Is Capsule Coffee Any Good? (Pros & Cons)

Last Updated on June 27, 2023 by Barry Gray

Let me set the record straight right at the outset.

I love nothing more than using my espresso machine, but there are moments when I’m rushed for time and just cannot cope with the time it can take to make that perfect cuppa. Yet, the idea of going without my coffee fix fills me with dread, so that’s why I invested in a capsule coffee machine.

Capsule coffee machines offer a fast alternative to a decent cup of coffee using pre-ground and blended beans in an aluminum capsule. Plug it into your machine, add water to the reservoir, and a decent cup of coffee is ready in minutes. No mess and no fuss.

I’m sure you will have noticed the rise of capsule coffee machines over the last five years. They are everywhere, and it’s because they do come with various positives, even for those individuals that prefer their coffee to be made in the more traditional way.

But something being popular does not always mean it’s something good. So, here are my thoughts on these machines and why I think anybody that loves coffee should have a version sitting in their kitchen ready for use.

capsule coffee machine in use

What is the Main Positive of Capsule Coffee?

I think the stand-out thing connected to capsule coffee has to be the speed. This differs from your regular instant coffee, where you stand there warming up water in your kettle to dissolve some granules out of a jar. 

Instead, capsule coffee bridges the gap between instant coffee and fully brewed coffee, and I love that about it. Sure, it may fall short when it comes to taste and flavor, but it does bring with it an absolute consistency of strength with each cup. 

But this is not the only positive I can think of when it comes to capsule coffee.

The Convenience of Capsule Coffee

latte capsule coffee

I find my capsule coffee machine to be very convenient. It just sits there and requires little in the way of interaction to set it up, and it produces a good enough coffee in no time at all.

Also, my machine takes up almost no space in my kitchen. It’s certainly smaller than my espresso machine, so if space is an issue for you, then a capsule coffee machine could be the perfect solution.

Yet that’s still not all when it comes to convenience. 

The array of coffee options you have available for the different machines is mindblowing.

It means you can have all types of coffee ready in an instant and with minimal fuss. Now, that is something I can certainly appreciate at different times when I’m really not in the mood for making an elaborate coffee.

The Benefits of Capsule Coffee

capsule coffee americano

With capsule coffee, what you get is something that has been pre-roasted and pre-ground in a set amount to produce a particular type of coffee. There are no surprises when you purchase capsules, and that’s an excellent thing.

But this isn’t the only apparent benefit of capsule coffee.

You Get Brewed Coffee at the Speed of Instant

I mentioned the speed aspect earlier, but I need to add in the quality of the coffee and the type of drink you get to the equation.

This is not instant coffee, so don’t make the mistake of thinking along those lines.

Instead, what you actually get is something similar to brewed coffee. Still, the fantastic thing is you have the drink delivered in the same time it takes to make instant coffee.

Actually, sometimes it’s even quicker than that.

Again, it fits in with the convenience aspect, and it’s a real standout for me.

Yet, I’m not finished with what I see as being the benefits of capsule coffee.

It Stays Fresh

The problem with coffee is that it does become stale over time. That staleness will negatively impact the end result, and it can easily make a previously fantastic coffee taste horrible.

But the coffee contained within capsules will stay fresher for longer, thanks to the small quantity of coffee.

The problem with larger bags of coffee is that some of the outer parts can become stale, while the coffee in the middle is still acceptable. That’s thanks to the outer edges being exposed to air, so they will clearly start to deteriorate quicker than the rest.

You don’t have the same issue with capsule coffee. 

Also, their containers appear to be slightly better at maintaining freshness for longer as well, so that’s a double advantage for the taste of the coffee.

The Array of Flavors

The problem I have with instant coffee is the lack of flavor options. Basically, you get what the granules offer you, and that’s not always enough.

Capsule coffee is different.

I suggest you take a look at that shelf the next time you are in a store. Look at the array of coffee options you have available to you.

It’s all there, from an Americano to a latte or even a coffee with a caramel base.

I see this as making coffee more exciting for those people who perhaps love the occasional cup but aren’t invested in going the whole way with an espresso machine in their home.

