Senseo Coffee Pods or Alternative Compatible Coffee Pods?

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Senseo Coffee Pods Brewing

The two most important words when discussing coffee are quality and convenience. For the most part we want both, but often we must make choices. Some of us will go to any lengths to achieve quality, whereas others will gravitate towards convenience even at the expense of coffee quality. The Senseo Coffee Machines is all about convenience.

If you enjoy the taste of richer brewed coffees, such as those made with french presses, espresso machines or vac-pots, you can stop reading now. If you only drink freshly roasted coffee, you can also stop reading now. You have already evolved further on your coffee journey, there is nothing you will gain from owning a Senseo.

The Senseo Coffee Machine will brew a weak, bitter cup of coffee easier and faster than any brewing method on the market. If you prefer a weaker cup of coffee, but find instant coffee too challenging to brew, you may like the Senseo.

What is a Senseo coffee Pod?

The Senseo is a pod-based brewing system. A pod is coffee that is pre-packed inside it’s own filter. It is to coffee what a teabag is to tea. The benefit of the senseo coffee pod is each one is perfectly measured out and they require no cleanup effort. The disadvantage to the senseo pod is the coffee is only as fresh as when it was ground and placed into the coffee pod. In other words, it violates one of the rules to quality coffee, which is to grind your coffee as close to brewing as possible. And please don’t tell me how the bags are vacuum-sealed and the flavor is trapped in.

Step By Step Senseo Coffee Making

1.In the back of the machine there is a water reservoir. Fill it with water. The reservoir has minimim and maximum lines that are easy to read. As with any brewing method, use water of the quality you would normally drink.

2. There are 2 coffee pod holders that come with Senseo. A single pods and a double coffee pod holder. As you would expect, the single pod holder holds one pod and the double holds two coffee pods. Each pod will brew enough for 1 cup (more on this later). Load the coffee pod and the correct pod holder.

3.Close the lid and lock the lever.

4.Press the middle button. It will start flashing. Once it stops flashing, it is ready. Actually, in my tests it really isn’t ready until 30-60 seconds after the light stops flashing. Coffee brewed as soon as the flashing stops comes out at a lukewarm 140 F, but waiting 30-60 seconds will generate 160 F coffee.

5.Press one of the 2 brew buttons. If you have the single pod, use the 1-cup button on the left. If you used 2 pods, press the 2-cup button on the right.

Sense Machine Cleanup and Maintenance

Basically, because Senseo is a coffee pod system there is no real cleanup. This is one clean brewing system that requires no maintenance.

Cupping the Senseo

The Senseo is not only a brewing system, but is also a line of coffee. The Senseo coffee pods come in 4 different varieties: Mild Roast, Medium Roast, Dark Roast, and Decaffeinated.

There is no dancing around this topic. The Senseo makes awful coffee. It’s weak and bitter. Granted I’m a coffee snob, who roasts his own coffee and brews espresso and french press every day, so consider the source. On the coffee hierarchy, I’d put the Senseo higher than instant coffee and lower than canned drip.

I could have quit after trying several bitter cups, but I was determined to find out if the Senseo was salvageable. The coffee put out by Sara Lee for Senseo was obviously low grade. Maybe all this machine needed was some quality coffee? Unfortunately, I couldn’t grind up my own homeroast since this machine required coffee pods.

I got in the car and drove to the nearest Starbucks. For what it’s worth, they sell a decent espresso blend that works as a drip coffee in pod form. When I returned home I discovered the Starbucks pod was much smaller than the Senseo coffee pod, therefore it wouldn’t work. The Senseo has it’s own custom pod size.

I should have given up here, but I didn’t. I grabbed a pair of scissors and performed surgery on one of the Senseo pods. I removed all the stale tasteless coffee from 1 pod and replaced it with some Ethiopian Sidamo that I had roasted 2 days ago. Then I brewed again. Most of the bitterness was gone, but the coffee was still too weak to drink.

