back to article Storm in a K-Cup: My SHAME over the eco-monster I created, says coffee pod inventor

The inventor of the increasingly popular – and apparently environmentally unfriendly – coffee pod feels guilty about his invention. John Sylvan came up with the idea of the Keurig coffee machines back in the 1990s, complete with its little self-contained coffee pods, K-Cups, that you stick in the machine to brew a mug. He …

  1. Rob 5

    He's right.

    Those things are crap. Fair play to him, though, for trousering a wad off the back of it.

    Who the fuck drinks only ONE cup of coffee anyway?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He's right.

      Real men drink tea... made from tea leaves and brewed in a pot!

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Go

        Re: He's right.

        Lester keeps bashing me for this - but Lapsang Souchong is the way to go!

        1. JetSetJim Silver badge
          Pint

          Souchong

          If you like it, all well & good. To me it tastes and smells of fresh wet ash - a bit like putting a ciggy out in a mug of hot water.

          Not my cup of tea.

      2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: He's right.

        Real men drink tea... made from tea leaves and brewed in a pot!

        You mean a Cup of Brown Joy?

        1. Ken 16 Silver badge
          Holmes

          upvote for the ChapHop reference,

          even though I'm a Mr B. partisan my own self.

      3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: He's right.

        "Real men drink tea"

        Hipsters aren't men.

        Coffee. Black. Strong enough to kill a horse!

        1. Swarthy Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: He's right.

          "I like my coffee like I like my women: Strong and bitter"

          1. Lamont Cranston

            Re: I like my coffee like I like my women:

            coarsely ground and stored in the freezer?

    2. fishman

      Re: He's right.

      "Who the fuck drinks only ONE cup of coffee anyway?"

      I'll brew multiple cups if I know that I'm going to drink one cup after another (I'm the only coffee drinker). I make as much coffee as I will be drinking over the next hour or so.

    3. Fungus Bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: He's right.

      "Who the fuck drinks only ONE cup of coffee anyway?"

      Last I checked, humans only have one mouth apiece so _everybody_ drinks one cup... at a time

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. asdf Silver badge

          Re: He's right.

          Also when it is this easy to make a cup then its no big deal to make it one cup at a time (plus don't leave half a pot of coffee overnight to get nasty). Where K-cups IMHO really make sense is at work in say an area without a sink but a water coolers nearby for water. Yes yes a french press makes much better coffee but I don't have time to fug with one of those during the day (but I sure do at night, long live real Kona) and it would be a fairly decent walk to a sink where I work. And sadly the darn cafeteria closes early in the afternoon Also there are coffee pods from San Francisco Bay Coffee that only cost like 3 to the dollar (for 20 to 30 oz of coffee, depending on strength desired) and are like %97 biodegradable in addition to have a very good taste for K-cup coffee. Plus I can go with different types of coffee (regions, brands, roasts, etc) depending on mood during the day. I guess I could go construction worker and make a thermos in the morning but then its luke warm by late in the day and even worse I have to get up early to make it and worry about clean up after a long day. Some creature comforts are worth it. Its still way cheaper than cigarettes even minus the medical bills.

    4. Infernoz Bronze badge
      Holmes

      Re: He's right.

      I also like the much greater choice and lower cost of Ground Coffees, so no nasty Feminising Plasticisers leaching from the Plastic (not just BPA), and I get to use more more coffee powder in a larger metal filter so that I can fill a whole mug using an Expresso machine.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I guess I missed this machine somehow. What's the reason for it..? hip? fast? a new toy? I find that grinding beans and brewing it to be easy enough and there's something about smelling freshly ground beans and having a full pot of coffee. And there's no DRM....

    1. Daniel B.
      Stop

      Hipsters

      I'd guess it's the hipster version of "brewing" coffee. I decided to give the whole fad a pass, thanks to the first ones being marketed over here having the Nescafé brand. You know, the instant "coffee" made from coffee bean skin scraps and other assorted garbage. No self-respecting coffee lover would ever drink Nescafé, never mind a Nescafé-branded coffee pod.

      The DRM just makes the whole thing even stupider. Screw that, I'm using a regular drip coffee maker. I'd even grind my own beans if I could, but alas, I don't have a grinder.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Hipsters

        Not everything is the fault of hipsters you know.

