Initially starting out as the brainchild of a coffee enthusiast, coffee pods is now a major addition to multiple households. This is true across Canada and virtually every part of the world, with coffee pod brands selling as much as ten billion of their pods every year. As a result, there is a need for a comprehensive guide to using coffee pods.
You see, despite its growing popularity, coffee pods are still a tad difficult to use for certain people. It offers a reasonable amount of convenience, and there's hardly any doubt about that. But, it also requires that you have a bit of knowledge about it before you use it. This is especially so if you'll be making your coffee with a machine.
For this reason, among others, several people assume that coffee pods are much too troublesome to work with. In that regard, we beg to differ. Using coffee pods couldn't be simpler. In this comprehensive guide to using coffee pods, we'll tell you everything that you need to know about the pods as well as how you can use them.
What Are Coffee Pods?
From capsules to bags, there are so many different ways for you to make your coffee these days. As such, it can be a bit of a challenge differentiating between all of them.
However, you should know that a coffee pod is a small container of coffee that is meant to serve you a cup of coffee once. Afterwards, its usefulness for coffee might not be as excellent as you may want. They're designed to provide quick coffee and convenience with pre-roasted coffee beans already encapsulated within a small cup to be inserted into a machine for brewing.
For some brands, coffee pods are like small tea bags. These aren't exactly difficult to identify. However, they can be mistaken for regular tea bags. For other brands, coffee pods resemble tiny cups, and that's what our definition is based on. But, the similarity between these two shapes of coffee pods is that they were both made for one serving of coffee.
What is the Difference Between Coffee Pods and Coffee Capsules?
Given the similarity between coffee pods and coffee capsules, many people seem to think that they're the same thing. Some people even use the terms interchangeably to refer to the same thing in their guide to using coffee pods. The truth is that this is a mistake. An honest, excusable, and common mistake but a mistake nonetheless.
For starters, coffee capsules are a variation of coffee pods. However, a coffee capsule is different from a coffee pod because the former comes in plastic or aluminum packaging. The latter, on the other hand, uses only a paper filter. The former is designed to work with specific machines produced by specific brands. For example, a Brand X coffee capsule is likely to only work with Brand X coffee machine. Coffee pods, on the other hand, can be used interchangeably with different machines.
Regardless of this, however, you must note something about these two coffee-making methods. Now, while they're in fact different, it doesn't change the fact that several people use them interchangeably because they're variations of themselves. This a reason that can be attributed to their similarity in terms of the single-serve function. As such, in this article, we'll be providing as much information on coffee pods as used generally by everyone.
Related article: Best Coffee Pod Brands in 2020: Which is Right for You?
Coffee Pods: A Brief History
Compared to other forms of coffee, coffee pods might seem like greenhorns in the market. In reality, however, these neat little coffee-making methods have been in existence since the 1900s. A couple of years after the first coffee pod was created, it got patented. Soon afterwards, the demand for it increased rapidly.
At the time, there were only a handful of companies that were involved in the business. However, more and more companies kept creeping into the scene with their coffee pod variations. In no time, the market was flooded with hundreds of millions of the best coffee pods.
What Are The Features of Coffee Pods?
If you've ever come across a coffee pod, you must've noticed how incredibly simple the design is. It doesn't have too many moving components, nor does it have a lot of things you have to master that make it overly complicated to use. However, it does have a couple of unique features that stand it out from other coffee-making methods.
They're created to be used once
One thing that's hard to miss about coffee pods is that they're designed to be used for coffee just once. This is especially true if you're not going for coffee pods that are made out of aluminum or plastic. While some people try to recycle the coffee grinds and make coffee from pods a second time, there's always a slight difference in taste.
Naturally, you may think that this isn't exactly the best feature as it forces you to buy coffee pods constantly. However, buying coffee pods is not an expensive venture. Additionally, with a consistent stream of fresh coffee pods, you'll get a consistent stream of fresh, sweet coffee.
