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Do Coffee Pods Work for All Machines?

Do Coffee Pods Work for All Machines?

Since the invention of coffee pods, many people think coffee pods work for all machines. This may have been true when the invention was still very new. 

But in the world we live in today, there are different machines for different pods. If someone doesn’t come up with a new coffee pod design, then it will be a new coffee machine. 

The odds are high that you always prefer to do things conveniently. And it is for this reason that innovations like coffee pods are available. Coffee pods are the equivalent of tea bags to give you coffee in a single-serve. That means, within this pod, you have all the constituents you need to make a cup of coffee. However, you have to know how to pick the best machine for your coffee pods.

Before coffee pods came along, you had to make coffee manually if you wanted to drink coffee. That means, after the rigorous process of roasting and grinding your coffee beans. 

You still have to mix the ground coffee manually before you add some water. As easy as these tasks sound, you will need a lot of skill to pull them off. With coffee pod machines, you can avoid all of this stress. 

Coffee makers may seem like lovely innovations today, but they’ve been around for about 2 centuries now. The first coffee machine was “The biggin.” Originating from France in 1780, The Biggin used cloth in the upper compartment to filter ground coffee into a coffee pot. However, there were several issues with this method; one of which was an irregular coffee taste. 

Of course, the Biggin was only the first of several other types of coffee machines. And these innovations grew in popularity in the 18th century. In 1908, according to Coffee.org, Melitta Bentz made a drip coffee maker with a blotting paper filter. 

Officially though, you can trace the history of coffee pods an engineer named Eric Favre. He was the brain behind the idea of coffee pods. He saw the problem of pressure coffee baristas faced during a visit to an Italian coffee shop in 1975. And about ten years later, he had a solution to that problem. 

Coffee pods are without a doubt an amazing innovation in the coffee market of today. That’s because of the convenience it brings to both the regular coffee lover and the coffee entrepreneur. However, many still debate the pros and cons of this innovation to date. 

As a coffee lover, there’s a high chance that you will privately buy a coffee machine. But before you do this, you need to confirm if your favourite coffee pod will work for all machines. That way, you can have a direction of the kind of machine that suits your coffee pod. 

In this guide, we will tell you if coffee pods work for all machines, and if not, we will tell you why. Also, we will examine the features of coffee machines, as well as the pros and cons of using them.  After that, we will give you tips on how you can pick the best coffee pods for your coffee machine. It may be a long read, but it’s sure worth it. 

Are Coffee Pods Compatible with All Machines?

The first thing we will do is to answer the primary question in this article. If you want a direct answer; that answer is NO. Coffee pods don’t just work for any machine. And there are several reasons why your coffee pods won’t work with any machine.

Before we go into these reasons, let’s discuss the usage of coffee pods. You can use coffee pods in several ways. You can use a coffee pod with a coffee machine designed primarily for coffee pods. Also, there are regular coffee machines that work perfectly with coffee pods.

Surprisingly, you can still use your coffee pods without a machine. So, with these different ways of using coffee pods, it’s hard to see coffee pods that work for every machine. However, most of these coffee pods work with several types of coffee machines.

For this reason, it’s advisable to do plenty of research before buying a coffee machine. If you already have a favourite among all the coffee pods, what you can do is research. A simple online search will save you a lot of coffee pod compatibility issues. 

Why are Coffee Pods not Compatible with All Machines?

The first thing you need to know is all coffee pods and coffee machines have different innovators. And for each of these innovations, there is a particular problem they’re trying to solve. For example, reusable coffee pods are solving the problem of plastic waste in the coffee pod market. In the same vein, other coffee pods are solving their respective problems.

So you see, even the coffee pods will have their differences in features and shapes. And if the pods can have differences, how much more the coffee machines? Similarly, the coffee machines also have their differences. Let’s take a look at some reasons why coffee pods won’t work for any machine:

Content of the coffee pod

Generally, you will expect all coffee pods to have the same content, which is measured coffee for a single-serve. But don't forget that different brands are producing these coffee pods. And you should also not forget that even human beings have their preferred coffee brew. All of these and more affect the features of the coffee pods.

For example, let's assume you prefer your coffee with some extra cream. There are coffee pods that have the content to suit that need. Now, these pods will not have the same content as regular pods. And as a result, that content may affect the size and dimension of the coffee pods.

Generally, the diameter of coffee pods was initially 44mm under the Easy Serving Espresso standards. But today, these sizes now range from 38mm to 44mm. And of course, some machines have designs to cater to a specific diameter. That's one of the reasons why coffee pods won't work for any machine. 

Also, the shape of your coffee pods has a huge influence on machine compatibility. Let's assume your preferred coffee pods have a cup-like shape similar to k-cups. You will need a coffee machine that is compatible with that exact shape and size. 

Types of machine

There are several types of machines used to make coffee pods. Each one of these machines has different specifications and features. Some are for regular coffee only, while some machines are for coffee pods only. Your coffee pods can't work with all these machines. 

