ESE Pods, Capsules and Espresso, Oh My
OK - so you've nabbed that new espresso maker, and you need to try that baby out; what does it take and what's the best pod or capsules for it? I don't have the answer for you, because it's really a personal preference, but I can help you to find what you like best.
Classic (Robusta and Arabica) Blends vs. 100% Arabica Espresso
At a very high level, there are two varieties of espresso out there, that can be sub-divided when you consider origins, roast intensity etc. The Classic Variety is usually a blend of Robusta and Arabica coffee that in general gives you a potent flavor of coffee throughout the flavor profile, leaving a strong coffee flavor in the finish. I like this type of blend for hot espresso, with a balanced back end; never overdoing it with too much Robusta. The 100% Arabica espressos are cleaner and crisper overall, often with a higher acidity content. The backend is always a cleaner, crisper finish without a lingering dirty flavor in comparison to the Robusta blends. These don't seem as full nor as robust as a hot espresso for me, but are my hands down favorite for an iced drink anytime.
If your machine takes ESE Pods then you probably want to check out a good selection and learn what you like best. I think that this discovery process is fun, and regularly explore new coffees, roasts, pods and capsules to try out what's new and learn what I like and don't. I would recommend a variety pack of both types of espressos, giving you a way to explore a wide set of espresso products. Figure out what you like and what you don't, then re-order what you like. Check out this Espresso ESE Sampler at Amazon
Capsules - Nespresso
There are over a dozen capsule varieties with Nespresso. Most are Arabica products, and the space covered is remarkable, from light bodied florals to heavy dark and impressive ristrettos. While the Ristretto is the most popular Nespresso Capsule, it may not be your favorite. Luckily, last time I checked, Nespresso still offers a nice variety sampler in the box with new makers, and then you can follow-up with the one that you like. I would recommend finding a range of capsules you like and then keeping a variety on hand. For instance if you like the Livanto at an intensity of "6", you might also like to keep the Rosabaya and the Capricco on hand as ways to explore. Explore the Nespresso Capsules with their capsule map at their website to learn more about capsules and alternatives. Check out how to make a Nespresso Capsule Holder to hold all of those new capsules.
Again, there will be different varieties and blends, but I would invest in several packages and brands to explore what you like and what you don't. It's a good process and a fun one too. Don't think that you need to drink or finish all of the package if you don't like it. Most of the time, you can blend it into a pot of drip coffee and enjoy it that way if you don't like it as an espresso. If not, it's usually only about $5 in coffee; throw it out! Life is too short to drink coffee you don't like. Keep notes, and don't make the same mistake twice, it won't end up costing you that much in the end.
Sometimes, you'll need espresso cups for this new brewer; we've covered a lot in the past, and there are two to point out; the simple white Konitz espresso cups that are inexpensive at Amazon, and my favorite for my own drinking the Bodum Pavina double walled espresso glasses.
Have fun, enjoy your new espresso machine and stop back to SingleServeEspresso.com to read up on all things espresso; including reviews, espresso and coffee news as well as deals and promotions. If you want to get the news delivered weekly to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.
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Posted by Scott Martin at December 27, 2010 10:23 AM