One Coffee Pod Too Many

Sometimes trying to emulate a successful product ends in failure. What works in one coffee maker doesn’t always work in another. Take the experience of Marcilla, for example, a loose coffee supplier who tried to capitalize on the pod coffee phenomenon. Pod coffee makers are the hottest coffee item of this year. It’s understandable that a loose coffee supplier would want to boost sales by offering a product similar to the hot sellers.

But can pods work in a Moka pot? Charlie Sorrel wrote up his experience with the new Moka pod last week. The coffee comes pre-packed in a plastic basket, which he said was not environmentally cool. It has to be discarded in the trash, because there’s no other use for it. We don’t need another landfill addition. That was his worst criticism. Aside from the fact he didn’t like the particular coffee’s taste or quality, he also didn’t like the basket because it’s hard to remove from the Moka pot’s filter basket, in which it fits. Cleanup was easy, but then, a Moka pot is easy to clean anyway. You just empty the grounds and rinse it out. At least you can compost the grounds; with the capsule, the coffee can't easily be removed. His final complaint was the cost, roughly $2 for four capsules, which are designed for six-cup Moka pots only.

Sorrel concluded that this trial of Moka pods will fail and the product will not go to full production. The Moka pot is not that hard to use. It’s key to delicious coffee is in the filling of the filter basket which is the reason the capsule looks like an attractive alternative. However, a little practice and one soon learns how much and what grind works best to suit his tastes. The rule is to fill the basket with grounds and level it off. You don’t tamp the grounds as is done in an espresso machine. The grind should be fine, but coarse enough that it doesn’t fall through the filter holes. Compared to the coffee quality and variety of choices one has by using loose coffee, a pre-filled pod of only one coffee seems a poor tradeoff for a little convenience.

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