Our search for better coffee pods is over. One of our favorites: Cool Beans. Photo by Melody Lan.
Single Serve Coffee Pods For The Senseo & Other Single Serve Coffee Machines
Cool Beans & Java One Offer Better Pods For Coffee Connoisseurs
OVERVIEW: Single-serve coffee makers are great: Often, the pods that are offered by the manufacturer are less so. The coffees tend to be average. Fortunately, third parties have sprung up to fill the gap with coffees that taste as good as popular coffee chains.
When we got our first single-serve coffee machine, the Senseo*, we were thrilled—almost. We loved the process, but thought the Senseo-brand pods produced merely average coffee. It might be a difference in taste between the American and Dutch palate; or that Senseo coffee was supermarket quality. At any rate, we needed something better.
We found them in Cool Beans and Java One, companies that make better coffee pods.
Cool Beans Pods are premium pods with 10+ grams of coffee (a minimum of 10 grams is needed to brew an 8-ounce cup of good coffee). Cool Beans Pods are ground and packed for each roast and blend. The pods work very well with the Black & Decker Home Cafe, Bunn MyCafe, Gevalia Pod Brewer, Grindmaster PecisionBrew, Krups KP1010 Home Cafe, Newco FreshKup, Phillips Senseo and Simplehuman systems. The company says there is “good compatibility” with the Juan Valdez Pod Brewing System, Melitta One: One Pod Brewing System, Mr. Coffee Home Cafe and Refyne PrecisionBrew. We have no reason to think that with “good compatibility” they don’t work to a reasonable extent, but to be on the safe side, you might want to try a smaller box rather than one of the large sampler packages to see how you like the brew.
|*Photo: The Senseo coffee machine, available in black, cobalt blue, red, silver and white. Click on the link to read our review.
Cool Pods come in broad variety of choices, including seasonal flavors like Pumpkin Spice. There’s a cost-effective club program with free shipping and $9.50 a box for 25 pods. There’s truly something for everyone:
- Regular Selections: Breakfast Blend, House Blend, Columbian Supremo, City Roast, Midnight Blend (darkest French Roast), San Francisco Blend (French Roast with Kenya AA and Sumatra Mandheling), Sumatra Mandheling
- Flavored Coffees: Chocolate Cappuccino, Chocolate Raspberry, Eggnog, French Vanilla, Gingerbread Cookie, Hazelnut, Irish Creme, Kahlua Creme, Mocha Cinnamon Swirl, Swiss Chocolate Almond
- Decaf Coffees: Chocolate Raspberry Decaf, French Roast Decaf, French Vanilla Decaf, Hazelnut Decaf, House Decaf, Mocha Cinnamon Swirl Decaf
The coffees are good: of a slightly lighter style than Java One, our next recommendation, but far superior to most other pods available for these machines.
- Single Flavor Box
$9.50 Club Members
- Sample Pack Box
Regular, Flavored or Decaf
Free shipping for club members on orders over $35.00. Prices
are verified at publication but
are subject to change.
Photo by Melody Lan.
Java One is a slightly richer style of coffee: compared shoulder-to-shoulder with Cool Pods, the brews are thicker and darker. They offer fewer varieties of beans and roasts, especially in the flavored area, but what they have is more than adequate a selection for most coffee drinkers.
JavaOne pods are compatible with AquaBrew Cafejo, Black & Decker Home Cafe, Bunn My Cafe, Grindmaster PrecisionBrew, Mr. Coffee Home Cafe, Newco FreshKup, Phillips Senseo and Refyne Precision Brew.
Bean varieties include:
- Light Roast: Breakfast Blend, Columbia Supremo, Kona Blend
- Medium Roast: Estate Costa Rican, House Blend, Kona Blend, Sumatra
- Dark Roast: French Roast
- Flavored: French Vanilla, Hazelnut Creme
- Decaffeinated: Decaf Colombian, Decaf Hazelnut
Buy both brands and see which you prefer. The good new is: Now there’s good coffee for that nifty single-serve machine.
Both companies also make tea pods: Avoid them. It’s not just that a good cup of tea is meant to be infused for three minutes to extract flavor from the leaves, not blown through 60 seconds of water in a single-serve system. The bigger problem is that you can’t make tea on the same machine used for coffee. Think about it: It’s like using the same carafe for tea and coffee. The oils from the coffee never totally leave the pot, and you have tea with undertones of coffee. But that’s not the only problem. We used a different pod holder—one that had never been used for coffee. But remnant speckles of coffee that were inside the machine spout were delivered into our cup along with what would have been a quality cup of Tropical Citrus Green Tea from Java One. In addition to the speckles, the tea had flavors of coffee. So unless you want to have one single-serve machine for coffee and another for tea, we suggest an alternative method for tea-drinkers.
- 56 Pods
- Kona Blend
Shipping and taxes additional. Prices and flavor availability are verified at publication but are subject to change.
Photo by Naheed Choudhry.