Last Updated on August 20, 2021 by YourBestCoffeeMachine
Wondered if you should go with easy serve espresso pods (ESE pods) or ground coffee to brew the perfect cup of coffee at home? There are now various coffee machines available, both for home and office use that take each type of coffee.
Yes, you can always get whole coffee beans and ground them yourself but sometimes it’s just easier and more convenient to buy pre-packaged ground coffee. So how do easy serve espresso pods (or ESE pods) stack up against ground coffee. ? We look at the pros and cons of each.
Easy serve espresso pods
A coffee pod is the equivalent of a teabag. It has a pre-portioned serving of coffee which is wrapped in a paper filter. All you need to do is infuse it with water and you have can have a cup of coffee ready in just minutes. It is the worldwide standard for coffee pods. Only pods which meet the ESE standard can be used for the ESE compatible espresso machines.
A standard pod contains between 6.5 and 7.5 grams of coffee. In order to make a cup of coffee, the pod is placed in a filter which fits inside the portafilter of an espresso machine.
Illy is one of the biggest manufacturers of ESE pods and is readily available with lots of options of roast type. We like their mixed pack of medium and dark roast.
One of the key selling points of ESE pods is convenience. Preparing espresso by hand requires skill and it is a process which can be somewhat messy. You don’t have to deal with calibration of the grinders, the coffee itself and the cleanliness of the surrounding workspace. When you opt for an ESE pod, you need not deal with these things. The pods are already pre-tampered and pre-dosed and they stay intact in the paper filter. Once done, all you need to do is just discard the pod like a teabag.
Here’s a good video about how to use ESE pods with the Gaggia espresso machine.
Although easy serve espresso pods have advantages, there are times when ground coffee is a better choice than pods. Coffee grounds are a lot fresher, have more flavour and have better aroma because the beans are ground just when there is a need for them. The actual grinding process helps release all the preserved flavors in the bean.
The convenience of ESE pods comes with a price and that is the fact that the taste is sacrificed to a certain extent. Handcrafted espresso using freshly ground coffee tastes a lot better than coffee made with an ESE pod. The pods lack depth and flavor.
Both ground coffee and ESE pods both come with advantages and disadvantages. They certainly have good things to offer but they also have shortcomings. It is best to ask yourself what you truly want out of your coffee and what things you are willing to go without in order to determine which option is best for you.
If you think ground coffee is right for you, one of our favorite pre bagged ground coffee is from Starbucks.
Our Verdict – ESE or Ground Coffee
If you value convenience more, you should go with ESE pods. But if you want more flavor and aroma and do not mind a little elbow grease when preparing your coffee, then ground coffee is the perfect choice for you. This is particularly the case if you prefer French press or Aeropress.