A guide to the coffee pod revolution

Coffee capsules pods Hungry for halaal

I’ve been using the Mugg and Bean pods in my Nespresso machine and I’m finding that they are not working that well. The water won’t push through and eventually it just stops. I’ve had a similar problem in the past with those eco friendly pods. It causes pressure problems on the machine and I had to have it repaired eventually. So I will not be using the Mugg n Bean pods anymore. Having said this, my Nespresso machine is about 5 years old. I believe the newer models are more forgiving and can handle other brands of pods better. Do leave a comment with your experiences.


So you’ve bought your new coffee capsule system and are now drinking artisan coffee in your own home. The smell of a coffee shop drifts through your kitchen as you sip your homemade cappucino and pat yourself on the back for saving a packet on your daily Vida-e. Week one is down and you’re halfway through your complementary pods already. So you slow down on the 2-a-day so you can stretch them a few more weeks, cos Gads! these pods are expensive. Week 3 goes by and you realise you have to replenish stocks so you head on over to the exclusive store at the mall where it feels like you’re walking into a bank and all the staff are dressed in suits. It looks like you may have to make an application to buy your pods but luckily the banker finds your name on the system, yes, there’s a system and you choose your 2 boxes. You get a raised eyebrow at your measly purchase so you slink off quickly to enjoy your bounty before they decide to cancel your club membership.

And that’s how it all began. The convenience of coffee pods infiltrated the market about 6 years ago and coffee snobs have never looked back. I say coffee snobs with the utmost love for we are a breed sorely misunderstood and barely tolerated by our tea swilling, instant coffee drinking friends and colleagues. We get eyes rolled at us for bringing our own coffee to work and stashing it out of sight because those same eye-rollers would sneak a spoon or two when you’re not looking. When you visit we’re always trying to impose an impressive homemade latte on you when all you want is a nice cup of chai. We might come across like caffeine addicted crazies but we’re just trying to share the love…

I had always stuck to buying just one brand of pods which complemented my machine as I was concerned that other pods would not work as well and affect the machine’s effectiveness. In fact I did have a scare with some eco friendly pods which I tried and found that they affected the pressure in my machine. But the new generation machines do much better I hear. There has also been a generous flow into the market of new pod brands and old and trusted brands making their coffee available in capsules. You don’t have to limit yourself anymore. The pods have become more compatible and so you can try different varieties till you find your true love. You can even buy them online and have them delivered to your door.

coffee pods hungry for halaal

From a cost point of view, prices are more competitive than they used to be. While some brands can set you back by 8 rand a cup*, others can be as little as R3.60 per cup* *(no milk or sugar). By comparison to your instant coffees like Nescafe or Jacobs, that’s not a huge difference per cup. And for the taste difference I’d say it’s worth the little extra you pay.

I recently had the opportunity to taste test a whole range of different coffee pods. Hosted by Judith Walter from Coffee Capsules Direct we attempted the daunting task of tasting their entire range of coffee pods. They are a local company that sources coffee from around the globe and locally to bring you a range of choice when buying your pods online. From the entire Caffeluxe range to Lavazza, Vida-e, Mugg & Bean, yes you heard me, and even the exclusive Giovanni from Giovanni’s deli in Green Point. They stock accessories, machines and even have a rental option which is great for small businesses.


The objective was to rate the coffees on a scale of preference so if anyone wanted some kind of guide on choosing a brand this would be a good start. It really is based on my personal preference and has no basis in anything scientific or an expert barrista qualification. I have yet to learn how to even make that little flower on my cappuccino. Do you know how difficult that is…..?

Fresh faced and ready to rock.

coffee pods hungry for halaal

We went hardcore. No milk and no sugar. There was good intentions but in truth I didn’t make it past 5 types in 1 go. It was impossible to maintain a clear palate no matter how much water I drank in between. And despite the heady aromas and tantalising flavours, my tongue started feeling distinctly furry so we decided to call it quits and do the rest in stages.

Here is my personal rating out of 5 of the various brands of coffees we tried:

Strong Varieties: 
Caffeluxe Dark Espresso: 4 – round and full bodied
Caffeluxe Kenyan: 3 – too sharp for me
Mugg & Bean Mocca Java: 3 – slight bitter note, some people like that
Giovanni’s: 4.5 – mmmm, delicious round flavour
Nespresso Dharkan: 4 – Great flavour with slight bitterness

Medium Varieties
Caffeluxe Medium Espresso: 4 – really liked this one, round and smooth
Mugg & Bean Single Origin: 3 – intense and a bit sharp
Caffeluxe Tanzanian: 3.5 – sharp but not as intense as the M&B Single Origin
Nespresso Rosabaya: 3 – normally one of my faves but I found it acidic and quite strong compared to the other medium strength coffees

Caffeluxe: 3.5 – round flavour but a bit weak
Nespresso Intenso: 4 – more intense but with a slight sour note
Red Espresso: Is actually a tea but I’ve included it as a caffeine free pod option. An unexpected 3.5. It’s stronger than you think.

I must add that coffee is an extremely individual thing. And the variety that floats your boat will be different for everyone. Giovanni’s was my personal favourite. I found the locally manufactured Caffeluxe original range quite mellow and easy to drink and their Africa range has been internationally awarded. Nespresso flavours seemed to be a bit stronger in general. There are several others on the market that I haven’t tried yet and will update this list as I get to them. I hope it’s helpful for making your choice in the meanwhile.

Oh, and did you know these pods are certified halaal?
Caffeluxe Original Range
Red Espresso pods

So try some new brands and see which one gels with you. And if you head on over to Coffee Capsules Direct and use the code hungryforcoffee to order, you will get a cool R50 off your purchase when you buy for over R199.



coffee pods hungry for halaal



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  • I used to have a Nespresso U which did not do well with off-brand pods. I now have a Nespresso Essenza and have not had any issues so far.
    The Checkers’ Foreign Ground range of capsules is pretty decent too.

    • Thanks Saaleha. I’ll make a plan to try those. I recently had Lavazza pod coffee. Must say I was pretty impressed. If I wasn’t going to buy Nespresso I would buy those. Only thing is, they only go in a Lavazza machine…