Hope for the Senseo?

As of this writing, the Senseo people are doing a full court advertising blitz for this brewing system, including television ads. I even saw a half-page review in the May 2004 Wired magazine calling the Senseo a “perfect cup of joe”. This poor choice of words will make me question every other review I read in that magazine.

My hope was Senseo coffee machine would be the fast brew solution for those of us that never brew more than one mug at a time. Sadly the brewing system yields a very weak beverage, which lacks the richness one should expect from a good cup of coffee. Regardless of my opinion, my guess is they will sell quite a few of these machines. If they unload a lot of these machines, the word will eventually get out that the coffee sucks and hopefully quality coffee roasters will offer Senseo-compatible pods of their own. How do we get around the weakness? Simple. Use 2 coffee pods in the 2 pod holder and then press the 1-cup button.

Senseo Coffee Pods Review

How I heard about Senseo

I have had mine since the day it launched some 3+ weeks ago. I had first read about it over a year ago when it had started to become a sensation in Europe. I was pleasantly surprised to then find it in Wired magazine (which I've been a faithful reader since it launched in the early 90's) - so what I'm saying is - if I like something I stick with it.

Getting the Senseo

The first week with Senseo was an interesting one. I picked it up at Kitchen etc. I had to dig through the coffee aisle to find a pretty blue one and there was only 2 bags of extra Senseo coffee pods to buy - One Medium and One Mild roast. I had put some time into reading the reviews on Amazon and everyone had said that the Dark Roast was the best coffee - and I just didn't want to be disappointed the first time I brewed a cup. However, I decided to pick up the extra pods anyways thinking - how could the other roasts be bad? Later on this hunch would prove to be right on.

I paid a whopping $87.69 for everything - The Senseo (it also came with a bag of Mild and Medium Roast Coffee Pods), 1 bag of Medium Coffee Pods, and 1 Bag of Mild Roast Coffee Pods. That's the price of a good coffee maker and I was pretty excited to put it next to my high end Cuisineart.

Home that First Day

I immediately went home and opened the box in the kitchen. The Senseo was larger than I had expected but none the less - it was beautiful. The shape of the machine and it's appearance is very striking compared to any other appliance I have. The spout, the coffee pod holders (you get 2 - 1 for single cups and 1 for 2 cups) are translucent blue, - the whole thing looks and feels solid. There is even a catch tray underneath the spout that is made of aluminum with a swirling design that has 2 holes so the coffee can go through it without splashing and making a mess.

Brewing the First Cup(s)

I then proceed to fill up the water reservoir in the back. The reservoir doesn't hold a lot of water - enough to brew 2 - 2 cups of coffee. It is easily removed and easily replaced and is like a camel back water bag that a bicyclist uses when going on long rides

Next - I lifted open the machine with the lever and the Senseo popped open. I decided to brew a double cup of coffee right away. I then read in the book that you should run 1 double cup of hot water through to clean out the machine. I did this right away.

I had read that some people heat up the machine first by running 1 cup of hot water through it by using the single cup setting - so I was excited that maybe my first cup of Senseo would be more than perfect.

After this ran through I put in 2 coffee pods of the Medium Roast coffee since I had no dark roast. I then pushed the middle button to heat up the machine again. This shut it off - because it was already cycling - oops. I then pressed it again and it heated up.

The Moment of Truth

With a trembling finger I pushed the double cup coffee button on my new Blue Senseo. Immediatly the machine made a big wooooowooowooo and coffee with a froth started to come out of the cup into my clear Bodum coffee cup. I can't tell you how much your first Senseo coffee experience will be improved with a clear coffee cup. Actually - coffee in a clear cup is the best in my opinion.

It took about 20 or so seconds and it was done. The coffee from the Medium pods looked dark with a rich thick froth on top. Impressive - but how would it taste?