They're often made of porous containers
Coffee pods are essentially just small containers that have tiny holes poked in them. Now, the holes aren't so large and noticeable that your coffee grinds begin to fall out. No, that's just bad design.
However, the holes are just large enough for hot water to seep in and brew your coffee when the need arises. The holes also function as a ventilator of sorts. This helps to prevent moisture from building up prematurely inside the coffee pod, ruining the grinds.
The exception to this, however, are coffee pods that are made of aluminum or plastic. For hot water to get in and brew your coffee, you'll have to take off the lid. For protection from moisture, you'll get that automatically, considering that aluminum and plastic containers are very well-secured.
They come in small sizes
Much like regular tea bags, coffee pods aren't created to be excessively large. This is primarily because most people can only take so much coffee at a time. Even if you can fight through the effects of caffeine overdose, you can hardly drink anymore when your stomach is filled to the brim already. Every coffee maker understands this.
As such, they make their coffee pods in small sizes, containing just enough coffee to meet your needs. More often than not, most coffee pods measure between 44 - 60mm. This is just enough to provide you with the amount of coffee you'll need at a time.
How Do You Use Coffee Pods to Make Coffee?
If you're reading this guide to using coffee pods, the chances are that you're planning to buy coffee pods in Canada. In that case, you should know that there are two broad ways for you to make coffee with coffee pods. The first is manual, requiring little to no help from machines. The second method requires that you use a machine to get the job done.
In this section of our guide to using coffee pods, we'll look at both methods and walk you through how to use them.
Most of the time, if you'll be making coffee with pods, you'll need to use a coffee machine. In fact, there are several types of machines that are designed specifically for this purpose. However, there's a hack around it, and that's where the manual method is born. But first, if it is possible to use a machine and machines offer more speed,
Many people choose to make coffee with pods using the manual method for different reasons. Among others:
- Machine-pod incompatibility. More often than not, pods are designed to be used with specific machines. If you've already bought a machine and you decide to experiment with the richness in the taste of another coffee pod, you'll be unable to use it with the machine you have.
In that case, the best thing to do is to get your hands involved and make your coffee manually. This is a much less costly option than going to get another coffee machine because of one coffee pod.
- Taste. This part is still under debate by many coffee enthusiasts across different parts of the world. But, believe that making your coffee manually will make it taste better. Perhaps there's something that the machine doesn't get right in terms of water temperature or brewing duration. But, many people seem to agree that hand-made provides higher quality.
- Lack of electricity. If you're going camping in the woods for a couple of days and somehow, you only happen to have coffee pods on your person, this part is pretty obvious. You won't be able to work your coffee machine in the wilderness. As such, the manual method is the best way to go for you.
If we're to do justice to this guide to using coffee pods, we must mention that the manual method can be further split into two methods.
Before going ahead, you'll need to get the following materials:
- Your favourite pod. It really doesn't matter what brand you get here as the result is often the same.
- A narrow glass. We'll advise that you get the closest thing to a shot glass that you have.
- Boiling water. You shouldn't need more than the regular amount of water you usually use in your coffee.
The total amount of time you'll need to complete this is around two minutes. Having acquired all the necessary items, here is what you need to do:
- Break, tear, or just open the capsule/pod at the bottom. You can do this with a pair of scissors or just a knife. However, you should be careful.
- Take off the lid.
- Pour the coffee into your glass cup. At this point, it is important to mention that you should do your best not to waste any coffee from the capsule. The reason is that the pods already have a measured quantity that's perfect for a drink. Wasting any amount of it will affect your level of satisfaction during or after taking your coffee.
- Place the pod/capsule at the top of your narrow shot glass.
- Pour boiling hot water into your exposed cup of coffee. Again, be careful not to waste anything.
Having done all this, you can merely wait a few seconds for proper brewing. But, because the coffee is already exposed, it shouldn't take long. As soon as you're satisfied with what you see or smell, your coffee is ready.
