We’re all familiar with the coffee pod, made famous by Nespresso and George Clooney in around 2006. They’re an easy, mess free way of making yourself a good cup of coffee without having to be a barista and many of us (myself included) bought into it. My husband and I bought a Russell & Hobbs coffee pod machine about 3 years ago.
Since then, however, these little pods have become the subject of much environmental debate. Most coffee pods are made from aluminium, but they are not easily recyclable (or require a special process to be recycled) and literally BILLIONS of them find their way into landfills, as well as rivers and oceans across the globe, each year! You use them once and then they get dumped. There are a couple of plastic pod alternatives, but I have struggled to find any that I really liked, and even so they would still be a single use plastic item. As I became more environmentally conscious of our actions, so our little coffee pod machine got used less and less until finally, it became more of a decoration in our kitchen than anything else.
Then a friend of mine sent me a link to a website called Coffee Pod Guru and suggested I have a look. Coffee Pod Guru supplies a selection of reusable coffee pods, in various sizes that are compatible with a range of machines – which is AWESOME! So, I thought I would dust off our coffee machine and give these pods a try.
Our machine is compatible with Nespresso pods so those are the pods that I tried. They are made of BPA (a controversial chemical) free plastic with gauze over the top bottom to allow the water through. They come in packs of 3, which includes a little scoop that fits perfectly into the pod to help more easily insert the ground coffee into the pod with minimum mess, as well as compact the coffee using the back of the scoop. They have a lid that flips open allowing you to scoop your (finely) ground coffee into the pod, compress down, close the lid and pop it into your machine. The little hinge on the plastic lid may not last forever, but even if these do eventually break it doesn’t really impact on the pods coffee making ability.
Once you have finished making your cup of coffee and the pod has cooled down, you just scoop the coffee out (which can be collected and used as fertiliser for your plants) and rinse the pods to be used for your next cup of coffee. I found that the finely ground coffee can be quite a pain to clean off, so I advise using an old toothbrush (or buying a bamboo one to reduce your use of plastics) or small bottle brush to help clean the pod once you are done.
In addition to these pods being re-usable (can be used roughly 200 times) they are also a bonus because you get to select your own coffee, and by doing so you can help to support local coffee producers. The coffee definitely tasted better than some of the pods I have tried. The only catch is that the coffee you use in the pods needs to be VERY FINELY ground. The ground coffee I bought to test was not fine enough and the coffee then came out too watery. Coffee Pod Guru do however also sell finely ground coffee through their online store, if you can’t find a grind fine enough (I am still trying out various brands so I’ll keep you posted). Perhaps chat to your local coffee shop, they may be happy to finely grind their beans for you?
So the quality of your cup of coffee will depend quite heavily on the quality, and grind of the coffee you buy.
Other than that, I found the pods worked well in our machine and I am very happy to be able to make a quick, hassle free cup of coffee again without feeling guilty about my impact on the environment. And it certainly works out to be cheaper in the long run.
Where to get your re-usable coffee pods
You can buy a selection of re-usable coffee pods (and coffee) directly from Coffee Pod Guru.
A set of 3 Nespresso compatible pods costs you R139.99.
A combo pack of 3 pods and 250g of ground coffee costs R219.95.
They also have an option of a stainless steel pods (even better), but they are a fair bit pricier at R869.00, as well as various pod sizes for other brands of coffee pod machines.
So if you love your coffee pods, but hate the environmental impact associated with them then check these out.
I would also like to know where else I could source finely ground local coffee to use in the pods so please drop us a line and let us know if you have any good suggestions? Apparently an espresso grind is what you should look out for, and House of Coffees’ Roma espresso dark roast is one that works.