My First Taste of Senseo Coffee

I have cream and sugar in my coffee so I had to add that first. I stirred the coffee - and to my surprise the creamy froth stayed. I then put the coffee to my mouth - and WHAM! WOW! AMAZING! SILKY! YUM! This is GREAT coffee!!!

The amazing thing about Senseo coffee is the texture. It is very silky and very interesting to the mouth. The coffee feels thicker and richer than what I normally brew in my regular coffee maker.

Why is this? Senseo brews a cup of crema coffee. It's essentially - pressure brewed coffee much like expresso. The Senseo pushes really hot water through 5 small jets in the coffee pod very quickly. This gets a great extraction of coffee from the coffee pod.

The Coffee Pods - Mild, Medium, Dark and Decaf

I didn't get my hands on dark roast until my case of pods came from I was very excited - thinking - THE DARK ROAST WILL BE THE BEST. I don't think you have to think this way now. All the roasts are good - the mild is very mild, the medium is very everyday, and the Dark is - very dark and creamy. The decaf - okay - the decaf is lacking - but sometimes I make a one pod decaf and one pod dark to cut down on the caffeine.

The coffee pods you can buy right now from Sara Lee is Douwe Egberts coffee pods. It's very very very very good coffee.

Coffee Pods Versus Coffee I Choose

Everyone says the same thing, "I want to use the coffee I like - not just what I can get in Pods." I don't think that's the point - Senseo is it's own thing and the coffee it makes is unique. I think there will be more choices in what you can put in for pods in the future and there are even adaptors - etc. so you can use your own coffee. However - I think of the Senseo as an addition to my coffee experience - it's not going to completely replace brewing a pot of coffee (so far though - it has).

Why I bought the Senseo

I am a coffee addict. I thought that buying a Senseo would make me only drink 1 cup of great coffee. I was right. Now - instead of drinking 4-6 cups in the morning, I usually have 1 dark roast cup or Senseo. This experience and the fact that I'm not wasting the rest of a pot of coffee I never drank has made the mornings easier to deal with. I am now drinking less coffee - but better coffee.


Senseo is sensational (I had to say that). I am more than impressed and in love with this amazing coffee machine, the coffee it makes, and the way it's changed my coffee drinking habits. I think the water reservoir could be a little bigger, however I don't think it's a deal breaker. The machine has worked flawlessly since purchase and it continues to make one perfect cup of coffee after another.

Senseo Coffee Pods are made from freshly ground roasted coffee beans. They are then measured and placed into individual Douwe Egbert Coffee Pods. Senseo coffee pods, which are partnered with Sara Lee, utilize the brilliant taste of Douwe Egberts Coffee in their patented coffee system.

Senseo coffee without coffee pods

I ran out of pods for my Senseo coffee maker. It was very difficult for a while to find them in the stores. This is my easy, no extra purchases, way to get by.

You only need your coffee pot, some ground coffee, small filters and the deep pod holder.

I put in 2 heaping tablespoons, about 3 ounces. Press the filter and coffee into the pod holder. I try to put as much as the holder will take.

Start folding in the sides to come in just inside the lip of the holder. You don't want it to let steam escape. Keep rotating and folding until its done.

The rest is just like normal, just hold down the filter as you close the lid. If it tries to pop up, just hold it down until you have to slide your finger out from under the lid.

It comes out creamy, just like coffee pods. The best thing about this way, you never have a shortage of Senseo coffee pods. You can always get great coffees this way. Senseo has such a limited variety now.

Senseo Coffee Maker - A Slick and Easy Single-Serve Coffee Machine

Coffee Pod report: A quick and easy way to get a cup of coffee in 60 seconds flat, it’s our new favorite kitchen appliance. For the first year, we lamented that we couldn’t get better coffee. For the second year (February 2007 update), we’ve been enjoying superior coffee pods from third-party suppliers.

