There’s no getting past the fact that Nespresso machines are hugely popular. With a quick insert of a capsule and a push of a button, you have a delicious cup of coffee.
Some of the high-end Nespresso machines demand top dollar, and buying a supply of their branded coffee capsules can cost a small fortune if you consume a lot of coffee throughout the day.
However, it is possible to buy Nespresso compatible capsules that work just as well as the originals, and they are often cheaper.
Nestle, which owns the Nespresso brand, lost a court battle to protect its aluminum coffee pod design after its patent expired in 2011. Due to this, rival coffee capsule firms can produce knock-off Nespresso pods that are identical to the original capsules.
This has opened the door to specialty coffee roasters who are now entering the market with their unique range of coffee pods.
Our Top Pick: Best Value
You don’t have to blindly taste-test hundreds of coffee pods to find the best ones because we’ve done the hard work for you and rounded up eleven delicious options to suit any coffee preference.
Top Rated Compatible Nespresso Capsules (Best Tasting)
Below you will find eleven tasty and budget-friendly coffee capsules which are compatible with Nespresso machines.
We’ve tried each of them and handpicked capsules to suit anyone’s flavor profile – from rich espresso, lungos, organic pods, and even decaf.
Starbucks Mild Variety Pack
Our first recommendation is the Starbucks mild variety pack, which contains a good range of intensity levels from medium level 6 to a bolder level 8.
With this broad range, we are confident that there’s a capsule to suit your flavor preference, plus this pack gives you a chance to sample others you might not have thought to try previously.
The Starbucks Nespresso compatible capsules have actually been designed with Nespresso. Rather than being “knock-offs,” they are authentic coffee pods that are guaranteed to work with all OriginalLine Nespresso machines.
Each individual capsule has been made from aluminum, which helps keep your coffee as fresh as possible and sturdy enough to allow pressure to build up inside the pod when brewed.
The variety packs come with 5 boxes containing 10 different popular Starbucks coffee capsules featuring four of their most popular “100% Arabica beans” offerings.
Crowd pleasures such as Pike Place Roast, Starbucks Blonde Espresso, single-origin Colombia, and the classic and easy-drinking House Blend, to name a few.
Peet’s Coffee Variety Pack
If you’re someone who gravitates towards a more rich and bold espresso, this coffee variety pack will be perfect.
The Peet’s Coffee variety pack includes five of their most popular high-intensity coffee blends that are all made from high-quality Arabica beans.
You’re getting one box containing 10 Nespresso compatible capsules of Ristretto, Ricchezza, Nerissimo Espresso, and Crema Scura.
If you enjoy espresso-style coffee, you owe it to yourself to give this Nespresso sample pack a try. Once you’ve found a favorite, which we’re sure you will, you can purchase an entire box of that particular coffee capsule.
Gourmesso Big Deal Bundle
If you love a vast section of different types of coffees, we can’t recommend this MEGA BUNDLE DEAL enough.
It’s a real bargain that supplies you with 150 compatible coffee pods for the Nespresso, plus they also include a complimentary cleaning capsule and descaler.
Gourmesso is our first choice when it comes to coffee pods and capsules that are 100% compatible with Nespresso machines. They have a really extensive range, all tailored to brew great-tasting coffee.
Compared to original Nespresso capsules, you can almost cut your cost to around 40 to 50%; if you drink a lot of coffee throughout the day, this can mean significant savings.
This is the only option on our list where you can purchase your coffee pods directly from the supplier. Buying directly from the Gourmesso website, not only do you have an extensive range to choose from, but you will benefit from their regular promotions and daily free shipping for orders over $50.
One of the things we liked about Gourmesso is its environmental policy. They plant a tree for every order placed directly on their website. It’s really a unique way to give back, and as a customer, you also feel like you’re making a small difference.
