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Comprehensive Guide to Coffee Pods 2021

Comprehensive Guide to Coffee Pods 2021

Coffee pods are relatively new in the coffee industry, at least when you compare them to ground coffee. So it's possible, even as a coffee lover, to know close to nothing about coffee pods. In that case, you may need a guide to learn more about coffee pods. 

Coffee pods are a great addition to the coffee industry by virtue of their convenience. However, the introduction of coffee pods, as with all new concepts, was met with mixed reactions from coffee lovers all around the globe. Some people fell in love with coffee pods immediately, while some others hate the very notion. 

As a coffee lover, there's a high chance you have a preferred brand of coffee product. Also, you know the exact taste of coffee you want to enjoy at any time. Before settling on that brand, it’s likely you have tried coffee products from other brands.

So why not approach coffee pods with the same level of curiosity? And we’ll be your conductor through this experience. Here, we’ll discuss coffee pods, their advantages and how to use them. 

What Are Coffee Pods: Answering Your Questions

Essentially, coffee pods are to coffee what tea bags are to tea. You can define coffee pods as coffee products that give you a single-serve of coffee. So, a coffee pod always has enough material to provide you with a single cup of coffee. 

When coffee pods were new in the market, they mostly came in paper filter bags. Paper bag coffee pods still exist today, but if you see these types of pods, you may mistake them for teabags. 

In an ever-changing world, innovation is the one constant. Every product always undergoes an innovation stage. There are always constant improvements in the type and features of coffee pods. 

At the time of writing this, it’s possible to make coffee pods with different containers. In 2021, you may come across a coffee pod that comes in a plastic or aluminum container. In many cases, using these types of coffee pods can be a complex procedure. 

However, in most cases, the guide from the manufacturing company is not comprehensive enough. You may get a description of the ingredients but not how to use the pod. 

The disconnect in the transfer of information is why you have many questions about using coffee pods. Some of the questions you may ask will include:

Are coffee pods safe for the environment? 

Now that you know what coffee pods are, the next thing you want to know is the environmental effects. That’s the thought process of the average coffee-loving environmentalist 

Some coffee pods come in plastic or aluminum containers. These materials are not particularly friendly to the environment because of the decomposing process. Therefore, you have reason to worry about the safety of coffee pods in the environment. 

A good guide to coffee pods will tell you that aluminum and plastic coffee pods take a long time to decompose. As a result, waste deposits in the form of coffee pod containers may become harmful to the environment at large. However, that guide shouldn’t fail to mention that there are now solutions. As usual, you can trace these solutions to continuous innovations. 

There are now materials for coffee pods that decompose in about three months. For plastic pods, many coffee brands now use biodegradable plastic to make their coffee pods. This type of plastic reduces the decomposing time to 3 years. 

More recently, there are now compostable coffee pods. These coffee pods have materials that quicken the decomposition after use. Our Canadian government has shown support for compostable pods too. So, when you want to buy coffee pods in Canada, look out for compostable pods.

When is the best time to drink coffee pods?

If this is the question that bothers you, you may never get a specific answer. Coffee pods are not any different from regular coffee. Due to personal preferences, it’s impossible to pinpoint a universal best time for drinking coffee. The same applies to coffee pods. 

When you do decide on the best time to use coffee pods, you must remember that coffee has caffeine as a constituent. Caffeine stimulates hormones like dopamine and cortisol. Dopamine is the hormone that controls joyful feelings, while cortisol is your stress hormone.

Depending on your system's circadian rhythm, your body's reaction to caffeine may differ. The circadian rhythm forms based on your daily activities and changes. Also, the rhythm is in charge of your sleep patterns as well as hormone production. 

Immediately after you wake up, your cortisol hormone level will be at its peak. If you take coffee pods during this period, it’ll activate the hormone and increase your blood pressure. 

As far as the best time to use a coffee pod goes, avoid it immediately after you wake up. Wait for about 2-3 hours before you brew your cup of coffee. 

How long before my coffee pods expire?

Most products in the market today will usually have an expiry date. If you don't know, that date is the recommended day the product becomes unsafe to consume. The manufacturers decide the expiry date for their product as a function of certain factors. 

In the case of coffee pods, you may not see an expiry date on the pack. What you may notice is the best use date. As the name implies, that's the last date you have an assurance of the best quality of the coffee pod. The best-used date is more like a guide to the best time to use coffee pods. 

The producer of the coffee pod also determines the best use date. The factors that influence the date include the time of production, the freshness of materials and, the presence of extra ingredients. 

You can still use a coffee pod after its best-used date. However, it's not advisable because you won't get the best experience.

What effects does a coffee pod have on me?

When you are considering a switch of products, it's normal to have skeptical thoughts. You are primarily curious about what changes this new product will bring. In the case of coffee pods, there are no adverse effects to using them. 

Coffee pods are essentially coffee for a single-serve — nothing more, nothing less. 

