Pod-based coffee machines can be a great, easy way of making espresso style coffee at home. Not only do these pod-based machines cost less, but they also take up far less space and use less power.
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But the thing is, pod-based machines aren’t without their flaws. Pods can have a devastating impact on our environment, creating huge amounts of waste each year.
Is there still a way we can use a Nespresso machine without contributing to this waste? Yes, there is! Let’s enter the world of reusable Nespresso pods!
What Are Reusable Nespresso Pods
It is estimated that around 29,000 coffee pods worldwide end up in landfill every minute. That is a literal mountain of waste every year. While many pods do claim to be recyclable, sadly, most of them never actually reach a recycling facility.
But all hope isn’t lost for our dear coffee pod-based machines! Instead of using the standard, disposable pods, we can instead opt for reusable pods.
Reusable Nespresso pods look very similar to regular coffee pods. They come in a variety of different colors and materials and are available for pretty much any Nespresso machine you can imagine. You can fill this reusable pod with any coffee you like— from a delicate Ethiopian coffee to a juicy Kenyan.
Once you have filled the pod with coffee, you brew it in the exact same way as a regular, disposable pod. And when the brew is finished, wash out the pod and use it again, and again, and again!
Benefits of Using Reusable Nespresso Pods
The number of coffee pods that end up being wasted is staggering. Using reusable Nespresso pods, we are able to completely stop using single-use, disposable coffee pods. Each reusable coffee pod can be used hundreds of times. Over a year, this keeps a huge amount of plastic and metal pods from ending up in landfills.
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A Nespresso pod will set you back around 70 cents. Filling your own reusable coffee pods will cost you less than half of what a regular Nespresso pod will. For a couple of coffee drinkers consuming 2 cups each per day, switching to reusable pods will result in a yearly saving of around $400. That’s a tasty saving!
You Can Use Any Coffee You Want
Most of the coffee that comes in pods isn’t the best quality. While some are certainly better than others, it is rare to find a truly delicious coffee in a pod. One of the biggest benefits of making the switch to reusable pods is the fact that you can fill them with any coffee you want.
Using your own coffee also means that you can adjust your grind size. Adjusting our grind size allows us to bring out different flavors in each coffee. We can also find the exact grind size for the temperature that we are brewing in order to maximize extraction. As long as you grind fine enough, you can make an espresso shot and brew yourself a cup of cappuccino using reusable pods!
If you already own a grinder perfect for making French press coffee, then you have everything you need.
How Does a Reusable Nespresso Pod Work
One of the things most people love about Nespresso pods is their ease of use.
Reusable Nespresso pods only require a tiny bit more effort— an effort that is well worth it when we look at the benefits listed above! If a cold brew coffee maker is the easiest to use, reusable Nespresso pods would be a close second.
We will dive into the juicy details of exactly how to use a reusable Nespresso pod in the section below. But let’s take a quick look at how they work now.
A standard Nespresso pod is a fully sealed pod filled with ground coffee. When the pod is inserted into a machine, two needles will puncture the pod— one on the top and one on the bottom. Hot water is then forced into the pod. The water travels through the pod, extracts what it needs to from the coffee, and then drips down into the mug below.
A reusable pod, on the other hand, is more like a filter basket. It isn’t fully sealed. Instead, both the top and the bottom of the pod are made of mesh. This allows the hot water to flow into the pod to extract the coffee and then flow out again as a delicious cup of coffee!
Simply fill the pod with any ground coffee that you like, then insert and brew the pod just like you normally would.
Pros and Cons of Using Reusable Nespresso Pods
- Better for the environment.
- You have the ability to use any coffee of your choosing.
- Cheaper than using disposable pods.
- You can adjust the grind size to optimize extraction.
- Pod coffee makers brew coffee really fast.
- It can take some trial and error to figure out the best grind size for the pod and machine you are using.
- It can take more effort than using a disposable pod.
- Need a coffee grinder to take full advantage of reusable pods.
Types of Reusable Nespresso Pods
Reusable Nespresso pods generally come in two different materials— plastic and metal. Let’s take a look at both.
Most decent reusable plastic pods are actually a mix of metal mesh with plastic housing. Because the pods will be in contact with hot water, we want to make sure that these pods are 100% BPA free. While plastic pods are generally less durable than all-metal ones, they are usually a fair bit cheaper and often come in sets.
Though reusable metal pods are a little more expensive than their plastic brothers and sisters, they do offer a couple of things that make them the more attractive option. The first is that you never need to worry whether or not the plastic in the pod is BPA free. The second is that it is durable. One pod will last you for years! A metal pod is an ideal option for reducing waste and staying away from plastics.
How to Choose Reusable Nespresso Pods
When it comes to Nespresso pods, one size doesn’t fit all. Most companies make it quite clear in the listing exactly what machine each pod is compatible with. Make sure that you choose a reusable pod that will fit your specific machine.
