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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Coffee Pods Reviewed In 2018Last Updated October 1, 2018
№1 – Gevalia Signature Blend Coffee, K-CUP Pods,…
№2 – Organic Sumatra Decaf Fair Trade Single-Serve Coffee Pods, 72 Capsules for Keurig K-Cup Brewers, Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC. (72 Count)
№3 – Starbucks Verismo Caffe Verona Brewed Coffee Single Serve Verismo Pods, Dark Roast, 6 boxes of 12 (72 total Verismo pods)
Filter Coffee Machines
Some people simply prefer the taste of filtered coffee. These types of machine will only ever make filtered coffee. Don’t buy these if you are looking for espresso style coffees.
These are the classic style of coffee maker. The brewing method is to drip water through ground beans into a warmed jug underneath the machine. These are ideal for those who entertain and want to make a carafe of coffee for a number of people.
Rather than having to make individual cups for each person, you can make a jug of filter coffee and then simply serve. They are relatively inexpensive costing around £35-50.
Vacuum Coffee Machines
These are now one of the highest trending coffee makers in the UK. They have actually been around for a while, but recently they seem to have taken off.
These are a unique way of making coffee. It is I have to say also a very unusual method, and one that is intriguing to watch.
As you can see on the image to the right, it looks a bit like an egg timer shape. There is essentially a bowl on the bottom and one on the top.
When the water is heated up, it is drawn up, by means of a vacuum and it floods the coffee grains.
These are not too expensive to buy, but they do require a bit of practise to get it right.
A great way to think of an espresso pod is by comparing it to a tea bag. It has a pre-proportioned serving of coffee grounds that is enclosed in a filter of paper. By simply adding water under pressure, you can have your shot of espresso ready in no time at all. So long as you find an ESE compatible espresso machine, you will be able to use any ESE coffee pod. This will give you a lot of options.
Here is a great video which will show you how the coffee pods are used with a Gaggia espresso machine.
While ESE pods are convenient and more simple to use, there is really no replacement for actual coffee grounds. With coffee grounds, you can get the freshest coffee, the richest aroma, and work to get your espresso tasting just the way you like it. A true coffee enthusiast would never go with pre-made espresso pods as they often love a high level of customization! ESE pods are more simple but the taste is sacrificed to some.
Going with a coffee ground espresso machine also means that you may need to purchase a burr grinder (or make sure the machine has a built-in grinder) and a tamper. A proper burr grinder can be expensive but also find they can grind their beans at the store, even if it means they will sacrifice some of the freshness.
Shop filter coffee machines
Filter coffee machines are perfect for making large quantities of freshly brewed coffee. The water slowly drips through a container holding the ground coffee, using either a paper or permanent reusable filter. As the water flows through, it absorbs the flavours and aromas. The filter coffee is then ready to serve from the pot or carafe and is usually kept warm on a hot plate making it a quick and easy option for re-fills.
Coffee machines with a permanent filter require more cleaning but can save money in the long term. Removable paper filters are usually the easier option as they can be thrown away. Filter coffee machines come in different cup volumes depending on the number of cups you want to make in one sitting.
Shop pod & capsule coffee machines
These coffee machines use disposable pods or capsules filled with coffee sealed inside. The coffee is blended, roasted, ground and then sealed within the pod. Once you put the coffee capsule into the machine, water is heated and forced through the coffee, releasing the full flavour into the cup. It’s fast and convenient without messy filter holders to clean.
There’s a wide variety of pods and capsule systems available from different brands, each incompatible with the other. Tassimo and Nescafe Dolce Gusto machines use plastic pods to create barista-style coffee drinks. Nespresso use infinitely recyclable aluminium capsules, filled with their signature Grand Cru coffee. Nespresso coffee machines also have a high 1bar pressure to create premium espresso and some Nespresso machines use fresh milk for the perfect cappuccino and latte coffee drinks.
