Coffee Encapsulated – We Compare The Best Nespresso Compatible Capsules On The Market

by | Feb 17, 2020

Nespresso machines appear in all kinds of places. The Nespresso pods themselves, however,  can sometimes work out a little pricey. So Nespresso compatible capsules can really come into their own.

At A Glance: Our Top 5 Best Nespresso Pods Of 2023

With so much variety, how do you find the best Nespresso coffee pods for your mood, your machine, your palate, and your lifestyle? We outline the lowdown on our top 5 of the very best Nespresso compatible pods below.



And The Award For Best Nespresso Coffee Pod Goes To…..

With no further ado, our favorite Nespresso compatible pod selection is Full of flavor, it’s great value for money from a leading name in coffee.

It’s an ideal store cupboard stand-by to treat unexpected guests. Or yourself. Or as a gift for a Nespresso machine owner, newbie or veteran. Time, then, to explore in a little more detail.


Variety Is The Spice Of…Coffee? Lavazza Variety Pack

The 60-serving incorporates Nespresso compatible capsules for the original range of Nespresso machines. There are 20 Armonico capsules, and 10 servings each of the other options. Capsules are foil-sealed so freshness is guaranteed, and the coffee is naturally processed with carbon dioxide.

Let’s start with the most intense. The Deciso Espresso has an intensity score of 10 out of 13, with lovely overtones of wood, spice, and even hints of cocoa in these Brazilian beans. With a rating of 8 out of 13, Armonico Espresso combines beans from Central and South America. You’ll detect caramel, hazelnut, and roasted cereal and coffee.

Decaffeinato Ricco is an ideal way to enjoy dark roast coffee while minimizing caffeine side-effects. This medium blend, mingling beans from Asia and Brazil, scores 6 on the intensity scale. Cereals and dried fruit provide a distinctive flavor.

A little milder than Decaffeinato Ricco, at 5 out of 13, Avvolgente Coffee is the final dark roast in this exhibit. Combining beans from Central and South America and Africa results in a unique mix of cocoa and spicy notes.

The final choice in the coffee selection box is medium roast Leggero, scoring 4 out of 13. Its floral, fruity flavor profile merges the best of Africa and Brazil.


Café La Llave

We looked at the 80-cup pack for the Cuban style – you can also buy packs of 40. These round, robust coffees originate in Central and South America and Southeast Asia and are roasted in Vernon, California.

Don Francisco’s Nuevo Mundo is mild, a 6 in intensity, with a fruity profile and what can be described as bright acidity. It’s closely followed by Don Francisco’s Organico, coming in at a middle-of-the-road 7 out of 13. The flavor notes are sweet and flowery, and this balanced coffee is organic.

Don Francisco’s Clasico, meanwhile, is at the more intense end of the flavor scale, coming in at 9 out of 13. The word “Clasico” tells you exactly what to expect from the pleasant, mid-range blend.

Finally, both espresso choices enjoy an impressive aroma, scoring 11 out of 13 for intensity. Café La Llave Espresso is the caffeinated variety, with Café La Llave Decaf Espresso hot on its heels.


Nespresso Cups By Bestpresso

Love the name? We certainly did. And the 120 capsules of coffee, too. And okay, we were a little taken Over 50% of the coffee is Rainforest Alliance Certified.

Of the 5 gorgeously aromatic coffees in the pack, we’ll start with Arabica, the mildest blend. It’s a 6 in coffee intensity, with a strong aroma. Notes of citrus and flowers give the drink a good body, with a hint of cream.

The nicely balanced Espresso is an 8, another full-bodied blend, with a robust acidity and hints of cocoa and berries. The Lungo is at number 9, with a delightful acidity and, again, a touch of cream.

Vibrant Verona has an intensity of 10. This Arabica blend incorporates notes of green apple, a red and fruity acidity, and subtle spice. The Ristretto is 11 out of 13, a strong and full-bodied coffee with hints of cream and chocolate. Finally, the Intenso is a full-bodied drink with berry and spice highlights, yet surprisingly mild in acidity. It’s rated 12 out of 13.


Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine

You get 3 coffee blends in with 10 of each. These are the only pods that work in VertuoLine models, and they’re not backwards compatible: they won’t work in the Original Line machines. The cost per unit price is a little higher than some other choices.

The mildest of the three coffees, Melozio, has an intensity of 6, with Odacio at 7, and Stormio at 8. It’s an ideal pack for beginners, or if you just want a little variety on your kitchen counter. They typically brew a serving of 7.8 fluid ounces.

These aluminum capsules are completely recyclable. In most cases, you can add them to your usual recycling or use Nespresso’s recycling program bags.


Rosso Coffee Capsules

contains 60 pods. There’s a decent range of varieties: Decaf; Extra Dark Roast; and Flavors. You can also buy 120 capsules at a time if you prefer.

This family company creates its own blends, selling directly to customers.

They also work directly with the farmers on the coffee plantations. The lack of a middle-man makes these pods extremely price competitive.

