What are capsule coffee machines and are they better than other coffee makers?

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The capsule machine is one of the quickest and easiest ways to brew a cup of coffee and more and more brands are getting in on the action. But what’s so great about these machines and is it worth investing in one?

What is a capsule coffee machine?

You may sometimes hear the capsule coffee machine being referred to as a pod coffee machine but these are one and the same. This type of coffee machine doesn’t require the user to grind up their coffee beans, it doesn’t even require you to purchase pre-ground coffee. Instead, the capsule coffee machine uses a ‘pod’ system.

The pods or capsules contain a portion of coffee grounds and are tightly sealed to keep the coffee fresh. There is a water tank into which you pour your water and the capsule is inserted into its own little space in the machine.

Once you hit the start button, a pump pulls the water through the machine, heating it up as it goes. When the water is at the required temperature, it is forced through a small opening and then goes through the coffee pod.

High pressure is used to get the perfect extraction; this high pressure is also used in espresso makers for a strong cup of coffee.

The finished product; your coffee, then drips down into your cup ready to drink and you haven’t had to lift a finger!

This week’s best-selling capsule coffee machines

SaleBestseller No. 1
De'Longhi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Mini Me, Single Serve Capsule Coffee Machine Starter Kit, Including 6 boxes of Coffee Pods, EDG155.BG, Black & Grey
  • Compact designed machine with six boxes of pods included
  • Easy to use - all you need is the machine, some water and pods
  • Easy to clean - as all the coffee grounds stay in the pods there is no mess, no fuss
SaleBestseller No. 2
DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Piccolo XS Pod Capsule Coffee Machine, Espresso, Cappuccino and more, EDG210.B, Black & Red
  • Over 40 beverage varieties including Nescafe Dolce Gusto or starbucks coffees
  • Hot and cold drink capability for hot and cold beverages prepared with one easy move of the...
  • Easy to clean as all the coffee grinds stay in the pods there is no mess, no fuss
SaleBestseller No. 3
Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee Machine by Sage, Capsule Espresso Machine, BNE800, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • The Nespresso Creatista Plus allows you to create personalised cafe style quality coffees at...
  • CREATE YOUR FAVORITE RECIPES: Whether you have a passion for black coffee or a coffee with...
  • CONVENIENCE WITHOUT COMPROMISE: All the convenience of a Nespresso portioned coffee machine...
SaleBestseller No. 4
Dualit Café Plus Coffee Capsule Machine - Nespresso Compatible Capsule Machine - Espresso and Lungo Functions - Tea Maker & Espresso Machine - 40 second start up time
  • NESPRESSO COMPATIBLE: The Dualit Café Plus Espresso Coffee Maker has been developed to be...
  • HASSLE-FREE COFFEE: Ready to use in just 40 seconds, the Café Plus programmable coffee maker...
  • EASY TO USE: The Café Plus Capsule Machine is operated by simple-touch buttons. Press the...
Bestseller No. 5
NESPRESSO Professional Zenius Automatic Coffee Machine with Aeroccino4 (Milk Frother) and 100 Coffee Capsules, Ideal for Small Offices – Silver
  • THE RIGHT SOLUTION THAT FITS YOUR NEEDS – Ideal for any small business from classic espresso...
  • FAST AND EFFICIENT - Exceptional coffee and hot water quickly with a heat up time of 25...
  • A MORE SUSTAINABLE AND CONVENIENT CHOICE - Brewing one cup of Nespresso coffee uses a precise...

Different types of capsule coffee machine

Since more and more people are demanding a capsule coffee machine, it is not surprising that a plethora of companies are jumping on the bandwagon.

The original coffee pod machine was launched in 1986, and took the world by storm. Nespresso has been a leader in this area ever since and now comes in two main designs; the original and the Vertuo.

We have a full guide on the differences between these here. However, in short, the Vertuo gives you much more versatility in terms of cup size whereas the Original can be used with other brand pods giving you more versatility in the type of drink you make.

Since the 1980s, there have been many more machines released and there are an astonishing 400 manufacturers of capsules to date.

The Dolce Gusto by Nescafe is a modern coffee pod machine that is simple and easy to use. What’s great about it is that you aren’t limited to coffee as there is a range of pods including hot chocolate and tea. They come in a range of sizes and styles but we think the Infinissima is one of the most futuristic looking and diverse pod machines from the brand.

Lavazza is one of the most well-known coffee brands out there and their pod machines are a force to be reckoned with. The caps are eco-friendly and the machines come in a range of designs including those that would suit a football fanatic.

Read our Guide to Lavazza milk frothers

Tassimo is another of the big brands of coffee capsule machines and fans of Costa will love the fact that they have teamed up with the cafe giant to create pods that allow you to enjoy barista style coffee at home.

Pros and cons of capsule coffee machines

One of the biggest pros of the capsule coffee machine is that it offers amazing convenience. If you don’t want the hassle of grinding beans, measuring out coffee and frothing milk then these appliances will suit you down to the ground.

As well as this, they give you excellent versatility since there are so many different capsules to choose from.

As we mentioned, there are now more than 400 manufacturers of coffee pods, many of whom make eco-friendly packaging, which has been a point of contention in the past where capsules are concerned.

While some machines limit you to using brand-only pods, like the Nespresso Vertuo, many are designed to take pods from different manufacturers.

Must read review: Lavazza vs Nespresso pod machines

There is also the option to take out a coffee pod subscription which saves you the hassle of having to actually go out and buy your pods.

All of that said, there is one massive downside to the coffee pod machine and that is freshness. When you make coffee from scratch, you’ll grind your beans just beforehand giving you a drink that has ultimate freshness.

But when you use a capsule coffee machine, this isn’t the case. Sometimes, pods may contain coffee that was grounded months in advance. Yes, the pods are sealed but this doesn’t give the same rich, fresh taste as beans that have been freshly ground.

Is a capsule coffee machine better than other coffee machines?

There are a multitude of different types of coffee machine so you are somewhat spoiled for choice. No coffee machine should be considered better than the next because each has its pros and cons. What determines whether a machine is right for you is what you expect from that machine.

A capsule coffee machine is ideal for people on the go who don’t want the hassle of making coffee from scratch. If this sounds like you, then yes, a capsule machine is likely the better option.

Coffee on the go is easy with a capsule machine

But for people who want the experience of making coffee and want a fresher beverage then a capsule machine probably isn’t the best option. You see, it’s all relative. In any case, pod machines do make a passable cup of coffee that is perfect as an everyday drink.

Should you buy a capsule coffee machine?

Since the late 1980s, the world has been going mad for the capsule coffee machine. These appliances offer convenience and a wide range of drinks to suit all tastes. While they might not give such a fresh beverage, this shouldn’t put you off purchasing one, especially considering they aren’t the most expensive coffee making appliance on the market.

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