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New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

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New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby TomC » Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:21 pm

I purchased a batch of these refillable capsules recently to compare them with the NE-Cap, Capsulin and Coffeeduck capsules I've been using with the Citiz. According to the manufacturer, they're made of BPA free food grade polypropylene with a stainless steel filter in the cap and a silicon ring seal. They will supposedly fit all Nespresso models including the newer Citiz and Pixie EXCEPT those that use the single center punch (ala the D150, D300).
I tested them in the Citiz using 3 different preground espresso coffees--- Illy Medium Roast, Pilon and Cafe Bustello. Across the board, the body and crema were superior to the results from the other three. In addition, the ECO-capsules retained their shape better and were easier to clean than the Coffeeduck capsules that I previously preferred. At under $30.00 US delivered for a package of 10, they are also substantially less expensive than the other alternatives. I've run them through the Citiz over 20 times each without a failure or degradation in their appearance.
All in all, I consider the experiment a success and feel comfortable in recommending them to others.

Tom
At Work: Bunn MCU, CBTL Kaldi, Aeroccino 3
At Home: Bunn MCU, Nespresso D-120 Citiz with milk, Francis-Francis X-7, Cuisinart DBM-8 grinder, Perfect Pod Maker, various vintage vac pots, French presses, auto drip pots, gadgets and manual pour-overs
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby jbviau » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:49 pm

Thanks for the report, Tom. Is this what you bought? Oh, and a devil's advocate question: why buy 10 if they're reusable?
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby TomC » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:05 pm

:idea:
jbviau wrote:Thanks for the report, Tom. Is this what you bought? Oh, and a devil's advocate question: why buy 10 if they're reusable?

Got it one, Josh. Forgot to add the link, mea culpa.
I purchased the 10 pack for a couple reasons... They were introductory priced at $26.95 US delivered. And I use 3 shots per each cup to make Cuban style coffee and all of them need to be completely dry to not contaminate the ground coffee. This way I have enough capsules to make 3 mugs while they're air drying.
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby TomC » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:53 am

For anyone interested
I just received an e-mail from eBay that the ECO capsules are on sale at 20% off today and still including free delivery.
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby dcupstateNY » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:16 am

Tom ... how much coffee does each capsule hold? Can you provide details relative to your process for loading/filling (e.g. gram weight, tamp/no tamp, etc.)?

Thanks!
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby TomC » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:03 am

dcupstateNY wrote:Tom ... how much coffee does each capsule hold? Can you provide details relative to your process for loading/filling (e.g. gram weight, tamp/no tamp, etc.)?
Thanks!

