ESE Espresso Pod Reviews

March 3, 2013

Aromo ESE Pods Arrive for Review

We are always happy to try new coffee here at, and the folks at Aromo Coffee just provided us a new selection to try out. They caught my eye with their fun flavor blend names, Bounce, Buzz, Boost and Buzz Lite (Decaf). Aromo coffee is located in the United Kingdom, which means that these little ESE pods traveled a ways to get to our test kitchen near Boston. Our readers from the UK should be interested in this review.

Aromo Coffee's slogan is "No Mess. No Fuss. Just great coffee every time." - to me that's exactly what the ESE pod system stands for, and we are looking forward to trying these blends out. Briefly, they describe them as:


Bounce - They cite it as their best seller, and is for those who are interested in a 100% Arabica espresso. They tell us to expect crema heaven with this thick and curvy bodied beauty, between a typical French and Italian espresso roast. Creamy yet fully satisfying with the Sumatran providing a wonderful baritone of bitter sweet dark chocolate. Strength = 5

Read about two more fun blends after the jump……

ArrowContinue reading: "Aromo ESE Pods Arrive for Review"

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November 2, 2010

What is an ESE Espresso Pod?


Sure I know it's a basic question, but I thought we'd take a crack at offering a bit of information for our readers to know what these great little pods are.

The ESE Pod, or Easy Serving Espresso pod, is made under agreement to fit certain specifications and thus fit the ESE certified machines to brew up a high quality shot of espresso. It is intended to be standardized and single use so that pods of all manufacturers will fit in all machines that are made to take an ESE Pod.

The ESE pod is 44-45 millimeters in diameter, and usually comes in a "single" that contains approximately 7 grams of finely ground espresso coffee. The sometimes seen "double" is approximately 14 grams of coffee and must use special modified holders to accommodate the larger pod.

The ESE pods do NOT fit in a "Single Serve Coffee" machine like a Senseo that take 55 millimeter pods and do not brew under high pressure (usually 15 bars) like an espresso machine.

The hope is that the ESE Pod offers convenience and higher quality results when users brew espresso across machines and different brands of espresso. The pod approach eliminates grind size issues, mess, dose issues and sometimes a lot of mess. The downside of a pre-dosed pod is that it does not offer the freshness of a locally roasted coffee that is ground for each brew.

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September 15, 2010

Vietnamese ESE Espresso Pod Review


For the last few weeks we've been drinking a lot of ESE Pod espresso from Heirloom coffee; specifically three blends, the The Indochine Estates Espresso, a Highlands Full City Roast Espresso pods and the Decaf Espresso pod.

The Indochine Estates Espresso uses a little known Excelsa variety for its blend and full flavor. It has a solidly dark roast and is well in the Bold category for flavor development in the cup. the espresso is 95% Bourbon Arabica with 5% Lam Dong Excelsa coffee, a blend that develops some complexity in the cup. In cupping the pods deliver a strong flavor and aftertaste of espresso, with a bourbon or whisky flavor, moderately acidic with a strong almost Stout beer style finish. These pods are strong and come three to a package - which are a good choice for households that plow through the espresso. The price per pod is a little lower because of the reduced package costs.

The Highlands coffees come in single pod packs and are lighter roasted than the Indochine Estates, but don't confuse that with a weak character. These are classic Robusta style blends that offer a full flavor profile and finish. The Full City Roast product comes 5-sachets to the box (one ESE Pods per sachet), and offer both lighter roasted notes of grain and a bit of caramel when you entice it out with a little sugar, while also offering an acidic flavor with bakers chocolate. The strong finish of the Robusta doesn't disappoint.

I have been testing and brewing on the Cuisinart EM-200 brewer that allows me to set the volume on the shot and keep it constant across my testing day in and day out.

IndochineESEPods.jpgThe Highlands Decaf deserves special mention. It's the best Decaf that I have tasted, not shying away from being bold and full bodied; not weak-kneed and wimpy like so many other decaf ESE pods on the market. The shot has a rounded smoky flavor with nice toasted notes. The reduced acidity is apparent, but keeps a balanced flavor profile. The shot retains nice caramel and chocolate flavors. Again, this is a Robusta blend, so if you are looking for a squeeky clean finish, this doesn't have it; instead it has a nice fuller bodied finish that comes with more "Classic" espresso blends. I happen to like this type of flavor, so if you like it, it's well worth trying.

