Is It Worthwhile Hacking Coffee Capsules?

Coffee capsule machines are certainly a convenient way to get your caffiene fix. However, they're not the most environmentally friendly gadgets, given that each capsule is for single use. You can avoid that problem by hacking the capsules and re-using them, but does it make sense?

I first came across the concept of re-using coffee capsules back when I reviewed the ALDI Expressi

Since that review, the Expressi has mostly sat idle, although it did experience a brief flurry of usage when ALDI started selling its Chocolat capsules (no prizes for guessing what kind of hot beverage they contain).

ALDI's Expressi is just a slightly rebadged K-Fee machine, and there are lots of other models on the market, most of which can also have their capsules hacked. If you have one of the less common Tchibo machines, this blog post at Cheap As Chips covers how to re-use its capsules. This Instructables guide covers re-using Nespresso pods, although it's apparently also possible to buy third party "reusable" pods as well.

I appreciate the fact that reusing a capsule has some environmental benefits, and that it allows you to experiment with your own blends and flavours. It could also save you money, though that depends on how pricey a blend you use for the refill.

Still, surely the benefit of a capsule based system lies in convenience, which is exactly what you're sacrificing by taking the time to carefully pack and re-line capsules every time you want a cup of coffee. After only a short time, wouldn't it make more sense just to make actual coffee?


    Seriously tempted to try this just so I can get hot chocolate on a Nespresso machine.

    You can take the Nespresso pods back to the store and they recycle them rather than throwing them out :)

    i'm not convinced giving customers this option really does make these product any 'greener'. I doubt many ppl would really be that bothered to take them back to the store.

    perhaps some biodegradable plastic is in order.

    I have an Outpresso - a plastic gadget from Switzerland that does a fairly competent job of pressing out the coffee grounds, which I put into the compost. The leftover aluminium can be put into the recycling.

    A write-up and some pics I did can be found here:

    Last edited 25/01/13 3:49 pm

      Thanks for the tip- i have been looking for something like this!

    I'm in the market for a decent non capsule machine but I haven't found one cheap enough yet. I suppose I could sell a child or two.. :)

      How much for the little girl? How much for the women?

        I offer you four fried chickens, a coke, and some dry white toast.

    Do these capsule machines even save any time? I'd like to see a competent barista versus a shmuck with a Nespresso have a race to see who can make me a coffee the fastest.

      Depends on if you include the prep and cleanup, and this test would have to be done using home-grade equiptment.
      No cheating with a commercial grinder/dispenser system or something.

      Also, you should repeat the test at the end of the week/month/year when the beans are going stale and see which one makes the better coffee.

      One of the reasons i like my nespresso is it lets me have a coffee when i want one at home a few times a week without having to worry about stale coffee.

        I just wonder because I've had one made for me and at the time I didn't really see much of a time difference between that and how quick I make a coffee at time, even with cleaning time. But I haven't actually timed it or anything.

          Great comment, glad I took the time to read about the time that you didn't time - not sure about how much tiime it took me to read it, cos I haven't timed it or anything

      Ahh and I thought a pod machine would be a quick and easy way to make consistently good coffee everytime. Stupid me - I should have paid and spent the time doing a barista course, then maybe get some real world experience by giving up my day job so I can then mortgage my house to buy professional equipment and install it at home so I can make consistentlygoodcoffeeverytimeahf*ckit - you're a numbnut.

        A pod machine is a good way to make quick and easy and consistently ok coffee everytime. It's a step up from Gold Blend, that's for sure. As for making good coffee without a pod machine, you don't need training or top end equipment. You just need time and patience, with maybe a bit of learning and research aptitude.

    1. Open the capsule 1/2 way.
    2. Microwave for 25 seconds.
    3. Drink the capsule.

      The sparks you'd see wouldn't be the coffee hit either - rather the aluminium pod being bombarded with microwaves.

    Well I found a product that looks promising made in France. This makes me want to jump onto the nespresso train.

    aluminum capsules can be put in the recycling bin, and the coffee grounds chucked in the back yard. So not sure how it's not environmental. not drinking coffee would be the most environmental

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