Before you move on with this method, you should know that you'll need the following items:
- Your favourite coffee, pod/capsule. Much like the first method, it really doesn't matter which brand or format you decide to use. This is a major advantage that manual coffee making offers you.
- A container, glass, or cup that you can put into the microwave safely and conveniently.
- Water. The water doesn't have to be boiling. However, it should be just the same amount of water you add to your normal coffee servings.
- A microwave. The alternative to this is to use a kettle. However, if you choose to use a kettle, you'll have to boil your water beforehand. Additionally, it isn't quite as excellent as using a microwave.
This method might take a bit longer, keeping at the brewing spot for up to five minutes. However, it is still a negligible amount of time. As soon as you have what you need, you can start the process.
- Break or open the coffee capsule/pod at the top. A pair of scissors or a knife should do the job quite nicely. However, some brands have special openers that can also prove very effective for this purpose.
- Empty the contents into your water. Again, you mustn't waste anything as the coffee has already been measured for consumption.
- Stir it properly and for as long as possible. The whole point of this process is to ensure that there are no clumps or lumps of coffee forming at any point in time. If this happens, it will make it even harder for the grinds to dissolve into a good coffee drink.
- Heat up your mixture. The reason we say mixture instead of coffee is because it really hasn't become coffee yet. It still needs to brew, and for that to happen, it needs to be heated. So, put your mixture into a microwave. This part should take no more than 60 seconds. But, it depends entirely on how strong your microwave is.
- Take it out and stir for a while. This is important because you're not making instant coffee. So, stir for a little while longer and check the temperature before drinking.
As soon as you're done with the last step, and you've confirmed it's okay to drink, you're done.
As you can see in this guide to using coffee pods, there's hardly any difficulty with using the manual method. However, you must keep in mind that it isn't every coffee pod that has soluble content.
Remember that the pods were initially designed to be made without tearing. Once you tear it, you take out everything, including what was meant to be disposed of.
Still, if you'd rather not deal with any of that, you can merely put the teabag-like pod into the cup directly instead of cutting it open. If you follow that method, you can merely add boiling hot water and leave the coffee bag in the water for up to five minutes. That way, you'll get a strong cup of coffee.
This is another way you can use coffee pods to make coffee. It actively requires a coffee machine to complete the process. It is much faster than its manual counterpart. But, it might require a bit more technical expertise. Still, it's nothing to worry about as we'll walk you through it in this guide to using coffee pods.
Now, much like the manual method, there are two ways you can prepare coffee using machines. The first method involves using a coffee pod machine. The second method involves using a machine that isn't compatible with the coffee pod you're trying to brew.
Method 1: Using a compatible coffee machine
To get through this process, you'll need the following.
- A coffee pod machine. We'll assume that you have this already – old or newly purchased.
- A coffee pod that's compatible with the coffee machine you have. Otherwise, you might want to skip to the second method.
- Water. Make sure your water is cool and clean. You can either use distilled or filtered. It doesn't matter.
- A measuring cup.
Having gotten all of that, here's what you need to do to get your coffee ready:
- Fill up the water tank at the back of the coffee machine. We'll advise that you fill the tank to maximum capacity. That way, your coffee gets as much water as it requires.
- Take off your pod's packaging by ripping along the perforated edges. Most of the time, coffee pods come in packages to help maintain freshness.
- Insert the pod into the coffee machine. You can easily get through this part by popping up the part that holds your pod. It might require pushing a button, but this entirely depends on the type of machine you're using.
- Adjust the settings to your preference. Naturally, your machine should have three different settings – light, medium, and strong. They'll determine the strength of your coffee. You need to note that you'll likely end up with a medium coffee cup if you don't adjust your coffee machine settings.
- Click the brew button. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes to get your coffee.
Afterwards, you can just wait a while for it to cool down to temperature. Then, you can enjoy your cup of coffee easily.