The Pods are available at Vietnamese Coffee Online and all of the coffee or pods are imported and sold by Heirloom Coffee in Mass.

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August 20, 2010

Vietnamese ESE Pods Arrive for Review


We're pretty excited to have some new ESE Pods in for review from that are of Vietnamese origin. The Espresso pods sound intriguing with a blend of coffees that seek out a complex mix of flavors and aromas. So while Vietnam is well known for its Robusta beans there are high altitude arabicas grown there in the Da Lat region. The region is generally cool throughout the year and is located in the southern part of the country.

I personally like a blended espresso like these. The Indochine Estates Espresso uses a little known Excelsa variety for its blend and full flavor. I am looking forward to trying this out.

We will be looking at three blends or pods here. The Indochine Estates Espresso is described at their website as:

"It is rich and strong, with the lingering aroma and full body of heritage Bourbon Arabica, and no excessive bitterness. This Espresso is 95% Bourbon Arabica with 5% Lam Dong Excelsa, a unique coffee varietal that produces yellow fruit ("cherries") and contributes a floral nose and bright tone to this exceptional coffee. This is a dark Espresso but not a heavy roast; probably best compares to what is often called Full City Roast."

We will also be looking at two other varieties, the Highlands Full City ESE pods and their Highlands Decaf ESE Pods. Both are of the classic Italian bold espresso tradition. Claimed to equal regular espresso blends, the full water process decaf is something that we are excited about. Both blends have a classic robusta blended profile that will surly make them full bodied.

The Pods are available at Vietnamese Coffee Online and we'll be testing them out over the next week or so before we write up a review. All of the coffee or pods are imported and sold by Heirloom Coffee in Mass.

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March 20, 2009

First Day of Spring - Time to Try Something New - ESE Sampler


If you haven't experimented on different types of ESE pods, you should. The simple act of trying new varieties in your ESE compatible machine will get you thinking about what you like, and sometimes more importantly what you don't like. The "work" can help educate and refine what you taste on a daily basis, and it may just help you find a new house favorite.

At Amazon - PodMerchant Espresso Pod Super Sampler
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December 31, 2008

New Espresso Machine - Have you Tried ESE Pods?

HB40729Portafilter.JPG There are a lot of people checking out a new espresso espresso machine and realizing that getting into ESE Espresso Pods might be an excellent way to enjoy that machine. If you are new and want to learn a bit about ESE Espresso Pods, check out our article covering ESE Espresso Pods and what they are, how they got started, etc.

They are a great way to make that espresso quickly and easily when you can't take the time to grind your own.

They are easy to use, and are VERY convenient. Now, we really enjoy a few ESE pods, but ne way to really get into Pods and really have fun exploring the world of ESE Espresso Pods is the ESE Espresso Pod Super Sampler ; tons of pods; 2 of each kind. Total blast exploring dozens of different ones.

If you really love a nice bold Italian espresso, one of the favorites around the kitchens here is the Lavazza Grand Crema ESE Espresso Pods. See my review of the Lavazza Grand Crema ESE Espresso Pods.

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October 13, 2008

Cafe Britt ESE Espresso Pods

Having had the Cafe Britt drip coffee, I was pretty happy to find the Cafe Britt ESE Pods the other day at their website. I happen to like bright, full flavored drip coffee and Cafe Britt's Dark Roast fits and happens to be a pretty good Costa Rican coffee. The ESE Pods are 100% arabica and Fair Trade Certified.

Cafe Britt describes them as: "It's widely recognized that the natural sweetness and intensity of Costa Rica 's pure, mountain-grown Arabica beans make some of the best espresso. Café Britt enhances this uniqueness by carefully selecting and slowly roasting only the choicest gourmet coffee beans for a full-bodied flavor and rich consistency. Our Espresso pods contain just the right amount of coffee to create a delicious Cappuccino, Cubano or Macchiato."