        And surely, these products don't compete with drip-coffee but with espresso-based coffee? I though that was the whole point of all these pod machines. In that context them make sense, but I prefer regular filter coffee most of the time anyway.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Hipsters

          From a later post it sounds like this IS a filter coffee alternative, more like a "coffee bag" - so not the same as nespresso et al which claim to use the espresso coffee method?

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Hipsters

          And surely, these products don't compete with drip-coffee but with espresso-based coffee?

          In the US, at least, they compete primarily with auto-drip coffee makers.

          The pods contain coffee grounds and an integrated filter, and the system forces hot water through the grounds and filter into the cup. The system uses the "espresso method" in the sense that it forces the hot water through the grounds (though this could just as well be called the "French press method"), versus the gravity feed of auto-drip or percolator brewing. But what really distinguishes espresso are the darkness of the roast and the fine grind, which produces thicker coffee with more particulates. Keurig produces a wide range of pods, including ones with Italian roasts and fine grinds, providing a cup of espresso, and ones with coarser grinds and lighter roasts for different coffee styles.

          They also produce pods for various teas, hot chocolate, etc.

          The main selling factors are supposed to be convenience and variety. And for some users the variety probably is quite useful, particularly in office settings and the like. I never bother with decaf, for example, but we sometimes have guests who ask if we have it. (For tea and hot chocolate, it seems to me just as easy, and in the case of teas far more pleasant, to fix individual servings by hand - one kettle-full will do for all.)

          I'm not a fan, personally, of the Keurig system, but I know people who quite like them. Of late I've seen some claims about cleaning issues and concerns with extremophile fungi and the like, but I have no idea how credible those are.

      2. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Hipsters

        > I'd even grind my own beans if I could, but alas, I don't have a grinder.

        Totally off on a tangent now but my advice to anyone is to buy a hand ceramic burr grinder (can get them for 30 to 40 dollars) and use a French press. It makes about the best coffee and though hand grinders are slower (but cheaper too) than an electric one there is something mildly zen about hand grinding before enjoying some wonderful coffee. The burr grinders also guarantee a lot less grit (assuming you correctly grind it course) in your french pressed coffee compared to cheap blade ones.

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          Re: Hipsters

          > I'd even grind my own beans if I could, but alas, I don't have a grinder.

          Totally off on a tangent now but my advice to anyone is to buy a hand ceramic burr grinder (can get them for 30 to 40 dollars) and use a French press. It makes about the best coffee and though hand grinders are slower (but cheaper too) than an electric one there is something mildly zen about hand grinding before enjoying some wonderful coffee.

          And to think the GP poster said Keurig was for hipsters.

          Do you also hand-whittle your coffee spoons using vintage woodworking tools, and cast your own pottery for the coffee mug?

          The ironing is delicious.

          For what it's worth, I have a Keurig machine - I'd have thought it was about as un-Hipster as could be. Pop a capsule in it first thing in the morning, get a cup (or two - like teabags, they can be re-used once) of fresh tasty coffee 30 seconds later. Yum.

          (And there are organic coffee-pods that use some sort of paper mesh construction rather than the plastic shell that this article references, if recycling's your thing. No discernable difference in taste.)

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. asdf Silver badge

            Re: Hipsters

            >The ironing is delicious.

            Or it would be if you could find a single place where I say anything about K-cup coffee being anything but useful and convenient (I own two Keurigs for work and home). The hipster crap was brought up by the dudes at the top who are usually using that label to justify why their crappy flop but sensible Microsoft stuff is so much better than Apple or whatever.

    2. Fungus Bob Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: What's the reason for it..?

      This thing allows Evolutionary Mistakes to "make" themselves coffee instead of dying off like they're supposed to.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too good to last

    "No matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recyclable," Sylvan said. "The plastic is a specialized plastic made of four different layers."

    I'm guessing that the layered plastic IS recyclable, but costs more to process than simple plastic types. If so, then what we are seeing is activism to pressure industry and force it to prioritize recycling over product functionality.

    Is that what we want, a future filled with crappy products, made so for the sake of recycling?

    1. Lyle Dietz

      Re: Too good to last

      "Is that what we want, a future filled with crappy products, made so for the sake of recycling?"

      Yes, because that will lead to good products that are easy to recycle.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Too good to last

        Yes, because that will lead to good products that are easy to recycle.