Sorry for taking so long to get back to you.
I haven't bothered to check the capacity of the capsules by weight, but since they're the same size as the Nespresso factory ones (although slightly different in shape at the bottom, of course) I assume it would be the same (5.25 to 5.5 gm range).
As for filling and tamping... the proceedure is the same for the CoffeeDuck and ECO capsules. Just hold the capsule by the 'lid' and scoop it into the preground espresso towards the can side. Scrape off the excess load even with the top of the capsule and close the 'lid'. The 'lid' of the capsule inserts into the main body and provides the rest of the 'tamp'. The learning curve is getting the capsule full and applying the correct pressure when filling--filling the capsule completely but not choking the flow. Like with a conventional semi-auto machine with a non-pressurized portafilter, it becomes second nature after a bit of practice.
As for the disposables: Since the NE-caps and Capsulin capsules use a foil cover that sits on the rim of the capsule and does not insert into it, you need to apply just a bit more pressure when filling the capsules to 'tamp' the espresso before scraping the excess off and applying the foil. The difference in the 2 brands (NE-cap and Capsulin) is mainly in the way the foil is applied. With the NE-cap, you peel the paper ring from the surface of the capsule rim exposing the adhesive to attach the foil. With the Capsulin, you peel a self-adhesive foil 'lid' from a carrier sheet (like a self-adhesive label) and apply it to the capsule. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The Capsulin 'lids' are easier to apply, but, the adhesive is over the entire surface of the lid and therefore in contact with the espresso.
The NE-cap 'lids' do tend to stick together and need to be separated at times and the paper protection on the adhesive ring is not as easily removed as the foil 'label' of the Capsulin 'lid', but on the other hand, the adhesive does not come in contact with the espresso. Because of this, I prefer the new design NE-caps over the Capsulin capsules if I'm using the disposables. For budgetary reasons, admittedly I don't use either one anywhere near as often as the refillable capsules. But, I usually have a box on hand for when I need to make a quantity of drinks at 1 time for company.
A member e-mailed me recently questioning why I use any of these as opposed to the 'factory' Nespresso capsules. Two reasons. The first is budgetary. If I was drinking mainly straight espresso, and only 1 or 2 a day, then the 'factory' capsules are reasonably priced. But, my morning drink of choice is a Cuban style cortado made with 3 shots of espresso, turbinado sugar (but only 1 teaspoonful, a lot less than they use in Miami!) and steamed milk. Duplicate this with a second for a 'drive cup' and it does get expensive over the long haul using 'factory' capsules. The second reason is that this allows me to use other coffees in the Citiz, such as Illy medium roast, Lavazza in Blu, Cafe Bustello, Pilon etc. If I still owned my Rancillo Rocky or one of your grinders, (I admit it... I'm jealous of your LaPavoni and grinder rig) the choices would be infinite. But, space and budget constrainsts don't allow a dedicated espresso grinder at present. And to be honest, I don't miss the maintenance and mess of the Rocky-Silvia or Rocky-Sirena combos enough to want to replace them anytime soon. If I'm feeling nostalgic, I can always spend a weekend fishing with John on his boat and 'visit' with them. He's probably the only person I know that has a quality espresso setup on a commercial fishing boat. He even had a PID installed on the Silvia the last time he sent her in for cleaning and PM.
For an old man I've rambled on long enough, I hope I've answered your questions.
Tom
At Work: Bunn MCU, CBTL Kaldi, Aeroccino 3
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby CDR » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:21 pm

TomC, I just placed an order for these refillable capsules. I have a Nespresso Citiz D110, and I'm wondering if, when you use the refillable capsule in this machine, do you have to "orient" the plastic capsule in any way--or do the multiple small holes in the narrow end of the capsule automatically line up correctly? In other words, do you just put the plastic capsule in any way and it works, or do you have to position it in a certain way? Thanks! Just curious!
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby TomC » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:19 pm

CDR wrote:TomC, I just placed an order for these refillable capsules. I have a Nespresso Citiz D110, and I'm wondering if, when you use the refillable capsule in this machine, do you have to "orient" the plastic capsule in any way--or do the multiple small holes in the narrow end of the capsule automatically line up correctly? In other words, do you just put the plastic capsule in any way and it works, or do you have to position it in a certain way? Thanks! Just curious!


I hope you ordered the third generation capsules, as they work the best with the Citiz. The first generation won't work with the Citiz at all. The second generation have loose silicon ring seals to allow them to work, but are a pain to use until they form themselves to the capsule after a few uses. The third generation capsules have attached silicon seals and are a definite improvement over the previous capsules. I mention it only because they offer all 3 on their website at the present time, and a coworker ordered the second generaton accidentally.

That said, the capsules will 'work' properly no matter how they're rotated. BUT, they'll 'last' longer if you insert them so that the hinge side is pointing 'up towards the top of the machine'. That way the hinge isn't pinched when the brew chamber closes.

Another point to keep in mind. The after-market capsules work a little differently than the factory capsules. In the factory capsules, the water is injected directly into the capsule through the piercing needles. pressure builds up until the foil cover deflects enough to press against the waffle plate on the front of the brew chamber, piercing the foil and allowing the espresso to flow through the spout.

