An Easy Serving Espresso Pod, or E.S.E. pod, is a small packed coffee disk with a paper filter covering.
Each pod contains seven grams of coffee compressed into a food safe filter package. The pod is placed where one would normally put the loose grounds in an espresso machine. Created by illy in 1999 as a marketing effort to sell convenience in home espresso preparation, the Easy Serving Espresso system is a brand protected by the Italian Consortium for Development, and is standardized within the industry. Many espresso machines support both pods and ground coffee, including brands other than illy.
Pods trade-off convenience for a higher price per cup, plus a more limited coffee selection. Also, there is more packaging to waste with pods than with simple coffee beans or ground coffee. Most coffee afficianados also consider the taste to be markedly inferior to traditional espresso made with freshly ground beans.