Nespresso pods are small containers having a fixed quantity of coffee grounds and are sealed well to retain freshness in the grounds. They are specially designed for use by Nespresso coffee machines to brew specialty drinks including espresso while retaining both flavor and freshness.
These pods for Nespresso brewers are available in a myriad of flavors and strengths. This means you have a wide collection to choose from.
This Nespresso coffe pods guide aims to inform you about what you should truly care about (buying factors) while purchasing Nespresso pods. It also reviews the top 5 pods for Nespresso so that your selection process becomes easier.
Benefits of Coffee Pods
Following are the main benefits of coffee pods:
- Great taste due to sealed container retaining the taste and flavor of ground coffee and non-weathering of raw materials
- Rich scent due to tight packing
- The precise dosage that is fit for the right water quantity, for example, an espresso pod with 0.3oz of ground coffee ideal for an espresso cup
- Quick brewing in a coffee machine, which is within 30-40 seconds
Types of Nespresso Pods
It is inevitable to have a Nespresso coffee machine for making coffee using a Nespresso pod or capsule. The brand makes two types of machines, each using its set of capsule variants.
These are OriginalLine machines that brew only espresso and VertuoLine that brews both espresso and regular coffee. All Nespresso pods can be categorized as per the type of machine they are made for.
OriginalLine employs a pump pressure system just as in a standard espresso machine, while VertuoLine employs a centrifusion system, also known as the rapid spinning technology. The latter ones use an expensive collection of pods due to their versatility and technology. For OriginalLine machines, no third-party pods exist.
The coffee pods for OriginalLine are split into six key categories and are further sub-divided into 24 various flavors, each differing in cup size, aroma, and intensity. Several fancy variants are available in both types of pods. The best way to choose them is to taste them by investing in an assortment pack.
Following is the classification of OriginalLine pod flavors.
Espresso (shorter pour)
These are the basic form of espresso pods made to give the most preferable standard or short shots. Their intensity ranges from normal to strong. This category has four variants.
- Livanto: A moderately roasted mix from American Arabicas with caramelized cereal notes and intensity as 6
- Capriccio: A bit roasted mix of Arabica and Robusta that is somewhat acidic, has cereal notes, and has an intensity rating as 5
- Volluto: A mix of bit roasted Colombian and Brazilian Arabicas having fruity, sweet notes and intensity as 4
- Cosi: A slightly roasted mix of beans from East Africa and South and Central America with cereal fruity notes, balanced flavor, and intensity as 4
Intenso (most intense and also for half shots)
These too are espresso pods but have more intensity and bolder flavors than the Espresso series. This category has five variants.
- Kazaar: For those who love a strong coffee flavor with extraordinary bitterness, creamy texture, intensity as 12 and pepper notes coming from a mix of Robusta and Arabica
- Dharkan: A mix of washed Arabicas from Asia and Latin America offering silky and pleasant bitterness and an intensity scale of 11
- Ristretto: A mix of Arabicas from Brazil and Columbia roasted to give robust chocolate notes and Robusta from East Africa having an intensity scale of 10
- Arpeggio: A mix of beans of Central and South Americas roasted for creamy, fruity, and cocoa notes, energy close to Ristretto, and an intensity scale of 9
- Roma: A balanced mix of Arabicas and Robustas offering woody notes and an intensity scale of 8.
Pure Origin (Single-origin Roasts)
As the name indicates, these pods belong to a single origin. This means that they have no mixes and offer a distinct taste and flavor profile. This category has four variants.
- Indriya from South India: Well-balanced mix of Arabica and Robusta beans roasted for hot clove, nutmeg, and cocoa notes at an intensity scale of 10
- Rosabaya-de-Colombia: Colombian Arabicas cultivated in small plantation offer fruity notes of cranberries and black currents at an intensity scale of 6
- Dulsao-do-Brasil: Brazil beans delicately roasted for a balanced, subtle taste with notes of a bit toasted grains and an intensity scale of 4
- Bukeela-ka-Ethiopia: Ethiopia beans with floral notes of white lily and jasmine as well as the notes of wood at an intensity scale of 3
Lungo (Longer Pour)
These pods give a longer cup of espresso featuring more water and strong coffee to deliver subtler and more complex flavors without affecting the coffee’s intensity. In short, you get a strong taste. These pods attract old coffee fans. The Lungo category has four variants.