In the after-market capsules, the needles never contact the shell of the capsule. The water is injected into the brew chamber and forced under pressure through the preformed holes in the bottom of the capsule. Since the cover of the capsule is also pre-pierced, the delay as the water is injected into the brew chamber and the pressure builds up acts to simulate pre-infusion in a conventional espresso machine.

For this reason, I highly recommend moving the cup from under the spout before opening the brew chamber after pulling each shot. Otherwise, you'll water down your shot when the residual water is released from the chamber through the spout.

I also suggest emptying the spent capsule collection box and the sump after every 6 shots rather than every 9-10 factory shots as more water will collect there. I do that anyway, since I'm in the habit of pulling 'blank' shots before and after each drink to preheat and then rinse the brew chamber. The 'blank' shots tend to generate the increased drain water for the same reason.

Tom
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby CDR » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:25 am

TomC, Thank you very much for this information! Yes, I ordered the 3rd Generation capsules. And yes, I was specifically wondering about how the "puncturing needles" would line up with the holes in the bottom of these capsules. You answered the question perfectly! I will follow all of your very helpful advice when these arrive!
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby TomC » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:35 am

Hey, CDR

Just wondering if you've received your capsules, and how they're working out? What coffee(s) have you been using? etc

Tom
At Work: Bunn MCU, CBTL Kaldi, Aeroccino 3
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby CDR » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:03 am

Hi, Tom! Thanks for asking! I did receive them and tried two or three times so far. The first thing that I noticed was that the capsule seems to load into the "firing chamber" :D in a somewhat "rough" manner. By that, I mean that when I close the lever, I think the plastic capsule exterior is a bit rougher than the factory ones, so there seems to be some friction. I have to admit that that worries me--I wonder if the plastic ones will produce excessive wear on the mechanism. Secondly, the first shot I tried to make using some coffee that I had ground was much too "short," and the second one I tried, with coffee that I had ground for another machine, really struggled to produce any coffee! The coffee was ground too fine! So, I'm holding off on experimenting any more for the time being and focusing on cycling through my other brewing devices. Eventually, I'll come back around to experimenting with the ECO caps. Has your experience with them continued to be good, or has it evolved in any way? Thanks for the input!
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby TomC » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:45 am

CDR wrote:Hi, Tom! Thanks for asking! I did receive them and tried two or three times so far. The first thing that I noticed was that the capsule seems to load into the "firing chamber" :D in a somewhat "rough" manner. By that, I mean that when I close the lever, I think the plastic capsule exterior is a bit rougher than the factory ones, so there seems to be some friction. I have to admit that that worries me--I wonder if the plastic ones will produce excessive wear on the mechanism. Secondly, the first shot I tried to make using some coffee that I had ground was much too "short," and the second one I tried, with coffee that I had ground for another machine, really struggled to produce any coffee! The coffee was ground too fine! So, I'm holding off on experimenting any more for the time being and focusing on cycling through my other brewing devices. Eventually, I'll come back around to experimenting with the ECO caps. Has your experience with them continued to be good, or has it evolved in any way? Thanks for the input!


What you're feeling as 'rough', I believe, is a combination of 2 things: the 'cover' on the capsule being seated the remainder of the way, and the silicon seal being compressed and formed. Both will have taken care of themselves after the capsule has been used 2 or 3 times. The more you use them, the easier they are to close, and the heat and pressure in the brew chamber will have shaped the seal completely by then as well. No worries. I'm pulling 8-10 shots daily with my Citiz, using these capsules (both the ECO and Coffeeduck) and I'm not experiencing any problems. I pulled a few 'Nespresso factory shots' this morning after the refillables, and noticed no difference in the feel as the brew chamber was closed.

