How to Choose the Right Espresso Machine or the Coffee Maker? Expert's Blog.

How to use E.S.E. pods for coffee makers? What is ESE? Step by step guide to cheap and clean way of making espresso at home.

My independent advices are based on 6 years of experience in coffee machines sales. 23 comments

  1. You need to have an espresso coffee maker compatible with E.S.E. pods (also called cialda or monodose). It means that there should be special ESE sign on your espresso machine. Like this one:

E. S. E. pods are disgend to be used in pump espresso machines

All modern Delonghi pump coffee makers (ECP series, ECO ans EC series) and all Philips/Gaggia/Saeco models (Saeco Poemia HD 8323, HD8325, HD8327, Gaggia Baby and others) are compatible with E.S.E. pods.

Other brands like Breville, Hamilton Beach, Clatronic (all of them are OEM manufactured, that means one factory in China makes the same coffee makers under different labels) could be or could be not E.S.E. pods compatible. You should check if there is a special E.S.E. sign on the machine or in the manual.

You still can use pods in any coffee maker with pressurized filter baskets (that mean almost any pump espresso maker for home use). Nevertheless the result would be little bit poor. You can’t use pods with unpressurized filter baskets.

2. The E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) itself is a standart developed by italian company called Illy. It is famous name in the coffee world.

This standart regulates form (round with holder), size and dimensions of the pod (44mm in dimater) and weight. It’s always 7 gramms (.24 oz) of finely ground and tampered coffee inside.

ESE pod looks like it

The standart is open, so any coffee producer could make E.S.E. pods. Unlike single serve capsule systems like Nespresso, Dolce Gusto or Keurig that are proteced by patents. That’s why pods are cheaper than capsules. Nevertheless in terms of price per cup pods are more expansive compared to using whole beans and coffee grinder.

ESE podd (cialde) example

3. ESE is not the only pod (cialda) standart. But the most popular one. ESE pods combine easiness and cleaness of single serve capsules and control over the process like in traditional approach with ground coffee.

However, pods also combine the cons of both ways. Pods are easier to use, but not super easy compared to capsules. I think that’s the reason why cialdas loose their popularity. Majority of people that are seeking cleaness and easiness switch to Nespresso/Dolce Gusto/Keurig etc. Real espresso lovers prefer fresh ground coffee and think that ESE pods give more watery taste and less crema. And I personally agree.

Still ESE pods are ‘golden middle’ and reasonable choice in some cases. Like in case when you left your grandma in your house and have only five minutes to explain her how to make coffee.

4. Anyway, how to brew espresso using ESE pod? Read my step-by-step guide with photos below or simply watch youtube video that I filmed for you.

Step 1. If you have De’Longhi’s coffee maker, you should change filter in your portafilter. Choose one with ESE sign on the bottom (it was in the box). For other coffee makers simply use single shot filter.

Delonghi filter for ESE pods

Delonghi filter installation

Step 2. Open the packet. Each pod is packed in sealed in water- and airproof package to keep coffee as fresh as possible.

Open ESE pod package

Step 3. Put the pod inside the filter. No need to tamper!

ESE pod installed

Step 4. Install the portafilter and start the brewing proccess as usual.

Your espresso is ready, sir! Now you simply need to throw away used pod. It’s biodegradable, by the way, since pod filter is made of paper. And there is no need to wash the filter or brush away ground coffee on the table. Clean and simple.

Where to buy ESE pods? There are variety of ESE pods sold on Amazon

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Author: Dmitriy


Ask me!


  1. Can a KitchenAid Pro Line Espresso machine use E.S.E. pods? thank you

    Steve Bradshaw

    16 Nov 17 at 5:29 pm


    • Yes. The single shot basket of KitchenAid is designed to be used for ESE coffee pod also.


      16 Nov 17 at 5:37 pm


  2. I know tastes are very different, for different people and drink styles, but am curious as to which ese pods are recommended by this group ?
    I’m looking at using the Delonghi 680 in my motorhome where space is at the upmost premium.


    3 Jan 18 at 4:50 pm


    • As a start point I would likely recommend Illy blands if you like more bitter taste, because they are distributed worldwide, always have the same taste wherever you buy it and they have two types of pods (dark and medium roast), so you can determine what you prefer more. Lavazza is also a good start point for bitter espresso (Gran Crema is more balanced, still bitter, while Crema e Aroma is classic Italian espresso, which could be even too bitter).

