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Review of Nespresso Reusable Pods

Before buying me a real espresso machine, I had a Nespresso machine. And quickly I became aware of the ecological problem of the pods, but also of their significant costs. I ended up interested in rechargeable pods for these two reasons: no longer use aluminum/plastic unnecessarily and reduce my coffee budget. Today I have the necessary hindsight to be able to share with you my opinion concerning the rechargeable Nespresso pods.


The different types of reusable pods

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Apollo vs Kinu M47: A user feedback on the Apollo

As you know, grinding your coffee is essential for making a good espresso. I started with a Porlex that I later replaced with the Kinu M47 (which I did the review here). Then I decided to replace Kinu M47 with the latest high quality manual coffee grinder: the “Apollo coffee grinder” (manufactured by BPlus, with the appreciation and permission of La Pavoni). Why ? because the coffee grinder Apollo solves some problems that displeased me, after a longue use, with the Kinu M47.


Let’s see the technical characteristics of the Apollo mill

Detail of the conical grinding burrs of the Apollo coffee grinder (48 mm, Italmill brand with Nanotech Coating)

It is made entirely of metal: the body of the mill is in CNC anodized Aluminum, everything inside is stainless steel, the only rubber element is a non-slip placed under the base. The 48 mm conical burrs are manufactured by the italian Italmill (Nanotech Coating).

Burrs are standard stock by Italmill. It will be easy to replace if needed and are guaranteed for 100k shots.
The mill is available in three colors: gold champagne, silver and matt black. It has a total weight of 1030g and grinds up to 25g of coffee beans.

According to my tests, I grind 13g of coffee in 40 cranks. That is to say that I put between 15 and 20 seconds to grind the coffee necessary for an espresso.

For a coffee grinder of this category, it has a rather attractive price : 222 €. It was delivered to me in a week and I did not have any customs fees.


The design

Design is important for me. Expensive products that, in addition to grinding the coffee, must give a certain pleasure to look at and using them.


Apollo : retro et modern at time

The Apollo coffee grinder is available in three colors: matt black, gray and gold.

It really looks like the columns of the “Basilica Santissima Annunziata del Vastato”, a monument in the style “Mannerism” that is in Italy. This design seems to honor the Italian origins of the burrs brand. In addition, this shape greatly improves the grip of the coffee grinder during use.


The care of

Since the body of the mill is cylindrical, when grinding coffee, it must be able to hold it should prevent turning on itself.

Almost all the coffee grinders on the market are simple smooth rolls. This is binding: you have to squeeze very hard to prevent them from slipping. I had the expense with my first manual mill: the Porlex.

For instance, the Kinu M47 has been designed with a small wedge for the thumb to avoid the rotation of the mill. After several months of use I can say that this approach is not optimal because it requires always the same finger (thumb) to hold it firmly to prevent it slips. To be really effective, it would be necessary to be able to block the mill with all the fingers.

The “thumb wedge” present on the Kinu M47. After 7 months of use at 3 coffees a day, I have the impression that the thumb rest is starting to come off. There is no play but I’m starting to see a small gap (visible in the photo)

Apollo coffee grinder body. Slightly larger diameter than the Kinu M47, it is easier to handle and maintain.

For the Apollo coffee grinder, with its “honeycomb” shape (which is an integral part of the design), the palm of the hand and the fingers adhere perfectly to the mill. It is not necessary to squeeze very hard, which makes it more pleasant to use.


The handle

By its shape I think we better hold the handle of the Apollo than the Kinu M47. As you can see in the photos, it is bigger and rounder. When I use a coffee grinder, I always place the palm of my hand on the top of the handle. The crank Kinu is a little narrower and does not have the roundness of the palm of the hand when it is tightened.

The Kinu handle is not unpleasant, but it is less comfortable than the Apollo coffee grinder.


Other generalities of design

Exist two categories of manual coffee grinders. It’s distinguished by the number of steps necessary to prepare the grinder:

  • The mills you need:
    • open a lid
    • pour the coffee inside
    • replace the lid
    • look for the crank that we often lose (believe it, there is some experience with my Porlex mill)
    • place the crank
    • grind the coffee

Or

  • The mills you need:
    • pour the coffee inside and grind the coffee

To my knowledge, there are only two mills that meet the second category: the kinu M47 and the Apollo.

In my opinion, there is one detail that has been better thought of with the Apollo coffee grinder. It has an angle of attack of the funnel which is more pronounced compared to that of Kinu M47. During daily use, this detail is not anecdotal and is important because, it allows you to pour the coffee at once without grains bouncing on the edges (of the funnel) and end up on the ground. In addition, the opening of the cylinder is a little more important at the Apollo mill reducing the chances of loss of coffee.


