Can You Use Coffee Pods as Instant Coffee? (What?!)

I must admit I’ve never tried using coffee pods as instant coffee, but I know my wife did with mixed results. So can it be done, what for – and how?

Coffee pods are made with ground coffee, so you can’t simply open one and use the contents to make a cup of instant coffee. However, you can use the ground coffee in pods to make coffee using boiling water and a paper filter over a cup.

Let’s dive down into this subject in greater depth, and find out a) why you’d want to do this, b) can you do this, and c) how to…

Can You Use Coffee Pods as Instant Coffee?

Can You Make Instant Coffee With Pods?

Sorry, it’s a no: you can’t make instant coffee using the contents of a pod. Why not, because surely they’re both designed to do the same thing (make coffee quickly)? 

While instant and pods seem similar because they’re both super-speedy, they’re actually different types of coffee that react differently to water.

Are Coffee Pods Ground or Instant Coffee?

Surprisingly, coffee pods are made with ground coffee. They’re fast because the serving is already prepped for you, and the machine heats the water to the right temperature quickly.

Because they are ground, the coffee flavors need to be extracted from them in the time-honored way, using the extraction process.

Now instant coffee is a completely different beast. While it looks kind of like ground coffee, instant coffee has been through a long process before it reaches the jar.

This is coffee that’s already been roasted and brewed, then dried into a powdery texture. It will dissolve in water because it’s a soluble powder, rather than solid, ground-up beans.

If you attempt to use a coffee pod in the same way, you don’t get much flavor as the grounds won’t have been brewed. They will also be unpleasantly gritty, as we looked at in our earlier article, Can You Use Ground Coffee As Instant

Can Coffee Pods Be Used Without a Machine?

Ended up with a load of pods somehow but you don’t have the right machine (we’re guessing shopping error)? If you open up the pod, you can use the contents as ground coffee.

The easiest way to do this is to place a coffee filter over a jug or cup, empty the contents of the capsule into the filter, then pour over the (almost) boiled water. The coffee pod should just now behave like normal filter coffee.

Sure, this is an expensive way to brew ground coffee; however, it’s a lot easier than taking the box of pods back to the store.

Can You Use Nespresso Pods as Instant Coffee?

Because Nestle is a huge global brand in the world of instant coffee, it’s easy to assume that Nespresso uses their famous instant blend. Not so. Like all coffee pods, Nespresso pods are made using ground coffee.

As we mentioned earlier, there are big differences between ground and instant coffee. Instant has already been brewed, and is then dried. This results in a dissolvable powder that’s already had its brewed aroma locked in.

Now, the Nespresso pod is made from ground coffee. This means that the beans have been dried and roasted, but not yet brewed.

That’s the job of the Nespresso machine. Unless you brew the contents of the pod properly, you’ll end up with weak and gritty coffee, which lets face it, is a bad start to anyone’s day.

So, what can you do if you accidentally end up with a stock of Nespresso pods and no machine? Forget about the fancy capsule, and treat the contents as ground coffee. Or pass them onto a friend who has a proper Nespresso machine!

Is Instant Coffee the Same as K-cups? 

No, instant coffee and K-cups are two different things. The confusion here lies in the word “instant”. Because a K-cup is a super-fast way to make a coffee, it must be instant, right?

Well, it’s fast, but it’s not instant coffee. In common with Nespresso pods and other capsules, the K-cup uses ground coffee. So how come you can make a cup of coffee so quickly?

That’s because the water comes to temperature quickly, and because you don’t have to mess about installing a filter and loading up the pod. 

The coffee inside the pod is still brewed using the extraction process, where water passes through the coffee grounds, collecting those delicious flavors on its way. If you empty out a K-cup and attempt to make filter coffee from the contents, you’ll be sadly disappointed.

Can Coffee Pods Be Used Without a Machine?
Can Coffee Pods Be Used Without a Machine?

How Do You Make Instant Coffee With K-cups?

Because the coffee used in a K-cup won’t dissolve in water, you can’t simply pour it into a cup, add hot water, and stir. So, no, you can’t make instant coffee with K-cups.

However, if you find yourself with K-cups and no machine, you can use the K cups to make yourself a cup of filter coffee.

As we outlined above, you can empty the contents into a filter paper over a jug, pot or cup, then pour over hot water.

There’s another easy hack you can try, which involves steeping the grounds.

  1. Empty the coffee grounds from the K-cup (or other pod) into a cup, as if you’re about to make a standard instant coffee.
  2. Pour over hot water and stir
  3. Now leave it to sit for a few minutes
  4. Get a second cup, and place a filter paper (or stainless steel reusable filter) across the top
  5. Carefully pour the steeping coffee from the first cup into the second, through the filter
  6. Hopefully the filter has caught the grit, giving you a smoother cup of joe

Can I Use Keurig Pods Without a Machine?

In moments of caffeine desperation, you can use Keurig pods without the right machine. It’s not the quickest or most cost-effective way to get a coffee hit, but it’s better than nothing.

This short film shows you a really easy hack for making coffee without a machine – or a filter. 

  1. Open up the pod and pour the ground coffee into a jug (it needs to be a jug not a cup, and you’ll see why in a moment)
  2. Pour over (almost) boiled water (familiar so far?)
  3. Now, while this is steeping, get a pair of scissors
  4. Look at the empty pod. You’ll see it has a little filter inside
  5. Carefully cut away the base to expose the filter
  6. You can now use this as a filter for your rogue ground coffee
  7. Told the filter over a cup, and very carefully pour the steeping coffee through the DIY filter and into the cup. Not bad at all. 🙂