        Makes sense only if recycling is your primary goal. A feel-good-factor selling, basically.

        I actually want to use the product, too.

        1. Lyle Dietz

          Re: Too good to last

          For consumables like this, then yes, recycling should be high on the list goals; or if you can't make it recyclable, at least make it biodegradable.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Too good to last

      Plastics here (France) are taken to the recycling point and placed in a big bin marked "incinerables". I always thought it was really really bad to burn plastic but I guess maybe they have figured something out? I think it is burned to make heat for purifying metal (smelting, etc). They burn waste food in much the same way...

    3. hplasm Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Too good to last

      "Is that what we want, a future filled with crappy products, made so for the sake of recycling?"

      Better than the present, where we have crappy products that are almost unrecyclable.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Too good to last

        Is that what we want, a future filled with crappy products, made so for the sake of recycling?

        I seem to experience a tiny virtuous thrill whenever I put an empty container into the recycling bin. The worry is that this positive reinforcement will work its way back up the chain of events, to the point where I buy stuff I don't want or need purely so I can recycle the containers.

    4. Jean Le PHARMACIEN
      Joke

      Re: Too good to last

      So you bought an e36 BMW as well?

    5. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Too good to last

      I wonder how these compare to Nespresso's aluminium pods for recycling?

  4. James Anderson

    Never made it to civilisation.

    These thing are unheard of in Europe -- possibly because the result is only slightly less awful than the truly awful coffee US citizens slurp by the gallon.

    Here in the civilized world we have Nespresso which really is an environmental disaster as the composite aluminium and custom plastics are prohibitively expensive to re-cycle.

    But it makes for a really nice cup of coffee!

    1. Daniel B.
      Facepalm

      Re: Never made it to civilisation.

      Here in the civilized world we have Nespresso which really is an environmental disaster as the composite aluminium and custom plastics are prohibitively expensive to re-cycle.

      The Nespresso is the Nescafé-branded version of those awful things. And no real coffee lover would be seen even close to drinking Nescafé. Yeech!

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Never made it to civilisation.

        So how about those little paper-encased pads?. They work pretty well.

      2. James Anderson

        Re: Never made it to civilisation.

        Nespresso is completely different. The K thingies are just a pre-packed coffee grounds with a built in filter the actual coffee making process is the same as a drip filter.

        Nespresso is a sealed container which plugs into a machine which forces steam and water under pressure through the capsule -- the same basic process as an espresso machine.

        The whole shebang was developed by Nestle from scratch and was covered by an astonishing 1700 patents. Most of the patents have now expired which is why a whole bunch of compatible capsules have appeared on the market recently.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Never made it to civilisation.

        Actually, Nespresso has really nothing to do with Nescafé, except for the 3 first letters in their names, from their company name.

        To be clear, for those having no experience with those: Nespresso uses actual coffee powder kept in a pressurized aluminum pod. It's also relatively expensive (in Paris, about 0.35€ per pod if you buy 150 of them). They have different names for the pods, which contain different blends of aromas, strength, etc.

        There are also cheaper knock-offs using pods with similar shape, but made of plastic, and all those I've tried were vastly inferior.

        Nescafé is instant coffee, made from some dehydrated juice. It's much cheaper, around 0.05€ per dose (depending on how you get it). Also, having experienced the thing, Nescafé is adapted to the local market, and in some of them, (eg, USA, China), it's definitely worse than in others (eg, France).

        Nespresso coffee is really decent, and in any case, tastes nothing like Nescafé. I'm afraid those asserting that it's the same as Nescafé either have never tried it, or have really poor palates.

        1. James Anderson

          Re: Never made it to civilisation.

          "Nestle" -- the Swiss food mega corp created/owns Nespresso. Nothing to do with the brown muck company "Nescafe" other than a common corporate parent.

      4. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Never made it to civilisation.

        Actually, the Nespresso system is rather different:

        1. It uses aluminium. Aluminium is recyclable. Nespresso even has a return-to-Nespresso service to recycle them, but they also have an arrangement with Collect+ in the UK to take the bags to return them.

        2. No filter, no DRM, no drama.

        3. It is NOT Nescafé. Nescafé would be the Dolce Gusto system.

    2. NorthernCoder
      Boffin

      Re: Never made it to civilisation.