Lavazza Variety Pack
Coming in next is this large 120 coffee pod multi-pack that has an excellent mix of different coffees for a range of taste preferences; it’s perfect if you’re new to Nespresso and still not quite sure what you like.
Each capsule has been blended and roasted in Italy using methods unique to Lavazza that try to maximize the flavor and aroma of the beans. The coffee blends consist of roast levels from medium through to dark with intensity levels from 4 to 10.
In the pack, you will find two lungo coffee capsules suitable for the Nespresso, and the others are all espresso blends.
The decaf option is also included in the range: The Decaffeinato Ricco coffee pod for Nespresso, which has an intensity of 6.
Meseta Coffee Capsules
Here at Bean Ground, we are always looking for organically grown coffee. Not only does it have a positive impact on the environment, but it comes with additional health benefits, too (no nasty chemicals).
On a hunt to find the best Nespresso compatible capsules, we discovered these Meseta coffee capsules and settled on the medium roast as our personal favorite from their range.
Their coffee has been organically grown, and they are also Fairtrade certified, which ensures that the farmers are paid a decent wage for their crops.
Digging a little deeper, the Meseta coffee brand is Italian, and they source most of their coffee from plantations located in Central America.
Included are 100 Meseta bio-organic coffee capsules. With this medium roast offering, you can expect a rich and complex flavored espresso with a distinctly fruity and floral aroma.
Cafe La Llave Decaf Coffee Pods
Decaf coffee drinkers rejoice. We’ve not left you out! While many coffee roasters neglect the less-popular decaf, that is not the case here.
The Cafe La Llave decaf coffee pods brew an authentic Cuban style of espresso and have been crafted with the same high-quality coffee beans used in their top-selling caffeinated blends. You can expect a very aromatic, rich, and bold caffeine-free espresso with an intensity of 11.
Each batch of Cafe La Llave Nespresso compatible capsules is blended and roasted in California from a selection of high-quality coffee beans sourced from Central and South America and Southeast Asia.
Side note. The Café La Llave coffee company has a long history of producing quality coffee, and the business is still family-owned and operated after more than 50 years in the USA.
Illy Extra Bold Roast
Italians know espresso, so it’s not surprising that another Italian coffee brand has made our list of recommendations. Like Lavazza, Illy is a worldwide force for coffee, and their compatible Nespresso coffee capsule doesn’t disappoint.
This 10 capsule pack features their “Forte” extra bold roast, a tasty blend of 9 of the best Arabica coffees from around the world.
You’re getting a coffee blend with the chocolate flavors from Guatemala, floral notes of Ethiopian coffee beans, fruitiness from Colombia, sweet caramel from Brazil, and just a slight hint of spice from Indian coffee beans.
Illy has many generations of coffee expertise under their belt, and they have been able to marry these flavors together in a rich, bold espresso Nespresso pod. Each capsule It’s very dark, vibrant, and full of body. If you enjoy your espresso this way, you’re in for a treat!
L’OR Variety Pack
L’OR does one thing, and they do it well, Nespresso compatible pods. When a company focuses all of its resources on one thing, it gives them a level of expertise that separates them from the competition.
The L’OR Nespresso pods are among some of the best we tried and are definitely worth checking out.
This 50-pack of L’OR capsules is a great way to sample what they do best, from medium to dark roasted blends that all yield rich and creamy espressos.
Our personal favorite from the selection is the Profondo which delivers an espresso with hints of almonds and anise with an impressive crema layer.
Hayman Kona Nespresso Pods
Look no further than the Hayman brand if you’re in the market for top-quality premium coffee locked inside a Nespresso capsule.
However, be warned, that each capsule actually costs roughly the same price as your favorite latte in a high street coffee shop. But, that could be a small price to pay if you want to enjoy premium coffee and the convenience of a Nespresso machine in the comfort of your home.
Hayman specializes in sourcing premium single-origin coffee beans from acclaimed regions around the globe. From Panama Geisha, Brazil, Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, and Hawaii’s famous Kiona coffee Hayman have got you covered.