Setting the fineness of the grind

The setting of the grind of the Apollo and Kinu M47 is not stepless but is done click by click. Like many grinders that work by this mechanism, it is very very accurate (see below for more details).

Although visually similar, the mechanisms of Kinu M47 and Apollo are totally different.

On the Apollo coffee grinder it is possible to turn the adjustment wheel without having to loosen the screw that holds the crank (of course, the adjustment knob does not jump when using the grinder). This is not possible with the Kinu M47: you must loosen the screw first (which holds the crank) and then adjust the coffee grinder coarseness.

More, on the Apollo, it is not necessary to tighten very much the screw that holds the set. The setting will never jump.

By cons with the Kinu M47, I often had the bad surprise to see my setting jump one or two notches when using it.

Elements of the mechanics for the Kinu M47 and the Apollo. These are the elements that keep the crank in place and adjust the grain of the grind.


The container fixing system

The container of the Apollo coffee grinder is screwed while that of Kinu M47 is fixed with magnets. Both systems are effective. Personally I have a small preference for the magnetic fastening system even if the screw system may look much stronger over time.

A gauche le conteneur Kinu M47 avec 4 aimants et à droite l’Apollo avec son système à visse

Detail of the containers: on the left the centenary of the Kinu M47 with its 4 magnets and on the right the Apollo with its screw system

Problems observed in some Kinu M47 users. Source Source

You will notice in passing that the base of the Apollo coffee grinder is wider than the Kinu M47. This accentuates its foundation.


Disassemble the Apollo

The Apollo mill has a great advantage over its competitor: it can be disassembled entirely and reassembled without losing the settings. The complete cleaning will be all the easier.

Although complete disassembly of Kinu M47 is possible, it is strongly discouraged.

First step in dismantling the Kinu M47: unscrewing the central axis
Kinu M47 components can be disassembled without a hammer
The operator begins to dismantle the Kinu M47 with a hammer. it hit the grinding wheel and one of the two ball bearings
In this photo, we can see that the operator is reassembling the mill. To fix the wheel, he is obliged to give small blows of hammers

As you can see, you have to go with hammers, at the risk of damaging the coffee grinder. Moreover, when reassembling it is impossible to find the initial setting. Here we go again on several tests to find the good fineness of the grind.

The maker of Kinu M47 says on his site that his grinder can be disassembled without tools in 1 minute. The only problem is that we do not disassemble the entire mill (we remove only the central rod does not allow access to the inside of the coffee grinder for cleaning).

With the Apollo coffee grinder, after removing the central rod, we dismantle all the remaining parts by removing two small screws. We can then remove the second part of the wheel and one of the two ball bearings. As a result, it is very easy to clean the interior of the mill and reassemble it, without loss of adjustment.

Ball bearing detail. It is very large and locks into the cylinder by pushing it in using a hydraulic press or by hitting it with a hammer.

Kinu M47 coffee grinder completely disassembled


The cleaning of the coffee grinder

With the Apollo coffee grinder, after removing the central rod, we disassemble the rest by removing two small screws. We can then remove the second part of the grinding wheel as well as one of the two ball bearings. As a result, it is very easy to clean the inside of the grinder and then reassemble it, without losing adjustment.

To disassemble the Apollo, the operator begins by removing the central rod.
Then he unscrews two screws. this will give him access to the rest of the mill.
He removes the millstone
Then roll it with a ball. Access to the inside of the mill is completely free allowing cleaning. After reassembling it, we do not lose our settings.
If we follow the recommendations not to disassemble the Kinu M47 with a hammer, it will be impossible to clean the interior as you can see in this photo
Cleaning the Apollo coffee grinder is easy.

As you can see in the photos, it is much easier to clean the interior of the Apollo grinder because it is removable.


Time spent grinding

This is a recurring question for anyone looking to buy a manual coffee grinder: “How long will I spend grinding coffee?” – “I want it to be fast.”

This is a recurring question for anyone looking to buy a manual coffee grinder: “How long will I spend grinding coffee?” – “I want it to be fast.”

To grind 13 grams of coffee with the Apollo coffee grinder, I do about 40 crank turns. That is to say that I put 15 to 20 seconds to grind the coffee (18 seconds on average after being timed 3 times). Note that the setting is a fine molding compatible with an espresso machine.

In the demonstration video of the Apollo coffee grinder, the operator takes about 25 seconds to grind 15 grams of coffee. As I do not keep the mill on the table when I grind by rotating both the coffee grinder body and the crank, I’m a little faster.


