Coffee is a well-loved beverage, that new ways of preparing and drinking it always crop up. Some like the traditional ground coffee way, while others prefer the no-fuss capsule coffee.
How about you? Which of these options do you enjoy best? If you’re still unsure, this detailed comparison of the two might help you decide.
What is Ground Coffee?
Before capsule coffee, there was ground coffee. This type is fresh coffee beans ground into powder for faster brewing. The fineness of the coffee grind varies, though, and can go from coarse, medium to a fine powder.
Manual preparation is the easiest method to drink ground coffee. But you can also use electric machines like an espresso or a drip-filter coffee maker.
What is Capsule Coffee?
Coffee capsules are cup-like containers with coffee grounds inside. The granule weight and caffeine depend on the size and coffee type.
But generally, the capsules are meant for brewing single-serve coffee. In a way, coffee pods are like teabags. However, you’ll need a compatible coffee pod machine to infuse them with water.
What Makes Ground Coffee Better?
The best way to compare both types of coffee is to understand their pros and cons. So, let’s start by explaining why you should choose ground over capsule coffee.
It is more flavourful.
This one perhaps gives ground coffee its unique advantage. Compared with processed coffee capsules, coffee beans preserve their essential oils and chemical components until you grind them.
The freshness then contributes to a rich, high-quality flavour. Moreover, ground coffee comes from Arabica beans with a distinct caramel and chocolate taste.
These ground beans are also less bitter than Robusta, which we usually get from instant coffee.
It is low cost.
Ground coffee is also more affordable than pods, thanks to lesser processing and packaging.
It relieves stress.
Some people find at-home coffee grinding too tedious and time-consuming. That’s why many coffee lovers prefer quick and easy pod brewing.
However, some find crushing the beans to their desired fineness relaxing. The latent aroma and taste of freshly ground coffee add to the whole cathartic experience.
It is eco-friendly.
Unlike capsule coffee in aluminium pod cases, ground coffee is biodegradable. You won’t have to worry about finding a recycling centre for ground coffee as you can use it for composting.
However, ground coffee from cafes is quite a lot. And most end up in landfills, which is no good for the environment.
In this case, you can contact a collection service that delivers ground coffee to avid gardeners.
Are There Disadvantages of Using Ground Coffee?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, grinding and brewing fresh coffee takes time. The whole process may not suit people who want things easy, fast and convenient.
Ground coffee also requires some skill and figuring out. Before you can brew delicious coffee, you need to learn the proper grinding technique.
The grinding level should also match the coffee machine you intend to use. All of which can be too complex for some coffee connoisseurs.
Lastly, as ground coffee brewing needs a higher level of manual input, flavour inconsistency is high, too. You need to measure everything and have the proper know-how to get the blend right most of the time.
What Makes Capsule Coffee Better?
Ground coffee seems excellent, but it is just as good in capsule form. Here are some of the reasons why you should give it a try.
It is straightforward.
You have to know how to operate your coffee pod machine first. But after learning the basics, every brewing time is a breeze.
You won’t have to deal with getting the grind right or tamping the coffee. Capsules are ideal for those who want good coffee minus the stress for sure.
It is energy-efficient.
Aside from less physical energy on your end, capsule coffee brewing also requires less electricity consumption. That’s because most machines can work with low power levels.
The extraction system also works by flushing hot water into the capsule, resulting in faster brewing and less energy use. The process is even quicker with smaller pods.
It is easy to clean.
Brewing ground coffee can be messy. Tamping can leave coffee granules on the counter. Pouring coffee out from the pot can cause spills or splatters on the table.
And after enjoying your pick-me-up, you have measuring tools, a coffee grinder, spoons and a pot to clean up. With capsule coffee, all you have to do is fill the tank with water, load the pod, then press the button.
Your bench stays mess-free as the extraction process happens inside the capsule machine. Also, most coffee pod units have minimal parts to clean – some are even dishwasher-safe.
It is consistent.
This one is probably my favourite advantage of using coffee capsules. As this option requires minimal manual input, errors are less likely.
Each pod also contains the same amount of coffee every time. You can even start brewing your pod coffee while doing something else and not worry about it.
The capsule machine does most of the work, from flushing the exact amount of water and getting the temperature right.
The result? Consistent coffee flavour without the guesswork.
Are There Disadvantages of Using Capsule Coffee?
Like ground coffee, capsules also have their fair share of drawbacks. For instance, these will only work with a compatible pod coffee machine.
Since capsules come in different sizes and designs, your chosen pod unit can only prep a limited range of coffee styles.
One good example is Nespresso, where Original and Vertuo machines work with distinct pods. However, you can overcome this limitation by studying your machine options first and their capsule variety.
There is also the problem of the ongoing costs. Capsule prices vary per brand, but generally, each pod costs the same as any average cup from a coffee shop.
So, if you’re trying to cut down your expenses, capsule coffee brewing may not generate significant savings.
Compared with ground coffee, pods lack a robust coffee taste, too. The lacklustre flavour is due to several reasons.
One is oxidation damage that happens to pre-ground coffee before vacuum-sealing it in pods. Also, short brewing time and tepid water temperature from capsule machines often result in under-extraction.
Finally, there is the growing problem of improper capsule coffee disposal. Finding a recycling drop-off point for your pods can be taxing.
So, it’s no surprise if people tend to skip it.
Capsule Coffee VS Ground Coffee: Final Verdict
I cannot confidently say that coffee capsules are better than ground coffee. Yes, pods are convenient and consistent.
But then, without proper handling, this option can be a huge environmental problem. It will probably be better to learn ground coffee brewing than suffer the long-term effects of pod wastes.
Capsules can be a better choice when we use them responsibly, though. As consumers, it will also help if we research well and go for “greener” options like compostable capsules.