      The Nespresso pods are recycled as metal containers.

      Once your country has a functioning recycling system, it is no hassle at all.

      Living in an apartment building in Sweden, I just take the Nespresso pods and other metal containers out to a small recycling house next to the house where I live and put them in a bin for metal. The plastic, newspapers, cardboard, glass and food leftovers all have separate bins.

      1. James Anderson

        Re: Never made it to civilisation.

        In the some parts UK metal containers must be "clean and empty" which is just too fiddly for the coffe pods.

        Where I currently live in South East Asia things are not so much re-cycled as re-used so far nobody has found a use for used coffee pods. The K thingies look like they would be excellent for propagating seeds.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Never made it to civilisation.

          'In the some parts UK metal containers must be "clean and empty" '

          In which the process of using of hot water to clean them reduces the efficiency of re-cycling process. Pointless too, rubbish smells get over it, melting the metal removes the food remnants.

        2. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Never made it to civilisation.

          Actually, that's not true. You can request a bag from Nespresso and then return the full bag (but with *dry* capsules) via Collect+.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Recycling - environmentalist placebo.

        I was born in an age where we 'reused' milk bottles rather than the energy intensive pseudo-eco green-feelgood recycling of milk cartons (and somehow they sepatate their superfluous plastic spouts?).

        I am appalled at the unnecessary use of packaging smaller and smaller food. Already the calorific value of food is less than its transport.

        Throwing the empty sachet into the recycle bin is like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

        These inventions need to be banned.

  5. Long John Brass Silver badge

    Bah ... philistines

    Bodem (French press) is the only way to go.

    Percolated or "drip" coffee is ghastly; only allowed if the alternative is instant.

    Fastest way to get your jolly java fix

    1) Boil jug

    2) Wait till water comes off the boil (IE don't scald the grounds)

    3) Add to freshly ground coffee

    4) wait a minute or two (the longer you leave it the more bitter the taste)

    5) plunge

    6) Drink

    The mistake people always make, it steeping the grounds for ages in the hope of making a stronger brew. It doesn't, it just makes it bitter, if you want it strong add more coffee grounds.

    Don't have a grinder any more; but Roasted Addiction Dark roast comes close :)

    1. streaky Silver badge

      Re: Bah ... philistines

      Bodem (French press) is the only way to go

      French press is dumb; ruins perfectly good coffee. You have two choices - some sort of modern espresso machine or the proper Italian stove-top deals.

      1. Long John Brass Silver badge

        Re: Bah ... philistines

        Stove top can make a good cup of coffee; IF you don't run it too hot.

        Many espresso machines run the water temp too high & scald the grounds

        1. John Styles

          Re: Bah ... philistines

          The secret about stove pots is that you want a Bialetti Brikka - the one with the extra valve to give a much better crema. Surprisingly most shops that sell stove pots don't know the difference and only sell the ordinary ones where it just spurts out in a rather disappointing fashion.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Bah ... philistines

        Saying only espresso is 'proper' coffee is like saying only Earl Grey is 'proper' tea - idiotic and snobbish.

        Totally different products.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Bah ... philistines

          The Aeropress is my coffee tool of choice. Takes espresso or filter-ground coffee. It's based on a cylinder and a rubber plunger - the spent grounds are ejected as a hockey puck, so a quick rinse is all it takes to clean it.

        2. streaky Silver badge

          Re: Bah ... philistines

          Saying only espresso is 'proper' coffee is like saying only Earl Grey is 'proper' tea - idiotic and snobbish.

          If that's at me I didn't say espresso was proper coffee, what I said was it doesn't ruin coffee like a french press.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Bah ... philistines

          "idiotic and snobbish"

          Some of the posters here probably have the £10,000 Monster Cable version of coffee preparation equipment because it just tastes soooooo much better.

          It's ever the same here when coffee gets mentioned. The "experts" and snobs turn out in force. Likewise, tea, food and who has the oldest/best TV (or no TV for the real snobs).

          1. Swarthy Silver badge

            Re: Bah ... philistines

            I figured I should chime in, being one of those self-proclaimed experts and snobs and all...

            For good espresso the machine does not matter quite so much, provided you can have the pressure set to 16 bar and can pull a shot over the course of 30-40 seconds.