Coffee pods may even give you a better taste and experience than the regular coffee you brew. First, the consistent taste of coffee from coffee pods will enhance your experience. In 2021, the taste variety and additives that coffee pods offer are a plus to using them. 

Related Article: A Guide To Biodegradable Coffee Pods: Why, Features, Best Ways To Dispose

Guide to Coffee Pods: Features

The next stops on our guide to coffee pods are the features to expect. The features of your favoured coffee pods mainly determine how you'll use them and even dispose of the pod. 

The coffee pod brand has an influential role to play in the primary features of that coffee pod. They have the production right to decide how the coffee pod will look. The brand can also influence the content of the coffee pod product. They’ll also determine different elements like design and materials. 

Regardless of these differences and brand choices, there are standard features to expect from every coffee pod. Here’s how to know you’re working with a coffee pod: 

Small-size

The first element you’ll quickly notice in a coffee pod is a small size. The small size of coffee pods is a given regardless of the brand and type of coffee pods. 

The small sizes of coffee pods are there to make them convenient. When you get familiar with a particular coffee taste, it’s hard to enjoy anything else. 

For instance, say you’re going on a journey, you won’t have to worry about what you’ll drink when you need to travel. All you need to do is to pack your coffee pods along with your luggage. Thanks to their small size, coffee pods hardly take space.

Container

There are different types of coffee pods here in Canada. Every one of these pods has a special container that houses its coffee content. The container may be paper, plastic or aluminum. 

Coffee pod containers help you to keep your coffee brewing area neat even after brewing. With ground coffee, you have to do some cleaning even after you finish brewing your coffee. 

Coffee pod containers help to keep your coffee pods fresh. That way, you don't have to worry about any contamination. 

Single-serve

We have explained earlier that coffee pods are the single-serve alternative for coffee. In one coffee pod, you have enough ground coffee to give a cup of coffee. The single-serve feature is one of the key elements of coffee pods. If it’s not single-serve, it’s not a coffee pod. 

All you need to do is pull out your pod and introduce hot water, especially if it's a paper coffee pod. There’s no reusing the contents of a coffee pod. You’ll have consistent taste and freshness regardless of when you brew your pods. 

Dimension

The dimensions of coffee pods are not always the same across all brands. A significant reason for this is that they come in different containers. Another reason is the diversity in product design from one coffee pod brand to another.

Despite the freedom of product design, there’s an average range to the radius of coffee pods. Since you need a coffee pod machine to use coffee pods, every brand has to make sure their pods can fit into a machine. 

Most circular pods always maintain 30.5mm as their radius. Also, coffee pods mostly weigh between 8-12 grams.

Types of Coffee Pods

Earlier in this guide to Coffee pods, we mentioned that coffee pods have different production materials. That means that you may be able to identify a coffee pod today and mistake another tomorrow. 

For instance, let's assume that you start your coffee pod journey with filter paper pods. After some time, you'll be able to recognize almost any coffee pod that comes with filter paper. 

The first time you use a coffee pod with plastic as its container, you may not be able to identify it immediately. You may be able to guess, but you won’t know for sure. That’s because you haven’t been buying plastic pods. As a result, you may not even know these types of coffee pods exist. 

If you’re looking to buy coffee pods in Canada, you have the luxury of choice. The variety of types affects the brewing process, look, and taste of coffee pods. In a way, it also determines whether or not the coffee pod is safe for the environment. Let's take a look at the types of coffee pods we have:

Filter Paper

Filter paper pods hold the honour of being the first type of coffee pod. These types of coffee pods have ground coffee contained in filter paper. Filter paper pods can come in either a circular shape or a square shape. In most cases, the material is always porous. 

With filter paper coffee pods, all you need to brew is introduce hot water, and voila! You have your hot steamy coffee. The coffee will have a great taste because of the light and porous material. That's why many coffee pod brands always produce this type of coffee pod.

Plastic coffee pods

Many users of these types of coffee pods prefer to call them K-cups. As the name implies, plastic coffee pods usually consist of ground coffee in a plastic container. Oftentimes than not, the plastic container for coffee pods will come with a foil at the top. 

The foil always hangs along the line of the plastic. In some other cases, some plastic coffee pods also have filter paper within the pod. As a result, the brewing process for this coffee pod is more complex. In most cases, you'll be needing a machine to brew plastic coffee pods. Many companies also make plastic coffee pods, which means more variety. 

Aluminum coffee pods 

Another material many producers of coffee pods use to make coffee pods is aluminum. Aluminum coffee pods are not popular because of the danger they pose to the environment. 

According to The Guardian, an aluminum coffee pod may take up to 500 years before it decomposes. That scenario is harmful to the environment, and as a result, to you.

Biodegradable and compostable coffee pods

Many coffee lovers who happen to be environmentalists will prefer to use biodegradable or compostable coffee pods. As expected, these coffee pods are safe for environmental usage. 

Some schools of thought assume that biodegradable coffee pods and compostable coffee pods are the same. That’s not far from the truth.