- Envivo: Extremely intense dark roast mix of Indian Arabicas and Mexican Robustas giving woody notes aroma and caramelized notes of gingerbread at an intensity scale of 9
- Fortissio: A mix of West Indian Malabar beans and Latin American Arabicas giving sweet cereal, intensely roasted, and malty toasted notes at an intensity scale of 8
- Linizio: A mix of Brazilian and Columbian Arabicas giving a mild and smooth cup with malty cereal notes at an intensity scale of 4
- Vivalto: A blend of High Altitude Arabicas from East Africa and Brazil giving a balanced cup with floral notes at an intensity scale of 4 and an amazing taste
These decaf pods are for those who avoid caffeine, as they do not have naturally occurring caffeine. This category has four variants.
- Vivalto Lungo
Other Variations (Flavorful)
Other coffee tastes or flavors belong to this category. The pods, here, contain a few contrasting flavors. This category has three variants.
- Vanilio: Base of Livanto with velvety scent, rich taste, vanilla notes, and an intensity scale of 6
- Ciocattino: Another version of Livanto having bitter chocolate notes and an intensity scale of 6
- Caramelito: A mix of South and Central American beans with caramelized notes and an intensity scale of 6
You can use any OriginalLine pod for a latte, although some of them are better than others.
The patented Centrifusion technology delivers two key categories namely, Espresso and Grand Cru (drip coffee). There are no caffeine-free pods in the VertuoLine series. There are nine flavors available in the Grand Cru category:
- Intensio: Dense and thick, an intensity scale of 9
- Stormio: Strong and rich, an intensity scale of 8
- Odacio: Strong, slightly fruity, and cereal note, an intensity scale of 7
- Melozio: Balanced and smooth, an intensity scale of 6
- Elvazio: Fruity and delicate, an intensity scale of 4
- Hazelino: Hazelnut flavor, an intensity scale of 6
- Vanizio: Vanilla flavor, fruity aroma, an intensity scale of 6
- Decaffeinato: Round and malty, an intensity scale of 6
- Half Caffeinato: Velvety and sweet taste, an intensity scale of 5
Following are four distinct flavors in the Espresso category:
- Diavolitto: Great punch, creamy texture, highly roasted, highly intense at 11, and oak, leather, and wood notes
- Altissio: Creamy flavor, smooth cereal notes, Robusta hint, an intensity scale of 9
- Voltesso: Sweet and light flavor, biscuit notes, balanced, an intensity scale of 4
- Decaffeinato Intenso: Harmonious and dense flavor, an intensity scale of 7
Buying Guide to Choose the Best Nespresso Pods
Now that you know about the different types of Nespresso pods, it is time to choose which ones are the most suitable for your requirements. Well, for that, you need to consider the following buying factors that help you make an informed decision.
- Your Taste: It is obvious that you will select the Nespresso pods as per your preferred taste. It is a fact that not all Nespresso pods give an identical taste. Further, they also differ in terms of intensity. The most flavors you can expect from these pods are chocolate, intense roast, wood, light, fruity, and sweet. If you like a fruity taste, then you should choose pods that offer that kind of flavor. Still, it is recommended to buy and try different flavors to know what your taste buds adore.
- Intensity: Designed by the brand itself, the intensity scale of pods varies from 1 to 12. A scale of 1 is the softest intensity and that of 12 indicates the highest intensity. The major contributors to the scale of intensity are the taste and consistency of factory characteristics of the beans in use and country of origin. It is a myth that maximum intensity is correlated to the quantity of caffeine in each pod. According to the Nespresso scale, coffee has been split into three levels namely, 1 to 4 indicating delicate and a bit full-bodied flavor, 5 to 7 signifying rich flavor and balanced taste, and 8 to 10 meaning strong scents and round-bodied flavor. If you usually like a strong coffee, anything above 9 is the best option. On the contrary, if you need something light and soft, a number lower than 7 is ideal.
- Roast Level/Tasting Notes: To get the right flavor, the roast level is an important factor. There are three types of roast levels applicable to pods namely, light, medium, and dark. Light is for a milder coffee with tasted, more acidic, grainy flavor and original flavor characteristics of beans intact. Medium is for moderate-intensity coffee with a fuller body and balanced flavor and intensity. Dark or Italian roast is more bitter but stronger with an intense woody or smoky notes.
- Caffeine Content: It is obvious to look for caffeine content in coffee. Generally, Nespresso capsules are sub-divided into two cup sizes namely, espresso (1.35 oz or 40ml) and lungo (7.8 oz or 110 ml). A large cup of espresso is lungo and it contains more caffeine than espresso. In a cup of espresso, caffeine is typically between 55 and 65 mg; while it is 77 to 89 mg in lungo. The Kazaar variation of the OriginalLine series is an exception with 125 mg of caffeine. The VertuoLine pods have 110mg of caffeine on average while the coffee pods contain approximately 165 mg. You can even find half pods having 70 mg of caffeine, according to the Caffineinformer source.