The company even has a 60-day return policy should you decide they’re not for you. Even the packaging looks lovely. The capsules are made from food-grade polypropylene, and in most areas should be completely recyclable. There’s no BPA (Bisphenol A), Phthalate, or toxic Halogen in the casing.

We’re guessing, though, you’d like to know about the coffee itself? Well, the medium Ricco has an intensity of 6, and makes a great cup of lungo or cappuccino. The taste profile is rounded and smooth, and the coffee originates in Costa Rica.

Intelligente, meanwhile, is a round and robust 8 on the 13-point scale, just right for espresso and lungo-lovers. It’s complex with strong hints of wood. The beans are grown in Ethiopia. Moving to Maestro, you’ll find a 9: perfect if it’s ristretto or espresso you fancy. It starts life in Tanzania and Costa Rica. The taste profile is described as strong and fruity.

The strongest-tasting coffee in the pack is Gentleman, extra-dark, coming in at 10 out of 13. Again, it’s great for espresso and ristretto, starting life in Ethiopia and Vietnam. While super-subtle flavor-lovers will be entranced by the Delicato, a 4 out of 13. Perfect for lungo, it’s grown in Colombia and Hawaii.

Finally, to round off the collection, the light, and lovely Purismo is a 5 out of 13. These beans are grown in India and Central America.


Starbucks By Nespresso Coffee Pods

Starbucks. And Nespresso. In one pack. For some of us, that’s coffee heaven. You get 50 single-serve capsules in The most intense roast is an 8, with the Blonde Roast a 6. The blends included are Blonde Espresso, House Blend (2 packs), Single-Origin Colombia, and Pike Place.

The signature Pike Place Roast is sweet and smooth, pretty much in the middle of the intensity scale, at a 7. Colombia, a round medium blend, is also a 7, a gently rounded combination of toffee and cacao.

Many Starbucks fans will also recognize the distinctive Starbucks flavor of the House Blend: 8 out of 13.  You still get the toasted nuts, only with a hint of chocolate.

You can choose to brew one of 3 sizes: 0.85, 1.35, or 3.7 fluid ounces. With most of these capsules, you get a pretty decent crema, too. The capsules are made of aluminum, so they should be widely recyclable. They work like a dream in the OriginalLine Nespresso machines. Just to clarify, that includes CitiZ, Creatista, Essenza Mini, Expert, KitchenAid, Lattissima, and Pixie.


Peet’s Coffee Espresso

The variety pack of incorporates 40 single-serve coffee pods that can be used in all Original Line Nespresso brewers. You get 10 each of Crema Scura, Nerissimo, Ricchezza, and Ristretto. Even the names seem to hint at the lovely deliciousness of the dark coffee blends.

The capsules are aluminum, so the aroma stays in the pod until you set the brewer going. The coffee blends are 100% Arabica, and if you’re wondering about the intensity levels, they’re as follows. Nerissimo is the most intense, at 11; Ristretto is next, at 10; Crema Scura is 9, and Richezza is 8.

You’ll detect brown sugar, blossom, and berry hints in the Richezza, while the full-bodied Crema Scura has more earthy, nutty tones. Spice lovers will enjoy the rich combination of chocolate and fruit in the Ristretto, while the Nerissimo is more of a bittersweet brulée experience.


L’OR Espresso Capsules Variety Pack

The 50 capsule includes 5 boxes of 10 capsules each. The pack includes Absolu, Colombia, Onyx, Ristretto, and Satinato. Satinato has a pleasant 6 intensity, with a strong, zesty flavor. The next along the scale in terms of intensity is Colombia, at 8, with a slightly more complex flavor profile, although still enjoyably tangy.

Absolu is a 10 and is a gloriously robust blend: think vigor, strength, and spice. And if it’s real power you’re looking for, then give the 11-rated intensity Ristretto a try. It’s delightfully expressive and powerful. And strongest of all, at 2 out of 13, is Onyx, which can best be described as having a “pronounced power” in its profile.

The capsules are aluminum. Your coffee will be full-bodied and intense with a decent crema. In many areas, you will also be able to recycle them. We also really liked the fact that the coffee strength is stamped on each individual pod.


Nespresso Capsules Original Line

And so, to Nespresso themselves. The Best Seller includes 50 single-serve coffee pods, with a good mix of medium and dark roast. Nespresso runs its own recycling scheme for the aluminum capsules.

The 5 Nespresso best-sellers are Arpeggio, Capriccio, Livanto, Roma, and Ristretto. You get 10 of each. Intensity-wise, they run from Capriccio at a 5 and Livanto at a 6 through Roma, 8; Arpeggio, 9; and finally, to Ristretto at a 10. There’s a shelf life of at least 6 months on capsules. This selection pack has no decaffeinated options.

Like blends with low acidity and a mid-range, mellow taste? The light roast Capriccio will be just your cup of coffee. South American Arabicas blend with a touch of Robusta for richly aromatic espresso with a strong note of cereal.