The Cafe Britt Espresso Pods are for sale, $24 for 30 pods.

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September 26, 2008

Compagnia dell'Arabica Sampler Pack

I am always in favor of hitting a few sampler packs ever now and then to broaden your exposure to different coffee flavors. You may just find something that you love better than what you are enjoying today. The investment is low and the payout potentially high. One brand that I like is Compagnia dell'Arabica. They have several single origin espresso pods, which at first glance may not be ideal for several reasons, as I believe that solid blends create the best espresso, and that single origin coffee may be best enjoyed as a lighter roast that is drip brewed vs espresso brewed. That aside, I was pleasantly surprised to see that these pods offered a lot of flavor diversity and a great little experiment.

At Pod Merchant, they have a sampler of 22 ESE pods for $15.

  • Purissimi Caffe Arabica (4 pods)
  • Brasil Santos (4 pods)
  • Colombia Medellin Supremo (4 pods)
  • Kenya 'AA' Washed (4 pods)
  • Biologica (Organic) (4 pods)
  • Decaffeinatto (2 pods)

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September 5, 2008

Review: Covim Caffe Espresso Pods - Gold Arabica and Orocrema


We have been drinking Covim Caffe Espresso pods over the past few weeks, and without cutting to the chase found them to be quite tasty. We received both the Gold Arabica and the Orocrema espresso pods which are both 7 gram ESE pods. Our current preferred method of pulling a shot in the warm Summer heat is to use our Handpresso, and the results have been excellent. But first, how about some background on Covim and how they source the coffee and make their pods:

The procedure implemented by Covim for the production of coffee in pods starts with the selection of the plantations, continues with control, separate roasting of the different varieties and careful blending which ends with the packaging of the product in single-dose portions so that an Italian-style coffee can be enjoyed in every workplace, in Italy and abroad. The paper pods, made in standard and small formats, are packed in a special single-serving sachet in a protected atmosphere, which guarantees lasting quality and freshness of the coffee. They are available in four varieties: Orocrema, Gran Bar, Gold Arabica and the decaffeinated Suave, in cartons of 150 units or in handy 25-pod dispensers. Pods weigh 7 grams.

Sounds good to us, as we said earlier the results are excellent. Here's the two blends we sampled.

  • Covim Caffe' Gold Arabica - 100% Arabica blend of Brasil Santos, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Santo Domingo. Very Aromatic with strong body and slight acidity. Excellent aftertaste.
  • Covim Caffe' Orocrema - A blend of 20% Arabica (blend of Brasil Santos, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Santo Domingo) with 80% Robusta (blended from Southeast Asian and African countries).
    Absent acidity, full body, and fine aroma.

ArrowContinue reading: "Review: Covim Caffe Espresso Pods - Gold Arabica and Orocrema"

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March 26, 2008

Fantini Arabica and Tre Stelle ESE Pods


The Fantini company started roasting coffee in the 1960's in Rome and these days they deliver coffee to more than 10,000 espresso bars around the country and around the world. Their new plant, built to ISO 9002.2000 standards for quality and care. The new plant location is about 12 miles south of Rome.

I recently got some Fantini Arabica and Tre Stelle pods to try out. They are some pretty authentic style ESE pods from Italy, but I found both a little bit lacking in complexity and overall body.

100% Arabica - It's a pretty dark roasted Arabica that has some peppery notes layered on top of some of the roasted/burnt notes. The slightly nutty lingering dark roasted flavors is prominent, but still allows for a clean typical arabica finish. The flavor is a classic acidic arabica flavor.

Fantini Tre Stelle - Similar to the Arabica, the Tre Stelle is dark roasted and a bit thinner than I like on flavor complexity. There is some caramel flavor mixed into the dark roasted flavors, but overall its not as well balanced as I like. The Robusta blend is definite, but not overpowering and lingers nicely in the aftertaste.

