On-demand coffee makers

npkeith

New member
Sep 13, 2004
7
0
California
What is the consensus on the new "coffee-pod" single cup coffee makers (the Phillips Senseo line, the Home Cafe line, and I think there is one other as well). I have a few questions:

First and foremost: Is the coffee drinkable?

Second: Are the pods interchangeable, or can I only use one style with each machine? If they are not interchangeable, is there a way to make my own pods? I'm not going to be stuck drinking any one prepackaged brand.

I'm the only person in my household who drinks coffee - I'm currently using a one cup melitta and boiling water - low tech, makes great coffee, but but a few more steps than I want to tackle before I've had my coffee. I like the idea of "pod in, cup under, push start"

Any comments?
 
OP
N

npkeith

New member
Sep 13, 2004
7
0
California
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #2
I also just found this site as well. The coffee for this one is even more expensive (about $0.60 a cup) but it has some pretty good roasters supplying for it - Green Mountain, Dietrichs) The Green Mountain Roasters website has a neat little blurb about the system, including the anatomy of the "K-cup" (their version of the coffee pod). It is an interesting concept. Rather than tea-bag looking things that will loose their flavor a few hours after the packet is opened, the K-cup stays individually sealed until you close the coffee maker on it.

The appliance itself is also expensive ($250), but if that is the price of a good cup of coffee, then who knows... :)
 
NPkeith... I don't think you will find too many pod fans here....unless the pod in question is something like an I-Pod! Unless you are stranded in a plane wreck in the Andes or iced in around base camp in Antarctica I can see no reason why pod's should be your prefered option when it comes to making an espresso. Fresh is always best. Have a look around your neighbourhood for a local roasting company. Buy yourself a reasonable home espresso machine and a burr grinder then you are in business. It is true that Pods are now being pushed by a number of larger roasters. However this is mainly due to the fact that they are trying to reach corners of the market that are hesitant about experimenting with espresso at home. As you have posted on this forum I am betting you are pretty interested in coffee....thus I think my suggestion is best for you. Whatsmore if you have a machine and grinder at home you could then move to the next stage and start roasting your own! Think of the infinate possibilities open to you...
 
OP
N

npkeith

New member
Sep 13, 2004
7
0
California
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4
Alun_evans: I don't have a burr grinder, I have the other kind (like a little blender, cuts rather than grinds) but otherwise yeah, I understand. Not a big espresso fan (cappucino, occasionally) generally more simple drip. I find most espresso to be over-roasted for my taste. I grew up in a household with a great old chrome Pavoni, purchased in Italy on a vacation, so I know what good espresso can taste like. And I knew how to foam milk with that tube off the side by the time I was 10!

Over the years, I have just come to love a large mug of a simple medium roast, with a full body and medium acid. I used to have a supplier of a wonderful Mocha-Java blend, but I can't get that any more. I have come across a nice coffee from Sweden (Lofsberg-Lilla), but my only supplier (Ikea of all places) only has it pre-ground, so I have to keep it in the freezer. Pretty much anything Starbucks sells is over-roasted as far as I can tell. I remember hearing a radio piece that said that even the buyers for Starbucks generally don't drink their coffee the way Starbucks roasts it.

I know that a simple cone filter, and just-below-boiling water from the kettle is the best way to make flavorful drip coffee. I guess I'm just lazy. And a gadget freak. Maybe someday I'll have enough money to start collecting coffee-making devices (A Chemex, Bodum press etc.) but until then, I guess I'll just stick to what I know.
 

nzroaster

New member
Jul 28, 2004
85
0
Qld, Australia
When you cut a slice off a loaf of bread the newely exposed surface goes stale faster than the crust.

In the same way, why would you buy pre-ground coffee
 
If you are principally interested in how the coffee tastes, I can recommend the Keurig machine. I do not have one, but I have given away 4 of the B-100 machines to friends and family and they remain the most used appliances in all 4 households.

I do not have a Keurig machine at home because I am into espresso (Isomac Millennium and a Mini Mazzer).

There are more choices in Keurig, including tea, which is surprisingly good given the 30 second brew cycle. I'm waiting for them to come up with the sake k-cup for the Japanese market. They might come up with broth k-cups or other hot beverages. If hot chocolate becomes available, it probably will not have marshmellows. I'm not holding my breath for chicken-noodle.