The Arpeggio in this pack is 9 on the intensity scale. The creamy, dark roast combines pure Arabicas from South and Central America. The strong, intense flavor profile of the coffee combines with notes of cocoa, fruit, and malt.

The 6 out of 13 Livanto blends pure Arabica beans from Central and South America (namely Colombia and Costa Rica). It’s well balanced and rounded, with a distinctive hint of roast caramel, malty overtones and a touch of fruit and wood.

The Roma balances Arabicas from Central America and South America, lightly roasted, while the touch of Robusta brings out the woody, sweet notes of this blend. It’s an 8 out of 13.

The Ristretto in this pack combines East African and South American Arabicas with a light touch of Robusta. They’re roasted separately, resulting in this intense espresso blend with subtle fruity notes. It’s a 10 on the intensity scale.


Caffe Hardy

All right, we’ll ‘fess up. The cheeky macaw, the company’s emblem, caught our eye. The family-owned company has bags of personality, and so do the coffees they produce. includes 50 single-serve coffee pods that are compatible with the OriginalLine coffee machines from Nespresso.

We loved the range of flavors and strengths and origins in this pack. There’s even a decaffeinated option, the Decaffeinato. Those who like coffee with a very dark profile will enjoy the Universo or the Europa, with Milano and Organic Zanzibar close behind. The Organic Peru is 100% Arabica.

The coffee is especially suitable for ristretto espresso drinks – around 1 fluid ounce. That’s not to say it won’t work pretty well as a lungo too. All pods fit the Original Line machines from Nespresso but are not compatible with the VertuoLine. This product is certified EU Organic; check the back of the box for the logo.

The capsules are made of BPA-free plastic, which may well be recyclable via your kerbside collection. The packaging keeps the coffee fresh and packed with flavor. The boxes and sealed inner containers are all also recyclable. And we loved the designs on the boxes too. (Are we the only ones that were reminded of Outlander, or at least, Scottish tartans?)


Bonus Choice: Nespresso Storage

Ever battled with coffee pad storage? This Nespresso pod storage option combines with crystal tempered glass. It weighs 5.5 pounds and depending on the size of your coffee maker, you might even have room for a couple of cups on top.

You’ll need around 13.4 inches by 14.3 inches on your kitchen counter; it has a height of 2.7 inches. It’s also strong enough to act as a base for many of the Nespresso models up to around 8 kg.

Depending on the model, these drawers will usually hold either 42 or 56 capsules. We have also heard reports of buyers removing the flock tray to fit more capsules into the space.


Buyers’ Tips: Where To Buy Nespresso Pods?

We’ve given you the lowdown on ten Nespresso variety packs and a great storage option. So what should you consider, when you’re deciding where to buy Nespresso pods and which pack to buy first?

That’s assuming you’re not going to run out and buy all of them at once, of course. Not that we’d blame you if you did.


Coffee Choices

One of the most important considerations is obviously the range of coffee you get in the pack. Are you a fan of dark roasts, medium roasts, or light roasts? Most variety packs offer a combination of dark and medium, though one or two offer the lighter options. Oh, and do you need decaffeinated in there as well?

Are the beans used Arabica or Robusta, and if so, what percentage? Does your favorite company work directly with the growers? And are the plantations Rainforest Alliance Certified?


Intensity And Flavor Profiles

You know how wine ratings run from sweet to dry, right? Well, for coffee, that 13-point intensity scale we keep mentioning can be super-helpful. To reiterate, 1 is extremely mild, 13 extremely strong. Most of our subjects incorporated coffee strengths from about 6 to 11, with a couple as low as 4 or as high as 12.

Then there are the overall blend flavors. Do you like floral or citrus overtones, or would you rather have a hint of woodsmoke? Or what about coffees with hints of almond, hazelnut, toffee, or chocolate? After all, aren’t we all always seeking our perfect coffee?


Nespresso Capsules Sustainability

Since sustainability is such a big issue, how important is it that you can recycle the capsules? Most places will now take aluminum for recycling; Nespresso runs its own program.

One other option is using Nespresso reusable pods, although they’re not always easily available. For plastic capsules, check with your nearest recycling facility to make sure they can take the plastics used and the rest of the packaging materials used.

nespresso pods and capsules


Price Check, Please!

Price is a factor, although all these packs offered pretty effective cost-per-cup ratios (some more than others). A more important consideration is which Nespresso coffee machine you have.

At present, only the special Nespresso capsules will fit the VertuoLine, while there’s a much wider range of options for the OriginalLine. We also found that some pods were messier than others in terms of spilling coffee or water.


Summing It Up: The Best Nespresso Compatible Capsules

Taking all the above factors into account, and in the interests of coffee science, ahem, we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the variety packs out there. And our overall winner remains the same.

Let’s hear it, then, for With a good range of coffees, it’s very price effective; and if you need decaf, that’s in there too. The solid all-rounder hails from one of the world’s leading coffee companies. So we’ll take ours with a touch of cream and two sugars, please!

  Last update on 2023-05-31 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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