      If you want more sour and mild taste of espresso, then I would start with pods by Compagnia Dell’Arabica


      4 Jan 18 at 11:43 am


  3. Just purchased a Gaggia caffitaly machine. What pods are compatible with the machine please

    Mrs Reed

    24 Jan 18 at 10:20 am


  4. I have an Illy X7 Iperespresso coffee machine – can I use ESE pods or is it only compatible with capsules? Thank you


    30 Jul 18 at 7:32 am


    • Hi, Fiona. This machine is only capsules of its own type (Metodo Iperespresso). You can’t use ESE pods with X7.


      30 Jul 18 at 10:59 am




    19 Oct 18 at 4:37 pm


    • Do you use pressurized one-cup filter for ESE pod like this one?


      25 Oct 18 at 11:57 am


      • I bought that one and now I have perfect espresso from my ec155, thanks for the advice


        9 Nov 19 at 10:14 am


  6. I am looking to purhase the new Breville one touch vcf108 machine. It says ese pods and only used to dolce gusto the uk what brands can i purchase and where from? Feeling a bit lost on where to source them and if worth the change.


    20 Nov 18 at 10:06 pm


    • Morning! Where does it say so (about Dolve Gusto compatibility)? There must be a mistake. It’s only ground coffee or ESE pods (which is not the same). Theoretically, it may be converted to Nespresso capsules compatible machine if you will buy a part from South America, where this machines (there it is called Oster Primma Latte 2) goes with Nespresso filter (but I don’t now how tu buy, ebay?). Anyway, I recommend to read this Mr. Coffee OneTouch Barista Review (another replica of this model), it’s quite a contraversial espresso machine.

      A universal option for ESE pods is Illy (it’s the company who invented ESE pods and produces two well balanced blends with predictable quality). Here they are in Amazon: mild taste stronger

      If you don’t like Illy, it might be a good idea to buy a variety pack and try all the tastes:


      21 Nov 18 at 8:23 am


  7. Hello,

    Thanks for the tips.

    I have been using ESE pods with the same Delonghi Eco 310 Machine, but all I get is light brown water or even normal water not espresso. What seems to be the problem?



    26 Nov 18 at 2:37 am


    • Hi, Assem and sorry for my late reply.

      Check if you use smaller filter baskets, which is designed for ESE pods. Put it deeply on the floor of the basket. If you ese Illy pods, then they have “sides” – make sure you put it the right side up. Try to test pods by renowed brands like Illy ot Lavazza, for example. Some unknown brands could make ESE pods in the not very ‘correct’ way. Finally, pre infusion may help – start the water supply for 2-3 seconds, then stop for 2-3 seconds, then continue.

      However, it’s always the case, as I mentioned in my review. The espresso made using a pod will always be more watery than even with 1-cup filter filled wih tamped ground coffee. And especially if you get used to one espesso shot made using 2-cup basket (14g of coffee – the same as they use in coffee shop on professional machine).


      6 Dec 18 at 8:51 pm


  8. Is ESE pods required to be used in portafilter? My coffee machine ic EC 685.
    Thanks for the response


    29 Aug 19 at 1:55 pm


    • Hi, Veronica. I didn’t clearly understand your question. EC685 works both with ground coffee and ESE pods. There are two filter baskets for ground coffee and one – for pods (you put a pod inside the filter basket). And you put the filter basket inside the portafilter.


      31 Aug 19 at 7:10 pm


  9. can i use ESE pods in my awesome Salvatore espresso machine. i want to use up leftover pods from when i travel with my (don’t laugh) handpresso. thanks

    michael christian

    4 Nov 19 at 9:33 pm


  10. (p.s. it’s 58mm)

    michael christian

    4 Nov 19 at 9:33 pm


    • Hi, Michael and sorry for my late reply.

      I’m not very familiar with Salvatore machines, but I doubt. Unless you have a 1-cup pressurized filter basket. Which Salvatore machine don’t have AFAIK.


      8 Nov 19 at 10:09 am


  11. How much water to use?


    9 Nov 19 at 12:26 pm


    • A classic ratio is 30 ml / 1 fl oz for 1 espresso pod.


      9 Nov 19 at 12:32 pm


  12. Have some doubts which model to choose? Ask me!