Caffeine makes the world go round, especially in this day and age that values productivity more than ever, and coffee is one of its most popular forms.
With so much importance placed on a drink, it’s only natural that companies have decided to take advantage of it, which can be seen from the invention of the coffee capsule. Today, coffee capsules make up about a third of the coffee market in Western Europe and are equally as popular around the world. These small packages of energizing goodness that are the preferred alternative to the base instant coffee have become a staple in the lives of many, and so of course this question was bound to arise: what is in a coffee capsule?
A Brief History of the Coffee Capsule
The concept of coffee capsules was invented in 1976 by Eric Favre who wanted to make it possible for people to enjoy quality coffee from the comfort of their own homes. However, coffee capsules didn’t really take off until Jean-Paul Galliard changed how the product was marketed, and the machines Favre designed were thus promoted as luxury home goods rather than as office items. Sales increased tremendously, and since then coffee capsules have been a household must-have.
Coffee Capsules vs. Coffee Pods
It is important to know that there is a relevant distinction between coffee capsules and coffee pods despite the two terms often being used interchangeably. Coffee capsules, the current object of discussion, are sealed plastic containers filled with ground coffee. Coffee pods are sometimes referred to as coffee pads and look similar to teabags. Coffee is made using coffee capsules by placing the capsule in a capsule coffee machine that uses a high-pressure system to brew the coffee whereas coffee pods are to be left in boiling water, like a teabag.
What Makes Up A Coffee Capsule
- The Capsule
The exterior of the typical coffee capsule is made of either plastic or aluminum and has a type of foil or filter paper to catch loose coffee grounds. Recently, though, there has been a movement for more sustainable, environmentally friendly coffee capsules. Some companies are doing this by working on making their coffee capsules completely biodegradable whereas others are seeking to make their products more recyclable. Regarding the filters, nowadays they are sometimes sold separately and can be purchased to use with reusable coffee capsules, another new creation.
- The Coffee
Inside a coffee capsule will be either ground coffee or instant coffee, but not coffee beans for practical reasons. Ground coffee is produced by roasting coffee beans and then grinding them to different degrees of coarseness, and instant coffee is produced by brewing coffee from ground coffee and then evaporating that mixture. Coffee capsules typically have ground coffee in them, which is why more often than not they taste better than regular instant coffee. How finely ground that coffee is, though, depends on the particular brand. Coffee that is more finely ground tends to taste better than coarser coffee. There are some brands that use instant coffee in their coffee capsules, therefore causing that particular coffee to taste bad. Coffee capsules cannot have coffee beans, the heavily favored type of coffee, because turning coffee beans to coffee is unfortunately outside of a coffee machine’s capacity. A coffee machine would at most be able to crush the coffee beans, and it would absolutely not be able to grind coffee beans, which is necessary to brewing coffee.
The ground coffee within a coffee capsule can make surprisingly good coffee considering how fast it can provide a cup compared to more traditional alternatives like cafes. This is because the coffee in capsules is stored right after they have been roasted, which is when they’re at their freshest. Sealing them immediately minimizes the coffee’s contact with moisture and oxygen that if the coffee were exposed to for a long period of time, would become stale. Due to this, coffee capsules also have a long shelf life and can be saved and used for a variety of occasions. It is a well-known fact that coffee capsules come in a variety of flavors, and this is typically done by flavoring the coffee beans. Therefore, with regard to flavored coffee capsules, flavored beans are ground and sealed rather than ordinary ones.
How Coffee Capsules Coffee Machines Work
The coffee capsule machine is a remarkable invention that has made itself part of the daily routine of many thanks to its convenience and practicality. To use basically any coffee capsule machine, one typically pours their desired amount of water into a tank at the back, inserts a coffee capsule of choice into the designated area, and then presses a button. The machine then heats the water to the required temperature, pumps it through a narrow needle, and then runs the hot water at a high pressure through the coffee capsule to produce the coffee. The filter at the bottom of the coffee capsule prevents any loose coffee grounds from falling into the just brewed cup of coffee.
The Popularity of Coffee Capsules
It’s not hard to answer why coffee capsules are so popular and why the likelihood of them fading from the public eye is low. To begin with, coffee capsules are great for the busy who don’t have the time to visit a café for a cup of caffeine to start their day. Coffee capsules also allow their user to enjoy a cup at any time of day, whether or morning or afternoon, from the comfort of their own home and even with others. Additionally, no skill at all is required to brew a cup of coffee with a coffee capsule. For those who aren’t picky about their coffee, a flavored coffee capsule, and some creamer works just as well as a professionally brewed cup. As has been said, fame begets fame, and because coffee capsules are so popular, they’re extremely easy to find in stores, making them even more convenient to use than they already are.