Shop espresso coffee machines
An espresso coffee maker is a popular way to make barista-style espresso at home using a filter holder and pre-ground coffee. Pump machines have a separate water tank and a fast Thermoblock heating system which heats the water to the optimum temperature for the perfect espresso crema.
The water is then pushed through the coffee filter holder at the correct bar pressure to produce a rich, smooth espresso. Some pump espresso machines have a steam arm that is used to steam and froth milk for cappuccino and latte drinks. Many machines can also be used with coffee pods for added convenience.
Size and weight
If you’re looking to store your coffee machine away when you’re not using it, make sure it’s small enough to fit into a kitchen cupboard and light enough to manoeuvre. Larger coffee machines are ideal if you’re keeping them on display on a worktop.
Knowing how to take care of your coffee machine is important if you’re using it frequently. Cleaning the machine and regular maintenance checks will prolong its lifespan and ensure your coffee tastes as good as can.
Before you clean your machine, always make sure it has cooled down and is unplugged.
Turn off your coffee machine when you’re not using it to make sure it’s always in great working condition.
Don’t leave water in the tank for long periods of time and always use fresh water for boiling.
Do you find it difficult to decipher the language of coffee?
Read on to discover more about our most popular coffee drinks.
An espresso is a strong, pure coffee made by forcing high pressure hot water through ground coffee beans. A perfectly made espresso should have soft foam on top called crema. Espresso forms the base for other coffee drinks including cappuccino and latte.
A latte is a single shot of espresso (30ml) with steamed milk and a little frothed milk on top.
A cappuccino consists of equal parts espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk. 1/espresso, 1/steamed milk, 1/milk froth. Sprinkle a little cocoa powder on top for an authentic touch.
A single or double shot of espresso with a touch of steamed milk froth on top.
Once you have a soft dough, flour your hands well and lightly knead the dough, mixing in the lemon zest and pistachios. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and roll it into a thick log shape. Press down lightly on top of the log to flatten it slightly. Place the biscotti log onto the greased baking tray, and bake for 2minutes or until golden.
Your biscotti will now be very crunchy, ideal for dipping in a strong espresso to soak up all of the wonderful coffee flavour.
Italian biscuit recipes – 2) Chocolate, ginger and almond biscotti
A delicious twist on the classic biscotti recipe, try this chocolate and almond option when you’re entertaining.
Get creative with latte art
From hearts and leaves to even animals, latte art is a great way to achieve a barista-style coffee at home and to impress your family and friends. Try our step-by-step guide to creating the Rosetta leaf below. But remember, it takes practice!
Continue the rocking motion and start to move the pitcher towards the back of the cup.
VertuoLine vs. Original Line
Nespresso produces two lines of espresso machines, which means two different lines of capsules offering up the crème de la crema (literally, a whole lot of crema) of super-auto espresso.
What is most important to know is that the capsules for the Original Line are NOT interchangeable with the VertuoLine pods.
VertuoLine capsules pair with the two VertuoLine machines currently offered by Nespresso: the VertuoLine and Evoluo. The Original Line pods are used with all other Nespresso machines.
The shape of the capsules is slightly different (think flatter and more saucer-like) and the VertuoLine pods also come with a tiny barcode under the rim that the machine is designed to read to determine optimal brew settings.
We’ll discuss what that barcode means for the brew experience a little later on, but keep it in the back of your mind – it’s a game-changer. espresso. You can choose the strength (ristretto or lungo) to customize the intensity, but espresso is the sole function.
For the VertuoLine, you have the option of purchasing coffee grand crus (they’re a little rounder) that will brew you a cup of coffee similar to a drip coffee system. You can also brew espresso, just like with the Original Line.
This is a versatility feature unique to Vertuo line and the two compatible machines.
When we explore the different flavor notes and features of the various blends, we’ll dive into the coffee options in addition to the espresso capsule blends.
So what about taste? Is one capsule system making a better latte than the other?
The quick answer is no.
The Original Line, as the more established system, has a wider range of espresso strengths, blends and flavors on offer than the newer VertuoLine, but all of the new system grand crus produce the flavorful taste and crema you expect.
