5 Reasons to Ditch Pod-Based Espresso

5 Reasons to Ditch Pod-Based Espresso


There’s a whole wide (fresh) world of whole bean coffee out there…

Terra Kaffe is 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 strive to offer a more sustainable alternative that coffee drinkers can feel good about throughout their entire coffee ritual.

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

We’ve had lots of great conversations and heard many reasons as to why people are sick of pod-based coffee. Having brewed over 1,000 cups at tasting events, we wanted to take the time to share why we’re so passionate about making capsule coffee a problem of the past.

Here are the main reasons we think you should bid pod coffee auf wiedersehen:

1. A grind is a terrible thing to waste.

Quality coffee is meant to be paired with flaky croissants and good company, not punctured aluminum and microplastics. Instead of introducing harmful and unnecessary elements into your morning cup, consumers should have a simple and eco-conscious option for their home brew. With a bean to cup coffee machine, you can keep the process streamlined and clean, avoiding the alarming 3 grams of aluminum packaging for just 6 grams of coffee — an upsetting reality of single-serve coffee.

2. Podders can’t be choosers.

Pod-coffee players are on a mission to trap you into a closed system — a game that only they can win. They have you pay for a cheap machine that can only operate with a compatible pod. This keeps you beholden to their ecosystem and dramatically limits your ability to try new coffees, explore new roasters, and change up flavors. Instead of having access to thousands of different beans, blends, and roasts, you are bound to the grinds pre-selected by them.

You may see the seasonal special / limited releases, but you’ll never have the choice or flexibility that is available from whole bean coffee. 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. Those pods are gonna cost ya.

You may only pay $150 to $200 upfront for most pod-based machines, but the strategy of locking you into a closed ecosystem is where they turn most of their profit. By limiting your choice, they can charge you a premium for every cup you consume without you even 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 adds up over time.

4. Fresh coffee doesn’t grow in pods.

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. Despite packaging efforts, nothing can compare to the quality of brewing a cup of coffee immediately after grinding your carefully selected beans. In fact, coffee immediately begins to lose its freshness the moment it’s ground. The flavors and aromas that are extracted from fresh ingredients simply can’t be beat. This is one of those areas where we believe less is more. Read more about keeping coffee fresh here. [Link to freshness article].

5. Low coffee ration, bad extraction ratios

Consider the 6 or so grams of coffee in each espresso pod. One of the most important parts of extracting espresso is starting with the standard dose of ground coffee, which is typically 14 grams, and tweaking to your liking. And while we don’t doubt that the engineering teams behind the various pod machine companies have figured out dosing and extraction ratios, there is simply no reputable resource that recommends such a small dosage for a standard espresso shot, even if it’s a ristretto. What’s more, virtually none of these machines allow their users to change extraction values to experiment with these ratios. Dialing in your espresso is key when it comes to achieving the perfect cup, so being forced to stick with so many locked variables is a real shame.

So there you have it. Five of the biggest reasons to ditch pod-based for good. Give it a shot — your taste buds, wallet, and compost pile will thank you.

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