The Americano is capable of producing coffee, tea, espresso and hot chocolate. It is compact and easy to use. I bought it for my office because of the wide range of beverages it is capable of making. CBTL manufactures a number of different machines that all use the same capsule system. I found the Americano to be the most versatile for my needs.
CBTL machines use capsules not unlike a Keurig. Unlike the latter, however, the CBTL machines have a two stage pump. Low pressure for coffee and tea and high pressure for espresso.
The CBTL capsules are almost identical to the "pods" used by the Starbucks Verismo machines. Some of my experiments involved Verismo pods.
Step 1: Starbuck's Milk Pod
The red arrow points to the bottom of the pod, which has fine holes in it unlike the other pods and capsules.
Be cautioned that you use these pods in a CBTL machine at your own risk. I would not use two of these pods in a row as they might clog the machine mechanism.
Step 2: CBTL Caffitaly Capsules
Each capsule is a plastic cup that has a foil cover and a foil covered hole in the bottom.
The capsule's color is unique to the beverage ingredients that it holds as well as the foil cover.
When you put the capsule in the machine, it pierces the foil cover on both the top and bottom of the capsule. After use (at least in the Americano machine) the capsule is ejected into a discard bin.
Step 3: CBTL Espresso Capsule & Verismo Espresso Pod
The Verismo has a different configuration at the bottom of the pod than any of the CBTL capsules even though it has the same size and shape.
If you put a Verismo pod into a CBTL machine, you will get an inordinate amount of grounds in your cup; therefore, you cannot use a Verismo pod in a CBTL, but you can use a CBTL capsule in a Verismo. I do not have a Verismo machine, but this is what I have been told. In the next step we will see why this is so.
Step 4: CBTL Capsule Autopsy
I put a "pyramid" tea bag of Lipton's Black Pearl tea in the capsule, seal it up and enjoy a perfect cup.
The espresso capsule is identical to the coffee/tea capsules with the exception that the bottom filter has finer holes. The Verismo pod has no filters at all and this is why you cannot use a Verismo pod in a CBTL machine. I bought a box of Verismo espresso pods and to use them I just transfer the coffee to a CBTL espresso capsule.
Step 5: Foil Tape
Again a disclaimer. If you use this tape you do so at your own risk as it is not approved for use with food.
Step 6: Recycled Espresso Capsule
On the right is the capsule after espresso was made, the hole is punctured by the machine.
You can use any espresso coffee you like to refill the capsules, I am just using up the coffee out of the Verismo pods that I bought.
If you are fussy (or cautious) about using the foil tape, you may be able to get away with just using a piece of kitchen foil wrapped around the edge. It appears to be difficult to get a capsule stuck in the machine, proceed with caution.