The VertuoLine pods are also designed to satisfy a wide range of palettes, with a highly intense and powerful option, a creamier and smoother blend, a slightly sweet and light grand cru and a decaf option.
As I mentioned earlier, there is also an array of 1coffee options to enjoy.
The Original Line
We’ve curated a detailed breakdown of the flavor notes, intensity and origin of each of the grand crus from Nespresso’s original system and compiled them below.
For a quick glance, check out our skimmable chart to choose your fave based on intensity or flavor profile.
The selection of grand crus in the Intenso line deliver what the name suggests: bold, and richly intense espresso.
Kazaar is spicy and intense in flavor with distinct notes of pepper, mellowed by a robust and creamy texture. It is intense with a bitter note.
Three beans are used in the blend. Including a naturally sun dried Conillon Robusta from Brazil, a washed Robusta from Guatemala and a calming washed Arabica from South America to smooth out the flavor profile.
Dharkan is rich and velvety with powerful intensity that evokes notes of bitter dark cocoa and toasted grains. It is silky and well-rounded.
This blend combines beans of four origins, including Costa Rica, the island of Java and two other Latin American points of origination. Beans are long roasted at low temps.
Volluto is aromatic and rounded with forward notes of sweet biscuit and an undertone of light fruit, combining for an overall balanced and complex taste.
Composed of Brazilian and Colombian Arabicas from small plantations, grown by traditional methods and lightly roasted to enhance the fresh and fruity notes in the beans.
Indriya is bold and spicy with intense, full-bodied flavors of cocoa, cloves, pepper and nutmeg. The intensity is balanced by quick, light roasting of the Arabica beans and a bolder Robusta roast for a hint of bitterness.
Indian Arabica and high-altitude Robusta beans are blended to deliver a powerful and spicy flavor. Beans are vetted through an intense selection process to ensure the subtle aromas are consistent..8oz, 1.3oz
Bukeela is floral and delicate, expressing notes of jasmine, white lily, bergamot and orange blossom, tempered by hints of wood and musk.
Arabica beans from the Sidamo area are washed and sundried on raised beds and combined with Arabicas from other areas in the western region that are unwashed and processed naturally. Split roasting enhances the wild musk flavors.
The Lungo grand crus are designed for a longer shot and vary in intensity and depth of flavor.
Vivalto is complex and balanced with notes of sweet cereal, woodiness, and subtle florals. A slight roasted undertone offsets the other flavors and adds a nice roundness coupled with a light acidity.
High altitude South American Arabicas are paired with light Ethiopian Arabicas infusing a light floral flavor and Cerrado beans from Brazil that add a touch of bitterness.
We’ve curated a detailed breakdown of the flavor notes, intensity and origin of each of the grand crus from Nespresso’s VertuoLine system and compiled them below.
There are a couple key things to know about the capsules for these machines: 1) They include coffee
The Stormio grand cru is intensely roasted with distinct spicy and woodsy flavors with a definitive cereal note that pairs especially well with milk to enhance the flavor.
Two beans are used in the blend, including a washed Arabica from Guatemala and Nicaraguan Robustas, all dark and long roasted to achieve intensity of flavor that is strong and memorable.
Odacio is a full-flavored coffee with both cereal and fruity notes that blend to create a bold and complex flavor.
Beans from Central America and Ethiopia are split-roasted, bringing both delicate notes as well as structure and body, thanks to pre-wetting and a high temperature during the roast process.
Half Caffeinato is smooth with medium body and suffused with notes of biscuit, caramel and nutty flavors are revealed when paired with milk.
Brazilian Arabicas are roasted light and quick and then paired with beans from Ethiopia and Central America for a dense and velvety flavor and a smooth drinking experience.
The espresso selection for the Vertuoline is a little slim compared with the options available for the OriginalLine. If you like a range of options and are primarily an espresso drinker, this may not suit your needs, but if you prefer coffee with an occasional latte, the Vertuoline will serve you well.