Keurig is a standardized product. Any k-cup will fit in any keurig brewer. If you look across roasters, you'll be able to get just about any roast plus decafs and flavors. That's great if you have a housemate/domestic partner/whatever who likes hazelnut but you can't stand it. Why muck up your grinder with Pumpkin Spice flavored coffee or contaminate your brewer with Bananas Foster flavored coffee?

Pods are not standardized. If you go the pod route, make sure you get the right pods for your machine. That is going to minimize the variety of products available given whatever machine people buy.

Based on the testing in our coffee lab of a dozen different single cup machines, the Keurig does make a better tasting cup of coffee. The two main reasons are 1.) regardless of the roaster, the coffee put in K-cups is better starting at the tree and through the entire roasting and grinding process 2.) the packaging on a pod generally is more prone to oxygen contamination that makes the coffee stale. Pods are are not individually packaged are going to go stale very fast.

I tend to think of pods as a nicely priced and convenient way to get a mediocre cup of coffee.

Yes, there is the cost issue. In general, expect machines to go on deal closer to the holidays. There are likely to be pod-brewer deals and probably k-cup Keurig brewer deals as we get closer to Thanksgiving. Watch the Keurig web site, the roaster web sites like Green Mountain as well as companies like Great Coffee.com.
 
On the pre-ground issue... The best is to buy whole bean packaged and grind it before use.

But if you have someone in the house who likes flavored coffee, that's a darn good reason to buy pre-ground. You don't want Peppermint Toffee contaminating your grinder (or your brewer). But sometimes you need to make compromises to stay in a relationship. It is easier to put a brew basket and carafe in the dish washer than it is to clean a grinder.

If you compare whole bean in bulk to packaged pre-ground in good packaging, the pre-ground is probably going to be a better product. A lot of whole bean coffee in bulk bins is stale a the time of sale, especially if it is a slower mover.

If you go through a bag of coffee in less than a week, you can buy pre-ground and not suffer that much if 1.) you buy from someone with good packaging. There is a lot of oxygen contamination due to poor package integrity. Unfortunately I can't give you a public source of that information. 2.) squeeze the air out of the bag and clip it shut. It is important to use the coffee quickly. Unless you have two or more people in the house who do not agree on coffee, keep only one bag open at a time. That is probably true of whole bean, too.

The latest I read about freezing was not in favor of it because of moisture. Modern freezers with automatic defrost cycles tend to put more moisture into products. Coffee is superb at absorbing moisture (and other flavors). If you are a fisherman and keep those salmon steaks in the freezer, don't be surprised if your coffee starts to taste a bit fishy.

That explains in part why Keurig is a great option for many people. Great packaging integrity. Choice. High quality coffee. No salmon.

If only the k-cups were recycleable. And a little less expensive.
 

Hobbes

New member
Sep 18, 2004
58
0
I don't own one, but I've seen these pod machines (K-cup I believe) at various office buildings, and I have to say that the convenience of them is pretty amazing, but the coffee isn't so great. It doesn't have the same "umph" that brewed coffee does, and tastes alot more like instant coffee.
 
Products evolve. Tastes evolve. Not so long ago, it was common to find coffee brewed so you could still see the bottom of the cup. I hear you still can in parts of Florida and other states along the Gulf Coast. Keurig products will evolve with market preferences.

Coffee is like the wine industry 30 years ago. Pre-wine spectator. I'll be it is not going to wait 30 years.

Check www.coffeereview.com - there are some keurig coffees reviewed. Not all k-cups are created equal. And no savvy product managers let their products sit still.
 

jpscoffee

New member
Nov 3, 2004
92
0
Michigan
I purchased a Keurig to try. I use it at home with a variety of different coffees (green mountain, diedrichs) and really like it (and I am a coffee shop owner). Just realize it is geared toward a specific use.

When I or my wife want a cup and don't want to brew a whole pot, it works great. It is simple, makes a very good cup of coffee (I focus on dark roasts to get better flavor) and I would recommend to many people for the right application. There is a website that you can buy the K-cups at a pretty good price and get free coffee when buying the machine (http://www.coffeewhiz.com). Or if you put a coupon code in the Keurig site you can get a $50.00 discount along with free shipping and $20.00 worth of coffee. Cool deal!
 
Top