What is Pod coffee?
Pod coffee is all the new rage nowadays. A pod is a single-serve coffee container that comes enclosed with a particular type of coffee in its ready-to-use ground form. The pod sizes are fixed as per the drink you want to make and therefore contain just the right amount of coffee powder that’s essential to make an espresso, cappuccino, latte, and more. The single-serve coffee contains just enough amount of pre-measured coffee ground that is required for a single portion.
Why is Pod coffee so famous?
The reason pod coffee became famous is the same reason why fast-food became mainstream. People wanted quick, better-tasting, and easily accessible food alternatives that would save them valuable time, effort, and, more importantly, money in doing so. They also became a part of life when customers became habituated to them and their stores. A similar concept is with pod coffee.
Of course, you can make your coffee, but there is a hassle in finding the right coffee, the right grind, and then finding the right portions, flavorings, and additives to make the coffee. The pods save a lot of hassle in this process. Since everything is calculated, all you have to do is just insert the pod and let the machine do its job.
This process works for busy individuals who love coffee but not the hassle. So they would want to automate some part of the process. Even regular coffee drinkers would find pods practical as stored coffee would eventually lose its flavor and aroma over some time unless it is sealed properly. When it comes to the pods, the coffee beans are roasted, ground to the right level, and packed instantly in an air-tight sealed aluminum container. Thus retaining the taste and flavor for a long time. All of these reasons were why the pod coffee found its place in the coffee market.
Nespresso has two options when it comes to pods, and so do their coffee machines. The machines and pods initially used were the older ones now called Original Nespresso, while the latest ones have been branded as Nespresso Vertuo pods.
The Vertuo product range was launched in the year 2014 and is specifically targeted at their North American customers who prefer larger coffees than espressos. The Vertuo system’s uniqueness lies in the special design of its pods as opposed to the original ones. That coupled with the unique coffee extraction process, it can make a total of 5 different drink portions, which can be a single espresso or a large 14-ounce coffee.
Drink Portion Size and Availability
While the original pods can deliver only 3 different drink sizes (0.7-oz ristretto, the 1.4-oz espresso, and the 3.7-oz lungo), the Vertuo pods can deliver 5 different ones which are espresso, a 2.7-ounce double espresso, a 5-ounce gran lungo, an 8-ounce coffee, and a 14-ounce alto XL. It’s important to note that the Vertuo pods will only work in the VertuoLine of machines. The advantage of these machines is that they can prepare both espresso and coffee.
While we agree that the Original pods are older series and so they have a much wider selection of pods in addition to a lot of third-party sellers who use the same design as the patent has expired. The Nespresso VertuoLine, on the other hand, has less selection available and is only available from Nespresso. The pods are dome-shaped, come in 3 different sizes and look very different in form from all the other pods. The typical sizes in milliliters are shared below.
- An average Espresso will be 40ml, an average espresso size
- The Double Espresso will be 80ml
- The Gran lungo size will be 150ml, which is a long espresso.
- Mug 237ml, is about the same size as a normal mug
- Finally, the Alto is 414ml, which is two mug’s worth of black coffee
Unique Barcode system
Each of these pods carries a specific barcode that has information about the coffee, the ground level and how it has to be processed, the ideal brewing conditions for that coffee. This barcode information is automatically read by the Nespresso machine, which then automatically adjusts the required settings and processes the pod as per the barcode’s instructions.
This creates the perfect brewing settings, and no user input is required. The benefit of using Vertuo pods is that you can make much larger coffee drinks without any of them getting diluted or feeling diluted. Vertuo pods will also create a much thicker crema layer, which is possible even on the larger coffees.
Process of coffee extraction – Centrifusion technology
We all know that coffee using the traditional methods or the Original pods is made using a system of pressure and hot water to make the coffee and the frothy espresso. In Vertuo, the design is completely different. Vertuo pods are engineered to take advantage of the centrifugal system.
In the Vertuo coffee machines, engineers have built a spinning system in which steaming hot water is sent into the capsule while the capsule is spun at high speed of 7000 revolutions per minute. The hot water mixes with the coffee ground and manages to release the flavor. Also, the high rate of spin creates a small high-pressure pocket inside the capsule. Together with the centrifugal force, it forces the coffee to flow out.
The Vertuo pods have around 20 punctures around the edges of the capsule. Since the water is hot, the coffee, steam, centrifugal force, and high-pressure have a combined effect on the coffee ground. Not only the coffee extract, but a lot of rich crema or froth is also created in the process. The over operation is much quicker and quieter than the original Vertuo machines.
Vertuo Coffee machines
Bear in mind that the Vertuo pods will work only with the VertuoLine machines. These pods are new technology. Unlike the Original pods, there are no third-party machines that can use them. So it is important to understand that Vertuo products are a different technology and are not compatible with any other product. You will have to keep this in mind before you buy one.
- The latest technology gives you 5 different drink sizes
- Pods are barcoded with information specific to that capsule.
- Crema is rich and very thick compared to the original pods
- Operation is relatively quiet
- Pods can be expensive compared to other brands
- Limited choice of machines and prices are higher
- Pods are bigger and so need larger storage spaces
Choose a Nespresso original if
If you love the lattes, espressos, or cappuccinos. There is a huge choice of coffee pods, from cheap to expensive and from simple to exquisite.
Choose Nespresso Vertuo if
If you love thicker crema, richer taste and usually prefer a full mug or longer coffees like filter coffee or Americano. The options of pods are limited now, and we believe Nespresso will add to the range over some time. Nespresso does regularly bring out limited-editions and new options. The coffee machine is cheap, but the pods are expensive, and there are no other compatible third-party manufacturers.
We have seen coffee pod sales shoot up the roof in the last 2 decades. They constitute around 30% of the overall coffee market, with almost 35% of Americans owning a single-cup pod coffee unit. If you are not too fussy about the coffee, these are great alternatives to store-purchased coffee.
They will cost you a fraction of what you pay at a café and also is a quick and easy process to make coffee at home. They exist because many coffee lovers neither want to bother about buying a specialized and expensive coffee machine just to have a cup of coffee, nor do they want to spend all their money in cafés. I hope the information has been useful.