April 7th, 2020 / 4 min read

5 Reasons to Ditch Pod Espresso Machines

Terra Kaffe is a startup on a mission to provide a new solution for people to conveniently get high-quality espresso at home without having to resort to plastic or aluminum coffee pods. We advocate for conscious coffee consumption and, with that, strive to offer an eco-friendly alternative that coffee drinkers can feel good about before, during, and after their morning cup.

In this pursuit, we’ve been conducting events in major metropolitan cities across the US for coffee drinkers to stop by and try our new product, the TK-01. At these events, we both showcase our new espresso machine to demonstrate how it can elevate people’s home coffee experience, and also try to learn from others how their own home coffee experience has been thus far.

Throughout this process, we’ve had lots of great conversations and heard several reasons why people are sick of pod-based coffee, like Nespresso. Having brewed now over 1,000 cups at tasting events, we wanted to take the time to explain to others why we’re so passionate to make pod coffee a relic of the past.

Here are the main reasons we think you should bid pod coffee “adieu”:

1. Waste.

Quality coffee is meant to be paired with delicious, flaky croissants and good company, not pieces of plastic and aluminum. Instead of introducing harmful and unnecessary elements into your morning cup, consumers should have a healthy and eco-friendly option for their home brew. Our planet is struggling enough with excessive waste, and a cup of coffee shouldn’t exacerbate that problem. With bean-to-cup espresso machines, you can keep the process simple and clean, avoiding the alarming 3 grams of aluminum packaging for just 6 grams of coffee that you get from a single Nespresso pod.

If you think that Nespresso’s “recycling-program” resolves the issue, I urge you to read our first blog. Not only does Nespresso’s recycling program fail to generate a net positive eco-impact, but also they choose not to disclose how many of their billions of pods sold each year are bothered to be recycled at all.

2. Choice.

Pod-coffee players are on a mission to trap you into a closed eco-system — that’s how they make their money. They have you pay for a cheap machine that can only operate when a compatible pod or capsule of coffee is inserted. This keeps you beholden to their eco-system and dramatically limits choice. Instead of having access to thousands of different beans, blends, and roasts, you are bound to the grinds pre-selected by Nespresso.

You may see the seasonal special / limited releases, but you’ll never have the choice or flexibility that is available on the market today. Nearly every new wave coffee shop today sells coffee beans at their store. With a bean-to-cup machine, you get the chance to perfectly recreate that cup at home.

3. Cost

You may only pay $150 to $200 upfront, but the strategy of locking you into a closed ecosystem is not because they want to limit your choices. The rationale behind this is that companies can profit massively off of charging you a premium for every cup you consume at home without you noticing.

The price per-cup for pod coffee was estimated by Euromonitor to be on average $0.53. Whereas, if you consume coffee from fresh whole-beans, the average price per-cup was estimated to be $0.16. You are effectively paying 3.3x more per cup, which certainly takes its toll over the many years that you would use such a machine.

4. Quality — Freshness

A fact most consumers seldom know is that the pods have ground coffee inside that was ground many months or even years prior to consumption. Systems have been made, however, to keep the pods air-tight and to prevent the beans from oxidizing.

Despite packaging efforts, nothing can compare to the quality of brewing a cup of coffee immediately after grinding your carefully selected beans. The flavors and aromas that are extracted from these fresh ingredients simply can’t be beat. This is one of those areas where we believe less is more.

5. Quality — Ratios

Lastly, we come back again to the 6 grams of coffee in each Nespresso pod. Any light googling or youtube-ing will quickly yield plenty of resources that demonstrate what dosage of ground coffee is needed for a standard single or double shot espresso. Although we no doubt believe that Nespresso has worked with their engineering team intensely to arrive at a solution for this, there is simply no reputable resource that recommends such a small dosage for a standard espresso shot, even if it’s a single.

Of course, coffee is personal preference, so if you in fact do like the taste, that’s all that matters. If you do, however, notice that there is a difference between the espresso you get from a new wave cafe and the coffee output from your Nespresso machine, we encourage you to do some digging and perhaps consider some other options.


Terra Kaffe Team


At Terra Kaffe we are committed to furthering the growth of conscious consumption by reducing waste from coffee pods and brewing from fresh whole beans. Learn more about our bean-to-cup espresso machine here.


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