Shot size: To get the absolute best extraction from reusable pods, we strongly recommend using the standard espresso shot (using the short shot button) on your coffee machine. This provides the perfect amount of water to extract the best elements of the coffee (oils, aroma and flavour - yum)!
Brewing a long shot can adversely affect your extraction. When brewing a lungo, you'll probably notice "blonding". Blonding is the colour transition of a pour from dark brown to a light, uniform pale blond. This normally occurs in the last third of the pull and is a signal to end the pour. This overly-blond portion of the brew is thin, nearly flavourless, and if allowed to continue will dilute the body and taste characteristics of a shot.
For a better tasting long or mug coffee:
Lungo - use 2 pods on a 40mL extraction setting
Long black - use the short shot button, and top with boiling water (by running your coffee machine without a pod in it)
The other bonus of brewing this way? You will actually extract less acidity from the coffee, resulting in a less bitter tasting cuppa.
Coffee type: Brew intensity is also affected by the type of bean and roast method. Many pre-packaged capsules do have flavours added. These basically replicate intensity, however the caffeine content doesn't differ. If you're determined to get a super "strong" tasting coffee, you may consider trying a Robusta blend. Robusta is considered a lower grade bean, however Nespresso use this for their higher "intensity" capsules. You can read more in our recent article Why Reusable Pod Coffee Isn't As Strong As Disposable Pod Coffee.