The retention of coffee

The retention of coffee is extremely low on manual coffee grinders (compared to electric coffee grinders that can sometimes hold several grams of coffee). Generally I put one or two drops of water in the coffee before grinding it to neutralize the static electricity responsible for the retention.

I observed that coffee tends to stick a little more in the container of Kinu M47. This forces me to kick on the side of the containers to loosen the rest of the coffee. I have the Apollo for less time but I sincerely feel that it is less the case.

Retention of coffee inside the tank on the Apollo

Retention of coffee inside the tank on the Kinu m47


Quality of the grind

In my opinion, the Apollo and the Kinu M47 are quite equivalent in terms of the quality of the grind. They both make excellent espresso (and even use a bottomless filter holder).


En conclusion

The Apollo is a very good coffee grinder. It is beautiful, very functional, with a very good grip, the ability to disassemble fully, easily, finding its settings. It grinds coffee quickly. The defects that I have seen with the Kinu M47, are largely corrected with the Apollo.
In addition it costs less: 222 € against vs 329 € for the Kinu M47. There is therefore a difference of just over 100 € between the two products which is not negligible.

If like me you find it to your taste, do not hesitate.

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Measure and understand the pressure on a Pavoni

Controlling and understanding the water pressure in your coffee machine is important in order to successfully extract it. This parameter is completely controlled on automatic machines while it is less on a manual machine such as the Pavoni. Some knowledge can help to better understand and better control the water pressure when using the Pavoni machines. In my article, I will especially talk about the pressure exerted on the piston when you press the lever.

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Making the perfect espresso

Making a good espresso coffee is a real science. And the latter is a real pleasure. Every coffee we make is slightly different and we try to understand the small detail that influenced his coffee, why we found it better. We test different settings of mills, different quantities of coffee, a more or less long prebrewing…

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How to keep your coffee well?

The preservation of coffee is essential not to affect the aromas of coffee. Leaving it in the open air is synonymous with oxidation and when you like coffee, you quickly understand that mastering its preservation is important.

Faced with this problem, I did some research to understand how to keep his coffee well. I will try to explain what to do and what not to do.

For example, some very attentive people on some websites recommend keeping coffee in the freezer. That’s a bad idea. To do so, you may lose a lot of the aromas of coffee, because it is sensitive to thermal shocks. This is why it is advisable to heat the cup before a coffee is poured.

Coffee Storage Time

There is a difference in storage time between the grain coffee and the ground coffee. A coffee in grain, in good conditions, can be stored for about 5 weeks without loss of aromas too large.

For the conservation of ground coffee, the question is a little more complex in my opinion. Some will say that once ground, the coffee should be used within the hour. Others will say that in good conditions it can keep twice as long as the coffee in grain.

Things to avoid

There are a few simple things to avoid to keep your coffee well.

  1. Avoid buying too much coffee. If you buy a stock of coffee for the next 3 or 4 months, in the long run it will start to spoil.
  2. Do not store your coffee in the fridge or freezer. Three important problems occur when coffee is kept cold: moisture (condensation in contact with hot air), heat shock and residual odor/aromas of other foods stored in the refrigerator. Moreover the cold tends to damage the oils of the coffee.
  3. Do not use a box whose oxygen will not be expelled. As the coffee is consumed, the box will fill with oxygen and oxidize your coffee.

What are the enemies of coffee?

Coffee to four big enemies:

  • The oxygen
  • The Light
  • The humidity
  • The Heat

To guard against its big enemies, the easiest way is to take a suitable, waterproof and opaque container and then keep it in a room where it is about 20 °c. The container can make a difference, because actually, if you empty half of the box, it will fill with oxygen and oxidize the coffee.

Coffee Conservation Methods

The idea is not to advertise for a particular brand. The idea is to show the different methods existing to keep your coffee.

Roasters’s Bags

One of the most effective and cheapest ways to keep your coffee is simply to use the bags in which grain coffees are sold.

The latter can be sealed tightly with a “zip” closure system and have a valve to extract the oxygen from the bag. In addition they are opaque and will protect the coffee from the light.

A storage in this type of bag will be, much more effective than a box sylpheed.

“Valve” boxes

I bought a box, stainless steel that has a kind of valve inside that allows to expel the oxygen by sliding it inside until touching the preserved product. These are boxes that cost 20 to $30 and I manage to keep the coffee in grain for 1 month with (i.e. my consumption in the month).

The CO2 boxes

Same principles as boxes equipped with a vacuum pump except that this time an oxygen will be replaced with CO2. The CO2 is inert and will not oxidize the oxygen.

 

 

The last two systems presented are effective, but more expensive.

In conclusion

In conclusion it is not difficult to keep your coffee properly. This does not require crazy equipment. You just have to take some habits.