            French press is a perfectly acceptable method, but it does tend to get muddy, no matter how coarse a grind you use. Don't even get me started on people who proclaim the superiority of French Press while using off-the-shelf pre-ground (medium grind) coffee.. The only quality they'll be able to evaluate is the burn/scald unit at their local hospital

            For a drip-brew style coffee pour-overs (chemex, etc.) are lovely, but a bit of a faff to work with. Percolators make a rich brew, but they tend to keep old oils and sometime the whole thing will go rancid. a drip-brew machine (Mr. Coffee, Bunn, etc.) is the epiotme of 'good enough'. The absolute pinnacle is a vacuum brew system they can be as pleasing to the eye as the coffee is to the palate.

            K-cups are the absolute convenience coffee. They take next to no effort to brew, even less effort to clean up, and is done quicker than waltzing over to a coffee shop. The coffee is usually "meh"; but that still makes it a huge improvement over Starbucks.

      3. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Bah ... philistines

        "French press is dumb; ruins perfectly good coffee. You have two choices - some sort of modern espresso machine or the proper Italian stove-top deals."

        I agree --- well I did until I bought an Aeropress.

    2. treboR

      Re: Bah ... philistines

      Percolated coffee is different to drip coffee. For a start, you make it in a percolator.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_percolator

    3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Bah ... philistines

      Bodem (French press) is the only way to go.

      I've never heard of a French press* but it sounds like you may be talking about a сafetière à piston.

      In my opinion, if you don't want espresso or its derivatives, the very best coffee is made in a French china cafetière of the kind made by Pilivite. The only images I can find are on Ebay, so I'm guessing they aren't made any more.

      * Is it something you take penicillin for?

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Bah ... philistines

        French press = one of these: http://www.brookstone.com/webassets/product_images/700x700/750746p.jpg

        To use: 1. Boil water, then LET IT COOL for 2-3 minutes; 2. Pour water over coffee to cover grounds; let stand for 10~20 sec. (grounds should foam a little) 3. Fill to full level and stir. 3. attach plunger top and let stand for 1-2 minutes. 4. Push down plunger and DECANT the coffee into a flask or jug.

        If you use boiling water at step one, you'll burn the coffee and it'll be bitter; if you don't decant it you'll stew the coffee and it'll be bitter.

        Regarding plastic-pod espresso, I much prefer the Lavazza "a Modo Mio" pod system - they've got more coffee in each pod than the smaller Nespressos.

        I also like the Aeropress - I've had coffee from one several times, but I don't own one (I've so much coffee gear it's hard to justify getting more). I'm also a fan of good-old fashioned pour-over with filter paper: Chemex make some beautiful jugs to go with their filter-paper system...

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: Bah ... philistines

          An alternative to good-old fashioned pour-over with filter paper is a Swiss Gold filter. I have two cup-sized ones that were very useful until they were superseded by the espresso machine.

        2. BobRocket
          Joke

          Re: Bah ... philistines - Man Coffee

          1. Put strong dark grounds in pint mug

          2. pour angrily boiling water into grounds up to top

          3. let it stand for 5 mins (you don't want to scald your sensitive lips)

          4. drink it neat, straining the grounds through your teeth

          Man Coffee should be like the East wind, beer and all my exes.

          1. keithpeter
            Windows

            Re: Bah ... philistines - Man Coffee

            @BobRockett

            A pint mug? Try a half-gallon mucket heated on a wood fire. And egg shells to settle the grounds.

            http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/how-coffee-fueled-the-civil-war/

            Personally a moka pot does me.

  6. skeptical i

    Not sure why people do not just use an espresso machine instead.

    Similar principal, at least for the "home user" models -- heated water, forced as steam through coffee grounds, one cup at a time. User can control the coffee (brand, amount), the metal filter-cup thingie is reusable (just dump the spent grounds in the compost bin), and for basic home espresso machines, the prices are comparable. Silly rabbits.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Not sure why people do not just use an espresso machine instead.

      Aren't decent espresso machines fairly pricey though?

      Plus it is much more convenient to just stick in a pod and press a button. Granted you save maybe 30-60s but that's enough to make people not bother using the machine except as a luxury, versus there go-to coffee source.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Not sure why people do not just use an espresso machine instead.

