I like Nespresso’s Vertuoline single brew appliance – not because it’s convenient (which it is), nor because it’s quick (ditto). But because of inventive others like My-Cap.com, the rather otherwise wasteful aluminum capsules can be re-used indefinitely (as long as you’re careful not to pierce or dent them too much through handling.)
My-Cap.com makes foils, replacement capsules, little plastic quick caps, and all sorts of accessories for single-use pod/capsule coffee makers which definitely extends their environmental friendliness geometrically (which otherwise, at 1 plastic or aluminum pod per cup creates a ridiculous amount of landfill over time, if not properly recycled – Nespresso is one of the only company that provides free shipping for recycling capsules.)
My full user review is up at Amazon.com:
But this post is about a more in-depth feature about the Vertuoline capsule brewing formulation coded into the barcodes that surround the bottoms of each capsule.
Only recently has Nespresso started revealing the numerous formulas used in each version of the capsules, allowing those of us doing the re-use/re-pack/re-foil thing, to properly select a barcode that will work best with the coffee being refilled.
I’ll try to keep the following table updated as new information arrives on this subject:
|Decaf Intenso||Espresso||Dk Red||Long||Fast||High|
|Cafe de Cuba||Lungo||White/Red script||Short||Slow||Low|
I use #2 espresso grind for the Lungo size capsules (taking 10-12g of coffee grounds), and #1 espresso for the Espresso size (which take from 5-8g by comparison). I pack each to within 1mm of the top of the flat rim of the capsule, which allows plenty of expansion room during the pre-wetting stage.
To remove the original foil, just hobby knife around the rounded part of the rim inside the flatter portion that the foil is glued to leaving a nice flat foil ring for the reusable foils to adhere to during extraction.
I also made up a few cardboard sleeves (ala Pringles style cans) that close-fit to the edges of the capsules to better keep the re-use foils on the capsules (the adhesive works well during extraction, but I disliked all the extra clamping and crimping others were doing to attempt to seal them better. I find just placing them on top, and running around the edge with the fan-brush handle is fine, then just gently fold over the edges. The adhesive is enough to seal against the rim lip during extraction, and as long as you keep the capsules upright, they won’t spill.)
The price for convenience is that these little capsules do use about 200% more coffee per cup in order to reach the strength level of a standard French press style cup of coffee, but produce a good 2cm of crema in the process (more like a Vev-Vigano stove-top pressure coffee extractor.) The espresso versions are a little lighter, in that the brewing process is modified and thus consume closer to the “normal” puck’s worth of coffee per espresso (and they can be double-brewed – reset the cycle by turning the lock open, but don’t open it, then re-lock again to allow the 2nd button press, and re-trigger the pre-wetting cycle, if you prefer something like a 1-1/2 Espresso.)