If you are a coffee drinker, you can be confident that the latest research is clear: coffee is part of a healthy lifestyle according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Do you really have time to brew a cup of coffee? We are living in a fast-paced world. That’s why more and more instant things come up. That’s why Coffee capsules are introducing. Coffee Capsule is also kind of convenience coffee but it is not a traditional instant coffee at all.
In this article:
Coffee Capsule vs bean-to-cup coffee
As we know, there are many bean-to-cup coffee machines which can help you easy to brew a cup of tasty coffee. Why do we need the coffee capsule machines? Do they offer special value comparing to the traditional automatic coffee machines? Let’s go and see.
There is no doubt that bean-to-cup coffee machines give you the most choices. You can buy any kind of beans, and make any taste coffee with your unique formula. But that means unstable. The amount of coffee brewed per cup, the fineness of the grind and the blended ratio of beans, will bring changes to the flavor of the coffee.
There is a good range of coffee capsule vendors in the world, like well-known Illy, Nespresso, Lavazza, etc. They provide hundreds of types of coffee capsules. With the benefit of modern technologies and quality control systems, you will get what you expect at any time.
Ease of use
It must be the NO 1 reason why the people will choose a capsule machine instead of the bean-to-cup machine.
With a coffee capsule machine, you can make a coffee in 30 seconds by inserting a capsule. The only additional step is to throw away the brewed coffee capsule.
However automatic bean-to-cup coffee machines require you throw out the used grinds, i.e. usually some compacted ground coffee in a small cake shape. Then you’ll have to rinse the inside of the dreg drawer to remove all the coffee. Of course, it is a completed time-consuming job.
Freshness shall be the NO 2 KEY feature of Coffee Capsule.
Coffee is at its freshest right after the beans have been roasted. The advantage of coffee stored in capsules is that they are typically sealed immediately after roasting, thereby locking in the freshness by preventing any contact with moisture or oxygen, the presence of which can make coffee go dull and stale. In general, the freshness will be kept for more than one year in the capsule. However, a bag of coffee beans will lose most of the coffee scents in only one week.
But please also notice the coffee capsules are weaker in flavor than an espresso from your local coffee shop. For example, a cafe espresso is brewed using around 11 grams while the capsules contain ground ranging from 5 to 7 grams in general. But if you are not a die-hard fan of strong coffee, the coffee capsule will be good enough.
Coffee Capsules vs Coffee Pods
A coffee capsule is sealed in a plastic or aluminum package. It is usually designed for use with a single brand or system and is therefore not compatible with other systems. The maker injects high pressurized water through ground coffee to brew the coffee.
While a coffee pod is pre-packaged ground coffee inside its paper filter. A coffee pod is a pre-packaged ground coffee inside its paper filter. Since pod has a round, flat shape, so it is also known as a coffee pad. Coffee Pods need a slow-pressure, almost drip system in order to brew. Coffee Pods can even be used without a machine just like tea bags.
ESE (Easy Serving Espresso) is the standard for coffee pods. Any pod that meets the ESE standard can be used in any espresso machine, that is ESE compatible, in order to make espresso. But due to the limit of the paper packing, the freshness sustainability is not so good as the capsule
What are the Coffee Capsule systemsCoffee capsules are designed for use within a closed-system. That means different systems are not interchangeable. Some systems force machine owners to buy capsules from a single company (usually the patent owner).Currently, there are 5 main systems in the world.
Nespresso is combined with Nestlé and Espresso because Nestlé wishes to introduce a closed-system to make a cup of espresso at a time when it is the 1970s. But it does not mean Nespresso provides espresso only. The capsules are sold in two main lines by Nespresso: Original and Vertuo.
The Original line machines use single-step extraction systems, which is pretty standard as far as capsule brewing systems go. The Original line includes Intenso, Espresso, Lungo, Reviving Origin, Master Crafted Single Origins, Decaffeinato, and Flavored lines. You can buy capsules from third party sources like Lavazza and Peets.
The Vertuo machines have the added the barcode reader, so the Vertuo capsules have barcodes on them that contain information regarding proper temperature, water volume, etc. used for brewing. Once this barcode is scanned, the machine brews the capsule accordingly with the patented Centrifusion brewing method, then there comes a cup of tasty coffee with a thick, boisterous layer of crema.
Due to Nestlè has the patent until 2030, so there are no compatible capsules for Vertuo Line so far.
IperEspresso is developed and patented by Illy. It is used to prepare espresso coffee and espresso-based drinks. The iperEspresso capsule system contains a patented two-stage process to create intensely aromatic, full-bodied espresso with rich, long-lasting crema. At the first stage, the hot water is diffused with high pressure on the capsule capturing the ground coffee and then the 2nd stage of emulsification and distillation begins and results in excellent espresso with very thick froth.
The most advantage of the IperEspresso capsule is the grounds inside are 100% quality Arabica beans, rather than the Arabica-Robusta mix used by the other competitors.
Tassimo is originally developed by Kraft Foods. But now it is owned by Jacobs Douwe Egberts which owns dozens of beverage brands. The Tassimo pods, also called T discs, with a printed bar code which tells the machine the best way to brew the selected hot beverage. Tassimo is designed to make a wider range of drink options including latte, cappuccino, tea or even chocolate directly. BTW, some milky drinks may require additional UHT milk discs.
Dolce gusto is also from Nestlé. But it is not compatible with Nespresso at all. Similar to Tassimo, Dolce gusto is a hot beverage maker for a wide range of drinks. In almost all beverages with milk, two capsules are needed: one capsule with milk powder and other with coffee, tea or chocolate, etc. There are many cheaper compatible capsules from supermarkets. That makes the Dolce Gusto capsule has a full range of different capsule flavors.
Keurig is designed to brew a single cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or other hot beverage similar to Tassimo and Dolce Gusto. The capsule of Keurig is called a “K-Cup” pod.
K-Cup pod, consisting of a plastic cup, aluminum lid, and filter, is filled with coffee grounds, tea leaves, cocoa powder, fruit powder, or other contents, and is nitrogen flushed, sealed for freshness, and impermeable to oxygen, light, and moisture.
The new brewer carries Keurig 2.0 system with the patented RFID technology. That means the 2.0 compatible K-Cup Pods will have an RFID tag on it. RFID contains more information than the legacy barcode, then the maker will be much smarter and make better coffee or other hot drinks. On the other way, RFID also brings digital rights management (DRM) restrictions and locks out unlicensed 3rd party pods.
Which Coffee Capsule system is perfect for you
As we know, the system or brand you choose will finally affect the drink options available to you. So in short:
If you mainly want to make espresso-based coffees such as espressos, americanos, and lungo, Nespresso and IperEspresso are best for you. They focus on espresso coffee drinks, with a range of blends and strengths available. BTW, some of the makers come with a built-in milk frother, which can help you make lattes and cappuccinos.
If you like a wide range of drinks such as flavored coffees, chai lattes, hot chocolates and teas, Dolce Gusto, Tassimo or Keurig will be your best choices.