Agood cup of coffee is what gets many of us through the day. But a bad brew is the nightmare of home and office life.
To make the perfect cup of Barista-style coffee, you need the right tools. Quality coffee beans are one thing. Without the right coffee pod machine though, you run the risk of an unenjoyable mug. No one wants to deal with that.
Pod machines are the way to go if you want an excellent cup of coffee with good crema at a good price. They’re simple to use, low maintenance and convenient. The problem is, they can have a high environmental impact. If you don’t choose to reuse, you’ll contribute to the millions of pods that end up in landfill every day. Fortunately, it is possible to find a pod machine with reusable coffee pods that aren’t going to waste.
So how do you find the best coffee pod machine in Australia? Here are the essential factors to consider for an eco-friendly cup.
Optimal Brew Pressure
It’s important to understand pressure when choosing a pod machine.
Typically, the more intense the pressure, the better the brew. Creating the right pressure is key to finding the sweet spot for a good shot of coffee. Coffee will taste smoother and you’ll be able to refine your brew method easier.
The secret to a high-quality machine is the pressure bar rating, which shows its maximum intensity. Hot water pushes through the grounds at high pressure. It needs to create at least 8 bars to do this, with 15-19 the optimal level. Too little pressure will make your coffee taste weak and watery. Too much leaves a bitter and over-extracted taste.
Try: The Nespresso Essenza mini has a powerful 19 bar pressure pump. It’s an energy-efficient machine that’s compact and user-friendly. Not ideal for serving large groups as it only has a small water tank. Check our compatibility chart for types of machines.
Tip: A pod machine with a higher bar pressure, doesn’t mean it’s a better buy, but it's one indication of a good machine.
Most of the best coffee pod machines are low-maintenance and easy to clean. They still need some TLC to keep them in shape though.
Regular maintenance extends its life and ensures the quality of your coffee. Cleaning and descaling, stripping calcium buildup and helping the pump to perform at its peak, will create the crema of top of your coffee, with the best flavour and brew pressure.
Look for a pod machine that’s simple and cost-effective to maintain.
Settings and Features
Choose a pod machine with indicator lights and a digital display for a straightforward coffee making process. The best coffee pod machines in Australia are known for their ease-of-use. Keep it simple with only the controls and features you need.
Automatic Milk Frother
Some pod machines come with a built-in milk frother. Machines that don’t have one may have an external attachment to buy separately. Both options have advantages. Automatic built-ins make an all-in-one coffee. Whereas, you can get creative with a separate milk frother and brew coffee with barista-style milk art.
How much water you need the machine to hold depends on your needs. A large water capacity suits a family, whereas a small machine is perfect for solo or couple coffee drinkers.
This is where the machine holds the coffee granules. Choose brass over aluminium as it retains heat better. Generally, the cheaper models use aluminium.
Coffee Pod Compatibility
What coffee do you drink?
Coffee types play a vital role in the pod machine you buy. The best coffee pod machines are versatile for almost all beans. Other machines are limited in the pods you can use.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, choose to reuse with machines that allow for stainless steel coffee pods. These pods work in Nespresso, Aldi, Caffitaly, Espressotoria and Verismo. They’re fully reusable and allow for fresher tasting coffee.
Types and Quality of Coffee
Which brings us to quality coffee.
Not all coffee pods allow for quality coffee beans or the crème de la crème of espresso shots. Stainless steel pods are the only reusable capsules that use any coffee blend.
To master the art of brewing great coffee, read the barista guide for coffee grind, flow and pour tips.
Find the Right Grind
Another factor that impacts machine purchase and final coffee taste is the type of grind you use.
The right grind contributes to the strength of your coffee, crema quality and coffee extraction. Finer grinds are best for reusable pods. At Pod Star, we recommend grinding the beans to fine-medium grind. Ask your local cafe to grind them for you or some stores will sell it pre-ground.
Fresh is Best
Regardless of what pod machine you buy using real, fresh coffee is always better.
Pre-filled pods are loaded with flavour enhancers. This intensifies the taste and makes the coffee taste stronger. However, it doesn’t increase the caffeine content or quality.
Use freshly roasted beans to get the most from your pod machine. If you like your coffee strong and flavoursome, drink darker roasts and have two shots of espresso instead. View our range of freshly roasted green beans for ideas.
Choosing the best coffee machine for your needs doesn’t have to be hard. Contact our team of coffee-addicts for our favourites.