How to make the perfect pod coffee!
For those who didn’t know, I was the first person in Australia to launch Nespresso compatible pods back in 2012. In this time, I’ve experimented and failed with different techniques when making pod coffee, but I’ve finally got it down pact. I thought it would be worth sharing how I make the best coffee every time!
Frothing the milk
Let’s start with the milk. Some machines have an inbuilt milk frother. I have one of these at home, but never use because it makes the milk way too frothy for my liking – the result is half froth and only a little bit of milk left at the end.
I prefer my Aeroccino frother and find that nothing beats it when it comes to simple, perfectly frothed milk. They are super easy to clean, whereas the inbuilt frothers have a bunch of fiddly parts that need to be pulled apart and cleaned. Give your frother a good scrub with a scourer after every use to prevent burnt milk build up.
You’ll find a little whisker inside your frother, whether you have a Nespresso or other brand. Newer models will have a silver spring attachment that can be pulled apart from the whisker. I highly recommend removing the spring from your whisker, as it creates A LOT of froth – it turns out like whipped meringue! If that’s your thing, leave the spring in there, but I find that the best frothed milk is produced without it.
When adding milk to your frother, only go as high as the top of the whisker - roughly 200ml. This will give you enough milk for a small cup of coffee. Now press the button to get that milk whizzing while you move onto extracting your pod.
I personally use a small double walled glass, which fits around 250ml in total. This is the perfect size for those using a single pod, so you don’t drown the coffee flavour with milk. Some use a single pod in a mug (approx. 400ml), which may be weak and milky for some people.
As a pod business, we get a lot of feedback from customers saying that one pod isn’t strong enough, but they also aren’t happy to use two pods to get the strength they want. I want to educate you on this issue to try and manage your expectations.
The best explanation is that when you go to a café, they offer three sizes: regular, large and extra large. A regular will have one shot, a large will have two and often an extra large will have three shots. And of course, the price jumps up approximately $1 between these three sizes to make up for the extra coffee and milk used.
The weird thing is, a lot of people think that they can get as much coffee as they want out of a single coffee pod and achieve the same result as a larger sized barista made coffee. Sorry to break it to you, but this just isn’t realistic!
If you prefer a mug size coffee, I strongly recommend using two pods. If you’re concerned about the cost, let me put it into perspective. Let’s say the average cost of a pod is 50c, you use two, which equals $1. That’s still at least a quarter of the price of a café coffee, which is usually around $4 - $5. See what I mean now?
Again, my preference is to use a small cup with a single shot, but this may just mean that I’m having more of these throughout the day. Someone else might have 2 mugs of coffee a day, whereas I’ll have 4 small cups. It doesn’t really matter whether you drink a small cup or a mug, I just wanted to address the one or two pods thing.
Do you reset your machine back to factory settings regularly? Like every one or two months? Well you should! No matter which machine you have, you’ll find that they all have this feature.
What exactly does this do? Over time, especially if you use a shared machine, you may find that your extraction is longer or shorter than what you’re used to. This can mess with the flavour and intensity, and you may find that your coffee is inconsistent. Resetting will set it to around a 40ml extraction (depending on the system you use), which is ideal for a single shot. This little trick has solved a lot of customer’s pod extraction issues. If you want more information on how to reset your machine back to factory settings, CLICK HERE
I’ve mentioned this countless times, but PLEASE only use the short shot – leave that long shot button alone! A long shot just forces more water through the same pod, which is not what you want. Towards the end of your extraction, you’ll end up with a dirty, bitter concoction, and your coffee will be ruined. You only need the first 40ml to extract all the beautiful oils, flavours and aromas from a pod. TRUST ME!
So, you’ve got your 40ml extraction and your frothed milk – let’s wrap things up! I like to let it sit for a couple of minutes to cool down and then swirl my milk around while its in the frother. That way I don’t burn my mouth and can actually taste and enjoy my coffee. Weirdly enough, some like their coffee scolding hot, but again this all comes down to personal preference.
Alright, now pour the milk in and your coffee is done! You’ll find that you have the perfect amount of milk if you followed my tips in the ‘Frothing the milk’ section and end up with a nice 1cm thick froth on your coffee - no wastage here.
There you have it – my tips and tricks on how to make the perfect coffee! What did you think? Do you have any other tips and tricks that I should try?
Still have a question?
Toby Strong (aka The Podfather)
Founder & Customer Happiness Specialist