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ESE Pods

ESE Pods

Espresso Pads ESE

Espresso International offers a large selection of E.S.E pads. In Italy, pads are referred to as cialde, the system was invented by illy Caffe. ESE pads have a diameter of approx. 44mm and are tightly packed. Almost all Italian roasters have joined this system. For owners of espresso machines, this means not being bound to one brand but instead being able to choose from the entire selection of pads.

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Simple, fast and delicious - ESE pods for espresso lovers

Whether it's for breakfast in the morning to get going, for lunch to keep going, or in the evening after a delicious meal - for some people, it's hard to imagine everyday life without an espresso. The flavor firework from Bella Italia with its intense roasted aroma has enjoyed great popularity in Europe for decades. Espresso machines have long since found their way into private households. The competition among manufacturers of espresso machines and accessories is correspondingly fierce, not only in terms of the variety of flavors, but also in the types of different preparation systems. Currently, capsule and pad machines are in the greatest competition with each other. Although the capsule systems currently have the lead due to the extremely successful marketing campaign, pad-based solutions do not have to hide behind them by any means. For espresso lovers in particular, it can even be advantageous to give preference to a pad machine, because ESE pads specially developed for espresso machines are not only more environmentally friendly than capsules, but also offer a fully comprehensive espresso taste experience that is in no way inferior to that of capsules.


What exactly are ESE pods?

ese coffee podThe abbreviation ESE stands for "Easy Serving Espresso". The coffee or espresso pod was invented back in the 1970s. In collaboration with the roasting giant Lavazza, Antonio Di Leva developed the so-called "Prontadose", a coffee pad, with the aim of combining a portion of coffee with its own filter, thus simplifying and speeding up the preparation process. However, a market for the new invention could not be found at first, which meant that the Pronto can very quickly fell into oblivion again.

A little later, the roasting company Illy also tried its hand at developing a coffee pad specifically for making espresso. Illy christened it the ESE pad, but mankind was still not ready to embrace this new form of preparation, and so it was almost three decades before the idea was taken up again by Philipps in the early 2000s. The Dutch electronics manufacturer, in collaboration with roasting company Douwe Egberts, launched the Senseo pad-based coffee preparation system and hit the mark.

With the trend toward more and more single-person households and the demand for coffee that could be prepared quickly and was also delicious, coffee and espresso pods finally began their triumphant advance and permanently changed the way people would prepare their coffee and espresso from then on.


How do pad machines work?

With a pad coffee machine, it has never been more convenient to prepare coffee. The water is pressed through the pad at a temperature of about 90 degrees from the tank with a pressure between 10 and 20bar. Basically, a higher pressure is required for the preparation of espresso than for coffee. This is what gives the espresso its typical aroma.

With most pad machines, you can prepare two cups at the same time within one or two minutes. Depending on what type of ESE pods you use and how well the system is suited to them, the result is an espresso garnished with a foam-like cream called crema.

A coffee or espresso is thus prepared in just a few steps and within a short time. If you use pods that contain high-quality powder, you also get a far more aromatic taste experience than with brewing an instant coffee.


What is the difference between an ESE pad and an ordinary coffee pad?

An ESE pad has a smaller diameter of about 44mm compared to a coffee pad (70mm). Coffee pods contain filter roasts with a 7g portion designed for one cup of coffee. ESE pods accordingly contain an espresso roast of also about 7g.
Both coffee and espresso pods have an open standard, so they can basically be used by any roaster, which has led to a huge selection of pods on the market.

If you mainly want to make espresso, you should get an ESE pod machine accordingly, because ESE pods are not compatible with other coffee pod machines that use larger pods. For conventional coffee pod machines, there are also pods that contain espresso roasts, but since the pressure in these machines is designed for making coffee and not espresso, the taste experience is often not as intense. Therefore, the best espresso experience is provided by the combination of ESE pod and ESE pod machine.

