E.S.E. Pod Espresso Machines

Amazon link to Francis X7 Espresso MachineAmazon link to Francis X6 Espresso Machine
You may have heard that making your own espresso requires a really expensive machine and/or requires too much time and effort.  These concerns have been addressed by the new wave of E.S.E pod machines that are now available.  With one of the new machines, you can easily make a better latte than your favorite coffee bistro in 3 to 4 minutes for less than half the cost.  (See Quick and Easy Lattes.)

What’s an E.S.E. pod?

It’s very similar to a tea bag with about 7 grams of fine ground roasted coffee instead of tea in the bag.  The coffee is compressed into a small solid disk about 2 inches in diameter and is contained in a porous paper pouch.  The E.S.E pods are usually individually sealed inside an air-tight bag with a nitrogen atmosphere so that the coffee stays as fresh as when it was just ground.  E.S.E pods were developed as an industry standard so that any equipment suppliers and coffee companies can use this standard.  This means there are plenty of suppliers of both the pod machines and the pods used in the machines.  All of the large Italian coffee roasters offer their products in pod form.

The better and more reliable E.S.E. pod espresso machines cost a lot more than traditional drip coffee makers.  However, if you’re a regular espresso or latte drinker, when you calculate how much you’re spending per month or year, you can’t afford not to buy a good espresso maker!

Why buy an E.S.E pod espresso machine instead of a traditional espresso machine? 
The bottom line is convenience and reliability.  Making espresso with a Pod espresso machine is simple and quick with virtually no mess to clean up.  For the super easy pod machine procedure, see my directions for Quick and Easy Lattes.  Traditional espresso machines require much more skill and effort to make good espresso.  Even the new super-automated espresso machines still require more effort to clean and service than a pod machine and the automated machines cost more and are not nearly as durable. 

I have a friend who bought an expensive traditional espresso machine which makes great coffee when fresh roasted coffee beans are used.  However, he only uses it as a special treat on the weekend once every month or so because it takes so much time and effort to use.  The rest of the time he and his wife stop at a coffee shop for their lattes!  Even when they do find time to make espresso at home, the quality isn’t always good because the coffee beans often get too old.

On the other hand, I bought a pod espresso machine 3 years ago because my wife was spending about $80 a month on lattes (more than 6 lattes per week) while I was sticking with the drip coffee at work.  This machine is so quick and easy to use that my wife makes her own lattes each morning with a cost of about 40 cents per shot of espresso plus the cost of the milk and sweetener.  The only problem is that now I’ve also switched to drinking lattes in the morning so our total cost is now almost as much as it was when my wife stopped at the coffee shop every day.

What about other single serve coffee or espresso machines?
Other single serve coffee machines and espresso machines use proprietary coffee capsules or pods.  This means you only have a single source for your ground espresso so there is less selection available and the cost per serving is higher than for E.S.E pods.  Examples of single serve machines that will not work with E.S.E pods are Lavazza Espresso Point, the Nespresso machines, and the Tassimo machines.

Which type of espresso machine is best for you?
If you want an easy way to make terrific espresso and lattes at home, you’re best bet is to by an espresso machine that is E.S.E pod compatible.  If you want to make espresso making a serious hobby, you should consider buying a traditional espresso machine or one of the few traditional machines that also has an E.S.E pod conversion kit so that it can be used with either fresh ground coffee or pods.