In short, the choice of flavors you get is a huge bonus.

The Negatives of Capsule Coffee

drinking capsule coffee

But while capsule coffee clearly comes with a number of advantages thanks to the convenience and consistent coffee, it’s not all positive.

Yet, I don’t personally see the negatives as being that bad. But in the interest of fairness, here are the key negatives that I still think you should be aware of. 

It’s Still Lacking Compared to Espresso

Capsule coffee tries its best to be similar to Espresso, and it does a decent job. However, it’s still lacking, and it’s not always the fault of the coffee.

Part of making a quality Espresso is the ability to pull through the coffee in the correct way in order to unlock all the flavor of the coffee. It takes some skill to use the right pressure and temperature, but that requires regulation.

With capsule coffee, you fail to have that regulation. The machine does it all for you, and you do then miss out on the finer parts of an Espresso which then impacts the overall quality of your drink.

Sticking to Certain Capsules

A machine will only allow you to use certain capsules, so you will miss out on the opportunity to experiment with a number of different coffee options.

I know I look at my capsule machine and the coffee I can have and then compare it to other brands of machine, and there are always a couple I’d love to try.

But I cannot do that.

Instead, each machine is very particular about the capsule that will fit. They tend to produce the capsules to their own unique size for their machine to stop you from crossing over between brands.

I find this annoying because one of the things I love about coffee is the ability to experiment with different flavors. With capsule coffee, you know you only have a handful of options to work with.

But is Capsule Coffee Any Good?

americano capsule coffee

So where would I place capsule coffee in a league table? I’d say it would be in the middle, and I’ll explain why.

Capsule coffee cannot compete with freshly ground coffee. It doesn’t contain the same flavor, and nor can you play around with the taste by using different beans

And yet, it’s not as bad as instant coffee. The flavor profile is far superior with capsule coffee, and that’s what then pushes it up into the middle of the league table.

I certainly see this type of coffee as being a satisfactory option, and when you add in that convenience factor as well, then I understand why so many people now own a capsule coffee machine.

What Does Capsule Coffee Taste Like?

empty coffee cup

The taste of capsule coffee does vary as you have different drinks to choose from. Whether it’s an Americano, a Latte, or a coffee with different flavors added, capsule coffee does have a lot to offer.

But I do feel the taste of capsule coffee is somewhat dialed back, and I think it’s due to that point regarding the Espresso issue I mentioned earlier. 

Often, the taste of capsule coffee comes across as slightly muted. It’s as if the edges of the taste have been sanded down.

At times, I feel the coffee is almost reaching the heights you expect, and it then falls at the final hurdle. That’s disappointing, but I’m not sure how they would be able to correct that problem. 

How would I score the coffee?

I would say it depends on the make and brand of coffee. At times, it certainly fluctuates between 5/10 and 7/10, with a few exceptions on either side of those scores.

But then, I can be pretty specific when it comes to my coffee, so you may find your capsule coffee scoring better than this.

My Recap on Capsule Coffee

Capsule coffee is undoubtedly proving to be popular around the world, and I’ve covered a number of points when discussing the pros and cons of it.

So, here’s my recap of the main points I feel stand out when discussing the merits of capsule coffee.

  • The convenience of capsule coffee is second to none
  • It tastes better than instant coffee
  • You have more options available regarding flavor than with instant coffee
  • The coffee stays amazingly fresh in the capsules
  • You get decent brewed coffee in no time at all
  • You are limited to capsules designed for your machine
  • That may restrict your coffee options depending on the machine
  • It’s not as strong as espresso, but still a good coffee option

Ultimately, I feel the cost of capsule machines and the coffee that goes in the machine does make this a viable option for so many people. 

To Conclude

I must admit that I love my capsule coffee machine. It’s not rated as my number one machine, but it’s certainly way better than instant coffee from a jar. 

As long as you know what to expect from it, then I don’t think you will be disappointed, and with the capsules being so easy to get your hands on, I think this machine is a good investment for anybody that even just fancies a cup of coffee every once in a while.