Four Reasons to Just Say No to Coffee Pods

Categories: Coffee

4017911499_0974123a7f_b_coffeepod_flickr.jpg
Flickr/Randy Read
On paper, the concept of the modern coffee pod machine isn't a bad one: quick, convenient, and supposedly delicious coffee delivered at the simple press of a button. And if any of this were true, coffee pods might have earned their immense popularity. Unfortunately though, pod coffee is a hoax, an illusion of simplicity and taste foisted upon an unknowing populace by the puppeteers of Corporate Coffee America.

Is it really all that bad? Yes, yes it is. Here are few reasons why pod coffee is a chromatically cased devil eating away at our coffee culture:

See also: Talking Coffee With Hanna Neuschwander, Author of Left Coast Roast
"Deliciousness is My Primary Concern": Watch This 12-Minute Coffee Documentary

1. Mmmm, Tastes Like Metal
Is it really that shocking that coffee, pre-ground in bulk in some giant warehouse in the Midwest, freeze-dried, sealed in plastic for God knows how long, and then shot through with boiling water isn't going to be all that delicious? It's common knowledge: The fresher the coffee, the better it's going to taste, and these little bits of future imperfect might end up riding the shelves for months at a time. Throw in that it's near impossible to find any information on where this coffee is grown or how it's processed, and it's no wonder that the steaming juice these machines emit tastes like water boiled in a rusty pipe.

2. What Are You Really Paying For?
It isn't that pod machines are going to break your bank (the cheapest Nespresso machine goes for $129, with the pods ranging around $1 a pop); it's more about what you're paying for. As stated above, this is cheaply sourced coffee, mass-ground and freeze-dried, and even a dollar seems a little high. What you're paying for is the manufacturing cost of encasing cheap, bad-tasting coffee in colorful little plastic containers. Worth it? Probably not. While we're on the subject of packaging. though ...

3. Let's Destroy Earth!
It's nice that Big Coffee took a product so inherently of the Earth, so simply compostable as ground coffee, and encased it in hard shells of impressively wasteful plastic. Not only that, but by schlepping it as a single-serve product (one pod = one drink), everyone gets a chance to be wasteful! Yes, yes, Nespresso actively promotes the recycling of these pods, and Keurig markets a reusable capsule, but neither of these "solutions" imply the same sort of ease and convenience in coffee-making that these machines actively promote. If we're lazy enough that we have to make single-serving cups of coffee out of pods, are we really going to haul those same pods to a different location to recycle them? In 40 years, we can all thank Nespresso for the purple, gold, and blue capsule shell islands that now populate the Pacific Ocean.

4. Are We Really This Lazy?
Well, if we can sacrifice flavor, money, and our environment because it's just so much easier to drink coffee brewed from a punctured piece of plastic, then yes, we are that lazy. Somebody hit the big red doomsday button; it's all one glazed-eyed downhill slide from here.

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19 comments
Erik Ellestad
Erik Ellestad

Aeropress is also no muss, just as quick, more fun, & almost as easy.

Lance Walker
Lance Walker

Yep, RJ Lane and the rant in this article nailed it. Completely concur, just buy high grade, quality whole beans, and grind and brew them yourself, preferably using a manual brewing method or a quality espresso machine (the less automatic the better). Most good things take time to make, and coffee is absolutely no exception.

Sean McHugh
Sean McHugh

RJ is spot on and I concur! Too much waste!

RJ Lane
RJ Lane

Coffee comes in beans, not pods. Like Chicken does not have "Nuggets" and the only time it is boneless is when it is in egg form. More wasteful consumer crap. If you like coffee, make fresh coffee from fresh ground beans, and use freshly local roasted coffee beans.

Dianimal
Dianimal

Thanks for this article! For portability and deliciousness of product, check out the Aeropress, a brilliant and inexpensive device.  It's not really that hard to travel with a small piece of plastic equipment and a bag of ground coffee is it "jreiswig"?  Please read my piece "The Bitter Taste of George Clooney's Ads for Nespresso" to find out even more nefarious truths about this hideous product and many more reasons to avoid it like the plague it is as well as an excellent justification for boycotting movies featuring that hypocritical buffoon Mr. Clooney while you're at it.  It is simply not compatible to make films with "a social conscience" and then be a corporate whore for discredited brands such as Nestle.

http://66witches.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/the-bitter-taste-of-george-clooneys-coffee-ads-for-nespresso/ 

jreiswig
jreiswig

Where I think the Pod coffee works is in hotels. Most folks really don't travel with their own beans, grinder and filters and the pods are MUCH better than those nasty little filter bags you usually get in hotels, with that nasty coffee maker with the stale smell baked into the carafe.  The amount of waste is pretty comparable to those plastic-wrapped filter bags, and there isn't the carafe to clean, so it seems a lot more efficient for the hotel.  I wouldn't have one at home, but on the road they're great. 

Sean McHugh
Sean McHugh

NOT A FAN! WASTEFULL!!! Love our Philz pour over at home or one of the several other great coffee places in town!

Morgan Sherwood
Morgan Sherwood

I say to each their own. I got a ceramic coffee filter from blue bottle and get my 1-2 cups a day with that

Kirsten Thompson
Kirsten Thompson

Oh and yeah, I guess I'm that lazy. Using a French Press and grinding beans each day worked when I didn't have kids, but now I'm trying to get fresh homemade whole food meals on the table for my kids that meet the approval of me (and a judgmental society.).

Kirsten Thompson
Kirsten Thompson

I love my coffee pods. I guess I'm an idiot, Robert Ruiz. Geez. I wish people were more kind on the Internet... I pretty much only buy Tully's French Roast K Cups for my Keurig. I am the only coffee drinker in my household and only drink 1-2 cups of coffee per day so it works well for me and the coffee is very good.

Gloria Weisgrau Goverman
Gloria Weisgrau Goverman

Sorry guys, but one solution doesn't fit everyone. I have a Keurig at work for staff and customers and it's fabulous! One cup of fresh coffee whenever you want it throughout the 11 hours that the building is occupied. And I have one at home where we use a combination of refillable pods and single use pods. No more coffee waste! No more making a pot of coffee when all you really want is 1/2 cup. And as for freshness, we don't grind our beans anyway, so what we get in the sealed pod is probably fresher than what we get once we open a bag of coffee and use it over time. As for waste, let's talk about water bottles....

Gita Isak
Gita Isak

Uh-uh. I need to handle those oily, dark brown beans & grind them fresh every morning. Coffee foreplay. You don't get that when popping a pod.

Robert la Bohème
Robert la Bohème

Nope. They're for idiots -- or rather, market-brainwashed lemmings. It's the equivalent of Sanka from my parents' generation.

Dianimal
Dianimal

@Kirsten Thompson At the risk of repeating myself, check out the Aeropress. Better by far than a French Press and no messy cleanup.. You don't have to grind your own beans and can make one cup at a time.  You will also be able to use it in a power outtage.

Dianimal
Dianimal

@Gloria Weisgrau Goverman As I said above, why not check out the Aeroporess? You can make just one cup at a time, or a whole pot, and every cup is as fresh and tasty as one made in an Italian cafe, far better than your Keurig, plus it is quicker than making a cup of tea if you have an electric kettle. You will create far less waste and won't have those pods to get rid of. At least look into it!

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