Altissio is another dark roast for the Vertuoline and is both full-bodied and creamy with hints of cereal.
Costa Rican and South American beans are highly roasted, with brief pre-wetting and a slow flow. The Costa Rican beans infuse the blend with the cereal notes, with intensity coming from the South American beans.
Milk frothing feature with aeroccino3
With the price of the CitiZ, it is hard to keep it off the best coffee machine 201list. It may not have as many functions as other Nespresso machines – but at £100 less than the De’Longhi EN550.B, it is a bargain for such a reliable and well-loved coffee machine.
Heston Blumenthal is a huge name in the kitchen. His name and reputation is clear for all to see with the BES870UK. This is probably the best on our ‘best coffee machine 2018’ list, but couldn’t make it to number based on prices.
This coffee machine is for the hard coffee-lovers. So, do you see yourself as Mr Costa Coffee, or even starting your own mini coffee shop? If so, you will love it!
The BES870UK grinds your coffee beans and brings out your inner Barista – from Bean to Espresso in under minute! Not only is it quick, the system is fully automatic when programmed to make the correct coffee you ordered – remember to give your name to the front desk.
The Sage has a 2L tank and supports a 1Bar of pressure to help create the perfect latte! If you are more of an expresso person, the temperature is fully adjustable, so you don’t burn any beans… If it’s this flexibility you love, you can even change the exact dose of coffee to pretty much perfect the coffee taste.
We think this machine is a must for any budding Barista. The cost is high compared to others on our list, but this is down to the high quality of machine and the engineering involved to provide so many features to make your coffee a hobby, rather than just a drink. The price, £480…
We have done just a little research and calculate that 250g of coffee beans make around 30 cups. 250g of coffee beans can be bought for around £4.00 from any supermarket.
If you fancy yourself a great cup of coffee, you should buy the Sage, because your coffee will never taste better!
It is well known that the coffee industry in split into Nestle and ‘the others’. This machine is the epitome of ‘the others’ when it comes to coffee pods! Of course, some of you will only want the pure coffee bean grinding machines. If this is you, look no further than number For those who love your perfect pods, the Bosch is fantastic.
The Bosch provides a great range of pods what could be used – which include Costa coffee, Kenco and Carte Noir for example. But that isn’t it…
You get a decent 1.4L capacity, which means less filling up compared to other coffee pod machines. The Bosch has the Tassimo Intellibrew technology which means that each coffee type has been perfectly programmed with water temperature, pressure and brewing time! Bringing you the perfect coffee, whatever your preference. Bish… Bash… Bosch (Sorry it has to be said somewhere)
The water quality is also controlled with the TAS4502GB with a Britta water filter installed to provide that great tasting water in each cup!
All this… What must the price be for a Nespresso main competitor?
Automation is how these machine differ.
For example “pod” and “super-automatic” machines have the highest level of automation, while “semi-automatic” cappuccino machines require you to steam milk and extract espresso just like a barista does.
You gotta know how these machines differ to make an educated decision.
So lets cover the basics…
Note: Some websites sell “steam” cappuccino makers – stay clear of these as they’re nothing more than cheap imitations of the real thing. They produce watered down espresso and cappuccinos and frankly are a waste of money.
Pod Cappuccino Makers
Pop cappuccino makers are perfect for people who want low maintenance and easy clean up. Pop in a pod, press start, and you’re all done!
They utilize coffee “pods” and automatic milk frothers. The advantage of this is consistency. Each shot will be relevantly the same. You also don’t have to worry about extra clean up or buying a coffee grinder.
The downside is that you’ll be locked into using the machine’s proprietary coffee pods. But luckily these days there are a lot of third party providers that are both cheaper and offer variety in coffee flavors.
Semi-Automatic Cappuccino Makers
Semi-automatic cappuccino machines are best suited for the coffee geeks that want to replicate barista style coffee found in cafes.
