Advanced Coffee Making

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ACM 4.12 – Capsules and Bean-To-Cup Technology

Limitations of Capsules

The restrictions on brewing with single baskets are exacerbated when brewing capsule coffees. To increase extraction, there is a forced reduction in TDS, as the beverage weight is the only parameter that can be altered with capsule brewing.A coffee capsule 


Benefits of Capsules and Pods

Where capsules may limit control over brew parameters, they can have an advantage where grind size distribution is concerned. The technology of granulator machines, known as roller mills, far outstrips the abilities of burr grinders in delivering an even grind size distribution. This means a lot of capsule brands taste good at high extraction yields.

Note: the terms ‘capsule’ and ‘pod’ often get mixed up. Capsules refer to the style of brewing like Keurig K-Cups, or the system developed by Nespresso, using a literal capsule system encasing single serve ground coffee. Pods refer to the teabag-stye single serve ground coffee that can be brewed in a conventional espresso machine with a purpose-built brew-basket to hold them.

Bean-To-Cup Tech (BTC)

The traditional operation of distributing and tamping coffee is not a challenging workflow to automate, leading to a rise in super-automated equipment in the specialty coffee sector. If your career as a barista, a trainer, or your role at a roastery has not led you to a customer using bean-to-cup machines yet, chances are it will soon.

A bean-to-cup machine

Adjusting the Dose on a BTC

Here is an important design feature to be aware of common to most bean to cup machines. At this stage in their development, it is extremely expensive and complicated to insert a load cell for weighing coffee doses inside these BTC machines. They usually use a proxy for this instead, such as volume.

There are auto tamping grinders on the market that achieve volumetric doses in the same way. Often by measuring tamping pressure, bean-to-cup machines will grind doses with a timer,