George Clooney has loved his Nespresso since 2006 and it seems so has the rest of the world. The market for pod/capsule coffee machines has grown exponentially over the past 15 years and it has been estimated that Nespresso alone has sold 28 billion capsules of coffee worldwide with the capsule coffee market worth $8bn in 2014.
But what exactly are they?
Essentially, the are a little capsule (usually made of plastic or aluminium) that contains a single shot of espresso coffee that the machine brews for you. Once your coffee is brewed, you can simply dispose of the capsule or many are now able to be recycled. This means very little mess, and no complicated steps to take to brew a coffee.
Each machine will take a certain type of capsule, so if you are going to invest in one of these machines, be sure to buy the right types of pod for your machine. Some may be interchangeable, but from personal experience the machine won't function as well as it should, and may even cause damage.
Many brands offer a variety of strengths of coffee, as well as decaffeinated options. You can also buy capsules that will brew tea, hot chocolate, Nesquick and even soup (I don't know how I feel about the later though!).
Which machine is right for me?
There are a number of machines available on the market, from brands such as DeLonghi, Kitchen Aid, Breville, Gloria Jeans, Aldi, LaVazza and many more, ranging from under $100 to well above $700 and even up to $4000 for built in machines! My best advice for you would be to head down to your local electrical store and have a look at the machines on offer. You'll most likely be making a large investment in your machine, so find one that fits in with your kitchen style and one that has the features that you want. Some offer built in milk frothing options which can really speed up the time to make a latte style drink and make it so much easier. If you have any friends or family with a machine, ask them their opinions on it and have a try using it!
My current machine is the Nespresso Latissima Plus, which offers a number of drink sizes and also has milk frothing functions.
Which capsule is right for me?
Finding the right capsule can be a tricky process and my best piece of advice would be to simply try some out. If you're thinking of buying or already have a Nespresso machine, head down to a Nespresso boutique, where you can try out their many number of blends.
Most pods from any brand will be rated on their strength usually on a scale of 1 to 10. If you like a stronger coffee, look for a higher number, likewise, a lower number for a weaker coffee. The intensity of a coffee is not relative to its caffeine level, but how the coffee is roasted to affect the flavour.
If you still can't find a capsule for your liking, available online are DIY capsules that you can put your own coffee grinds in the capsules and brew your own custom blends. These are usually reusable, which is great for the environment.
Are they expensive?
Capsule coffee is usually one of the more expensive ways to brew a coffee at home, compared to brewing with a manual machine. You're essentially paying for consistency and convenience. However, each coffee is most likely going to be cheaper than a coffee from a cafe, especially handy for those like me who don't have one nearby!
We're likely to see the single serve coffee market grow in the future as coffee drinkers realise the ease and convenience at which they can brew a coffee at home as well as the number of machines and capsules brands available in Australia. Machines are always popping up on special, and are likely to drop for the holiday season and possible during the Boxing Day sales!
Happy coffee drinking!
Nick Wallace is an aspiring public relations and communications professional with a penchant for anything lemon flavoured. When not studying hard or planning his next holiday to some exotic or exciting location, he produces content on cooking, travel, tech, or whatever takes his taste.