation even with coffee pod manufacture is likely to alter. Recycling is a key topic and one which deserves attention by the producers. In a few cases, composting the coffee pod is possible which shows how much innovation has been conducted in improving their acceptability. Ideally I would like ones that can be thrown into a food waste bin without having to wash them out or segregate them.
The top brands and the ones which consistently enter the top 10 in the grocery section of Amazon are probably offering the best quality in terms of bulk coffee. More tailored and nuanced offering are now coming from suppliers looking to develop a particular clientele for their flavours. Its also worth noting that whilst the pod is important but you might well base your decision to purchase on the machine that employs those pods. Just be careful as not all are as good as they make out and can frankly ruin a coffee.
Just to help you we have been looking at coffee pod machines too. We reviewed some in 2017 and have just completed a review of the latest models for 2019.
Tassimo are a major coffee brand and are produced by Jacobs Douwe Egberts which are part of Mondelez. The range is quite extradordinary and must cater for nearly every taste out there. They offer 80 pods in a pack which means 40 servings and this is fairly standard throughout. They make great play of the strong associations we have with well known branding such as the Kenco, The Coffee Company. Kenco was always a brand to be trusted and there is no shortage of interest in their coffee flavours.
The American Grande is a highly aromatic flavour. They also offer a creamer which is worth pursuing if milk or something dairy like is needed to reduce the bitterness. Being a Grande means that you have a fair sized mug of coffee and it is strong. If you prefer something more conventional, try the Americano which is a smaller volume drink and worth it in terms of flavour. The flavour is a traditional roast grounded coffee. Enjoy with milk or not!
We also noticed they had the L’OR range in their portfolio. These are coffees which are ideal for mornings as opposed to quieter afternoons. Take a look at the Costa brand too which is a highstreet name that’s been given to this particular range of coffee flavours. The Latte is highly sought out as is the Columbian coffee.
If you like flavoured coffee then Tassimo have the caramel latte and if you like chocolate then why not go for the Cadbury Hot Chocolate drink.
We also like the Senseo brand from Douwe Egberts which is a smooth coffee for drinking at any time of the day. In this particular coffee the cup is topped by a smooth crema layer which provides an ‘extra touch of indulgence’. Look for the All Day Coffee.
Nescafe Dolce Gusto
The great rival to Tassimo is the Dolce Gusto brand and they make for some tremendous flavours. The most popular offer at the moment is their Cappuccino. The terms refers to the Italian for hood which is the foam on the surface of the coffee. It helps keep the heat in the coffee (so we are told). The coffee flavour itself is a typical espresso. In their example, they have 48 pod servings in a pack of three.
Throughout the range they are going head to head in many cases which means that there are at least two extremely good alternatives. It’s also worth noting that the reviewers (whether you believe them or not) on the Amazon web-site have very few unkind words to say other than typical amounts of damage or the pods do not fit in the other manufacturer’s machine. We also like their Cafe Au Lait and Americano Intenso, (formerly Grande Intenso).
Nespresso is part of an operation in Nestle but which usually offers coffee pod mixtures. Worth seeking out because of the great variety of coffee types possible. It also means that if you choose other brands, they must be compatible with the coffee making device.
A brand that could certainly not be kept out of the pod marketplace. They have quite a range of their iconic coffees in pods. These include Delizioso, Passionale, Dek Cremoso, Lungo Dolce, Divino, Magia, Lieve Lungo, Qualita Rossa DEK and Soave.
One to focus on is Espresso Passionale. This podded coffee has really warm coffee aromatics with a hint of toffee (caramel) and chocolate.
A Nespresso compatible pod which offers coffee in five different blends. These include Deciso, Intenso, Cremoso, Vellutato and Lungo. The Gruppo Gimoka produce their own coffee. Their pods are prepared to the very best of the Italian coffee tradition. The capsules are not compatable with any other brand of machine except Nespresso.
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The classic high street brand also have their own pods. Why not try the Fairtrade Espresso Roast Nespresso ® compatible capsules. These have a very dark roast which is intense in flavour and with a slight caramel note. Many reviews do believe it has the same taste as the purchased coffee from the high street.
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