Well, capsule or pad systems like Nespreso or Senseo, for example, just like superautomatic coffee makers are mostly about convenience and less about espresso quality. Convenience and quality are like two opposites: the more you get of one thing, the less you'll get of the other. You'll never brew real espresso, they way most people on this forum understand it, with any capsule, no matter what advertising will promise you.
One problem is that we're talking about pre-ground coffee here, which loses it's full aroma within minutes. Also, espresso is a special way of preparation, where coffee is extracted from a compressed puck of finely ground coffee beans under pressure. Only when certain parameters like brewing pressure and temperature are met, you'll get an espresso that is full bodied and tastes great.
This is what the Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano (INEI) has to say about espresso and what it should be like.
» What characteristics – in technical detail – are required to obtain Espresso Italiano?
The product certification aims at considering the most important aspect: the satisfaction of the customers’ expectations of pleasure. However, the technical specification includes test rules that can be used to answer this question. The following are some important conditions to obtain Espresso Italiano – though these alone would not be adequate to fulfil the quality requirements:
• Necessary portion of ground coffee 7 g ± 0,5 • Exit temperature of water from the unit 88°C ± 2°C • Temperature of the drink in the cup 67°C ± 3°C • Entry water pressure 9 bar ± 1 • Percolation time 25 seconds ± 2,5 seconds • Viscosity at 45°C > 1,5 mPa s • Total fat > 2 mg/ml • Caffeine < 100 mg/cup • Millilitres in the cup (including foam) 25 ml ± 2.5 «
This is only a guideline, of course, a starting point, but it gives you a general idea of what we're talking about. You cannot, however, obtain this by using a capsule machine. You need fresh beans, a capable grinder, and a traditional portafilter espresso machine.
*** "This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee)
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