Because coffee pods come into contact with some very hot water, we want to be sure that the material it is made of can withstand the heat! While metal presents itself as the safer option of the two, plastic is the most cost-effective. If you do decide to choose a plastic reusable pod, be sure to go for one that is 100% BPA free and non-toxic.
The type of lid you choose really depends on the type of brewing you would like to do. If you are wanting to do mostly filter, drip-style coffee, a latch type lid will be perfect for you. A latch lid is connected to the pod and can be opened and closed. It doesn’t create an airtight seal, and as such, can not build up pressure the way a regular, disposable pod can.
A sticker style lid is closer to a standard Nespresso Pod. It creates a proper seal. Thanks to this seal, pressure can build up within the pod, allowing our brew to have some real crema. If you really want to replicate espresso, sticker style lids are the way to go. Want to turn your Nespresso machine into the best cappuccino maker? Go for the sticker type lids. The downsides to sticker type lids are that you need to keep replacing them, and there will still be some waste at the end of the day (though not nearly as much as with disposable pods!).
How to Use Reusable Nespresso Pods
- Reusable Nespresso pod
- Nespresso coffee maker
- Burr grinder (not necessary if using preground)
Step 1 – Prep the machine
First, we need to fill our Nespresso machine with water and turn it on. Let the machine heat up.
Step 2 – Fill the pod
While the machine heats up, let’s get our pod of coffee ready. Pods generally take between 6 and 8 grams of ground coffee. Grind your coffee close to an espresso grind. This might take some trial and error. You want to grind as fine as you can, without the coffee tasting bitter or unpleasant. Play around with your grind size until you find your sweet spot.
Close the pod and we’re ready to brew!
Step 3 – Insert the pod
Put your favorite mug under the coffee outlet and insert the reusable coffee pod into the machine. Engage the brew cycle. Watch that sweet coffee flow!
Step 4 – Remove the pod
Once brewing is finished, remove the pod, discard or compost the used coffee grinds and wash the filter. Enjoy your eco-friendly Nespresso coffee!
How to Clean Reusable Nespresso Pods
Reusable Nespresso pods are super easy to clean. They require only slightly more effort to clean-up afterward than throwing away a disposable pod.
Step 1 – Remove the pod
Once the brew has finished, remove the pod and discard or compost the used coffee grinds.
Step 2 – Wash the reusable pod
Bring the pod over to the sink and give the pod a good wash with detergent and water.
Step 3 – Rinse
Thoroughly rinse the reusable pod using water. Be sure that all the soap residue is gone. Your reusable Nespresso pod is now ready to brew again!
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
Because the materials that a reusable pod is made of can vary drastically, spending more does generally buy you a better quality pod. While a plastic pod might be very cheap, it may also be constructed of poor quality plastic that will leach toxins into your brew.
If you want to know exactly what your reusable pod is made of, purchasing American made coffee machines, reusable coffee pods, and accessories might help.
Do’s and Don’ts With Reusable Nespresso Pods
- Do try different types of coffee in your reusable pod.
- Do experiment with grind sizes. The finer the grind, the more you’ll extract from the coffee, and the slower your shot will brew.
- Do keep your reusable pod clean. Remove and clean it after each use.
- Do be sure you choose a pod that is compatible with your Nespresso machine.
- Do try making a shot of espresso to use in premium coffee cocktails!
- Don’t leave used coffee grinds in your pod for too long. This will allow coffee oils to build up on the filter and may eventually clog your pod.
- Don’t be afraid of experimenting! Reusable pods take a little trial and error to brew delicious coffee.
FAQ About Reusable Nespresso Pods
Are reusable Nespresso pods environmentally-friendly?
Yes! Each pod can be used hundreds of times, meaning that you won’t be adding to the gigantic amount of pods that end up in landfills each year.
Do we save money when using reusable Nespresso pods?
While filling a reusable pod with freshly roasted coffee might not be as cheap as a warm cup of instant coffee, it generally is far cheaper than using standard disposable coffee pods. Filling your own reusable pod will cost approximately half of standard pods.
What coffee do you use for reusable Nespresso pods?
One of the beautiful things about reusable Nespresso pods is that you can use any coffee that you like. While everyone has their own personal preferences, most will agree that freshly ground coffee will produce the tastiest results.
How much coffee do you put in a reusable pod?
While each pod has a slightly different recommended amount of coffee, most use between 6 and 8 grams of finely ground coffee.
Can you make a DIY reusable Nespresso pod?
Though it is possible to DIY a reusable pod out of a used disposable pod, it is recommended to pick up a purpose-made, reusable one. Reusable pods are available for Keurig or Nespresso pod coffee makers and come in a variety of builds. They are inexpensive and last for quite a while.
How many times can I reuse a capsule?
That depends on the materials. Plastic reusable pods can be used hundreds of times. Metal ones can be used for far longer. Always check with the manufacturer when it comes to how many times your reusable pod can be used.
Reusable Nespresso pods are an excellent solution to the problem of disposable pods. Not only are they a more sustainable option, but they also allow us to brew tastier coffee by letting us choose the coffee we want to use!
Give them a try and enjoy the results!