Our favorite Hayman selection is the Kona Nespresso compatible pod. Each capsule contains 100% Kona coffee which has been certified by Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture, so you know you’re getting the real stuff.
Many brands tout that their coffee is Kona, but in reality, only 10% of their blends are real Kona coffee. That’s not the case with the Hayman Kona Nespresso pods.
With these 16 coffee espresso pods, you can expect a rich and smooth espresso coffee that will whisk your taste buds away to the side of a subtropical volcanic island.
You’ll experience the acclaimed Kona flavors consisting of bright fruits with caramel notes and an underlying sweetness that lingers long after the coffee slips down your throat.
Bestpresso Intense Nespresso Capsule Variety Pack
If you enjoy strong and bold flavored coffee pods with your Nespresso. If you do, we’re sure you will enjoy this variety pack that includes a selection of intensely flavored coffee blends with a vibrant and robust taste profile.
You can experience both espresso-style coffee and the longer Lungo coffee, making this pack perfect for a quick pick-me-up or a chilled-out brew in the afternoon.
In total, you are getting 120 Nespresso compatible coffee capsules divided up into 6 boxes: Lungo (40 pods), Ristretto (40 pods), and Intenso (40 pods).
Bestpresso has been in the compatible capsule business for a decent amount of time, and they have developed and listened to customer feedback. Their Nespresso pods are popular and have a loyal customer base that praises the quality and affordability.
If you haven’t tried Bestpresso products before, we suggest going for the suggested variety pack that introduces you to most of the popular flavors.
Don Francisco’s Old Havana
Produced by the same coffee roaster as our recommended Cafe La Llave decaf, Don Francisco’s Old Havana arabica coffee bean capsules deliver flavorful authentic Cuban coffee.
From the range, we picked out the medium roast as our favorite, but you also have the option to sample their variety pack to see which you prefer from their tasty selection.
Don Francisco’s Old Havana is a blend of Arabica coffee beans that have been sourced from Latin America and Southeast Asia and carefully roasted in small batches in the United States.
The resulting rich crema topped espresso is full of flavor, smooth with a noticeable aroma that is remarkably potent, and fills the room with nutty citrus.
With the first sip, your tastebuds will pick up on toasted nuts and spicy dark chocolate that will keep you coming back for more.
How To Choose The Best Compatible Nespresso Pods
If you already have a few favorite Nespresso coffee pod flavors, the good news is you can almost always find similar flavor profiles offered by third-party Nespresso compatible capsule producers.
Many use the same labeling system and clearly state the “intensity level” and roast type. This makes choosing other pods to use in your Nespresso machine super easy.
If you are new to Nespresso machines and still in the discovery stage when it comes to favorite coffee capsules flavors and the types of coffees you prefer, we’ve got you covered.
Below we have a quick guide to guide you in the right direction when choosing the best compatible Nespresso pods for your machine.
Flavor Profiles You Enjoy
Coffee freshness is typically a bigger gauge of the flavor of the coffee than the roast level or even the origin. This is true for both capsules and ground coffee beans.
And for that reason, we recommend buying your coffee from well-established coffee roasters or big-name brands that have a lot of turnover and little product left sitting on the shelves.
That way, you know that the coffee hasn’t been sitting for long periods before being sold. Small batch whole bean coffee roasters are wonderful if you’re buying whole bean coffee which has been roasted a week prior.
But when it comes to ground coffee and capsules, look for a brand that you trust and enjoy.
Lungo, Espresso or Ristretto?
OriginalLine Nespresso machines can brew three different types of coffee beverages: ristretto, espresso, and lungo.
Lungo is the Italian word for “long.” The Lungo coffee pod is essentially a shot of espresso that is pulled for double the amount of time.