For example, let's assume there's a coffee machine that a barista uses for ground coffee. There's a very high chance that the coffee machine may not have a compartment for coffee pods. As a result, you can't even think of using it for your coffee pods. 

So you see, it’s not enough to check the electrical and mechanical features of a prospective coffee machine. Check if it has designs that make it compatible with coffee pods. After that, you need to confirm if the dimensions on the machine synchronize with the coffee pod size. When you do all these, you will be able to make informed decisions. 

Brand identity

The final goal of every brand is to grow and evolve to become an industry leader. That's why the same company producing coffee pods will try their hands on coffee-making machines. They want to promote their product alongside their products.

These types of coffee pods can't work for all machines. That's because these brands will naturally differentiate their brand identity. So when you fall in love with the coffee pods, you've to fall in love with its machine.  

Sometimes, these brands start making machines for their branded coffee pods. However, they can transition into making other coffee pods machines to suit other brands. And in the long run, this will affect how coffee pods can work for all machines. 

Related Article: A Comprehensive Guide to Using Coffee Pods

Location

If you take a look at the history of coffee pods, you will notice they started in different nations. For example, Eric Favre noticed the problem in Italy. While the Biggin and early coffee machines started in France. And till date, there are different coffee pod styles in different countries. 

So, if you buy some coffee pods in Canada for instance, and you're travelling to Italy. You won't be wrong if you decide not to take your coffee pods along with you to a new location. That's because there's a high possibility that the coffee pods won't work with all the machines in that country.

System and category of coffee pods

In some parts of the world, some coffee lovers have two categories for coffee pods. The first category is compact pods, while the next category is soft pods. Compact pods have constituents and content to produce espresso coffee. On the other hand, soft pods are pods that originate from the filter and drip coffee tradition.

The system of making these two coffee pods always differ from each other. And because of that, there are two types of systems to use your coffee pods and machine. These systems are open systems and closed systems respectively. 

The open system is one where the different coffee pod brands work with several machines. That means, different brands for coffee pods and machines find a midpoint. That means, different coffee pods will work with almost all machines. Very recently, many manufacturers are aligning with this system.

On the other hand, the closed system is the exact opposite of the open system. In this system, the manufacturers of the machines and the pods patent their products. So, you can only use your coffee pods regularly with only one machine type. 

How to Use Coffee Machines to Brew Coffee Pods 

When you want to brew coffee, there are two important ingredients you need. These ingredients are coffee and water. 

When you want to make your coffee, your water doesn't need to be at its boiling temperature. That means, instead of 100°C, you can allow the water to boil till about 96°C. That's because to make the perfect coffee, you should keep the water a little cooler than the boiling point. Depending on the type of coffee, you can boil your water till it reaches a temperature range of 90°C to 96°C.

Before you can get that coffee that you love, there's a long procedure. From the coffee beans on a tree to its roasting and grinding, Coffee processing is a daunting task. When the ground coffee is ready, there are many ways to brew the coffee, which include:

  • Instant coffee: This is the easiest way to make coffee. All you need to do is to put your coffee powder into a cup and introduce hot water. Almost instantly the coffee dissolves, and you're enjoying your favourite drink. 
  • Coffee Machines: It's not only coffee pods that need a machine, ground coffee does too. 
  • Filter coffee; As the name implies, you're filtering the content of the coffee with some tools. What you need is filter paper, coffee, and of course, hot water. The process is pretty easy. All you do first is fit your ground coffee into a filter paper. After that, introduce your hot water to the filter paper. This is very similar to making a manual coffee pod.
  • Cafetière: For this coffee-making method, you'll need a pot, alongside the coffee and hot water. All you need to do is to put this ground coffee in your pot and pour hot water over the coffee. In about five mins, the hot water will now release the coffee flavour.
  • Percolator: In this method, the machine mixes hot water and coffee at the top. The result of this process is always strong coffee. However, this process may be messy and you have to do a lot of cleaning after. 

There may be different styles of coffee pod machines. However, they pretty much follow the same brewing process. 

Find a suitable machine

If you want to brew your coffee with your favourite coffee pod, you have to find a suitable machine. As we have mentioned earlier, coffee pods don't work for all machines. So, before you buy that coffee pod, ensure you find a corresponding coffee pod machine. This is best unless you want to go through the manual method of making coffee.

During your search for coffee pods machines, you can always take along a sample of your coffee pod. That way, you can confirm if the brand of your coffee pod has a corresponding machine. And if not, you can easily test the features of your coffee pod and a prospective machine. By doing that, you save yourself the stress and risk of error.

Place your coffee pods in a machine

The first thing to do is to look for the location of the coffee pod compartment in your coffee pod machine. After that carefully place your coffee pod in it.

In most cases, the machine opens the coffee pod immediately. That way all that works inside the machine is ground coffee. You don't need to bother about this process, as it's automatic.

Fill the machine with water.

One of the essential ingredients to brew coffee is water. And the situation isn't different with coffee pods. You'll still need water to brew coffee pods.

