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Every pod has a specialist ‘Coffee Champion’- they’re our coffee heroes. Having been put through their paces on our intensive coffee training boot camp, they’re responsible for all the hot drinks we pour. They oversee every step from grinding our unique blend, fairly traded arabica beans to ‘stretching’ our organic milks and caring for our state of the art Rancilio coffee machines. This results in cup after cup of what we’ve been told is the best coffee in London.

Our Coffee Champions

Only after ample experience working in pod can we accept trainee’s onto our unique ‘Coffee Champion’ training scheme. It’s a rigorous syllabus but successful graduates are rewarded with a new role as a Coffee Champion for one of our pod shops. Sometimes we spot talent in a team member and encourage them to begin the training, other times they join us with some barista experience, lots of ambition to progress and a passion for great coffee. We embrace that as whole heartedly as we do our morning Flat White.

Here are the four stages of our specialist coffee bootcamp…

Stage 1: Pod’s Basic Course in Coffee

This course is open to all pod staff, and almost all of us have completed it. We’re shown the roasting process, taught about how blends impact flavour and learn how to make decent cappuccinos, lattes and flat whites.

Stage 2: Pod’s Advanced Course in Coffee

This is for those who show a spark and passion for the subject and we can see their potential. Advanced students learn all about ‘creama’, how to set the grinders, they’ll learn to understand the importance of ‘extraction’, the difference between ‘fine’ or ‘coarse’ and how quickly espressos come out of the machines. They’ll be weighing their cappuccinos and lattes until they get them exactly right every time, fine-tuned with the correct amount of froth. The most challenging part of the course is how to make multiple top quality drinks all at once. This is crucial when working in a shop as busy as pod, where we could be serving 10 customers a minute. Then it’s time for fun – ‘latte art’; flowers, faces and sun rays..! Finally, our trainee graduates are taught how to clean up after themselves - deep cleaning our luxurious Rancilio coffee machines is almost as important as the aroma of the espresso they produce - dirty kit is often why a coffee isn’t as good as it should be - we are rigorous in this regard.

Stage 3: Studying Our Coffee Bible; ‘The Handbook’

Service skills, behaviour, working as a team, intricate coffee knowledge (with specific emphasis on pod’s unique blend of beans), the history of coffee, identifying coffee trees, the types of harvest and much more. Throughout this 30 page book, there are multiple practice sections and tests which trainees must pass in order to move to stage 4.

Stage 4: Practical Assessment

Four weeks after the handbook is issued, an official examiner from our leading coffee supplier will come and assess our graduate in training. They will write a report on all areas of performance and knowledge and ultimately decide whether they can graduate as a pod ‘Coffee Champion’.

Our chief of coffee - Maciej runs the scheme - “I’m really proud of what we have achieved in recent years and even more proud of every Coffee Champion at pod. It takes passion, practice, determination and a shot of creativity to achieve their titles. I am consistently checking the quality of coffee in not only all our shops, but across London and I struggle to find anything that beats ours for taste, aroma and texture.. we have a great team of creative, precise Coffee Champions out there"

All In The Technique

Some of the language you might hear when watching our ‘Coffee Champion’ in action, next time you’re in pod:

'crema' and 'shot'

Crema is the golden brown/hazelnut ‘foam’ that forms on top of an espresso, and a shot is one serving of coffee (either from the grinder or the machine).

'Tamp' and 'extraction'

Tamp is the pressing down of a dose of ground coffee into the group handle prior to extraction. This is the process of forcing water under pressure through ground coffee to produce espresso.

'Arabica' or 'Mountain Coffee'

Arabica is one of the finest coffee species that is grown, with a rich aroma and refreshing acidity. It is known as the "coffee shrub of Arabia" or "mountain coffee". Around the world, gourmet coffees are almost exclusively high-quality varieties of arabica coffee beans.

Sara, our Coffee Champion from pod Gracechurch Street talks about her coffee experience...

“I joined pod as a team member, yet within the first month I began the training scheme to become a Coffee Champion as I am really interested in coffee. During the months that followed I learnt so much and served some lovely people. I love working with coffee, sharing my ideas, and working with a passionate team. The best thing for me is really making someone’s day with the coffee they have been dreaming about on their commute.”

The Pod Coffee Process

Our fairly traded, 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified TM, Arabica coffee beans are ground on demand to release our balanced, bright and well-rounded coffee flavour with spicy and aromatic undertones. Every cup starts with two shots of this dark intense nectar.

Our Rancilio coffee machines are the best on the market, delivering an intense “kick” after “kick” of coffee flavour with bitter-sweet aromas, perfectly topped by a dense layer of golden crema. This crema is your guide to the quality of the espresso underneath. For example, if the crema is too pale and thin, it means that the espresso is weak and watery; if the crema is too dark your coffee is likely burnt and will carry an unpleasant bitter taste.

We use organic whole milk to give each cup its smooth texture and natural creaminess, but if you'd prefer skimmed, we'd be happy to create a lighter cup for you. We're proud to be able to offer our cappuccinos, flat whites & lattes for just £2.25.