This produces a larger, more watered down espresso that closely resembles a regular auto dripped coffee or an Americano coffee. Out of the three coffee capsule types, Lungo is the weakest or, to clarify, more diluted.
Ristretto means “restrict” in Italian. The Ristretto is the most concentrated and is brewed using about half with roughly half the amount of water compared to a regular espresso.
The espresso from a Nespresso machine isn’t really a textbook “espresso” per se. Without a portafilter, a good tamp, and adequate pressure, the Nespresso simply cannot produce an authentic espresso; but with that said, it does do a reasonably decent job.
Nespresso pods and compatible capsules tend to clearly indicate what type of brewed coffee they are best suited for, and that particular pod has been dialed in for the optimum flavor, intensity, and concentration.
That doesn’t mean that you cannot use a ristretto for an espresso and vice versa. It just means that the coffee might not taste the way it was intended to taste. If you prefer one type of coffee over another, make sure you look for capsules for that specific style of coffee to ensure you get the best tasting cup of coffee.
Intensity Versus. Roast level
Nespresso pods don’t typically indicate the roast level on the packaging but rather an intensity level.
However, some Nespresso compatible capsules and pods produced by other brands may define the roasty level. So make sure to read the box and packaging for indications.
What is the Nespresso intensity level?
The intensity level is often misinterpreted as indicating the caffeine content. However, this indicator has nothing to do with the amount of caffeine in each capsule. So a “more intense” Nespresso capsule doesn’t mean it has a higher amount of caffeine.
The Nespresso intently rating can be slightly confusing because it isn’t a single factor that’s taken into consideration.
In fact, the level comprises several factors, including roast level, concentration, body, and bitterness, to name a few.
The highest intensity coffees typically have a higher concentration, are darker, and have a heavy, rich body. At the high end of the levels, the coffees are bitter rather than sweet.
On the flip side, the lower intensity levels tend to be lighter roasts and brew coffee with a sweet flavor and mild body.
Coffee Blends And Single Origin Nespresso Capsules
Finding single-origin Nespresso capsules can be challenging; sure, they exist, but they are not readily available.
Generally, espresso is best brewed with coffee blends rather than single-origin coffees.
With the introduction of compatible espresso pods, the range of single-origin coffees has increased, mainly spurred on by the third wave coffee movement. You can find specialty roasters offering their unique handpicked selection.
Bean Grounds Verdict
Drinking coffee is very personal. You may like one type of coffee whereas another person will prefer something completely different.
Taking that into account, our list of the best Nespresso compatible capsules showcases variety packs as much as possible.
This way, you can sample a selection of different coffee pods and choose a favorite. You can buy one box of that particular type of roast or espresso coffee style you prefer when you order again. Here at Bean Ground, we really enjoy the selection offered by Peet’s Coffee.
Their variety pack contains a bunch of Nespresso pods that are perfect for espresso lovers who enjoy the heavy body and rich crema of classic espresso. Included are five different espresso blends from medium to dark roast.
? Can You Use Starbucks Capsules In Nespresso?
Yes, you most certainly can. Starbucks makes compatible espresso pods for the Nespresso OriginalLine machine that are just as good as the originals.
In fact, they are authentic in the sense that Starbucks has worked alongside Nestle and Nespresso to bring the espresso coffee capsules to the market.
? Do Nespresso Compatible Pods Damage Your Machine?
Using Nespresso compatible pods, capsules, or knock offs, will not damage your machine in the short or long term or affect the lifespan.
Many alternative compatible capsules brands in the market produce excellent tasting Nespresso pods, and the cost saving is substantial.
? How To Use Nespresso Compatible Capsules?
There is no difference between original Nespresso capsules and alternative compatible capsules.
Since Nestle, who owns the Nespresso brand, lost their aluminum coffee pod design patent in 2011, other big name coffee companies have been able to produce near identical capsules that work just like the originals.
Just like regular Nespresso capsules, simply insert the capsule into the coffee machine and press the button.
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