What are ESE Coffee Pods?
Pods are a convenient way to make excellent espresso coffees. Each pod contains a single or double serving of freshly ground coffee beans, already measured and pre-tamped, ready for placing into an espresso machine.
Easy Serving Espresso or ESE coffee pods, are simply a fabulously convenient and simple way to make great tasting, authentic espresso, with no mess and no fuss! The hard pod was patented in 1959 by K. Cyrus Melikian of Automatic Brewers And Coffee Devices, Inc and commercialised by Illy and introduced in 1989 as the ESE pod.
The Illy ESE design was initiated as a marketing effort to sell a convenient solution for in home espresso preparation.
The Easy Serving Espresso system and brand is protected by the Italian ‘ESE Consortium for Development’ and is simply an industry standardization.
Typically, containing 7 of espresso fine grind or for a double, 14 g of espresso, the diameter of an ESE pod is 44 mm.
The pod itself is hard and rigid…not like a traditional tea bag and not to be confused with the soft pod, or pad, which is particularly popular on the continent and for sole use in low pressure Douwe Egbert Senseo type machines.
The ESE pod will suit almost all domestic and catering traditional machines, as the basket can be changed within the group handle to accommodate the change from ground to pod packed product.
What goes into a pod?
Typically, 7 g of finely ground espresso coffee is packed into each individual pod.
The grind of espresso is a critical part of the ‘perfetto’ espresso process…. Espresso grind is the finest coffee grind available alongside Turkish… and is almost like talcum powder, with the particulates distributed evenly at the finest end of the particulate spectrum.
Often, espresso is ground commercially, using cryogenically cooled rollers and plates, which preserve the full impact of the espresso flavour experience.
The type of coffee roasted and ground for the pod varies by manufacturer… single origin coffees are not usually used in ESE pods…rather a Grand Cru espresso, is much more likely to be a blend of South American and Central American Arabica and East Asian or Indian Robusta.
The word ‘Robusta’ today seems to conjure up a negative connotation with your atypical coffee consumer. Many of the high street chains, such as McDonalds, strictly advertise 100% Arabica as the best coffee available…Well that isn’t true and most experts agree and traditional espresso culture in Mediterranean countries supports the use of Robusta, both to aid the production and longevity of the crema and to provide body and substance to the liquor itself.
The pod is then wrapped in a non bleached filter paper and vacuum packed, or nitrogen flushed, into a single pouch to ensure it remains ‘tip top’ fresh, until you, the lucky consumer, gets to prepare and drink it!
Precisely measured ground coffee Roasted coffee beans are freshly ground and immediately measured into individual doses – either single serve or double serves. Each dose is then pre-tamped for optimal extraction and wrapped in a paper pod. Sealed-in, longer-lasting freshness The filled pods are hermetically sealed into laminated aluminium pouches and flushed with nitrogen to remove the oxygen. This locks in all the original aromas and flavours of the freshly ground coffee until the pouch is opened and the pod is used.
Coffee capsules v coffee pods
Single Serve espresso (pod and capsule) has grown hugely in the last few years…
ESE pods are the simplest, cheapest, freshest, no mess method of consistently making authentic espresso in your home. Because the ESE pod is an industry standard it will fit any machine and you, the consumer, can choose from myriad brands, blends and qualities…..
On the other hand you can chose from the hugely successful Nespresso range, or one of the other corporate giants, such as Kraft with Tassimo and Tchibo with Cafissimo, who have tried to ‘jump on the band wagon’ but have failed miserably.
The Nespresso and Dolce Gusto systems can be defined as a single serving capsule.
The 5 or 6 g of coffee you actually purchase is wrapped either in a difficult to recycle consumer grade hard plastic shell, or in scarce and expensive aluminium, this vs the compostable ESE pod, which incidentally has a carbon foot print many times less than the expensive and unnecessary capsule solution.
Most capsule systems are ‘lock and key’.
This means, that once you buy into one of the machine franchises, then you are hooked forever and must purchase the corresponding capsule…Nespresso won’t fit Tassimo and vice versa…! This is how – much like printer cartridges – the corporate coffee machines make their money from you!!
Finally, as noted above, each Nespresso capsule contains typically 5 > 6 g of coffee.
Traditionally, and in an ESE pod, the prefect espresso needs 7g of coffee. Patented technology results in Nestle being able to give you less for more!
The picture is completed when you consider that an ESE pod retails at 15 > 25 p vs a capsule at 25 > 40p …seems a no brainer really!
If you wish to consider using whole bean or pre packed espresso grind for use in your domestic espresso machine…then well done you!
This is undoubtedly the most authentic and cheapest method per cup of making espresso at home. Problem is, have you considered the mess and the fact that once you have opened your pack of finest espresso grind (even if you store it in the freezer) it will have gone stale within 7 > 10 days? So that expensive pack you opened for your Saturday dinner party, is past its best come the following weekend…
Use whole beans instead and you need to invest in a grinder… the best Burr or ceramic plate grinders will set you back easily over £200, plus you must also factor in the cost premium of say 100g of whole bean, which will make c 14 cups of espresso (assuming no wastage and an eagle eye on the dosing!) vs pre ground product.
So in Summary
You don’t need to be a barista to make great tasting espresso, with a fabulous crema in your own home! Using an ESE pod could not be simpler…..
Equally, you don’t need to let yourself be ripped off by the corporate coffee money making machines!!
Chose an ESE pod and be assured you are getting the freshest possible espresso coffee, pre dosed for exacting performance….
With no mess on your kitchen counter, or in the machine, and with a clear conscience that the environment is not paying for your 35ml of pure indulgence!
On a personal level, I also have to say, that the huge eye watering range of beautiful ESE equipment available, suits genuinely every budget and offers a startling array of styles, colours and finishes to suit any and all ‘25 Beautiful Homes’ readers! This vs the bland corporate Mondeos which Nespresso and Kraft are shipping out in their millions….
The choice is yours – but Monkey, Monster and Guru have made up their minds – Join us