        Before I switched to an Aeropress, I used an espresso machine. It was good, but a bit of a faff to clean and to load evenly with ground coffee.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Not sure why people do not just use an espresso machine instead.

      heated water, forced as steam through coffee grounds

      This is precisely what espresso machines don't do. Boiling water and, by implication steam, are too hot for coffee brewing. An espresso machine uses a pump to force water through the grounds at the correct temperature (91-95 C). With all but the most expensive machines, you need to wait for it to heat up the water above boiling point in order to steam milk, and cool it down again to make more espresso.

  7. Number6

    The purists will probably recoil in horror, but my wife grinds a load of beans, makes a lot of coffee in a French press and lets it cool off, reheating a cup-full in the microwave when she wants one.

    I stick to tea, much easier.

  8. david bates

    I'm amazed noone has mentioned Aeropress, so I will.

    Fantastic coffee and because the grounds come out as a puck that you can pop straight from the press into the bin there's very little mess. And it's small and cheap enough to have one at home and one at the office.

    1. Doogs

      Yep, love my Aeropress. No crema though. Apparently you can get a metal mesh to replace the paper disc that allows crema, but that'd add faff too.

      1. david bates

        I get what I assume is crema, but it's very dependent on what coffee I'm using.

      2. John H Woods Silver badge

        Aeropress Crema

        You can definitely get a crema from an Aeropress. Use *plenty* of espresso ground high roast coffee (Lavazza will do), pour a little cold water on the grounds to make a paste, then fill. It's takes some bloody weight to press it, but you'll get a crema.

    2. Mog_X

      Just drinking my first cup of the day from my Aeropress when I read this - as you say, it is simple and pretty easy to clean.

      We've got a Tassimo at home, but it only fills a standard cup 2/3 of the way. I need a full mug to get me going in the office.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re:

        I have a Tassimo machine, and you can usually hold down the button after the regular brewing cycle has completed (you get about 20 seconds to initiate this) and run additional water/steam through the pod until your cup runneth over... or you can, of course, let go once the mug has been filled to the desired level and save yourself having to mop up!

    3. D@v3

      Aeropress

      was just about to say the same myself. Also, like you say, have one in my desk draw at work, and one in the kitchen at home, rarely make coffee any other way these days.

      On the crema debate, sometimes i get it, sometimes i don't, seems to vary with coffee type, and how much time I want to spend making the cup. I seem to get it (some) on my first cup of the day, but not with subsequent cups, but I don't really care as the coffee itself is far superior to any other 'coffee' I have ever had

      1. John Styles

        Re: Aeropress

        I am writing a script about a couple that split up acrimoniously due to disagreements over coffee. I am going to call it 'Creamer vs crema'

      2. nijam

        Re: Aeropress

        Whether or not you get crema from an Aeropress seems to depend on the water temperature, AFAICT. Whether or not you want pretentiously-named froth on top of an otherwise-perfectly-good cup of coffee is entirely another matter.

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: Aeropress

          pretentiously-named froth

          According to a reply in the New Scientist Last Word section, the crema contains a lot of caramelised sugars, so it adds to the flavour and aroma of espresso.

          Pretentiously-named? Well, it's Italian. Unsurprisingly so are all the other names associated with this way of making coffee, because the technology comes from Italy. You might think it less pretentious to talk about "expressed coffee", or "coffee the colour of Capuchine monks' robes", but nobody will understand you.

  9. Schultz

    There is a compromise...

    for those stuck with the capsule maker in the office:

    http://www.capsules-compatibles.fr/capsule-compatible-nespresso-reutilisable/

  10. Bump in the night
    Holmes

    I've seen it, it's rubbish

    As HHG's Marvin would say. Good for him to admit it.

  11. Mr Dogshit

    Or just swallow a couple of Pro Pluz

    Less faffing about

  12. Mage Silver badge
    Pint

    Options

    Breakfast time: Filter coffee. Needs no thought.

    Other times I use the the Italian stove 2 part thing, jug/press (cafetire?) and a cheap £20 espresso maker. Some times I make "mud" coffee (tall cup, pour boiling water WITHOUT stiring, sprinkle cold drips of water on top to sink grounds)

    Five flavours just from one purchase of tinned grounds.

    Yumm.

  13. Dabooka Silver badge
    Happy

    I used to recycle my Nespresso pods...

