Coffee is arguably the single most popular drink on the planet, and it comes in so many different styles and flavors that people have literally written volumes on individual types of coffee. One of the most popular types of coffee is espresso, which can be served as a shot added to another type of coffee or as its own standalone beverage. Home espresso makers have become all the rage in recent years but that has only further added to the confusion because making fresh espresso is both an art and a science. Since not everyone is up to the challenge of mastering the art of making the perfect cup or shot of espresso there is a need for espresso pods.
Espresso pods are basically pre-packaged bags of pre-ground coffee beans that are designed to make a great cup or shot of espresso and facilitate easy clean-up afterwards. Many purists deride the espresso pod as a tool for the lazy and/or whole insufficient for making a true cup or shot of espresso. Here is what espresso pods have to offer:
• Espresso pods remove the necessity to buy a quality grinder. Sure there are quality hand-grinders on the market for around $30 but most of the inexpensive electric grinders are nothing but trouble. Electric grinders of any repute will generally cost upwards of $50
• Flavor is another potential strong suit of espresso pods as long as one is talking about additives such as vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, and so on.
• Clean up is a real simple affair when using espresso pods, and that can be important to people that have better things to do than spend a few moments every day cleaning up their espresso maker. A dirty espresso maker is a dangerous espresso maker, so never cut corners on cleaning an espresso maker.
• Having prepackaged grinds takes the guess work out of choosing the right size, packing density, and quantity. These are part of the art and science of making great cups of espresso, but they take a long time to truly master.
To be fair, it is important to look at what fresh ground beans have to offer:
• Fresh ground coffee beans, if ground correctly, offer superior flavor and an incredible amount of extra caffeine. Nothing beats fresh ground for taste or caffeinated punch.
• Control freaks will love the ability to alter the size of their espresso grinds, the density of their packing, and the overall quantity of grinds used.
• It is almost impossible to beat the price of fresh ground beans. Even moderately expensive fresh ground espresso shots cost around 20 to 30 cents worth of grinds to make. Few prepackaged espresso pods can match that price.
In the end it is a toss up with both sides having strong arguments in their favor as well as strong arguments against them. What any given consumer should choose is ultimately up to their own personal preference but there is no reason why one could not start with espresso pods and move their way up to making their own cups or shots of espresso with freshly ground coffee beans.