Money may earn a commission when you click on the products and services below. Compensation may determine where and how they appear. This content was created and/or updated by a third party and not by Money's editorial staff.

Published: Mar 24, 2023 6 min read
Hand making Espresso by Coffee Machine with capsules on wood table
Courtesy of iStock

Coffee pods are increasingly popular — and for a good reason. They’re convenient, fast, and easy to use, and they make a delicious cup of coffee in no time. But, sometimes, the flavor of the coffee can be a little lacking.

The good news is there are many simple and affordable hacks to make sure your coffee pod brews delicious and strong coffee. In this post, we’ll look at five of the best hacks for getting the most out of your coffee pods. Read on to learn about the different ways you can improve the flavor of your coffee and enjoy your cup of joe even more.

What You Need To Know Before Brewing

The freshness of your coffee pods is one of the most important factors determining how your brewed coffee tastes. When buying pre-packaged coffee pods, check the “best by” date on the package to ensure you get the freshest possible product. If you’re purchasing Nespresso pods, look for their “best by” date on the side of each capsule.

Your choice of water also impacts your finished cup of coffee. Stick to filtered water with a low mineral content when brewing your coffee. This will help to ensure that the flavor of your beans isn’t overwhelmed by flavors or minerals in water that might otherwise interfere with it.

For optimal flavor, note that coffee is best brewed at about 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re using a Nespresso machine, it will adjust the temperature automatically. If you’re using another type of coffee maker, make sure to adjust its setting before starting your brew cycle.

Hack #1: Preheat Your Mug

A hot mug makes for a better cup of coffee. To preheat your mug for brewing, place it in the microwave for about 20 seconds before using your pod and starting the brew cycle. This simple step helps to retain heat in the mug and keep more flavor in your cup as your coffee is brewed into it.

Hack #2: Customize Your Crema

Crema is a thin layer of foam found at the top of every espresso-based drink that adds complexity and body to the beverage’s flavor profile. While many people are happy with this natural layer of crema, there are some simple steps you can take to customize it before brewing.

First, use a spoon or other utensil to spread the grounds evenly within the pod before brewing for an extra thick layer of crema. Then, depending on how creamy you'd like your final drink, you can add milk before or after brewing.

Here are some simple steps for adding milk to a Nespresso machine:

  1. Place ¼ cup of milk into a cold mug.
  2. Insert an empty capsule into the Nespresso machine and close the lid.
  3. Press and hold the "milk" button until all the milk has been frothed into a creamy foam in the container below, usually for around 10 seconds.
  4. Remove any excess bubbles, add this foam to your coffee and enjoy.

Hack #3: Use A Low RPM Setting

A low RPM (revolutions per minute) setting can help you obtain maximum flavor from your coffee pod without over-extracting flavors from courser grinds or under-extracting flavors from finer grinds during brewing. Lower RPM settings also help reduce heat buildup inside your machine while allowing more time for optimal extraction of flavor compounds during brewing, leading to better-tasting finished cups of coffee overall.

Hack #4: Clean Your Coffee Machine

If you’ve noticed a change in taste in your morning cup of coffee, it’s possible that your coffee maker needs to be cleaned. For Nespresso machines, it’s recommended to change the water daily, clean the drip tray and empty the capsule container. Some coffee makers may also have a self-cleaning setting or mode that you can use. If you notice mineral buildup on the inside of the machine, products like a coffee maker descaler can help remove this tough dirt.

Hack #5: Add Spice

Adding spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, or even vanilla bean can liven up any cup — especially when combined with creamers or milk alternatives such as oat milk. You can even try mixing different combinations, like gingerbread spices with almond milk, for an even tastier brew experience.

Here are some tips for adding spices to your coffee pod:

  1. Add your desired spice blend directly into the pod before starting the brew cycle.
  2. Ensure all ingredients are blended evenly before closing the lid and beginning the process.
  3. Allow the brewing cycle to run normally.
  4. Once the brewing cycle is finished, remove the used pod and enjoy a freshly brewed special cup of coffee.


At the end of the day, a delicious cup of coffee comes down to trial and error. Whether you’re using Nespresso pods or another type of coffee pod, these five hacks can help you get the most flavor out of your brew and make your cup of joe taste even better. So, the next time you’re ready to start your day with a great cup of coffee, try out these tips to get the most out of the flavors of your favorite coffee pods. Cheers and happy brewing!