    I went from a Senseo which uses coffee pods like tea bags that went in the compost bin or ripped on onto the garden by the missus; then on to a Nespresso where I simply popped the capsules when cold and did as above before recycling; and now I'm onto a bean to cup where the grounds and emptied onto the garden, still by the missus.....

    Loved the Senseo but it died and I wanted something 'better'. The Nespresso was costing a lot but the flavoured coffee was nice for some people, but the bean to cup wins hands down.

    However, the best value coffee maker I own? A little tin tray and hodder that I picked in De Nang when I discovered Vietnamese iced drip coffee. I think it was about 8p and does what the K-Cup does by the sound of it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Recycling pods

    When I was in Geneva a few years ago, alongside the usual Glass/Metal/Plastic/Paper recycling bins it the street was a coffee pod bin. No idea what they do with the pods but at least it seemed like recognition of an issue.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    cry me a river while I play on the world smallest violin.

  16. James 51 Silver badge

    Most of the time I make do with some loose leaf Russian earl grey (never knew there was an earl grey in Russia too) in a little steeper. One step up from sticking a tea bag in but it is nicer.

  17. Riku

    Smart kettle and an Aeropress

    An Aeropress coupled with a variable-temperature digital (smart) kettle (or an instant-hot-water tap that has multiple temperatures avaialbe), is just awesome - you get a great-tasting cuppa (coffee or tea) and save some cash by not having to boil more water than you use, or even boil it at all when you can get it at just the right temperature. Quite a bit safer too.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Smart kettle and an Aeropress

      I only have a normal kettle and a digital thermometer - but now I can recognise when the kettle has got to around 80 degrees C. by the noise.

      Aeropress is great - i used one to sort a dozen friends out with espresso-like coffees whilst camping at a festival.

    2. Rick Brasche

      Re: Smart kettle and an Aeropress

      at work I just use a generic presspot and a cheap "heats the water till it boils then shuts off" water kettle. I don't mind "micro grit" and don't want to have to replace "micro filters" or anything else.

      other than the "fancy" stainless steel micro coffee grinder (hand cranked japanese import) my whole "caffeine infrastructure" was $50 USD.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Refillable pods anyone?

    My office has a Keurig machine. After seeing 3 boxes of pods go down the bin (80 each), I found refillable pods made of plastic and stainless steel mesh (Café Cup at Target, Amazon, etc. 4 for 15$, including spoon). They fit perfecty in another Keurig machine, but I had to file 1mm off the "funnel" ribs in our main one - no big deal and no adverse consequence. I empty them in my own cubicle garbage can, and rinse them when I go pee my coffee. Easy.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A distraction for the innumerate environMentals...

    There are more pressing issues than K-Cups. Plastic in landfills are inert and thus essentially harmless. It's actually *evil* to spend any time on this topic while (for example) the 15 largest ships in the world produce as much air pollution as all the cars on Earth combined.

    The environMentals need to hire a manager or something. Their own innumeracy and imbalanced attention inefficiency is a far bigger impediment to environment progress than all the "deniers" on Earth times a million.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    that's why they make refillable pods

    and have done so for years.

    gives me one-mug brew, uses my store or home ground beans. Wash, rinse repeat.

    Hell, they sell the reusable cups right on the same aisle as the coffee.

    Anyone pitching K cups or blaming Keurig for something that was resolved by the aftermarket half a decade ago, is either trying to pitch a new product or trying to feel better about themselves by kvetching about others.

    If you've had 2 or more children, you've already f**ked the planet more than decades of K cups.

  21. DwarfPants
    Meh

    The wife wanted one because of the pretty colored pots

    I drink tea, and still have to do manual grinding as I said no.

  22. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Not hipsters

    Anyway... somoene asked what the point of this is? I'm not 100% sure. Basically, you put in a pod, I guess some water (I assume it's not plumbed in), hit the button and you've got a $1-$2 cup of coffee. Personally, I just make instant; probably even faster than faffing about with a "pod", just as caffeinated, and tolerable flavor. I can also just buy a cup of coffee and have it still cost less than these pods do.

    Hipsters? Nope! Hipsters (at least here in the US) don't have the kind of cash anymore it takes to buy and operate one of these machines, wage stagnation combined with inflation has taken care of that! The people I've seen with these were doctors -- so enough loads of cash they don't seem to care how expensive these pods are, and they get the impression they're more convenient than making coffee the "old fashioned" way (even if that's not the case.)

