A review of Pod coffee machines
When choosing a pod coffee maker there are so many to choose from. We would recommend taking a look at the various types of pods on offer and then choosing a machine based on that.
Personally we will always choose a ground coffee maker as there is more choice and you have great control over the amount of coffee in each shot and the tamping process, all of which influence the flavor.
However pod machines are so convenient, they can be quicker at making coffee than ground coffee machines and actually produce a nice shot of coffee.
Pod espresso machines generally produce a shot of coffee sadly the smaller pods are only useful for a Ristretto shot. Cappuccino pod machines have a milk frothing attachment or the option of a milk/whitener pod which you use after the coffee shot is pulled. (For a flat white from a pod machine we find it is usually best to put the frothed milk in first and then add the espresso coffee shot.)
Nespresso vs ESE vs Tassimo T Disc vs Dualit vs Dolce Gusto vs Modo Mio vs Iperespresso Review
Nespresso pods are very popular, and most types of coffee are now available in this format. A single pod contains a good shot of coffee but it’s better suited to an Ristretto rather than and Espresso in terms of extraction. We would use two pods to create two shots.
The other bonus is the amount of mahines on offer that support the nespresso pod. One of our favorites is the Krups Prodigio thanks to it’s clever remote network controls. The De’Longhi Latissima Touch is also a very good performer and offers milk frothing so is good for Cuppachinos and Lattes.
Pod cost is around the cheapest here and you’ll usually find some on offer. They also store very well. Most supermarkets and shops will sell Nespresso pods.
There is a wide choice of ESE pods, and these are pretty much a filter paper bag of compressed coffee in a foil packet. Many ESE machines will also support ground coffee which gives you the best of both worlds.
My home machine is a Delonghi EC850.M which seems to be great value and has lasted well. ESE pods seem to compromise the Crema slightly (we always get a better Crema layer with ground coffee, or other pod makers.)
ESE pods store well in the foil and can be composted easily so you minimize your household waste by using them.
Pods are fairly cheap now but you tend to have to buy them online as local shops do not stock them.
Tassimo T disc capsules
A small disc of coffee which contains enough coffee for a good espresso shot. There are many brands of coffee available in the T Disc format
The Tassimo machines feature automatic cleaning. You can get dried milk creamer pods which is handy if you want a coffee maker in an office away from the fridge.
Discs are medium priced but with quite a wide variation between budget and branded pods.
The Dualit machines use Dualit Classic capsules or Nespresso capsules giving a wide range of coffees to choose from.
Dualit machines generally offer the highest pressure coffee extraction making for excellent Crema (20 bars). Extraction on Dualit machines can be quite slow but the pods are good for a decent espresso shot.
Dolce Gusto capsules
These pods are made by Nescafe, a big name brand ensuring good quality coffee. However the choice of Dolce Gusto pods is limited from other brands.
Milk pods are used to create milk based drinks but they work quite well and taste good without needing to have fridge nearby.
Pods are expensive and limited in availability and choice. If you have a supplier locally or an online account you may find discounted pods.
Lavazza A Modo Mio capsules
A larger pod which gives a very good espresso. Lavazza are our preferred coffee maker offering consistent coffee flavors through the range and best decaf coffee we’ve tasted from a bulk producing mainstream supplier.
Again you are limited to the Lavazza range of coffee and pods are fairly expensive and only available from a few selected retailers.
Illy Iperespresso capsules
These pods are the most expensive compared to the others and we found the machine fiddly to setup, but your settings for a shot are stored.
Illy do make fantastic coffee but you are limited to Illy pods, we’ve not found any other brands that do compatible pods but Illy do offer at least 9 different coffee types including a decaf option.
Best pod coffee makers?
If you are stuck on whether to get a pod vs ground coffee espresso machine read our guide here.
If you need a pod machine for convenience and speed then we’d give the following tips and advice.
If we had to choose based on choice availability and running costs we would choose the ESE pod makers first as these often allow you to use ordinary ground coffee so you get the best of both worlds and a good selection of coffee.
The Nespresso pods are popular, very cheap to buy and the machines are compact and produce a really nice coffee although you usually have to use a second pod to create your basic espresso pod.
If we were solely choosing flavor and quality then the Lavazza coffee pod machines stand out along with the Dualit coffee makers. Look for a high bar pressure and check you are happy with the limited range of coffee on offer. (Although limited in choice if you prefer the taste of one of the coffees from this range you’ll be satisfied.)
Don’t assume that an expensive machine is better than a cheaper one. Metal pod coffee makers last well and are generally very well made. Cup height also has a bearing on your choice with many machines limited to an espresso cup or small cup size.