Both the Fantini Arabica and the Fantini Tre Stelle are available at Select Brands

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February 18, 2008

Starbucks ESE Pods

StarbucksESEPods.jpgA lot of people may have been introduced to espresso drinks through Starbucks, and as a result have developed their taste for that signature flavor. After getting a machine home that brews espresso with ESE pods, they might just want that taste you can find in the stores. Well, you can to some extent by picking up Starbucks ESE Pods - 7 grams of espresso ground and pre-packaged to work easily in your ESE compatible espresso machine. I liked them when I reviewed them a while back and I continue to work them into my usual rotation when using my ESE pod machines, like the Cuisinart EM-200 that I am using right now.

Starbucks ESE Pods are available in Decaf and Regular, at Amazon and at most full sized Starbucks cafes.

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January 25, 2008

Hausbrandt ESE Espresso Pod Review

HausbrandtESEPods.jpg Haustbrandt has several different origin coffees in their ESE Espresso pod line that makes it a fun rotation to taste the pods together seeing what Hausbrandt can do with the coffees in an expression of espresso; how they bring out the best in a typical country's coffee. Hausbrandt is based in Trieste, Italy and was founded in 1892 by Hermann Hausbrandt. He set up the Prima Tostatura Tiestina di Caffe and brought innovation to the coffee roasting business using the first electrically monitored roasting process, a cooling cycle and efficient distribution to get fresh coffee to users.

Today, Hausbrandt still practices the craft of roasting high quality coffees and by working with coffees all over the world, they can bring an experience that is fun to explore and with ESE pods, easy to use.

Overall, I liked the Hausbrandt ESE Pods, and could easily see the differences in the ones it tasted.

  • Kenyan AA - Bright and light with a dark roasted flavor, but not smokey, it has an earthy flavor without being dirty.
  • Costa Rican - tamper acidity with a little grassiness it has a bright flavor without being overly sour. The flavor profile is woody and toasted.
  • Guatemalan - A lot of base coffee flavor, with a fuller body and more earthy profile throughout, with a clean acidic finish.
  • Brasile - A nice toasted aroma with a slight bourbon aroma to it. The flavor is light, slightly grassy with toffee flavors. The coffee certainly has a definite acid presence, with lingering flavor but clean, not dirty.

These can be found in the Hausbrandt Sampler at Amazon, so you can do your own run-off, or separately.

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January 18, 2008

Mokarabia ESE Espresso Pods

This past week I had the pleasure of checking out some Mokarabia ESE pods, and thought I would pass them along. There are three versions to choose from, and I was able to have the Mokarabia Strong pods, which are impressively good.

Mokarabia is based on Bologna Italy, and have a pretty good reputation for excellent coffee. It is produced by the Zanetti family of Bologna who have been trading coffee since 1700. The coffee today is roasted slowly in small batches, "Cured" and then blended to keep flavor high and consistent. The signature blends are then packed into the classic pods that we can use to create simple delicious espresso at home.

Mokarabia Arabica
- smooth and clean finish; packed with flavor

Mokarabia Strong - an Arabica/ Robusta blend that has a great profile and a full flavored finish.

Mokarabia Decaf - An arabica blend that is clean and a little bit lighter than the Arabica caffeinated blend.

Try them out at Pod Merchant, either alone or in a Mokarabia Sampler.

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October 31, 2007

Cafe Gioia Decaf Quick Pick

Caffe Gioia is made by Labcaffe, and is "based on a deep passion for coffee," according to their website. They are certainly concerned with quality, having achieved ISO 90001 certification for their manufacturing facility. I found their coffee available in regular and decaf ESE Espresso pod varieties.

Caffe Gioia Classico "White" (Decaf) - I picked up the Caffe Gioia Classico "White" pods for this review. The aroma is clean but not overpowering. The flavor profile is dominated by the tnagy acid flavor, with hints of smokiness. The body is full, but at the expense of the acidity a bit, not the most well rounded cup I have ever tasted.

These ESE Espresso pods are made to be used in popular makers like the Breville Café Roma, the Krups XP4050, and the DeLonghi EC155 espresso machines; all have the ability to use ESE Espresso pods.

Available at Pod Merchant.

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