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How does coffee made with Keurig and Nespresso single-serve machines taste?

What you think of the taste of coffee from pods will depend largely on what coffee you’re used to drinking. If you haven’t had specialty-grade coffee before, they might seem alright. When tasted alongside higher-end coffee, though, the stuff that comes from automatic, single-serve machines usually seems stale, watered-down and bland in comparison. When you consider the factors that affect coffee’s taste, it’s easy to understand why.

Coffee in Pods is Often Stale

The coffees in pods is often stale, especially when compared to freshly roasted coffee. Coffee tastes best when it’s fresh, and there’s no substitute for recently harvested, roasted and ground coffee. Pod-based systems typically fall short in all three of these areas.

First, most companies that make coffee pods don’t note when the coffee in the pods was harvested (or roasted or ground). Green coffee doesn’t degrade as fast as roasted coffee does, but it does lose some of its finer notes over time. If the harvest date isn’t stated, the coffee in a pod may have been grown a year or more ago.

(Admittedly, we at Driftaway Coffee don’t always mention when each coffee we offer was harvested. We continually bring in new, fresh coffees, though, and feature them as soon as we get them in and roasted. Although we make the roast date more prominent, all of our coffees were harvested recently. If you’d like to know precisely when, just ask.)

Second, the coffee in pods isn’t freshly roasted. Not only is the roast date not noted, but the coffee that’s in pods is usually left out between roasting and packaging.

After its roasted, coffee gives off a lot of carbon monoxide. When we put coffee in bags, the carbon monoxide is able to escape through a one-way valve that’s built into the bags. Pods, however, don’t have these valves. Companies that make pods usually have to let their roasted coffees sit and degas for several days or weeks, before the coffee can be packaged into pods. If they package the coffee too soon, the excess gas will build up and rupture the pods. During the time that the coffee is degassing, it’s also losing flavor.

Third, the coffee in pods is ground well before brewing. Grinding coffee immediately before brewing is the only way to capture all of a coffee’s flavors in a cup. To make brewing faster and more convenient, pod manufacturers grind coffee days, weeks and, sometimes, even years before it’s brewed.

Some Systems Use Water That’s Too Cool

A fourth issue arises in some automatic, single-serve systems during the brewing phase. Sme systems use water that’s cooler than is ideal. Keurig®, for example, states that their systems are engineered to brew coffee with water that is 192 degrees Fahrenheit. We find that temperatures between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit are able to extract the fine flavors in coffees better.

Try a Different Coffee

If you’re used to the taste that automatic, single-serve coffee makers produce, try our coffee. At just $8 for a sample, it’s significantly cheaper than the $50 per pound that people pay for pod-system coffee.  We’re confident you’ll like our coffee and will be able to taste the difference that freshness provides.

Author Scott

Scott is a professional writer for Driftaway Coffee. He worked as a barista for eight years, but today prefers to enjoy his beverages from the other side of the counter. When not drinking Driftaway Coffee, Scott usually has a mug of his own roasted coffee nearby.

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Announcing our new Bean for Bean program - supporting sustainable livelihoods for farmers one bag at a time. Learn more

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