Biodegradable means the material can decompose under natural conditions. Compostable implies the material will decompose after under compost settings. 

Biodegradable and compostable coffee pods do not take long to decompose. This is the chief reason why many environmentalists assume they're the same. 

Advantages of Using Coffee Pods

From what we have been discussing in this guide to coffee pods, you should be able to guess some of the advantages of using coffee pods. 

Chief of those benefits is the convenience of brewing a coffee pod. With a coffee pod, there’s no worry about using the right amount of coffee for your brew. You don't have to worry about getting the right concentration and taste.

Apart from being convenient, coffee pods have a lot of other benefits. These benefits are the reason why coffee pods now hold a significant part of the coffee market. Some of the advantages of coffee pods include;:

Convenience

Convenience is the primary benefit of a coffee pod. When you buy a coffee pod, you can easily brew this pod without having any issues. For some coffee pods, you can quickly pour hot water, you have your coffee from the coffee pod. 

Let's assume you're in a situation when you're rushing to work in the morning. With coffee pods, you won’t have to worry about how long brewing a cup of coffee will take. Coffee pods reduce your stress and save time.

Taste consistency

Unless you have training as a barista, you can't get your coffee taste right all the time. Even baristas that go through training still make mistakes. 

When you're brewing coffee with ground coffee, many factors can make you make mistakes. If you put too much coffee into the mix, the taste will be too strong. If you add too much water to the mix, it affects the coffee quality. 

The volatility of taste is not a problem with coffee pods. When you brew with coffee pods, the only factor that can cause a mistake is the water content. 

There’s no reason to worry about the quality of the coffee pod. Because it's already set from the factory, all pods in a pack have a consistent taste. 

Stays fresh

When you buy a pack of coffee pods, you'll get individual pods. That means, when you take out one coffee pod, the remaining coffee pods remain sealed. What it means is that individual coffee pods will remain untouched and in good condition.

Health safety

One primary reason you should choose coffee pods is health safety. Because of the individuality of its packs, each coffee pod has an assurance of safety.

Because each pod is in an individual pod, there's no fear of any contaminants. For ground coffee, on the other hand, the more you open the pack, the less fresh the remaining ground coffee will be. 

What to Expect from Coffee Pods?

Most coffee lovers who haven't tried coffee pods may not know what to expect. If you fall under this category, the first thing you should know is coffee pods are also coffee. 

You shouldn't be expecting any taste too different from your regular cup of Joe. The pod may have a unique flavour, but it’s still coffee.

What determines the taste of coffee pods? 

Though it’s still coffee, it’s impossible to find two coffee pods that taste exactly the same way. The differences exist due to the following:

Producer 

The producer of any coffee pod has the right to decide the taste of the coffee pod. The taste of their coffee products may be a function of their customer base. In some other cases, they may want to experiment with varieties to stand tall amongst consumers. These are some of the reasons why coffee pods may taste different from one brand to another. 

Machine or water-dirt

You can decide to use coffee pods manually or with a machine. If you use a machine, you need to clean the device frequently. If dirt gets into your machine and you use it to brew, it’ll affect the taste of your final coffee brew.

Also, you have to make sure the water you're adding to the machine or coffee (manually) is pure. Contaminated water will always affect the quality of your coffee pod brew. 

Water quantity

Whether coffee pods or ground coffee, there's no way you'll make coffee pods without using water. The quantity of water you add to the coffee pods also has its effect on the taste. 

If you use too much water, the final coffee brew will lose flavour. But if you have the correct water quantity, you'll get the best coffee drinking experience from the final brew. 

How to Use/Brew Coffee Pods

As against what you may have heard, coffee pods are not hard to brew. There are two major ways to brew coffee pods; manually or with a machine. You can use a compatible coffee pod machine or a non-compatible one.

Manually

If your coffee pod is a paper coffee pod, it's as simple as pouring hot water. However, if you buy plastic or aluminum coffee pods, you can't just pour water on the coffee pod manually. That's where a coffee machine becomes useful. 

With a compatible machine

All you need is a machine with features that work with your coffee pod. Once you buy an appropriate machine, you’ll simply slot in the coffee pods and wait for the machine to do its work.

With a non-compatible machine

If you’re looking to brew with a non-compatible coffee machine, you can try a coffee pod-holster. The coffee pod holster has to be compatible with both the pod and the machine. 

Related Article: Pro Tips for Using Coffee Pods 

Final Thoughts

Our comprehensive guide to coffee pods contains everything you should know about these products in 2021. From the features of coffee pods to answering common coffee pod queries, you now have all the important info. 

One area of concern that remains untouched is where to buy coffee pods. It's always great to get coffee pods from a store that offers great quality pods. 

If you're looking to start drinking coffee pods, you're at the right place. Not only does Invigo Coffee offer the best tasting coffee pods, but our products are also safe for you and the environment. Look through our collections today!

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