- Coffee Quantity: As per the type of coffee you want to make, Nespresso provides a variety of options when it comes to pod sizes. The brand has a myriad of coffees to taste but all of them belong to one of the three sizes namely, 25, 40, and 110 ml. These measures apply only to the OriginalLine pods.
- Number of Pods: Nespresso packages tend to differ in terms of the number of pods inside. Generally, 50 or 100 is a common number. However, it is vital to ensure that you pay a fair price per pod of Nespresso.
- Compatibility: Apart from the original Nespresso pods, there are compatible pods available that ensure quality and affordability. The original ones are undoubtedly reliable for their promised taste but when it is a matter of compatibility, a few trials are required to find your preferred taste. If you go through the testimonials and reviews of buyers of compatibles, you will discover that they are good and work well with a Nespresso coffee machine.
Top 5 Nespresso Coffe Pods
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine – Best Nespresso Caps for VertuoLine
Designed only for VertuoLine coffee machines, this Nespresso set comes with assorted coffee flavors featuring medium and dark roast. The product has two boxes, each with 30 pods split into three different types of coffee blends.
The first pack contains Stormio with intensity 8, Odacio with intensity 7, and Melozio with intensity 6 blends. The other one has hazelino, caramelizio, and vanizio blends all having an intensity of 6 and made from Arabicas of Central and South America.
Stormio is strong and rich and is made using beans from Central America, while Odacio is a bold one made using the beans from Central America and East Africa. It gives subtle fruity notes and a full-bodied taste.
Melozio is made using the beans of South and Central America and gives a smooth and balanced brew. Been split roasted, the beans feature a smooth texture, and deliver sweet cereal as well as honey notes.
Hazelino is a hazelnut-flavored blend, while caramelizio is a caramel-flavored blend. Vanizio features the vanilla flavor.
All these pods give you a 7.8 oz serving of coffee to enjoy a longer drinking experience. They are ideal to experiment with a distinctive range of specialty coffees.
The pods are made using aluminum due to which they are completely recyclable. A set of 30 pods, with 10 belonging to each blend, should last for a month of a delicious beverage to enjoy.
- Six flavors
- Great bolder mix
- Sustainably grown
- Fully recyclable
- Value for money
- Not for OriginalLine machines
- A bit pricey
Starbucks by Nespresso, Mild Variety Pack
If you are a coffee fan, you surely know Starbucks, an esteemed brand offering full-bodied beverages in different styles. This pack from Starbucks by Nespresso has been designed for both OriginalLine and VertuoLine Nespresso machines. The product comes with 5 boxes, each containing a pack of 10 pods to give you 50 cups.
All coffee blends are made using Arabica beans (single-origin) and are caffeinated. They come with a myriad of roast intensities from Starbucks Blonde roasts having an intensity of 6 to dark roasts with an intensity of 8. The variety of roasts includes blonde espresso (smooth and sweet), two medium roasts (nutty and toffee flavored), and a dark roast (dark chocolate).
These pods brew from 0.85, 1.35, or 3.7 ounces. You can choose from the espresso, lungo, or ristretto, brew size and expect the same Starbucks coffee quality from Nespresso. This indicates that you have a specific coffee flavor for different occasions.
- Starbucks quality and taste
- 50 pods
- Three brewing sizes
- Fully recyclable
- Different roasts
- Bitter taste from some blends
Nespresso Capsules OriginalLine Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano, Dark Roast Espresso Coffee
This product is Nespresso’s homage to the Italian blends and roasting methods. It is for you if you love a bursting or an intense coffee flavor, which most coffee blends do not offer. There are two boxes inside.
The first one offers Ispirazione ristretto Italiano pods of the Espresso range of the OriginalLine collection. They are 50 in total with each giving a 1.35 oz serving of authentic espresso.
With the ristretto intensity of 10, the blend delivers a subtle contrast of acidic and fruity notes and strength and bitterness. The pods contain a mix of some of the best Arabicas of South America and somewhat acidic of East Africa along with some Robusta beans.
The second one offers 30 VertuoLine pods, each giving an unpredictably thick, dark roasted, and dense outcome and a lasting aftertaste with notes of strongly toasted and brown sugar flavors. You also get chocolate, fruity notes. The pods provide a 7.8 OZ serving of coffee. The creamy and neutral taste works with different coffees such as bold black, lattes, and cappuccinos.
- Versatile to be used for both machines
- Italian punch
- Varied number of capsules
- High intensity
- Fruity and chocolate hints
- Dark roast level
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine, Decaffeinato, