Why I'm swapping my pod coffee machine for a filter coffee maker

Pod coffee vs filter coffee: which one should you choose?

Why you need a filter coffee maker
(Image credit: Tyler Nix / Unsplash)

At the risk of sounding cliché, I really can’t live without coffee. I almost feel like I need to start this by saying, “Hi, I’m Beth and I’m a caffeine addict” to properly get my point across about how much I love a cup of joe.

When it comes to buying a coffee machine over just a regular kettle, there are many things to take into consideration. From size, design and features to price, timing and taste, investing in a coffee machine is a worthwhile investment if you guzzle down several cups a day.

But with the many options on the market, including best pod coffee machines, which should you choose? As someone who reviews coffee machines for a living, I’ve come to the conclusion that you should ignore pod coffee altogether and opt for filter coffee instead.

Here’s why I’m choosing filter coffee over my normal pod coffee machine, and why you should too.

Pod vs filter: what’s the difference?

Before I get into why filter coffee is superior to pod coffee, let’s look into what the difference is between the two.

Firstly, pod coffee machines use a small capsule containing sealed roasted or ground coffee beans that slots into the machine. The majority of the time, you need to fill the machine up with water, put the pod in and click start. Your coffee will pour through into your mug for a specific amount of time that’s determined by the machine. Many people love pod coffee machines due to their ease and speed, although the main downside to pods is their expense and you’re limited to using specific pods with specific manufacturers.

Filter coffee makers use a gravity-based method where dripping water soaks and runs through ground coffee into a jug or your mug. If you’re not sure what one looks like, they’re typically seen in many coffee shops and offices. Although they only make black coffee and don’t have much variety, filter coffee makers let you decide everything about its process.

Pods vs filter: Which should you choose?

For the sake of this test, I thought it was best to mention which machines I’ve currently been using. My current pod coffee machine of choice is the Nespresso CitiZ and my filter coffee maker is the Moccamaster KBG Select (see my full Moccamaster KBG Select review for all the details). Below, I’ve looked at the most important features of any coffee machine, compared the two machines and chosen a winner for each category.

Person making filter coffee in a cafe

(Image credit: Karl Fredrickson / Unsplash)

Set up

Verdict: Pods

Setting up a coffee machine can be tricky because of the multiple parts. With a pod coffee machine, there’s not too much to worry about. Typically, you have the main device with the spout, pod holder and drainage system connected, and you simply connect the water tank to the back. Very simple. On the other hand, a filter coffee maker is slightly more elaborate and can be a little confusing. Speaking from experience, it took me hardly any time to put my pod machine together but it took me triple the time to put together my filter maker. So, pods win this round.


Verdict: Filter

Taste is arguably the most important thing when it comes to choosing a coffee machine. For me, filter coffee wins hands down. The downside to pods is that you have a very specific amount of coffee in each one and you can’t customise its strength. But with filter, you can choose the type of ground beans and the strength of your drink, meaning you can completely customise every single cup you drink.


Verdict: Filter

Let’s say you’re making coffee for a group of four people. If you use a pod coffee machine, that means you’re using four pods in total which just feels extremely wasteful. Fortunately, you can make a large amount of coffee using a filter coffee maker, with some models being able to make up to 12 cups at a time.


Verdict: Pods… but only just!

I expected a filter coffee maker to take a huge amount of time but I was happily surprised to find that it didn't take very long at all! While it’s not too much of a time consuming process, it’s still a slightly longer and more elaborate process than pods. Pod coffee takes barely anytime at all so it’s what I’d go for if I’m late to a meeting.


Verdict: Filter

When you initially buy a pod or filter machine, the former will most likely be cheaper. Having said that, it’s the continued cost that you need to worry about. For filter, you only need to buy filter papers (which come in huge packs and are quite cheap) and ground coffee (again, they come in bulk and are fairly inexpensive). But pods are an entirely different expense. Not only do you have to pick a specific type of pod for your machine, they’re not cheap and you don’t get very much per pack!

I think it’s safe to say that the filter coffee maker is the clear winner in this race! Does this mean I’m throwing out my pod coffee machine? No, because it’s always handy to have to hand and it does still make good coffee. But if I had to choose which coffee to have most mornings, I’m most likely to choose my trusty filter machine.

Check out these mistakes everyone makes with their coffee machine.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!