They’re the most “hands on” and require you to make coffee manually just like a barista does. This means steaming your milk, grinding your coffee and extracting your espresso.
The main way semi-automatic machines differ is with their boiler systems and build quality. Generally the more expensive the machine the better espresso you can produce, but make sure you team it with a good grinder otherwise you’ll get sub-standard results.
Super-Automatic Cappuccino Makers
Super-automatic cappuccino makers are usually the most expensive option and for good reason. They combine the convenience you see with pod machines with the freshness of coffee semi-automatic machines produce.
Super automatic cappuccino machines usually automate all or most of the coffee making process. Generally the more expensive the machine that more it automates. This includes grinding the beans, frothing the milk, extracting the espresso, and pouring the drink all with a press of a button!
I did 😛.
But I’m barista obsessed with coffee. Note: If you’re getting a semi-automatic machine you have to take into account the cost of a grinder in your budget. Although there are exceptions such as the Breville Express and Oracle that have grinders built in.
A key feature that influences the cost of cappuccino makers are their boiler systems. This is because a better boiler allows for better performance in terms of speed and temperature
Below is a quick outline of the three main types of boilers (from cheapest to most expensive):
Mr Coffee Cappuccino Maker
The Mr Coffee Cappuccino Maker is a hybrid super-automatic machine as it has a automatic milk frother but requires you to extract espresso manually. This is a great option for people who have trouble frothing milk as you can create foam with the press of a button.
Delonghi 1Bar Cappuccino Maker
The Delonghi Cappuccino Maker is the most popular budget cappuccino machine. It has produces 1bars of pressure to extract fresh espresso and comes equipped with an assisted steam wand to create frothy milk. A great introduction to espresso. However in your in the market for a faster machine you’re better off getting something in the mid market range.
Nespresso Lattissima Pro Cappuccino Maker
The Lattissima is the lux upgrade of the entry level Citiz. The first thing you’ll notice is that the milk frothing and pod extraction systems are integrated. This saves bench space and streamlines the coffee making process. The Lattissima also comes with digital touch menu that allows you to create americanos, cappuccinos and more with a press of a button.
DeLonghi Magnifica XS
The DeLonghi Magnifica XS is a super automatic cappuccino machine that automates the espresso grinding and extraction process. It also comes equipped with an assisted steam wand in order to create frothy milk. As the name suggests the Delonghi XS is extra small and ideal for smaller kitchens.
SAECO EVO Cappuccino Maker
The SAECO EVO is a super automatic cappuccino maker that automates the entire coffee making process. It grinds your coffee, steams your milk, and pours your drink all with a press of a button. It also automates the cleaning process and allows you to program in customized drinks. This is the ideal machine coffee loving families or entertainers that make several coffees a day. It also has an optional milk steaming wand if you prefer to test out your barista skills.
The coffee makers
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a coffee maker. Do you need a single-serve brewer or one that makes 1cups at a time? Do you like your coffee strong, weak or in between?
Helping you make a decision is where we come in. We analyzed the most popular coffee makers on the market to help you find the right one for you.
To narrow the field, we looked at expert opinions from review sites such as The Sweethome, CNET and Good Housekeeping. We then factored in user reviews to get opinions on each coffee maker’s high and low points.
We recognize that consumers look for different qualities in coffee makers, so we created scores based on user observations of a handful of different features, including ease of use, coffee quality and cleaning.
Single Serve Coffee Makers
Single serve coffee makers do exactly what it says on the tin, they give you serving. You can buy single serve coffee makers that use pods, which come in a variety of flavours and need only be put into the slot with very little cleaning afterwards, or grounds, which are your freshly ground coffee beans.
Drip Coffee Makers
Drip coffee makers make a full carafe of coffee, usually around mugs. These are best for when you want to serve coffee to all your friends or family. Drip coffee makers usually have a hot plate to ensure that the coffee does not go cold before you finish the jug.
This style of coffee maker often use disposable paper filters so make sure you check this out before buying. They are not compatible with pods.
