Coffee pods and pod system coffee makers streamline and simplify the process of making espresso coffee and espresso-based coffee drinks such as cappuccino and caffè latte. If you’re already a lover of such coffee drinks and want to find the easiest, most foolproof way imaginable to make them for yourself at home, the coffee pod system is definitely for you.
Why are coffee pod espresso makers so popular? The answer lies in their ease of use, their consistency, and speed. Conventional espresso makers require first to go out and buy just the right espresso coffee beans and to store them in your kitchen. Then, for each cup, you have to grind the coffee beans to the right, finely pulverized espresso grind. Next, you have to measure out just the right amount of ground coffee and tamp it down into the espresso filter, compacting it just enough so the hot water will pass through slowly yet easily for the proper extraction. Finally, you have to clamp the filter into the machine and brew the coffee. That doesn’t begin to mention the mess of disposing of the used coffee grounds and cleaning out the filter.
The Ease of Making Espresso with Coffee Pods
Coffee pods eliminate all that fuss. Each pod is a premeasured portion of freshly ground coffee sufficient to brew a single cup. Depending on the pod system machine for which it is destined, the ground coffee may be sealed between two discs of filter paper, and then wrapped in an airtight foil packet; or it may be sealed into an airtight little foil or plastic tub. Either way, the coffee pod is popped into the pod system coffee maker, and the coffee machine does the rest, passing hot water through the coffee in the pod at the perfect brewing temperature and pressure, then into your waiting cup.
Manufacturers of pod system coffee makers aim to offer a wide variety of coffee pods to suit every coffee lover’s taste. That includes offering espresso roast coffee in an espresso grind. The best pod system coffee makers will also heat and pressurize water so that it passes through the espresso coffee pod at the optimum temperature and pressure to extract the perfect strength and thickness of a classic espresso coffee, complete with the rich caramel-brown foam known as crema crowning the coffee.
Look, also, for pod machines that include a milk-steaming nozzle. This will enable you to steam milk of your choice, whether nonfat, low-fat, or whole milk, in a small metal pitcher, heating it up and frothing it to make the hot, foamy milk you will need to transform your freshly brewed espresso coffee into cappuccino coffee, caffè latte, and other espresso-based coffee drinks.
The Secret to Storing Coffee
Smell that delicious freshly roasted coffee! Inhaling its rich aroma can be as intense an experience as sipping freshly brewed coffee.
Step back and think about that aroma, however, and you’ll soon realize that the very reason whole roasted coffee beans or ground coffee smell so good and strong are because their aromatic coffee oils are volatile, evaporating easily into the air.
Next, think about how good coffee smells while it’s brewing. That’s because the heat of the water draws more flavor from the ground coffee beans. The heat also, of course, launches that aromatic coffee flavor off into the surrounding air.
Knowing that air and heat draw aroma and flavor from coffee, you now have the basic information you need for storing coffee properly so you’ll be able to enjoy more of that rich coffee flavor as long as possible. Here are the steps to follow:
Buy freshly roasted coffee.
The sooner you buy coffee after roasting, the more flavorful it will be. So buy coffee only from stores that do a brisk business and therefore have a regular turnover of product. Mail-order coffee companies usually roast frequently and ship coffee beans soon after roasting. When buying prepackaged coffee, look for products in vacuum-packed or nitrogen-flushed bags, which prevent interaction with air and the resulting loss of flavor.
Buy no more coffee than you need.
Stored properly (see below), whole bean coffee will stay fully flavorful for 3 to 4 weeks, ground coffee for just over a week. Don’t buy more coffee at one time than you normally go through in those time frames.
Choose whole bean coffee over ground coffee.
Grinding dramatically multiplies the surface area from which coffee’s aroma and flavor can escape. As the storage times above demonstrate, whole bean coffee will stay fresher longer than preground coffee.
Store coffee in an airtight container.
A glass jar or other nonporous container with a tight-fitting lid will minimize interaction with air and loss of coffee flavor. Old-fashioned jars with glass lids sealed with rubber gaskets and metal clamps make an excellent choice for storing coffee.
Store coffee someplace cool.
The less heat the beans are exposed to, the longer their flavor will last. At the very least, store coffee beans at cool room or pantry temperature, away from light and heat sources. If you have room, coffee also stores well and stays fresh slightly longer in the refrigerator. Avoid freezer storage, as moisture from the air can enter the container when you take some coffee beans out for grinding and brewing; then, condensing in the freezer’s cold air can hasten the coffee’s decline in flavor.