    Re:"Anyone pitching K cups or blaming Keurig for something that was resolved by the aftermarket half a decade ago, is either trying to pitch a new product or trying to feel better about themselves by kvetching about others."

    People are *100%* justified in kvetching! You overlooked the bit about newer Keurigs REFUSING to operate with the aftermarket pods you say are the solution, because they now (just like HP printers with their ink cartridges) look for a chip on the pod, "use up" the chip when the pod is used, and WILL NOT OPERATE without a fresh chip!

  23. Bucky 2
    Black Helicopters

    Salvage or Recycle?

    We have a Keurig machine at work. In addition to those little disposable one-shot things, it also comes with a plastic filter thing that you can load with your own coffee, make a cup, and then rinse and repeat.

    Under the circumstances, the choice to litter the environment or not seems like it's in the hands of the drinker every time he puts himself in front of the coffee maker and asks himself how he's going to make his next cup.

  24. dboyes
    Windows

    why? same reason we endure MS Word.

    Main reason (and the thing that drove wide acceptance) for these machines is office environments where different people want different kinds of drinks at different times. Instead of having 3 or 4 different pots to serve the decaf/weak/strong/tea drinkers and having to wire, clean and maintain different brewers (and listen to the bitching about cross-contamination and drinking coffee that may have been sitting on the burner for *hours*), you have one machine, and always have fresh (relatively) coffee of exactly what the user of the moment wants. No fuss, no muss, everybody gets what they want when they want it, even if it's not the ne plus ultra of the type. It's passable (mostly), and minimum whining. Once the Kcup machines became popular in the offices, people wanted to take them home. Simple as that (same reason we all have to deal with Microsoft Word -- it's not the best tool, but it's the tool we encounter most often, and there's a lot of pressure to not reinvent the wheel. Inertia is a powerful force.)

    The DRM thing is just stupid. Keurig has the dominant market lock on these machines as the lowest common denominator (many of the better machines like the Tassimo gear have simply dropped off the market in many places). The K-cup is simple, and ubiquitious, and Keurig is still getting a decent volume of the market. It's a classic example of the Hayes modem or VHS videotape format phenomenon -- may not be the best option, but it is low cost and ubiquitous. Introducing a new format for no observable improvement is just silly -- as Keurig is finding out the hard way. There's no advantage to the K2 cups -- so you can make a pot instead of one cup? Defeats the original purpose. More options for feeding the machine, the more market share Keurig retains for the machines and the design.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: why? same reason we endure MS Word.

      Yep. All these alternatives fail to provide having a practical choice of dozens of different coffee varieties in the morning. Columbian? Peru? French Roast? Bolivian? Nantucket? Hmmmm...

      That's the U.S.P. of the system.

      Of course one ALSO has several other coffee making systems AS WELL. Duh...

  25. Joe Drunk

    People still prefer real coffee over K-cups

    dboyes nailed it - It's been in every office environment I've worked in and I agree that it makes sense since there's less clean-up/stale coffee left in a coffee pot no one wants to assume responsibility over cleaning.

    As a coffee lover, the taste leaves a lot to be desired. So much so that about 6 years ago when I was one of the PM's managing a desktop/server refresh in downtown Manhattan I decided to BMOC (bring my own coffee). During alternate weekends I was in charge of the late shift (7PM - 7AM) and couldn't bear to drink K-cups all night so I bought a $10 twelve cup automatic drip coffee maker and $10 coffee grinder. I bought whole beans from au bon pain, a coffee chain whose coffee I much prefer to Starbucks and was in coffee heaven. During the course of the project I went from brewing 2 full pots of coffee per night to 8! Our entire team of project coordinators, vendor reps and techs switched from K-cups to my brew. Granted, I do make damned good coffee but this demonstrated to me that given a choice, people will choose regular brewed coffee over k-cups.

    K-cups is convenient. It's just there. If I just want something that tastes like coffee and don't want to go outside in the rain/cold to the coffee shop I'll grab a k-cup. Probably something flavored to mask what I consider sub-par coffee. Plus it's free. Well, you get what you pay for.

  26. Mat

    Alternative to pods for real espresso

    I just bought myself a Minipresso - Makes amazing espresso and, without wanting to sound like an advert, it is pretty cheap

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019