Cappuccino and Espresso Makers
These machines are for those who like their speciality coffee. Cappuccino and espresso makers will mean that you no longer have to run to your local coffee shop to get that perfect cappuccino in the morning, you can make one with no hassle from the comfort of your own home.
Most cappuccino and espresso makers force water at high pressure through coffee grounds, giving the resulting brew a strong and rich flavour. With one of these machines, you can make the best cappuccinos, espressos or even creamy lattés.
Most systems use grounds but some do use pods so be careful which system you choose.
Some systems will only accept coffee grounds. These are coffee beans that have been ground into granules that are then inserted into the coffee filter. You can buy ready ground beans in packets, simply scoop out your desired (or the specified) amount of grounds, put it into your systems filter or paper filter if one is required, and start brewing!
Shop Coffee Pods / Shop Coffee Grounds / Shop Coffee Beans
Shop Coffee Makers with Milk Frothers / Shop Heated Milk Frothers / Shop Handheld Milk Frothers
Coffee Bean Grinders As previously mentioned, using coffee beans makes the most aromatic and rich coffee. To use beans, you will need to grind them before brewing your coffee. Some systems come with inbuilt grinders, and whilst these are excellent systems, they can be somewhat pricey.
If your system does not have an inbuilt bean grinder, never fear! There are a number of different coffee grinders on the market starting at reasonably low prices. With these devices you can even grind your own spices!
Shop Coffee Grinders / Shop Coffee Makers with Grinders
Before you can start making your coffee, you need to be sure that you have the filter for your system.
Some systems use a permanent basket style filter, which can be washed and reused. If your system uses a permanent filter then they are often included with the machine.
If you are all about convenience and just getting the drink in the cup for your busy weekday mornings then a machine that requires a lot of cleaning will frustrate you and most likely be pushed aside in lieu of that expensive latte from the coffee shop near work.
If you have a little more tolerance for putting up with a little mess in order to brew a coffee just how you like it, you may prefer a grinder + espresso machine combination. There is of course the goldilocks solution which you can find in the middle of the spectrum – consider it the best of both worlds.
Many coffee machines get purchased with the best of intentions, then find themselves pushed aside because the dreaded instant coffee is just more convenient. Consider how you plan on using your machine! Is it the sort of thing you plan to utilise on those busy workday mornings to fill up your cup and go, or would you be happy spending a few more minutes on preparation and the process of brewing coffee?
For someone looking for the ultimate convenience this means little day to day work, little set up and little effort required to produce your drink. Machines such as super automatics and especially super automatics with one-touch – these are for you. Pod and capsule machines also fall into this category thanks to the ease of use and minimal amount of cleaning required.
While cost is definitely a factor as it limits just how much you are able to spend on a particular machine, I would certainly encourage you to not let this be the only thing that drives your purchase. For example, if you are keen to learn the intricacies of brewing espresso and are looking for a hands on machine a cheap pod machine may fit the brief for cost – but will not give you the results or experience you are looking for.
Speed & Recovery
Some machines are suited to a heavy workload better than others. Something that you may like to evaluate when shopping for a coffee machine is it’s ability to churn out multiple drinks quickly – especially important if you like to invite the crew around to show off your new found barista skills.
If speed of preparation and a quick recovery of your machine are important, look for a coffee machine with the following:
Machines with these qualities will mean you can fire out some delicious drinks all in quick succession without your machine holding you back. One-Touch automatics will also perform well here as the machine looks after every step for you and within moments you have a drink & the machine is prepped waiting for the next.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Coffee Pods wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Coffee Pods
- №1 — Gevalia Signature Blend Coffee, K-CUP Pods,…
- №2 — Organic Sumatra Decaf Fair Trade Single-Serve Coffee Pods, 72 Capsules for Keurig K-Cup Brewers, Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC. (72 Count)
- №3 — Starbucks Verismo Caffe Verona Brewed Coffee Single Serve Verismo Pods, Dark Roast, 6 boxes of 12 (72 total Verismo pods)