What defines a coffee pod machine is not the machine itself but the coffee pod and the perforation system to extract the coffee from it. For this reason, patents on coffee pod machines are related to the extraction system and not the coffee maker itself.
Most coffee pod machines use the same internal components. They all use a vibratory pump, a thermoblock, a control board, and similar sensors (tank water level, flow meter, etc.). The only difference is in the pod holder or extraction unit.
For this reason, it was not until less than a decade ago that compatible pods with the main brands of coffee pod machines began to be seen. The patents have expired, and anyone can manufacture the same product by adding their logo.
What is a multi-pod machine?
A multi-pod coffee maker is a machine that contains the common elements of the capsule coffee makers mentioned above but offers the possibility of using different pod holders.
The water injection system of a multi-pod coffee maker is similar to that of Dolce Gusto or Keurig coffee makers. It comprises a simple needle-shaped injector that perforates the pod’s surface and injects water. The base is also perforated as the pressure increases, allowing the coffee to come out.
The modification can use different pod holders that accommodate pods from multiple extraction systems. We achieved the same result using the Dolce Gusto – Nespresso pod adapter.
What types of pods can be used in a multi-pod coffee maker?
It commonly allows the use of Dolce Gusto, Nespresso, K-Cup, Senseo (or ESE pads), and ground coffee.
You can find coffee makers that support K-Cup and Nespresso, sold mainly in the United States of America, and those that support Dolce Gusto, Nespresso, ESE Pad, and ground coffee in Europe.
Certain coffee makers manufactured in China support all pod systems; however, I consider buying these products too risky. You do not have any guarantee or certainty that they are safe with them.
The exception is the bar-coded pods, such as the Nespresso Vertuo or Tassimo. Patents still protect these systems, and adapting a machine to read bar codes would be much more difficult, resulting in even more expensive coffee makers.
Do multi-pod coffee makers make good coffee?
As I said, all coffee makers use the same internal components, so this should not be a problem when obtaining good coffee. However, there is one big difference between them; the control card.
The control card determines how much water and how it should be injected into each pod, so this is the big problem. Not all pods have the same amount of coffee, roast, or grind, so these coffee makers will never manage to extract the maximum from each pod.
For example, there is a great difference between preparing a Dolce Gusto espresso and a Nespresso espresso; since the Nespresso pod contains less coffee than the Dolce Gusto, it is usually ground more finely, and the extraction time is shorter.
Therefore, if we treat both pods equally, we will over-extract the Nespresso pod and under-extract the Dolce Gusto pod. The result will be very bitter or acidic coffees.
Is it advisable to buy a multi-pod coffee machine?
Absolutely not. You should choose the brand that best meets your needs and buy that one.
For example, if you enjoy espressos, you should opt for Nespresso. But, if you enjoy coffee drinks with milk, opt for Tassimo or Dolce Gusto. If you live in the United States, the Keurig can cover all your needs as if it were a multi-pod coffee maker.
Does a multi-pod coffee maker save money?
If buying a multi-pod coffee maker comes from saving money, you should change your extraction method and not consider using coffee pod machines.
You can achieve great results with the French Press or manual pour-over drip methods. You can even opt for an electric drip coffee maker that, if used correctly, will give you very good coffee.
The problem with the high cost of using capsule coffee makers does not lie in a specific brand but rather in the fact that all coffee pods are much more expensive than using ground coffee with another extraction system. Therefore, you will not save money when buying a multi-pod coffee maker.
In addition, the current prices of multi-pod coffee makers are, in most cases, higher than single-system coffee makers, so that is not even a possible reason to buy them.
In this blog, I have already compared several brands of coffee pod machines to make it easier for you to choose one or the other, depending on your needs. Here are the ones I have compared so far:
- Comparison between Nespresso and Dolce Gusto coffee machines
- Comparison between Tassimo and Dolce Gusto coffee machines
- Comparison between Nespresso Original and Vertuo coffee machines
I cannot deny that multi-pod coffee makers are a very ingenious invention; however, I do not recommend buying them, as they do not offer any benefit over the original coffee makers of each brand.