We have tested some of our roasts and grinds with Capsul’in Nespresso compatible capsules, which can be purchased from Amazon and elsewhere. We have no connection with Capsul’in and take no responsibility for any damage that might result to your coffee machine from the use of non-proprietary capsules. Contrary to some earlier publicity, the use of non-proprietary capsules does not invalidate the warranty and should not cause any problems.
Coffee capsules contain very little coffee and are highly sensitive to roast and grind. If too loosely packed or coarsely ground, the coffee will flow too fast and will be watery and under-extracted. If too closely packed or too finely ground, the pump will strain to push water through it.
Capsule machines are not good at extracting delicate flavours and we find a darker roast works better to deliver adequate strength. The best grind is a coarse espresso with a mixture of small and larger particles to allow reasonable water flow. Coffee shots should be small. We suggest around 15ml or according to taste.
Filling the capsules
This can be done quite quickly with practice but can be messy and is best performed on a tray. It is easiest to load and seal the capsules in batches.
Each capsule is loaded in turn into the capsule tool then coffee is scooped to completely fill the capsule. The capsule is detached and the coffee is levelled using the side of the tool or a knife blade, then the capsule tool is reversed and used to tamp the coffee. At this point we find the capsule will contain just over 4g of coffee.
A gap remains which can be filled with un-tamped coffee using a tea-spoon and brings the contents to about 5g. Further tamping can lead to flow problems. The capsules can be sealed once the contents are levelled and the rims cleaned of grounds. We think surplus filled capsules are best kept in the freezer.
The capsules are usually undamaged by use and can be emptied and re-used a number of times. A small tea-spoon and a pointed knife are good tools for this purpose. It is possible to buy replacement seals.
Capsules are a bit of an experiment but we wish to support your coffee habit in whatever form it takes. Tell us what you think.