I Tried Instant Pot’s Coffee Maker (and Milk Frother) — Here’s My Honest Review
I owned a Keurig throughout college. It traveled with me from my dorm room to the off-campus house my roommate and I shared. When I graduated, my sister took the Keurig and I moved on to a French press, which served me well until I found my current Technivorm coffee maker.
While the environmental impact of K-Cups is not to be understated (I still feel bad about the number of them I burned through), I did enjoy the convenience of the Keurig. Pop a pod in, press a button, and you have caffeine — that’s what keeps all Keurig enthusiasts coming back! And then there’s Nespresso, which does the same thing as the Keurig, but with espresso, as its name suggests.
If you’re looking to buy either one of these machines, you probably have a preference between drip coffee and espresso drinks. But, what if you didn’t? What if you wanted a machine that had the capabilities of making both? That’s where the Instant Pod Coffee Maker comes in.
This machine, from Instant Pot, accepts K-Cups, reusable K-Cups (like this), and Nespresso-style capsules (regular and reusable). It can brew 8-, 10-, and 12-ounce cups of coffee and 2-, 4-, and 6-ounce shots of espresso. And then there’s the Instant Pod Milk Frother! It’s sold separately (like Nespresso’s milk frother), but is a good complement to the kind of lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos you could make with the Instant Pod Coffee Maker’s espresso.
Of course, you’re curious about how these both work. And so was I! So, I got the machine and the frother and used them for a couple of months. I also had my husband, my sister, and my dad use both for their daily coffees and lattes and report back with their thoughts. (We’ve all been quarantine pod-ing since COVID started.) Here’s my (our!) honest review.
I tried the machine with compostable K-Cups, a reusable K-Cup filled with freshly ground coffee, and Nespresso pods. The coffee and espresso the Instant Pod made was fine! It wasn’t as high-quality and was more watery-tasting than, say, top-line coffee and espresso machines. However, like with most things in life, you’ve gotta appreciate the Instant Pod for what is, which is a $120 machine that does a good job. It’s also about $60 less than the only other coffee-espresso pod machine I know of, the Nespresso Vertuo (and, for what it’s worth, Wirecutter found the espresso this model made to be “unpleasant”).
However, I think the milk frother is the real star of the show. It frothed both cold milk (for iced lattes) and hot milk (for hot lattes and cappuccinos) well. And I was especially impressed by how it frothed non-dairy milk. I tried almond milk and oat milk in it. Historically, I haven’t had much success frothing these — even with my fancy espresso machine’s steamer wand — but the Instant Pot Milk Frother worked like a charm. My sister got in the habit of adding vanilla syrup to the milk pre-frothing for vanilla lattes.
The company says it also works well for heating up hot chocolate and even Bulletproof coffee, but I haven’t tried this yet. However, for $30 I think this is an excellent price for a handy-and-effective frother.
How Easy Were They to Use?
The control panel for the Instant Pod is located at the top of the machine’s lid. The buttons have touch sensors and are activated by double-tapping them with your finger. This was tricky at first, and I often felt myself, because the buttons were concave, wanting to press and hold them down instead of tap. The lid was also tricky. It felt like you had to force it shut and my husband even said he felt like was “breaking the machine.” However! It did not break — and there were design features I really liked about it.
The water reservoir was really easy to remove and reinstall for refilling purposes, and the used espresso pods dropped back down into a removable container that was simple to take out when it came time to throw them all out. The machine also had a tray that flipped down about midway on the machine, which was helpful when I was just making a single shot of espresso and wanted to use a smaller cup.
As for the milk frother, it was easy to toggle between the cold and hot froth settings. I also liked that the lid was removable, for simple cleanup.
The Bottom Line
The Instant Pod Coffee Maker is, overall, successful at what it does. And if you want a pod coffee and espresso machine that would take up less space than getting both a Keurig and a Nespresso (and cost you a lot less), I think you’ll be very happy with it. As for the milk frother? That’s a no-brainer purchase for those looking to make lattes, cappuccinos, and more at home — and at a decent price point.
Do you have an Instant Pod Coffee Maker or Milk Frother? How do you like it? Tell us about it in the comments!