Pods, new blends and more
Posted March 19, 2002 12:10am
Today, I was sampling some pods again with some friends.
Ugh pods. I just can't give them the respect that the work that goes into some of them deserve. I guess when you're so anal about the taste of your espresso that you sift through your green beans before you roast looking for defect, and sift through your beans after you roast, again looking for defects... well, I guess when you do stuff like that, a pod could have 24 carat gold stitching and you still wouldn't respect them.
But the friends that I had over did like them. Three in fact. They liked the pods from Bristot (website) and they liked the pods from www.aBetterCup.com, which also holds true with a test I ran last weekend, when I had 8 people over for some pod testing. The third pod surprised me - one of the three liked Illy pods - the same pods that all 8 of the testers last weekend despised.
I'll admit pods are damned convenient. Almost too convenient. Just unwrap, plop in a pod-enabled espresso machine, brew, and chuck, you're done. And if you do a double for a big cappuccino, they aren't all that bad.
I'm evaluating a pod-capable machine at the moment for the CoffeeGeek site, a machine sent to me by the folks at www.spinazzola.com, and the machine is a looker, called the Elektra Nivola. I am a bit disapointed in its ability as a ground machine - for $700 it's missing certain things that a grounds machine should have, including a 3 way solenoid valve, and a non-toy steam pipe (you're forced to use a froth aiding device). But as a pod capable machine, it's the best I've ever personally used. It took me about 30 minutes to do the mechanical changes to the machine (I didn't have instructions), but once done, there was a nice sealing grouphead that formed a tight wedge just around the pod shape, and brewed a fairly decent shot from almost all the pods I've run through it.
By comparison, all the other pod machines I've personally tried, which include a Francis Francis X1 (3 years ago), a Starbucks Barista, a Solis SL90, a Via Veneto and a Saeco Classico all were dreck by comparsion. I'm not saying that the pods tasted great through the Nivola. Just the best of the bunch. I need to get my hands on one of the more recent Francis Francis machines to see what they're like today - supposedly the machines have been updated somewhat.
As you can see I'm writing the rants more frequently, so that's change number one. I've also added the contact page, with a new email address, but also several different sized banners and buttons you can download if you want to link to this page and use an image. You can see them here.
I'm also up to 80 pages now on this website, and I've been adding to the Rancilio section, the photos section, and the espresso section, which is almost complete, in fact.
This week I'll be concentrating on the home roasting section, including some brand new content. I'll also get some of the how tos back up here, or on the CoffeeGeek site. And if I have time, I'll complete the rancilio section by the end of this week.