Convenience Coffee - The difference between Pods and Capsules

  • 7 July 2014
  • Ange Spori

Coffee Pods and Coffee Capsules

What are Coffee Pods?

Anyone interested in the very best and freshest espresso with the greatest variety of choice at the most reasonable cost should forget about pods, capsules or pads and learn to use a conventional home espresso machine and grinder.  But for those of you out there who want a ‘quick fix’ there are a great many options available. 

It is no surprise to us that with the range of products and machines on the market that there is some confusion when it comes to the ‘single serve’ options.  This form of coffee making is also known as ‘portion control’.  Brewing coffee at home has never been easier - with much of the mess and hassle taken out of the equation with the use of pods & capsules, but for the novice the terminology can be a little daunting.  If you are looking at these options there are a few things to consider... 

The single serve espresso machine is as a general rule designed to take just the one style of pod, capsule, or pad.  There are a few in the market that can be adapted.  With the adaptation option you have more choice, especially if later you decide you want to learn how to extract grinds and ditch the single serves.

Coffee Pod Breakdown

Coffee Pod or Pad

These are similar in style, with the pod being slightly smaller and firmer.


Coffee Capsule Breakdown

Coffee Capsule

The capsule can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Checking that it is compatible with YOUR machine is important to ensure it works.


The standard ESE (Easy Serving Espresso) paper pod.  A standardized 7 grams of ground espresso is compressed inside a two sided disk shaped paper pod.  Think of a puffy teabag on steroids.  To use these pods you will need a machine that is either specifically designed for ESE pods, or a conventional machine that is versatile – meaning it can use both grinds or ESE pods.  

There are machines that take a ‘double’ pod and the concept is exactly the same although pod is packed with 14 grams of coffee and is slightly larger in diameter and thickness to the single pod.  


CapsulesCoffee Capsules


Most of us think George Clooney when we think of capsules, but this is where it gets tricky.  George is Nespresso, and Nespresso is not the only capsule on the market. 

Capsules are the same concept as pods in that they are pre packaged, measured doses of coffee.  They are contained within a ‘capsule’ that once used you must dispose of.  This capsule may be made from Aluminum or Plastic, and has a foil top.  The capsule market is fairly swamped with choice, but you need to be careful with your choice.  Not all capsules fit all capsule machines. 


This is not a huge market here and the supply of Pads in New Zealand is very limited.  Senseo is probably the best known of these and as with the capsules they are designed to fit into certain machines.  Philips or Russell Hobbs are the ones that spring to mind here.  The pad is bigger than a pod, but made with the same amount of coffee, and not packed as tightly.  Basically the coffee tends to flop around slightly between the paper and the end result is more of a weaker American type of coffee. 



Supermarkets are now starting to catch on to the ‘portion control’ system of coffee and are slowly putting these options on their shelves alongside the traditional bags of ground coffee and beans.  Regardless of which system you have the choice is growing in New Zealand and looks intent to stay growing.  Our online shop has all options covered from beans to portion control.  If you still have questions or are looking for more information on anything relating to coffee, please contact us for help or advice.


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