When the lightweight Senseo coffee maker arrived, some of the staff at THE NIBBLE eyed it suspiciously. “Not everyone likes modern art,” opined one. (Perhaps if we had been sent a black or white model instead of bright blue, no art criticism would have been levied.) “Is this for coffee or espresso?” asked another. (Fair question, as the design resembles a conventional espresso machine.) “It brews coffee in just a minute?” another questioned unbelievingly. “Do we have to buy pods?” chimed the Greek chorus? (Yes, and that’s the most cumbersome aspect of using the Senseo from Philips.

If you are commitment phobic and don’t like being locked in, Senseo may not be for you. But if you’re ready to dive in to a full-fledged relationship with your coffee maker—you won’t be alone, eight million people worldwide already have—this machine is a speedy, reliable and trustworthy companion. Its smooth surface and hip design won’t embarrass your Sub-Zero fridge or Viking range, either. Call it kitchen counter candy, if you don’t want to call it modern art.

Simple & Quick

Many people would agree that the worst part of brewing a cup of coffee is cleaning up after the grounds. Senseo avoids this mess by using packaged coffee pods. The user can choose to make one or two cups of coffee by choosing between a shallow one coffee pod holder or a deeper two coffee pods holder.

This system is ideal for anyone who enjoys a brewing a basic cup of coffee without any fuss. The machine itself is almost foolproof. Anyone - even children or people with a limited range of motion - can operate it. The various components detach easily and rinse clean with water. A freshly brewed cup takes less than a minute.

This is not a coffee connoisseur’s machine. You are limited to coffee pods branded by the manufacturer and some other brands. Unlike with espresso coffee pods, the finer beans sought by aficionados are not yet available for this system - although this may change with increasing market penetration of the Senseo.

That being said, the senseo coffee pods that are available make a perfectly fine cup of coffee - as good as you’d get at the average restaurant - and we’ve been happily drinking it and serving it to guests - who like it - for a month.

Taste Test: The Coffee Pods

After a thorough tasting of all the Senseo blends—made in Belgium by Douwe Egberts, a Dutch coffee roaster founded in 1753—we found that the best choices were the unflavored coffees. The mild, medium, dark and decaffeinated roasts delivered as expected, and were equally tasty. Unfortunately, the recently introduced (Spring 2005) line of International Flavored coffees does not measure up as well. Paris, a vanilla-flavored blend, and Vienna, a hazelnut-laced brew, were lightly flavored; drinkable but nothing special compared to other flavored coffees. Killarney, which held the promise of Irish cream, definitely fell below par. We didn’t taste the compatible pods made by Folgers, Maxwell House, Melitta and Millstone; but through experimentation you may find your perfect brew.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2007: Since our initial review, Senseo has added a variety of blends: Brazil, Colombia and Sumatra, and a Cappuccino flavor. The Cappuccino just doesn’t work: both coffee and milk are included in the same coffee pod, and if anyone has had success in making anything that resembles cappuccino, we’d like to hear from you. However, we have discovered two companies that make excellent coffee pods for senseo. Read our review of coffee pods for the Senseo and other single-serve machines.

Part of the Senseo’s charm lies in the froth called crema (photo above) that tops each cup of coffee, as you’d expect with an espresso but never with a regular cup of coffee. Senseo uses a mild-pressure brewing process, and the crema is formed when the coffee passes through the frothing chamber - an added bonus not provided by standard machines.

Aside from a limited choice in gourmet senseo coffee pods, the main drawback the Senseo system is that a standard mug doesn’t fit under the spout. Evidently, mugs are not popular in Europe, since nothing larger than an eight-ounce can be used. You can make two eight-ounce cups at once; but if you like to drink your coffee from a large mug, you’ll have to pour the coffee from the standard cups into the mug (i.e., Senseo system isn’t for you). This system also isn’t for big coffee-drinking families or voluminous drinkers who chain-drink cup after cup, unless money is no object; because it it will end up costing you five times as much for coffee. On the other hand, the neatness factor may be worth it to you, as well as the convenience of letting everyone choose his or her preferred blend (caf/decaf, flavored/unflavored).

