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How Do Pod Machines Work?
How pod machines work isn't that mysterious, but the change in coffee brewing technology has made these machines just as popular as the traditional drip coffee makers. The basic principle of how a pod machine works is that you are only making one cup of coffee at a time, and just when you want it. Doing it this way means that every cup is freshly brewed, rather than getting stale by sitting on a warming plate for later.
Even though you have to start a new brewing cycle each time, pressurizing the water makes it run much quicker than a drip cycle. It's not as much pressure as you would find in an espresso machine, but enough to mean you can get a cup of coffee in less than a minute. An added bonus to the process is that some machines will actually produce a bit of foam on top similar to the crema on good espresso. The pressure system is usually louder when running than a passive drip coffee maker, so the machine can be a bit noisy when the brewing is underway. When it's not actually brewing, it's silent.
So how do pod machines actually work? Rather than just heat the water, the machines have a boiler inside that rapidly heats the water and lets it build up pressure, which is then fired through the coffee grounds. But in order for the pressure and water flow to work right, you can't just scoop in some loose coffee grounds. You need the right kind of pre-packaged unit of coffee that fits in the machine, called a pod (hence the name "pod machines"). Each pod can only be used once, for one cup of coffee (or tea). Having to use pods is one of the drawbacks of the speedy pod machine, but buying pods is still cheaper than getting a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
See Coffee.org Coffee Pods here.