Instant Pot takes on Keurig and Nespresso with Instant Pod coffee maker

The Instant Pod coffee maker.

Brian Bennett / Tips Clear

While coffee pods are handy, you’ll typically have to choose between two brewing systems: you will go for either Keurig or Nespresso as the brewers are not compatible. The $ 119 Instant Pod was designed to change that. This flexible coffee maker was created by the inventors of the Instant Pot Multicookeraccepts both popular brands of coffee capsules.

Instant Pod can make coffee beverages of a variety of sizes, from large travel mugs to tiny 2-ounce espresso shots. The Instant Pod works quickly too, flinging individual cups of Joe in just over a minute. Despite its strengths, this machine is not for everyone. If you’re a coffee snob like me, there is nothing the Instant Pod can do to raise the coffee pod beyond what would normally be boring results.

Compared to other coffee pod machines, the Instant Pod works well enough most of the time, but I’ve had two messy experiences with two different units. My first test device messed up a coffee pod; The second licked water over my kitchen table. I speak to Instant Pot to find out more, but so far I am not convinced of the quality control behind this machine.

Instant Pod Keurig

The Instant Pod accepts Keurig K-Cup coffee pods.

Brian Bennett / Tips Clear

Choose a capsule

If you’ve used either a Keurig or espresso machine, you will be familiar with the Instant Pod operation. There is a large, removable water tank (68 ounces or 2 liters) on the back of the machine. You can find a handle on top of the brewer. You flip the handle up to open the machine lid and access the coffee pod containers.

Instant pod Nespresso

In the Instant Pod you can also prepare coffee capsules from the Nespresso Original line.

Brian Bennett / Tips Clear

The Instant Pod has two pod containers, one for K-cups and one for Nespresso capsules. To brew a cup, simply drop the pod you want into its holder and close the lid. Next, choose the serving size. The controls are on top of the lid. The machine can brew a total of six beverage sizes: three for K-cups (8, 10 and 12 ounces); and three for Nespresso capsules (2, 4 and 8 ounces).

Instant pod coffee mug

Brew coffee in standard or large travel mugs.

Brian Bennett / Tips Clear

There is a drip tray at the foot of the brewer. It also serves as a cup platform for coffee mugs. Above this is a small cup support that folds down and serves as a cup holder for espresso containers.

Brewing cups with the Instant Pod is quick. Small 2 ounce shots of Nespresso espresso take 30 seconds. Larger 10-ounce K-cup coffee mugs will take a little more time, around 1 minute and 18 seconds. The coffee machine heats up quickly even after a cold start and is ready to brew in seconds.

Instant pod espresso

Drop into a Nespresso pod when you crave an espresso coffee drink.

Brian Bennett / Tips Clear

Some technical difficulties

We have encountered a number of problems while using the Instant Pod, one of which is severe. Once a Caribou K-Cup malfunctioned. Coffee grounds escaped the pod, clogged the machine, and ended up in my coffee cup. I was unable to duplicate the problem even after going through dozens of K-cups and Nespresso capsules.

That said, apparently some other people have encountered similar problems. Comments on Walmart page for the Instant Pod (where it’s currently exclusively sold; it’s only available in the US) indicate that some owners are getting reason in their mugs as well. I asked Instant Brands about it. Company officials said since I’ve only seen it once, the problem I was having was probably due to the single coffee pod I used.

Instant pod leakage

One of my Instant Pod test units suffered from a water tank leak.

Brian Bennett / Tips Clear

To confirm if I had a defective device, Instant Brands sent me a second machine. This brand new replacement brewer was worse. I was unable to overcome the initial cleaning cycle (brewing cycle). The moment I filled the water tank of this Instant Pod, the device started leaking all over the place.

Instant Pod Leaking 2

I’ve tried a few times, but the second Instant Pod tester kept making a mess.

Brian Bennett / Tips Clear

I tried twice more to add water to the tank and clean up in between, but I had the same fate. I asked Instant Brands for an explanation and am waiting for an answer. Regardless, these experiences are unsettling, especially given that this is Instant Brands’ first attempt at a coffee maker.

Should you buy it?

Whether or not you should buy the $ 119 instant pod depends on a few factors. First are the technical issues that I encountered. Hopefully these are isolated bugs, but if they indicate a major manufacturing problem, consider leaving out the Instant Pod entirely.

That being said, if you love K-cup coffee but sometimes crave espresso-style beverages, the Instant Pod is a breeze. Likewise, the Instant Pot makes a lot of sense if you live in a household with Nespresso and Keurig fans. The Instant Pod definitely costs less than buying one Nespresso Original Line machine plus a Keurig brewer.

To enjoy the best coffee you can drink, pods are not the answer. To do this, you need to grind freshly roasted beans just before brewing. And no matter what style of joe you prefer, make sure you do coffee machine is up to the task.

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