The summary on Senseo:

Simple to operate, with the neatest clean-up imaginable (the pod is almost dry when finished and it doesn’t drip like other pod systems we’ve tried).

The fastest way on earth to get a basic good, brewed cup of coffee.

Takes up less counter space than other coffee makers.

Great for home, small office, or dorm.

And it’s a combination of efficient and cute. You’ve just got to like it.

Senseo Coffee Pods: What Are Your Options?

There are many different coffee pods that you can use with your Senseo coffee maker - Douwe Egberts, Aloha Island, JavaPodz etc. You can even use your own coffee if you prefer.

Douwe Egberts coffee pods

The standard Senseo coffee pods come from Douwe Egberts. There are many different flavors available:

The standard roasts: Mild Roast, Medium Roast, Dark Roast

Decaffeinated (this is a decaffeinated version of medium roast)

Speciality Blends: Sumatra Blend, Brazil Blend, Kenya Blend, Colombia Blend - these single origin blends are a bit more expensive, but well worth the money

Flavored coffees: Paris: French Vanilla, Killarney: Irish Creamery, Vienna: Hazelnut Waltz


Barista Blends: Caramel Macchiato, Vanilla Latte and Café Mocha

Espresso (it does not really produce an espresso, but it makes a nice intense cup of coffee)

Third party coffee pods for Senseo

If Douwe Egberts Senseo coffee pods are not to your taste, there are many third party coffee pods that can be used with your Senseo coffee machine.

I recommend that you try some of the pods made by Aloha Island Coffee. They have some 100% pure Kona coffee pods and when you use them in your Senseo you get a really delicious cup of coffee.

You may also try the coffee pods from Gourmet Cafe. They have many different roasts (French Roast, Sumatra Mandheling, Kona Blend, Estate Costa Rican and Colombian Supremo are just a few to try). They are pretty good value for money. You can get them from Amazon for around $6 for 14 pods and each pod makes full 8oz mug of coffee (the Douwe Egberts Senseo pods only make 4oz each).

If you are into flavored coffee then JavaPodz has a very good selection (they have a lot of unflavored coffees too). How does "Almond Amaretto", "Chocolate Cappuccino " or "Mocha Cinnamon Swirl" sound like?

Some other brands to consider are Cafejo, JavaOne, Timothy's, Black Mountain Gold, Baronet, Eldorado, Fratello, Molto, Reunion Island.

Tea pods

There are also many tea pods available. Pickwick (belonging to the same company as Douwe Egberts) has a large selection of tea pods, but unfortunately most of them are available only in Europe. Solera has quite a few different tea pods for both traditional teas and herb teas. JavaPodz also makes several pods for tea.

Now here is a tip: you can actually use ordinary round tea bags to make tea with Senseo. It saves you quite a bit of money and the difference in taste is not that much.

Using your own coffee

If you want to use your own coffee, you have several options. There are refillable filters that allow you to use ground coffee:

Coffeeduck permanent refillable filter is your best bet if you have the original Senseo (Model 7810). It is very easy to use and to clean and most users are very happy with it. However, it does not work with other Senseo models like Deluxe or Supreme.

Ecopad refillable filter is widely used. The drawback is that it can be a bit messy to use.

There is also Presto refillable pod holder that is worth considering.

Another option is to make your own coffee pods using whatever coffee you like. For this you use the Perfect Pod Maker. It is surprisingly quick and easy to use. A slight downside is that you will need to buy filters for making the pods.

Senseo Coffee Pods: Making The Best With a Senseo Coffee Maker

The Senseo Coffee Maker that you choose could end up being one of the best investments that you ever purchase for your house.

This is a machine which will give you coffee one cup at a time, which can end up preventing you from wasting coffee needlessly.

While there are a number of different coffee machines available which can provide this function, a Senseo coffee maker could be the best option for a number of reasons.

