How to use a coffee pod machine: don’t let it gather dust in your cupboard

Coffee pod machines are a convenient way to make a cup of coffee – and once you know what you’re doing, they’re easy to use as well.

Coffee pod machines are a convenient way to make a cup of coffee at home. Whether you’re a seasoned coffee enthusiast or just looking for a quick and hassle-free way to brew a cup of coffee, these machines offer a fantastic solution.  

And what’s more, they’re pretty straightforward to use, as our step-by-step guide shows. Get ready to enjoy a perfect cup of coffee. 

Woman placing a pod in a coffee pod machineCredit: Shutterstock/kasarp studio

Project summary

Project overview

Making a cup of coffee with a coffee pod machine is simple and involves just a few steps. The cost very much depends on your choice of pod and whether you buy in bulk – but typically 10p-50p for a pod, plus the energy cost for running the machine

1 mins
£0.10 – £0.50

How do pod coffee machines work?

A convenient way to brew

A coffee pod machine works by heating water before pumping it into the coffee pod. It does this first by piercing it with a tiny needle.  

Water is then injected into the coffee pod at a high pressure, which emulates the espresso brewing method. As the water goes through the coffee, it extracts the flavour from the coffee grounds. 

The coffee then drips into your cup, ready for you to drink.  

1. Gather your supplies

Get everything you need

Before diving into the brewing process, make sure you have everything you need. This includes a coffee pod of your choice, fresh water – preferably filtered – and of course, a mug.  

Make sure your coffee pod machine is plugged in and switched on. Some machines will need to pre-heat before brewing. A light will usually come on to show you that the machine is ready to use.  

2. Fill the water tank

Filtered water is best

Most coffee pod machines have a water tank located at the back or side. Open it and fill with fresh water. If you can, use filtered water.

This is one of the ways you can ensure your home brew tastes just like what you would order at a coffee shop as there are no nasty chemicals interfering with the coffee.

Featured product

Amazon Basics Water Filter Jug

RRP: 21.02

Amazon Basics Water Filter Jug

Be sure not to overfill the tank. Typically, there is a marked maximum fill line to guide you. 

3. Place a pod in the machine

Choose your coffee pod

Choose your coffee pod, then open the pod holder and place it inside. The position in which the pod needs to be placed varies for each machine, so consult your manual to ensure you’re putting it in the correct way.

The final step is to pull a lever down, which closes the capsule in its chamber and ensures there is enough pressure built up inside to pierce the capsule. 

4. Position your mug

Mugs at the ready

Place a coffee mug or cup under the coffee spout to catch the freshly brewed coffee. Most machines will have an adjustable stand, so you can remove it for larger mugs.  

Make sure whatever you choose is the correct size to prevent overflow – espressos need smaller cups, while a lungo brew will usually need a mug or large cup. 

What is a lungo?

Italian for long – is a type of espresso. It’s made by extracting roughly double the amount of water through the same amount of coffee grounds used for an espresso shot, resulting in a longer and less concentrated coffee beverage. They are often described as having a more mellow flavour than regular espressos.

5. Start brewing

Not long to wait now

Depending on your coffee pod machine’s design, press the appropriate button for your desired coffee type. Some machines use just one button for all coffees, others will have different options such as espresso, lungo or even milky drinks such as cappuccino.  

The machine will pierce the coffee pod and begin the brewing process. Sit back and relax while your coffee is prepared and poured directly into your mug.  

The brewing time may vary depending on the machine and coffee type. However, our tests to find the best coffee pod machine showed that the time varied from 13 seconds to one minute.  

6. Customise your brew

Make your coffee your own

Most coffee pod machines just brew black coffee, allowing you to customise it by adding sugar, milk, or flavoured syrups to taste afterwards. Some, such as the Tassimo by Bosch My Way 2, also produce milky drinks as the pods are preloaded with powdered milk as well as coffee. 

Other coffee pod machines, such as the Lavazza Deséa or the Nespresso CitiZ&Milk come with separate milk frothers, which allow you to make lattes and cappuccinos. You simply froth the milk while the coffee is brewing and then pour into the final black coffee. 

If your machine doesn’t come equipped with a frother, there are plenty to choose from on the market, ranging from £5 for a handheld whisk-style frother to around £90 for an electric one.

Featured product

Silreck handheld milk frother

RRP: £5

Silreck handheld milk frother

Featured product

Dualit Milk Frother

RRP: £59.99

Dualit Milk Frother

Don’t forget to clean your coffee pod machine 

To ensure your coffee tastes great and your machine is in good working order, it’s important to regularly clean your it. Remove any items such as the drip tray and pod bin, and rinse them in soapy water. A quick clean with a damp micro cloth on the outside will also stop grease, dirt and fingerprints ruining the look of your machine. 

It’s also vital to descale your coffee machine regularly, especially if you live in a hard water area, as this can also affect the taste and lead to issues with your machine. 

Jayne Cherrington-Cook

Written by Jayne Cherrington-Cook she/her


Jayne is the Senior Editor at Saga Exceptional. She cut her online journalism teeth 24 years ago in an era when a dialling tone and slow page load were standard. During this time, she’s written about a variety of subjects and is just at home road-testing TVs as she is interviewing TV stars. A diverse career has seen Jayne launch websites for popular magazines, collaborate with top brands, write regularly for major publications including Woman&Home, Yahoo! and The Daily Telegraph, create a podcast, and also write a tech column for Women’s Own.

  • twitter
  • linkedin
  • Email