In this article, we explain can you use coffee capsules without a machine.
If your coffee pod machine breaks and you're sitting with a box of coffee capsules, don't throw them away! You can still make delicious coffee brews with them.
So, your beloved espresso machine has packed up, and there’s currently no money in the family coffers to replace it. However, you still have a box of coffee pods lying in your pantry. Can you use coffee capsules without a machine?
Well, when my Nespresso gave a huff and a puff, followed by its last breath last week, I was asking myself this question. So, I did some research and then set out to implement my findings. And, fortunately, I can confirm: Yes, you can use your coffee capsules without a machine.
Read on to find out how.
A Short Overview Of Coffee Capsules
Coffee capsules are branded, prepacked pods of coffee, which are sold for use in coffee pod machines such as the Nespresso, Nescafe Dolce Gusto, and Keurig. Each machine brand comes with its proprietary pods, which are typically used once and then thrown away.
However, due to general criticism on the billions of coffee pods that end up in landfills each year, with dire effects on the environment, many brands have initiated recycling programs. They have also started to sell refillable coffee pods.
Since coffee pods are typically expensive, refillable coffee pods have also helped consumers save a bit on their monthly coffee bills. In addition, coffee fanatics like me have enjoyed the freedom of refilling my pods with my blends.
You might also be interested in our coffee pods vs. coffee capsules guide.
Can You Use Coffee Capsules Without A Machine?
However, you can’t indefinitely keep refilling a pod, which is why I recently invested in a few new boxes of pods filled with my favorite Nespresso blend, Arpeggio — a dark roast of pure South and Central American Arabicas.
When my coffee machine decided to break a short while after, there was no way that I was going to throw the coffee away. After all, coffee capsules are filled with normal coffee grounds, which we use with other brewing methods!
After some internet research, I realized that there are two important factors to consider when making coffee with coffee pods. Firstly, you’re working with fine grounds that are meant for espresso-style brews.
Also, the manual brewing method you decide to use will not provide the necessary pressure to produce an espresso-style coffee drink. With this in mind, I decided on the following method, which produces an OK cup of coffee.
Make Pour-Over Coffee
The most obvious way of using the coffee grounds, in my opinion, is with a pour-over. Of course, the grounds will be a bit too fine for this brewing method since pour-overs work best with a medium to medium-fine grind.
But, as the saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers! The trick is to just not allow the water to come into contact with the coffee for too long! So, you can pour a bit faster than is traditionally required with the pour-over method.
The first obvious step you need to take is to get the coffee out of the pod. The most effortless way is by using a device that’s specifically made for this purpose, such as Nespresso’s Outpresso Recycling Device — which, by the way, works well with the newer Bialetti capsules too — or the Recycle a Cup Cutter from Keurig. If you don’t have the device, you’ll have to cut open the top of the capsule with a sharp knife or scissors.
Once you have succeeded in getting the precious grinds out of the cup, simply place them in your pour-over dripper, and brew as usual. Since the grinds are fine, you’ll get away with less coffee, but if you want a stronger cup, you can use two capsules.
The AeroPress is a decent alternative to a coffee machine. That said, I particularly like the AeroPress as it's a simple, affordable purchase for coffee brewing tool, i.e., it's great if you don't want a machine. Read our AeroPress review.