Method 2: Using an incompatible machine
If you happen to have a coffee pod that isn't compatible with the machine you already have, this is perfect for you. You would need a few things, though. They are:
- A coffee pod holster. This part is the most important. Why? It is basically what makes it possible for you to use your coffee pod with a machine that isn't compatible with it. To get one, you should check out the packaging of your product and its reviews. It'll inform you if your machine can work with a cup holster.
- Coffee pod. We imagine that you have this already. If you don’t, check out our online store for coffee pods.
- Coffee pod machine. Much like coffee pods, we're guessing that you have this requirement already.
- Coffee mug.
Having gotten all that you need, it's time to get your coffee ready. So,
- Slide your coffee pod into the holster. Now, keep in mind that you shouldn't need to force the coffee pod into the holster. If you bought the right one, the coffee pod should slide right into the coffee holster.
- Put the holster into the machine. Again, compatibility will smooth things up for you. If the holster isn't compatible with your coffee machine, you'll have challenges putting it in. But, if it is, you should find the holster sliding in comfortably into the machine.
- Put the mug on the burner. This depends on the machine. If your machine dispenses coffee in this area, put the mug there. If it doesn't, put it wherever it does. Just make sure that you place the cup in a proper position. The last thing you want is for your coffee to spill because you didn't place it in the right manner.
- Set the machine according to your preferred settings. This can be either light, medium, or strong. Whatever you choose will determine the strength of your coffee.
- Push the start button to begin the brewing process.
In just a few minutes, your coffee should be ready for you to drink.
Why You Should Use Coffee Pods
Our guide to using coffee pods wouldn't be complete if you didn't know the advantages of using them, would it? In that case, here are the benefits of going for coffee pods:
It isn't messy
This is especially true if you have a machine you can use instead of going through the manual method. Traditional coffee-making methods often leave messes behind for you to clean up.
However, with coffee pods, you really don't need to worry about it. You can simply load the pod into the machine and get your coffee soon afterwards without any worries of messes.
It always gives you predictable results
You see, when you're making coffee the traditional way, there are far too many variables. You have to roast it yourself. You have to measure the right amount of coffee. You also need to measure the right amount of water to put in.
However, with coffee pods, you hardly need to worry about any of this. The coffee machine already specifies how much water you can use to make a cup of coffee. The coffee pod itself already has a defined measurement. The roasting and everything else isn't a problem as the coffee grinds come pre-roasted. As such, you can expect to get consistent results and taste virtually every time you make a cup of coffee.
They have longer shelf lives
You don't need to worry about your coffee pods getting spoilt so quickly. If you choose to buy coffee pods in Canada, you can rest assured that your coffee is packaged with nothing but the best materials. As such, they're bound to last as long as you need.
They hardly require any training
This is largely because they are already roasted and grounded to perfection. All you need to do is brew. Even the manual method is simple enough. You must've seen that in our guide to using coffee pods.
FAQs About Using Coffee Pods
Here’s what you need to know:
Q1: Can coffee pods be used more than once?
Technically speaking, coffee pods are designed to be used only one time. This is primarily because the quantities, among other things, have already been measured. However, there's really nothing stopping you from using them more than once. The only problem is that the taste will get increasingly weaker after each cup.
Q2: Do coffee pods make great coffee?
Yes, they do. Several people across the world have expressed satisfaction after using a coffee pod to make their coffee. It is used across multiple coffee shops in the world. If it didn't taste good, it wouldn't be such a huge commercial success.
Q3: How long can coffee pods be stored?
The numbers largely differ from one brand to another. However, you should be able to store your coffee pods for up to six months on average.
Our guide to using coffee pods has covered absolutely everything you might need to know about coffee pods. Among other things, we've spoken about how to make coffee with coffee pods, as well as a detailed explanation of what coffee pods are.
At this point, you're probably where to buy coffee pods to try out the methods and tips we discussed. So, check out our online store. Here at Invigo Coffee, we offer different types of flavours of coffee pods for residents in Canada. Start shopping today!
Related article: How to Choose Coffee Pods