If you also like to drink coffee or can't decide whether to choose an ordinary coffee pod machine or a machine for ESE pods, you are best advised to buy an ESE-standard machine. This is because there are also ESE pods that contain milder roasts and are therefore suitable for making a coffee. In addition, ESE pods often contain higher-quality roasts than conventional coffee pods.

ESE pods are also better suited for preparing frothed coffee drinks such as latte macchiato or cappuccino, as espresso provides the aromatically rounder base for these drinks than conventional coffee.


What is the difference between ESE pods and espresso capsules?

Both automatic systems prepare coffee or espresso quickly and easily. However, while ESE pods are merely coated with filter paper, capsules are made of plastic and aluminum. Since both pads and capsules are disposable products, capsules are not particularly environmentally friendly. In contrast, used ESE or coffee pods can be easily composted and are fully recyclable. For environmentally conscious espresso lovers, pad systems are therefore clearly the more popular choice.

Pad and capsule systems also differ in terms of running costs. In terms of price, pads are ahead, because with capsules a cup of coffee or espresso often costs twice as much as with a pad.


What is the disadvantage of ESE pods and espresso pod machines?

Make fresh coffee signMaking a good espresso is a craft that needs to be learned. Even scientists have tried to find a formula for the perfect preparation of an espresso. The result: the four big M's (mixture of powder, grinder, machine and man) make a perfect espresso.
Therefore, a pad machine cannot compete with the preparation by an experienced barista on a fully automatic espresso machine, where the espresso beans are also freshly ground. This should be clear to everyone before buying a pad machine.

With pad machines, there is no room for experimentation with the water temperature or the brewing time. Because the roast in the pads is already ground, you can not decide on the grind and the amount of powder. With pad machines, you therefore have no influence on the taste of the end product. The taste is determined exclusively by the roast contained in the pad and the fixed settings on the machine.
Pad machines also often have a very small water tank. Those who often want to prepare many cups of espresso must refill accordingly frequently.

One disadvantage of ESE pods is that they quickly lose their aroma. This can be remedied by storing them in an airtight container or buying individually packaged pods.


What should one pay attention to when preparing espresso with ESE pods?

Each pad contains an amount of powder intended for one cup of espresso. It is worth trying out different pods from different manufacturers to find your favorite. If you like to have an extra strong espresso, you are well advised to use a machine that has a pad holder in which you can place two pods on top of each other at the same time.
What also influences the aroma of the espresso is the water with which it is prepared. If you have very hard water coming out of the tap, you should use a water softener to soften the water, because soft water makes for a more balanced coffee and espresso aroma.

If you want to squeeze an extra quantum of flavor out of your pods, you can moisten them slightly just before brewing. This way, the powder in them starts to swell before the brewing process and more aroma substances can get into the cup.


What is the optimal care for a pad machine?


Before the first coffee or espresso in the morning, you should perform a brewing process without a pad. This flushes germs and coffee residue out of the machine from the hot water.

The pad holder should be cleaned daily.

To get stuck or clogged filter holes free again, you can help yourself with a pin and run the machine through a brewing process once without a pad after cleaning.
Regular cleaning of the pad machine not only ensures a longer shelf life, but also a high-quality taste experience in the long term. You should decalcify it from time to time. Biologically safe descalers based on citric acid are best suited for this purpose. When descaling, it is advisable to insert a used pad so that the lime remains attached to it and is not pressed through the sieve and clogs it. Vinegar should not be used for cleaning, as it can damage components in the machine and the espresso can still have a vinegar taste even after being rinsed several times with water.


Fresh coffee

Where can you buy ESE pods?

Because ESE pods have an open standard, they are now produced by many different coffee roasters. Supermarkets often offer a wide range of ESE pods. It can be worthwhile for espresso enthusiasts who like to experiment to look around in specialty stores or at online retailers, as they can also find roasts and offers from manufacturers that are difficult or impossible to find in supermarkets.

Those who place a lot of value on sustainability, Fairtrade and organic cultivation will often find a wider selection of products in online stores than in the supermarket.

By trying out new varieties, you may find one or two insider tips and be able to offer your guests something very special at the next get-together.