So, the first thing to do is to load your machine with water.  In most cases, the water tank is mostly at the back of your coffee pod machine. So, make sure the water is as clean as possible and load the tank. 

There are some types of coffee pod machines that automate the filling of the water process. All you have to do is to connect the machines to a source of water. After this process of filling water, the next steps are mostly automatic. Some of the things the coffee pods machine does are;

Pumping

Within almost all coffee pod machines, there's always a pump. The major function of this pump is to move water through the coffee pod machine. For some coffee pod machines, the pumping process is continuous. While for some others, the machine pumps the water at the necessary points.

Heating element

There's no way you can brew a perfect coffee with cold water. You need the water for your coffee hot. Therefore, for all coffee pods machines that work, there's a water heater or heating element.

Because this process is automatic, the heat level of the water is always perfect. So, when the water pump pumps the water till it flows through the heating element, the water gets hot. 

Increase water pressure 

The pumping of water within the coffee pod machine happens for two reasons. The first one is to supply the whole machine with the water needs at necessary points. 

While the other is to increase the pressure of the water. During a second pump, the water passes through a needle. This will increase the pressure of the water immediately. 

Mixing coffee and water

Remember we said the pumps in a coffee pod machine work tirelessly throughout the coffee-making process. The mixing process of the coffee and water isn't devoid of pumping. The pumps help to mix the water (hot and pressured) with the ground coffee. 

By doing this, they form the coffee which is the final product you're expecting. During this pumping process, the flavour of the coffee becomes clear. So you have a perfect mix of coffee and hot, pressured water.

Filtering

Of course, you wouldn't want to drink your coffee and taste particles of ground coffee. But the coffee mix presently has both water and coffee particles. That means your coffee pods machines have to find a way to separate the coffee from the particles. So, for all coffee pods machines that work, they have a filter medium within.

In many cases, these machines still use regular filter paper. This filter paper traps the particles of the ground coffee and prevents it from going out. So at the end of the day, what you have is your fresh coffee. 

Collect your coffee

The filter of most coffee pod machines is often close to the collection area of the machine. So in most cases, you can set your cup and collect your coffee. The taste of this process depends heavily on the coffee pod you put in the machine at the beginning. 

Now this process above may seem like a long process on paper. But it's a very brief process in practice. All of these pumping and heating occur automatically. So, you get your coffee within some minutes. 

How to Pick The Best Machine for Your Coffee Pods?

Before you buy that coffee pod machine, there are several factors to consider. The first factor is that coffee pods won't just work for all machines. So, if you have a favourite coffee pod, you have to buy the coffee pod machine that suits your choice. 

Likewise, the use of the coffee pod machine is another important factor to consider before you buy the coffee pod. Some of the tips on picking the right coffee pods for your machine; 

Type of coffee pod machine

There are several coffee makers around the globe. Each one of these coffee makers comes with its features. In general, the major features for the best machines for coffee pods include;

  • The casing of the body is usually strong plastic.
  • A heating element that can heat water within minutes.
  • A strong water pump that pumps water heavily within seconds.
  • An air compressor to clear the coffee pod machine's system in preparation for the next coffee.
  • A water tank to store water for each brew. It's usually at the back of the coffee pod machine.

All brands of coffee machines are fine-tuning their machines so that coffee pods can work for all machines. However, Some of the types of coffee machines include:

  • A drip coffee maker
  • A single-serve coffee machine
  • An Espresso machine
  • A Cafetière coffee maker

Private use or public use

Another thing you should consider is the use of this coffee pod machine. If you're buying the coffee pod machine for personal use, you can buy it in line with your desired features. You can even buy a coffee pod machine that works only for your favourite brand of coffee pods.

However, if the coffee pod machine is for general use, this factor changes. That's because your coffee preference can't be the same as another person's preference. So you will want to buy a coffee pod machine that can work for most coffee pods. By doing this, you can satisfy the general coffee need of every user of the machine.

Budget

For every new device you hope to purchase, you should have a budget or price range. That's also the case with the coffee pods machines. Coffee pods machines come in different price ranges. And each of these price ranges changes because of the features.

However, as much as you want to save money, you need to buy a viable product. You should always prioritize cost-effectiveness over cheap pricing.

Time 

The primary reason why coffee pods are here is for convenience. So you should get a coffee machine that saves your time while brewing your coffee. Some coffee machines brew coffee within ten minutes,  while there are some that brew coffee within 75 seconds. 

Related Article: How to Clean and Maintain Your Coffee Pods Machine

Conclusion 

Coffee pods may not work for all coffee machines. However, there are specifications of each machine that work with different coffee pods. Likewise, you know the basic features of coffee pod machines. 

We have also been able to discuss how to pick the best coffee pods machine. However, remember that your coffee pods machine is impossible to use without the right coffee pods. Here at Invigo Coffee, we offer a collection of delicious coffee pods that will work for most machines. Check out our collection today!

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