Coffee brewing history could be summed up easily as a search for ever-more-foolproof ways to make the perfect cup of coffee as easily as possible. For more and more coffee lovers today, coffee pods mark a satisfying conclusion to the quest for coffee brewing perfection.
A coffee pod, simply defined, is a premeasured portion of freshly roasted coffee beans that have been ground and then immediately sealed airtight and free of oxygen to preserve its fresh flavor. Depending on the coffee pod brewing system, the portion of ground coffee might be compacted between two discs of filter paper before it goes into its airtight pouch; or, alternatively, packed airtight into a little tub-like foil capsule, about the size and shape of an individual portion of coffee creamer as served in some diners and other casual restaurants. In either case, the coffee is packed to a density that ensures that water will pass through it at the ideal rate for maximum flavor extraction.
The Coffee Pod Brewing Process
The brewing process then becomes an act of utter simplicity. Turn on the pod coffee maker. If using a disc-shaped filter paper-enclosed pod, unwrap it from its airtight pouch and place it in the pod coffee machine; and if using a capsule type coffee pod, pop it unopened into the machine. Then press the button or flip the switch, causing the coffee machine to dispense the precise portion of water heated to the optimum brewing temperature through the coffee and into the waiting cup.
Cleanup is equally easy. Either remove the pod and drop it into the trash; or, on some machines, the pod is ejected into a trash receptacle that needs to be emptied only when it’s full.
An Ever-Growing Range of Coffee Pod Choices
The beauty of the pod coffee system doesn’t end at quick and easy perfect coffee brewing and convenient cleanup alone. Recognizing that more and more people are being drawn to pod coffee makers, and the ever-growing number of coffee companies are placing premium beans into coffee pods.
You can get pods containing a wide range of coffee varietals, coffee blends, and coffee roasts, including espresso coffee pods, flavored coffee pods, and decaffeinated coffee pods. And more and more well known top coffee brands, from premium brands like Starbucks Coffee and illy Caffè to familiar mainstream coffee brands like Folgers Coffee and Maxwell House Coffee, are making their finest coffees available in coffee pods.
Make Great Coffee Drinks with Flavored Coffee Syrups
Flavored coffee remains one of the hottest trends in the world of gourmet coffee. Although most flavored coffee is made by using flavored coffee beans, another equally appealing way exists for coffee lovers to enjoy a wide range of variety in coffee drinks: flavored coffee syrups.
Give credit to the Italians for developing these flavored coffee syrups, mixtures of simple cane sugar syrup and natural or artificial flavor extracts. Although they are now generally referred to as flavored coffee syrups, they were not necessarily originated to enhance a cup of coffee. Rather, flavored coffee syrups had their start as a wonderful source of flavor for other drinks and desserts—to be mixed with soda water, for example, for a refreshing iced soft drink, or to be drizzled over shaved ice or a scoop of ice cream or sorbet to make a great dessert for a hot summer’s day.
Endless Creativity Through Flavored Coffee Syrups
But such syrups became an ideal source of variety for today’s coffee revolution. Make your favorite cup of coffee, be it freshly brewed with a drip filter, a French press coffee pot, or with an espresso coffee maker; add cream or milk if you wish, whether cold, heated or frothed with the espresso maker’s nozzle for an espresso coffee drink such as cappuccino or a caffè latte. Then, get creative! Drizzle and stir in one or more sweet flavors of your choice: a nut flavored syrup such as hazelnut (one of the leading flavors), almond, or walnut; a fruit-flavored syrup such as raspberry, blueberry, passion fruit, or banana; a spice or herb-flavored syrup such as cinnamon, mint, or vanilla; or, of course, that old standby, the ever-popular chocolate flavored syrup.
Gourmet shops, specialty coffee stores, and many Internet suppliers offer scores of different specialty coffee syrups, making these intense flavor sources readily available to coffee lovers everywhere today. Some of the most popular, high-quality brands of gourmet coffee syrup include Torani, Monin, Stirling, Da Vinci, Laurentis, Dolce, and Italia D’Oro. You’ll generally find them sold in 750 ml bottles, the size of a standard wine bottle, at prices usually less than $10. Look also for sampler or gift packs of smaller bottles that give you a chance to experiment with some of the most widely loved coffee syrup flavors such as hazelnut, chocolate, peppermint, and raspberry.