Coffee pad machines put to the test
Proponents claim that the coffee pad machine is practical to use, easy to clean and saves time during preparation. Coffee pad machines brew coffee of inferior quality, are expensive to operate and prevent you from choosing your preferred coffee beans, reply their opponents. Who is right now? And do the machines really represent a sensible alternative to the many possibilities of coffee preparation? We take a closer look.
Tea bags for the coffee machine?
At first glance, the coffee pods are reminiscent of the good old tea bag. The principle of the coffee pods is similar to the way that tea drinkers portion their tea for a single cup. The coffee powder lies loosely in individual pads made of filter paper, like tea leaves inside a tea bag.
The coffee pods with a diameter of around 70 millimeters contain just as much coffee powder as the average coffee drinker needs for a single cup. If his thirst for coffee is a little bigger, he has to carry out two brewing processes in a row and then pour the coffee together.
Coffee pods are not a new invention. As early as the 1990s, Italian coffee roasters joined forces as a not-for-profit consortium to bring convenience to espresso production. The consortium created a standard for the small Easy Serving Espresso Pads (ESE Pads), which contain heavily pressed coffee powder for the espresso machines.
How it works with a coffee pad machine
If everything works as expected, preparation with a coffee pad machine is very easy:
- Fill the water tank with water
- Connect electricity
- Place the coffee pad in the sieve
- Place a cup under the outlet
- Press the start button
You choose the type of coffee and grind using the pods you buy for your preparation. With some machines there is a fine adjustment for the amount of water, but you have to do without adjusting the brewing time. Your cup of coffee is ready to drink in just over two minutes. For a replacement cup or a second person, dispose of the old coffee pad, fill up with water if necessary and rinse the sieve. The coffee pad machine is ready for the next cup of coffee.
What does coffee pad machines do?
Coffee pad machines are particularly advantageous for those who want to hold their first cup of coffee in their hands quickly and easily after waking up. Neither the grinding of the beans nor the brewing of the coffee powder stand in the way of early enjoyment. The portion coffee machines with countless design variants fit perfectly into any kitchen ambience.
Further advantages are:
- easy operation and disposal of the pads
- short preparation time (about two minutes)
- well suited for a single cup of coffee
- can also be used for tea pods
- countless stylish design variations
Coffee pod machines are primarily bought by those population groups who, in a hectic working day, forego comfortable coffee enjoyment in favor of quick preparation.
What are the disadvantages coffee pad machines
As practical as the quick cup of coffee from the coffee pod machine may be, the convenience is expensive with several disadvantages. Whereby “expensive” is to be understood literally, because coffee powder wrapped in pods sometimes costs ten times what you pay for coffee of the same quality in the tried and tested aroma packaging. A low entry-level price for the machines is of little help here.
Coffee powder packed airily and loosely in individual filter pads quickly loses its aroma. If you want to enjoy coffee in all its aroma, you can hardly avoid using a coffee grinder before preparation. It is important to pay attention to the date of manufacture when buying the coffee pods, as they quickly lose their aroma even when lying around on the shelf.
There is no quality control. Pads that you open to inspect the coffee powder can no longer be used for preparation. All you have to do is trust the honesty and the quality specifications of the manufacturer.
Strong coffee in the morning and a gentle cup in the afternoon – with a coffee pad machine you can regulate such subtleties solely through the degree of watering down. Alternatively, stock up on a variety of different types of coffee pods, but that brings you back to the problem of rapid aging.
For a change in the coffee cup, it may therefore make sense to buy a conventional second coffee machine. In this way, you will also cover the need even if more than two people register with you for a coffee chat. A second coffee machine also prevents coffee-free days if one of your coffee pods tears open and clogs the narrow outlet on the portafilter.
Alternatives to the coffee pad machine
It is understandable that you want your first coffee to steam in your cup as quickly as possible after you wake up. The coffee pad machine is just one of many solutions to this desire. Even the simple hand filter brews the coffee similarly quickly and is hardly more time-consuming for small quantities. It is available for single households in the one-cup version, with which your coffee consumption remains flexible and the aroma remains fresh.
But modern coffee filter machines such as the Moccamaster are also true baristas when it comes to preparation. They imitate the brewing by hand so exactly that you can hardly see any difference in the result from the hand filter. Intelligent technology monitors the brewing temperature and extraction time and even switches the heating plate down to keep it warm.
In the longer term, even entry-level models of fully automatic coffee machines will pay off. These take over the grinding of the coffee beans shortly before preparation and fulfill wishes in terms of grinding degree, amount of coffee, amount of water, temperature and steam for milk foam. Your coffee will only taste fresher if you drink it directly at the coffee roaster.
In Italy, morning coffee lovers swear by espresso makers like the octagonal legend of Bialetti. The simple way of preparation according to the percolator principle has led to the fact that the fast espresso pots have found their way into almost every household.
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Coffee pad machines are stylish eye-catchers for quick preparation. However, you buy the advantages with clear disadvantages. Anyone considering alternatives retains individual options for influencing the aroma, with considerable gain in comfort. We just have to wait for a single solution to the needs of all coffee drinkers.