Pour-over or Coffee Capsule, Which Way Do You Prefer?

Last Updated on March 8, 2024 by Yoyo

How do you prepare your coffee? Do you elegantly handcrafted like a master, hurriedly made with a coffee machine, or conveniently using a coffee capsule, balancing deliciousness and convenience?

coffee capsule is a new way to prepare a cup of coffee

Common Methods to Prepare a Cup of Coffee

Most of the time, we primarily prepare a cup of coffee through the following 3 methods:

Traditional Pour-over Brewing

Traditional pour-over coffee is considered a fascinating skill, deeply loved by coffee enthusiasts. Starting from the initial preparation, you may need to choose the appropriate grinding method for the coffee beans, and then, depending on different brewing methods, may require various tools such as a pour-over coffee kettle, French press, and drip brewer, among others. Meticulous coffee enthusiasts also face various choices such as filter paper, milk, frother, sugar, etc.

Apart from the sense of achievement, the greatest advantage of manually brewing coffee is being able to brew a unique cup of coffee by finely controlling various conditions. Factors like different grind degrees, water temperature, soaking time, and stirring speed, all influence the final flavor and mouthfeel of the coffee.

pour-over coffee is an elegant skill
pour-over coffee is an elegant skill

Coffee Machines

However, pour-over can be time-consuming. Hence, people have invented coffee machines, significantly saving time in preparing coffee.

Coffee machines are generally divided into semi-automatic and fully automatic. Semi-automatic coffee machines are mostly used in homes and coffee shops, where you still need to prepare everything needed to make a cup of coffee, such as coffee powder, filter paper, etc. You also need to clean the equipment after brewing. On the other hand, most fully automatic coffee machines are vending machines set up in public places. You simply select the flavor from the menu and pay for it to conveniently enjoy a cup of coffee.

automatic coffee maker saves lots of time
automatic coffee maker saves lots of time

Capsule Coffee Machines

Capsule coffee machines are a new choice. You only need to insert a coffee capsule into the machine, press a button, wait a while, and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee. Due to its blend of flavor and convenience, many cafes and fast-food outlets have started using capsule coffee machines to provide coffee to customers. Some enthusiasts who want to enjoy an energizing cup of coffee before work have also become fans of capsule coffee machines.

home capsule coffee machine
home capsule coffee machine

What are Coffee Capsules?

The idea of coffee capsules was born in 1976, earlier than many people imagine. Inspired by countless visits to Italian coffeehouses, Eric Favre, a coffee connoisseur, developed coffee capsule products. In 1986, under Eric Favre’s leadership, Nestlé introduced the world’s first capsule coffee product—Nespresso.

In simple terms, it involves packaging freshly ground coffee into sealed aluminum foil capsules filled with inert gas to extend shelf life and taste. This method of coffee consumption is convenient; you simply insert the capsule into a compatible capsule coffee machine, press the button, and enjoy a cup of delicious, rich coffee. For capsule coffee machines, we can see them as water dispensers with Italian coffee machine functions, featuring short preheating times, ensuring sufficient extraction pressure, and being compact and lightweight—the ideal choice for office and home settings.

Advantages of Coffee Capsules

Maintaining Freshness and Flavor: Capsule coffee is easier to store than roasted coffee beans. The shelf life of raw coffee beans can be over a year, but once roasted, coffee beans in contact with air can only last a maximum of 15 days, while ground coffee aroma can only last 30 minutes. During production, capsule coffee seals the coffee powder in aluminum foil containers filled with non-toxic inert gas (usually nitrogen), allowing you to enjoy freshly sealed coffee at any time. This feature is also why capsule coffee machines are more popular than automatic coffee machines.

Convenience and Speed: Preheating and extraction usually take only 2-3 minutes. Water is pressurized through the pump into the heater from the water tank, quickly raising the temperature to around 93°C. After pressing the appropriate extraction button, the high-temperature and high-pressure water flow and steam come into contact with the coffee powder through the punctured capsule lid, initiating extraction. Cleaning is also straightforward, saving time compared to grinding beans and maintenance required by fully automatic coffee machines.

Consistent Quality: Capsules are automatically filled and pressed on the production line. Like fully automatic coffee machines, their extraction process is fixed, coupled with nearly identical raw materials produced on a production line, ensuring a stable coffee quality. Unlike making pour-over coffee, where each variable can affect flavor.

aluminum foil capsules keep the coffee powder fresh and favor
aluminum foil capsules keep the coffee powder fresh and favor

Disadvantages of Coffee Capsules

Poor Compatibility: This unique coffee packaging method is not exclusive to Nestle. Different brands and models of coffee capsules on the market typically only fit their respective coffee machines, limiting choices for capsule coffee consumers.

Inability to Adjust DIY According to Personal Taste Preferences: As the amount of powder and water are fixed, it’s challenging for users to adjust extraction methods according to their preferred intensity. This is one of the reasons why many traditional pour-over coffee enthusiasts reject capsule coffee.

Coffee Capsules’ Future

Due to patent reasons, most capsule coffee manufacturers can only customize capsules according to their own style. Therefore, consumers still need to purchase corresponding capsule coffee machines. This poses a challenge for sales and market expansion, making many traditional coffee grinding manufacturers (especially instant coffee producers) hesitant to transition.

Fortunately, with technological advancements, people have now discovered another use for coffee capsules. They directly fill extracted concentrated coffee liquid into capsules, seal them, and sell them. Consumers only need to tear open the lid, pour the concentrated liquid into a cup, add the right amount of hot or cold water, and enjoy instantly. This addresses the dull standard flavors of capsule coffee machines and also saves time. Unfortunately, it lacks the alluring CREAM produced by machines.

Overall, people have been exploring the pursuit of delicious coffee and convenience. Aluminum foil coffee capsules, with their outstanding sealing properties and convenience, largely meet the demand. In the future, with its immense potential, it is poised to continue playing a positive role.