Do Refillable Coffee Pods Work?
Pod Star Coffee Capsule Review
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored blog post. This is a review of a product that I won in a competition run by The Caffeine Trifecta in conjunction with Star Eco Products. At the time of the competition and time of writing this review I have no affiliation with either company (other than being a repeat customer, to buy coffee to refill my capsules). I have included links to brand partner Biome Eco Stores, as they stock this product. These are affiliate links (click here to learn more).
I have a confession to make.
I love my pod coffee machine.
My morning coffee is something I look forward to every day. In between a cranky toddler, staaarrrvvving preschooler and dealing with spilt cereal, my Nespresso®* machine delivers me creamy, caffeinated joy in a cup. (You may have guessed, I’m not much of a morning person.)
Unfortunately, as with so many items of convenience, my love of pod coffee has a dark side.
According to the PodStar website, 55 million coffee capsules become landfill everyday.
That a big pile of pod!
Coffee is also known to produce methane in an anaerobic landfill environment.
“Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, over 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and is created when organic materials break down without the presence of oxygen in landfill.” – Source: Planet Ark
My coffee is making methane!!!
It’s cool though, because aluminium pods can be recycled right?
Well I tried that for a while. I just ended up with a bag of pods that went mouldy in the time it took to fill the bag to post for the recycling program. I don’t need that.
Also, in the ‘R’s of Zero Waste’, it is preferable to reuse before we recycle. so I was on the lookout for a better solution.
The 5 R’s of Zero Waste: Refuse > Reduce > Reuse > Recycle >Rot
I’d seen promotions for the Pod Star capsules via Biome Eco Stores. I loved idea and the look of the product.
They did, however, cost a little more money than I was willing to part with without being able to find an independent review. (Prices range from $39.95 for a single capsule, to $299 for a pack of ten capsules).
If I’m gonna buy some “lifetime capsules” I want to know they work.
Then one day a competition pops up on my Instagram feed. Something along the lines of, “tell us in 30 words or less how you are trying to be more eco-friendly this Christmas to go in the draw to win an a Podsta** Ultimate Gift Pack.”
I was trying my best to green-it-up for Christmas, and I really wanted to give these capsules a try. So I entered.
**Podsta have rebranded to Pod Star in the time between the competition running and the writing of this review.
The judges liked my answer. I won the prize.
There was a bit of a learning curve involved when I first starting using the capsules. It’s been a few month now though, and I feel I’ve perfected the art of packing my pods.
I’m really happy with the way the Pod Star Capsules work. So, I thought I would share with you my review.
If you’re researching refillable pods or looking for more information about Pod Star capsules, I hope this review helps you in your decision making process.
Pod Star Stainless Steel Reusable Coffee Pods for Nespresso® Machine
(Looking for refillable coffee pods for Aldi Expressi, K-Fee, Caffitaly and Verismo pod machines – CLICK HERE)
I recommend these pods if:
- You’re pretty attached to your Nespresso®* machine.
- You are concerned about the negative impact of single use pods on the environment.
- You believe in reuse above recycling, and want a solid, long lasting product.
- You want to keep coffee grounds from being wasted in landfill and producing methane.
- You want to support eco-conscious Australian Small Business.
- You’re over paying 69 to 95c a cup for branded pods. It adds up fast.
- You’re willing to put a little bit of effort into learning to use the Pod Star capsules to best suit your personal coffee preferences.
The prize I won was The Ultimate Pod Star Gift Pack, containing:
1 x 2-Pod Star Pack
1 x Hand Grinder
250g x Start Me Up, single origin Costa Rican fair trade roasted beans
The hand grinder: is straight forward to use. At this point in time I prefer ordering the pre-ground Star Eco Coffee so I’ll just focus on the capsules today.
The Coffee: Star Eco Coffee is Organic and Fair Trade.
The Capsules: These are solid, heavy stainless steel pods. I can’t imagine any way you could accidently damage the pod or lid. Each pod has a silicone o-ring seal and a spare seal included. The included scoop and cleaning brush appear to be regular plastic. I imagine this helps keep the product affordable. (I don’t have a problem with this when weighed up against waste produced by many alternative products, but something to keep in mind if you are trying to avoid plastic completely.)
Edit: As of November 2019, Pod Star packs with Stainless Steel scoops now available.
The capsules are said to be dishwasher safe if you remove the silicone o-ring, but they are so simple to rinse clean, I wouldn’t bother.
Once you get into the routine of using the capsules, they are an incredibly easy and simple alternative to using single use pods.
Some problems I encountered early on had to do with packing the right amount of coffee into the pod to achieve a good flow of water.
I also found the capsules quite stiff in the machine when they first arrived, almost to the point that I thought the lever was not going to close. After a few careful, but firm closures this was no longer a problem.
You will find quite a comprehensive FAQ section on the Pod Star website, as well the Pod Star Barista Academy page, which includes helpful facts and how to videos. I found these took care of all my troubleshooting needs.
Do Pod Star Refillable Coffee Pods Work?
The short answer is yes, the capsules perform exactly as they are designed to. With a bit persistence you’ll be making a perfect, zero waste coffee in no time.
I made a video so you can see the Pod Star Capsules in action: How I Use Pod Star Refillable Coffee Pods In Real Life. – Making a mug of milky coffee using 2 x Pod Star Stainless Steel Capsules with a Nespresso®* Essenza Mini Coffee Machine.
(Ha ha, my kids are watching Play Along With Sam in the background and I’ve just realised I’m singing and bopping along to Best. Day. Ever! without really realising. Also, I forgot to fill the water tank before I started. Oops.
The capsules still performed.)
Where to buy Pod Star Reusable Coffee Capsules?
Quick Note: If you are an espresso drinker, one capsule should be adequate. If you like a big mug of milky coffee I would recommend using two capsules and the short shot button on your machine. You will find the stainless steel capsules to be shorter than a single use aluminium capsule. They are designed this way so they do not damage your machine. This also means they will not hold as much coffee, hence the need to use two capsules. I do not recommend using one capsule and rinsing/refilling immediately as the capsules become extremely hot.
You can purchase Pod Star products at:
- Pod Star/Star Eco Products Website
- The Caffeine Trifecta: Directory & Marketplace | Coffee, Tea & Chocolate
- Biome Eco Stores (This is my affiliate link. If you have found this review useful please consider using this link to add Pod Star to your next Biome order. Free Australia-wide shipping available on orders over $75)
*Any Green Thing and Pod Star are not affiliated with NESPRESSO® in any way. The NESPRESSO® trade mark is owned by SOCIETE DES PRODUITS NESTLE S.A.
What to do with used coffee grounds.
The coffee grounds are easily scooped from the capsules using a butter knife.
I was initially emptying them into my compost bin.
More recently I started putting them straight onto the garden. They seem to deter the little red bugs that enjoy eating my desert roses.
I keep them in an open Ever Eco stainless steel container in the fridge until I’m ready to take them outside. Coffee grounds are supposed to be great for absorbing fridge smells.
I also occasionally use them in homemade exfoliant using this recipe from Biome.
For a more comprehensive list of ideas for your used coffee grounds, check out this blog post from Naturally Hannah – 5 Things You Can Do With Used Coffee Grounds.
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