Recently on social media I was met with much scorn and derision when I mentioned that I re-used my coffee pods. My coffee pod machine is a Caffitaly S14 which uses a coffee pod unique to Caffitaly.
The issue is, that unlike Nespresso pods which are made from aluminium, the Caffitaly compatible pods are made of plastic and as such, are not biodegradable.
The amount of used coffee pods going into landfill today is quite staggering. I should add that I purchased the machine without realizing that the pods were in fact plastic.
The reason for the scorn on social media is that the coffee pods are not designed to be-refilled, re-used or indeed recycled and here I was claiming to re-use mine.
Yes it can be a bit fiddly re-using your pods but there are two good reasons to do so. Firstly, from an environmental view point, whilst obviously it would be better to utilize biodegradable pods, no such pod exists for this brand of machine and the next best option is to continually refill your pods. Secondly it works out a great deal cheaper.
The first thing to do is to disassemble your pods, starting by using a small sharp knife to pierce the plastic covering acting like a lid and then peel it away from the pod.
Once you have peeled away the plastic lid, it is time to empty your pod of its components and old coffee grounds. I find the best way to do this is firstly to have a container ready in which to empty your coffee grounds and a sink with water in it.
You then gently squeeze the sides of the pod between your thumb and forefinger, allowing the top disc to pop out. Inside your pod there are two plastic discs sandwiching the ground coffee. These discs you will need to keep.
Now, using a dinner knife, gently pry the discs away from the coffee, give the discs a quick scrape and place the two discs and the pod casing into your sink of water and the coffee into your waste container. This sink of water will give the components an initial rinse, something that is necessary as the coffee grounds can make quite a mess.
Your next step is to thoroughly clean your components in warm soapy water. I do this using an old toothbrush. This is a crucial step to prevent bacteria and mould growing within your pod, resulting in an unpleasant and unhealthy cup of coffee.
Once you have scrubbed all the components, rinse them in hot water. Now place all of the components on top of a cake rake to dry overnight. I use the cake rake simply to allow good airflow.
By allowing to dry overnight , this again eliminates the threat of mould growing within your coffee. If you intend to use your pods within the next 24 hours , drying overnight would not be necessary.
Once all the components of your coffee pods are dry it is time to assemble and fill your pods. My first step is to simply put the smaller discs inside all my pods and stack the pods inside each other in small piles. Be sure to insert the small disc the correct way up with the flat base of the disc on the bottom of your pod casing.
When it comes to putting the coffee in your pods, my advice is to use a teaspoon and secondly lay out a piece of greaseproof or baking paper on your bench and work on top of the paper.
This will enable you to simply fold the paper and pour the unused coffee back into the bag of grounds. Again, thinking of waste, I reuse this sheet of baking paper, I simply fold it up and clip it to my bag of coffee ready for use next time.
Now using a teaspoon, spoon a heaped spoon of coffee into the pod casing, no need to worry about making a mess as that is what the greaseproof paper is for. After placing in a spoon of coffee I like to gently tap the bottom of the pod against the benchtop to settle the grinds before adding the remaining coffee.
The finished amount should see the pod seem overfull as shown in the photo. Now simply place the larger disc on top with the flat side facing up and push gently down until it is level with the top of the pod case and with that you are now finished and ready to make a well deserved cup of coffee.
It may seem complicated and not worth the effort at first, but I can assure you that it is actually very simple. A point to be aware of though is that because your pod no longer has a lid, dropping a pod will result in coffee grounds everywhere.
I also find that occasionally my pod doesn't seat quite right in my machine requiring me to open the pod chute. The result of this is that the pod will fall in among all the used pods making it hard to determine which is the new pod.
This just means that I "lose" the occasional pod. I originally place a small piece of aluminium foil very tightly on the top of the casing to act as a lid. Sure, it worked although it can make the pods a tight fit into the machine, however I no longer deem it necessary and think it a waste of foil.
So when you yourself stumble upon an online debate about the environmental impact of coffee pods, you too can say "I refill all my pods, it really is quite simple to do"
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Divorced and nearly 50 I rediscovered who I was.