A Senseo coffee machine typically makes use of a high-powered heating element to make sure that the water for your cup of coffee is make efficiently, typically in under 2 minutes.

Senseo coffee maker uses coffee pods to help you with brewing your coffee, giving you a fresh hot cup in any variety of flavors. It's a great option to help you with enjoying coffee with the simple touch of a button.

What Features Will The Senseo Coffee Machine Provide?

If you choose to take advantage of a Senseo, a few different features will be available through this unit which are not provided in other units you could find.

This will give you a quick advantage when it comes to brewing a cup of coffee for you will not have to wait as long as a person using any other coffee machine.

When you brew one cup at a time, you are not only allowing yourself to have coffee more quickly, but you will be cutting down on your waste as well.

A 1450 watt heating element is included in this unit. Using this much power to heat your water is what allows you to have coffee ready in a minute or two.

After the water is effectively heated, the brewing process used with the senseo coffee pods is quick and efficient. As long as your cup is positioned in the correct position to allow the liquid to flow, it will not be long before your beverage is ready for consumption.

When a unit has this high of a heating capacity contained in the model, there is always a risk for overheating, which can cause melting or even a fire.

This is not the case with a Senseo, for an auto-shut off function is included. After an hour without use, if you have not remembered to turn the unit off manually, the coffee machine will shut itself down, eliminating any risks you may be running.

Additionally, cleanup for a Senseo unit is easier than with any other type of coffee maker. All of the relevant pieces are detachable from the unit and are safe to run through the dishwasher.

This will effectively clean them and restore them to a full working capacity. You won't need to worry about washing or scrubbing any pieces by hand because they can all be effectively treated when you place them into the dishwasher. It's one of the simplest methods of cleaning possible for a coffee maker.

Coffee Pods in Senseo

One of the best parts about using senseo coffee pods with a coffeemaker that only brews a cup at a time is that you have a much wider selection of beverages available.

Instead of brewing an entire pot of one type of coffee, you can make your favorite coffee cup by cup. Therefore, in a single day, you could sample as many different blends and beverages as you desire.

Considering that most coffee pods will expand their coffee to include types of espresso, lattes, and teas, the imagination could take you anywhere with this Senseo coffee maker. Coffee pods are cheap and easy to clean up as well. After the brewing is complete, you simply need to dispose of the used pod. Rinsing out the coffee pod holder is recommended and after this, you are finished. The coffee maker is as good as new once more. Senseo coffee pods are also relatively cheap.

When you find a favorite type, you can choose to either purchase a large set of that blend, or you could continue to buy variety packs to spice up your flavor palate.

Senseo vs Tassimo - Comparing the two Single Cup Coffee Makers

Comparing a Tassimo to Senseo will show that Senseo offers better features and construction of a unit than most other coffee makers. A Senseo is made of durable material, making it difficult to break the unit through accidental misuse.

The Senseo coffee maker itself is small and compact, although it will allow for tall travel-sized mugs to be placed directly under the pour spout, filling up your mug directly with the beverage you are brewing.

A Senseo has the very efficient heating element, providing your coffee in under a minute. Other coffee machines will take longer to heat the water and start the brewing process. The water reservoir on the Senseo is easy to fill and begin the brewing process.

Individual coffee pods for the Senseo will typically cost less than 0.30c, depending on the brands that you purchase.

The Tassimo coffee machine, in particular, is a short unit that will not allow for the use of travel mugs. The unit is rather noisy, more than a Senseo would be and it takes longer for the brewing to begin.

The coffee pods used in a Tassimo are a particular brand, the T-Discs. Each of these pods will run around 0.60c.

Finally, the unit is made out of a more flimsy form of plastic, resulting in a unit that is easier to break. Tassimo Senseo comparisons usually rule in favor of the Senseo coffee maker.

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SENSEO is the Registered Trade Mark of Philips / Douwe Egberts, any use of the term is an indication of product use and compatibility only.