Lots of people ask me if it’s actually possible to get a good cup of coffee from a capsule? I believe it is and I’m going to tell you why and how.
As with everything in life, you need to consider all the variable factors before making your decision. If your capsule contains cheap nasty coffee and your machine is not calibrated correctly, you won’t produce a nice cup of coffee. However, if you use good quality coffee and your machine is suitably calibrated, then YES, you can make an excellent coffee. This is why many Michelin Star restaurants choose capsule machines over espresso machines. They guarantee quality every single time.
For the sceptics out there, I appreciate that just saying you can get good quality coffee from a capsule is not good enough. Instead, I’m going to prove it to you. For the sake of this discussion, I’m going to compare an espresso from a capsule versus an espresso from an espresso machine. I’m only going to look at three factors that are easy for YOU, the kitchen barista, to understand and control – water, volume of coffee and quality of coffee.
Water makes up 98% of your coffee. Getting this right will give you a good head start. Both capsule and espresso machines heat the water to achieve an optimal water temperature of 86 to 89 degrees Celsius. However, each machine uses a different method of heating the water.
Capsule machines use thermal blocks to heat the water, which is a block of metal with a small passage or torrent that allows water to pass through to your capsule at the press of a button. Espresso machines at your local coffee shop use a boiler system that heats the water before you even order your coffee. Both methods will brew the perfect cup. Both machines build up calcium deposits, but quite often at home we do not think to maintain our machine.
We recommend that you should descale your machine every 300-400 cups. This will ensure the best quality water is going into your cup.
Volume of coffee
This is where things start to get more technical and where your barista should take the advantage. However, as long as you understand some basic maths, you can become your very own kitchen barista. After all, your home capsule machine is designed to make life easy.
Making the perfect cup of coffee is all about the brew ratio. Put simply, the brew ratio is the relationship between the amount of dry coffee used (the dose) and the amount of coffee extracted (the yield). Most companies recommend that you extract 40mls from your 5.5 grams of coffee. But at your local coffee shop you will get a 25ml espresso from 8 grams. Clearly, there is a difference here. This is one of the main reasons why people believe their coffee from a capsule machine is not as good as one from a café. The result of running too much water through your capsule will simply dilute your coffee!
At Coffee & Kin, we recommend extracting 25ml max and if you’re looking for a sweeter coffee, drop it down to 17ml. I’m sure this is what the Michelin Star restaurants are doing.
Quality of your coffee capsule
As the saying goes, you ‘can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!’ The same applies to coffee. You can add flavouring to mask the taste of poor quality coffee and some companies do. But if you invest in top quality coffee (the same quality that your barista will look to buy for his café), you will definitely get a better tasting cup of coffee. It’s as simple as that.
So back to the question – can you actually get good coffee from a capsule? The answer from our perspective is 100% YES!!! This is why we wanted to launch Coffee & Kin using specialty grade coffee. Click here to learn more about specialty coffee.
If you want a good cup of coffee from a capsule, follow our three simple steps:
Step 1 – It all starts with the capsule you are buying. Make sure you always buy specialty grade coffee, it will only cost you a few pence more.
Step 2 – Look after your machine by descaling it regularly and calibrate it to ensure the extraction process is suited to the coffee you are looking to enjoy. For more information on brewing, check out the brew guides here.
Step 3 – Enjoy! In the words of Coffee & Kin, we want you to Brew Good. Do Good. Feel Good.
If you’re interested in trying our compostable capsules, please visit our shop.