I see you're grinding your own beans, lucky dog!! But, you might want to pick up a brick of Cafe Bustelo (or Pilon if you prefer your espresso with a bit more bite) to use to get the filling/tamping technique down. I buy both at Publix, Winn Dixie, Walmart or Target at or under $3.00 for the brick... less than 1 drink at Sbux. If you want learn using truly Italian espresso, World Market carries all 3 of the Illy blends (Medium, Dark, and Decaf) for $10.99 for a 250 gm can (sale price), as well as Lavazza in Blu for $8.99. I also found and purchased 6 cans of Illy medium roast at Marshall's, of all places, a few weeks ago for $4.99 for a 250 gm can!... with a best used by dating of March 2013. When I went back recently, what they had on the shelf were 125 gm cans at the same price, still good, but not great.

If you're choking the machine, you're filling and tamping too heavily, use less pressure towards the container side. If you underfill the capsule, you'll get a watery espresso... just increase the pressure a tad. The technique can be described as more of a scoop and lightly press than anything else. Definitely by the end of the brick, you'll have your technique down to second nature. Then, if you want to go back to grinding your beans, just approximate the grind of the Bustello and you should be good to go.

Brings back memories of the salesperson when I purchased the Rancillo Rocky-Silvia combo telling me I'd be wasting 2 to 3 pounds of coffee beans before I'd be pulling consistant espresso. How true!
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby CDR » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:47 am

Tom, thanks again for all this good information! I have access to all of the brands of coffee you mentioned, so I'll pick a couple to experiment with. I did just do a couple of shots with some canned Medaglia D'Oro espresso, tamping a bit with my thumb, rather than against the side of the can, and the shots are moving in the right direction! However, I don't think this coffee is exactly fine enough, as it requires too much tamping. But, I can see that, with practice, I'll find the right technique. I can sympathize with your comment about the Rocky/Silvia combo, as I also currently have both of them (for years, actually) and I still find working with them frustrating at times!
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby risenshine85 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:19 am

Thanks for your recommendations TomC, I ended up ordering 3rd Gen capsules. So basically if I get this rt... I press the ground using thumb, and then close the lid to press it more? how much do you fill your refillable pod? as in, what's the level of the coffee ground...

thanks for your help..
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Re: New 3rd Generation ECO capsules for Nespresso

Postby TomC » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:43 am

risenshine85 wrote:Thanks for your recommendations TomC, I ended up ordering 3rd Gen capsules. So basically if I get this rt... I press the ground using thumb, and then close the lid to press it more? how much do you fill your refillable pod? as in, what's the level of the coffee ground...

thanks for your help..

risenshine,

The technique is very similar to the method we used as children to fill our pails with sand when making sandcastles at the beach.
Hold the capsule lightly between the tips of your thumb and index finger, placing the tip of your middle finger against the bottom of the capsule for support. Then, using a scooping motion to drag the capsule through the ground coffee, fill it completely, pressing it lightly towards the side of the container to obtain the desired tamp. (The tendency in the beginning is to use too much pressure, which will choke the flow. After a few times it'll become second nature.)
Scrape off the excess grounds even with the top of the capsule, and press the top on to complete the fill and tamp.
Wipe off any excess grounds that adhere to the outside of the capsule, and you are good to go.

Installing the capsule with the hinge side up will apply less stress to the hinge and make it last longer. Using care when opening the capsules and during cleaning will also aid immensely in prolonging their life. I have been using mine pretty much daily now for the last few months, and haven’t had a hinge failure as yet. Knock on wood. Only time will tell how long they will last, but so far I’m happy with them.

To empty and clean them:
Insert your thumbnail between the 'handle' and the top of the capsule and gently pry the lid open.
Insert a demitasse spoon at an angle into the 'puck', and using a twisting motion, scrape the majority of the grounds from the capsule.
Rinse the capsule and lid under warm water and allow them to drain and dry thoroughly.
As an aside, I purchased a soft tubing brush (picture a bottle brush with a smaller diameter) the correct size at the flea market for a dollar, that really speeds the cleaning process up. With a twist, the 'tip' cleans out the dregs from the capsule shell, and the side of the brush does a good job removing the residue from the lid etc.

Hope this helps.
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