The following was submitted from one of our customers. We wanted to share it with everyone. Enjoy!
We are big coffee drinkers, and love delicious coffee but are not coffee snobs. We know crema is great, and can definitely appreciate a great cup of coffee. We hate waiting for the pot to brew in the morning, so this is the perfect option for us. We still make our pot of coffee, but have a wonderful cup while we wait. Plus, we get "the good stuff" first thing which is a perfect start to the day. I'm on a diet and cannot enjoy cream in my coffee at this point, so the quality of the crema is very important to me.
When I did the math and realized that I was paying about $56.00 per pound for Nespresso capsules, I immediately started looking at options for refilling. My search led me to the My-Cap foils and starter kit. I was skeptical and there weren't many reviews, so I went back and forth for awhile. I called the 800 number for the company and got a helpful person, but she wasn't very knowledgeable about my machine or the items. She took my number and the owner of the company called me shortly thereafter to answer my questions firsthand!
Here are the questions I asked him:
1. As we all know, the Vertuoline is not a cheap piece of machinery, and my first concern was if it would damage the machine in any way. Vertuoline uses the centrifusion technology and actually spins the capsules at a rate of up to 7,000 times a minute. I asked the owner if these refillable capsules actually spin the same way that the branded capsules spin. The answer was yes, they spin the same.
2. The Nespresso capsules have no foil underneath and nothing covers the barcode. The Vertuoline reads the barcode and sets its brew temperature and water level to the barcode. Would wrapping the foil over the edge inhibit the machine from reading a barcode? The answer was no, that there was enough barcode left that the machine could still read it fine.
3. Since Nespresso owns the patent on the capsules themselves, the refilling process includes re-using the Nespresso capsules. How many times could a Nespresso capsule be reused? The answer was MANY times - indefinitely. Just inspect the capsule for integrity prior to filling. Small dents are okay, it's the cracks we are looking for.
4. Then I asked a very blunt question (he is a very nice guy and I felt comfortable asking anything). I said, "I have seen reviews on the capsules for the Originaline and some of the review videos were not good. What say you?" He was very gracious and said that the coffee matters greatly, along with experimenting with the amount put in when refilling, etc. He said to experiment with it as each person's tastes are different. There are also a lot of positive reviews out there.
So, I ordered the starter kit which included the brush, about 50 foils, and the holder to stabilize the cap during the refilling process. I also ordered 100 extra foils at the same time (I felt very confident in my purchase and my calculations came to 52 cents a cup vs. 85 cents for espresso and $1.10 for coffee.) It arrived quickly.
I went to the local coffee house and purchased espresso beans and had them grind them. They said I could bring in a pod and they would match the grind next time, but just a notch below "2" (finely ground espresso) seemed to match pretty well. I measured out 8 grams and put it in the pod. I put the pod in my precious Vertuoline and told it to hang in there as I pressed go. I was ready to press stop if I heard any strange noises. It did not sound any different than with a regular pod.
The coffee was good, there was a thin layer of crema, but pretty weak. When I put a spoon through the crema, I could immediately see coffee under the crema. When I took the foil off, I discovered a big empty space within the pod, so I filled it up the second time with a lot more coffee (very lightly tamping down.) The second time, the crema was much thicker and the coffee tasted great. Not as strong as the Nespresso's, and the crema was not quite as thick and velvety, but was thick enough that when I put a spoon across it, I could still not see coffee beneath it. Pretty good! I then put in a Stormio capsule so I could compare side-by-side and drink-by-drink. The Stormio's was definitely thicker crema and much bolder taste, so I weighed each used pod. The Stormio pod weighed 29 g, while the pod I was using weighed 23 g. That tells me I can definitely put a little more coffee in next time via tamping down a bit more. I'm sure it will be even more closely matched after I do that. (I'll update.)
After my second experiment with the refillable cap, I noticed a thin layer of coffee grounds on the outside rim that I had not noticed before and was concerned that the pod could cause harm if it was dripping coffee inside. I did not see any grounds on the inner pod holder of the machine… just on the outside rim of the used pod. Nevertheless, and to be extra thorough and cautious, I put a Stormio in, brewed it, and compared. It did have the same thing, just never noticed it before. Also, the lines and punch marks look similar which appears to be a good sign.
After my experiment with the coffee capsules, I will not be as afraid to tamp down just a tiny bit more next time. My second cup was delicious and there was nothing wrong with it, it's just that it could be a tiny bit stronger next time, and I also know that the stronger I go, the more crema will be on the top. (Great example is Stormio - SO STRONG but what a crema!)
I feel very happy and relieved that I can indeed save money because these refillable capsules work great. I highly recommend this product, and also the company that makes them. I purchased 60 beginning capsules from Nespresso and will just continue to re-use those. I'll have a "refill day" and do a bunch at a time. I'll also keep a sleeve or two of the Nespresso for extra special cups here and there. Nespresso's coffee is delicious, but it is the top 1% of the top coffees in the world. Worth every penny to a coffee snob - just can't do $56 per pound personally. Hats off to those who can!
IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND:
Okay, this review is long but there is one more thing I need to add here. Each Vertuoline capsule's barcode tells the machine how hot to brew and how much water to use based on coffee or espresso. Here's the deal. The coffee capsules are set to brew at a perfect temperature based on the composition of the bean (i.e. lightly roasted, delicate flavors brew at lower temps than the darker roasts so they don't burn). **When refilling a pod, try to match the basic type of coffee with the pod you are re-using for the best brew so the barcode matches your brew. If I put a dark, heavy espresso into a pod that came with a light roast, the machine is going to brew it as if it were a light roast and it may come out too weak.**
LOVE THIS PRODUCT AND AM GRATEFUL FOR IT!
Here is info on what I have found pertaining to some of the capsules and how they brew coffee. Talk toyour coffee roaster and ask them which brew would match closest to the coffee you are purchasing. (I am currently experimenting with Kicking Horse and will update my findings!)
Stormio Capsules: Log prewetting and high temperature.
Odacio Capsules: Log prewetting and high temperature with an intermediate flow.
Melozio: Fast flow and high temperature.
Elvazio: Starts at low temp and slow flow, followed by higher temp and fast flow.
Decaffeinato: Low temp and medium flow.
Half Caffeinato: Low temp with medium flow.
Diavolitto: Slow flow and high extraction temp.
Altissio: Short prewetting, slow flow, and high extraction temp.
Voltesso: Low extraction temp and slow flow.
Decaffeinato Intenso: Well infused prior to extraction beginning. Fast flow.
THANK YOU MY-CAP!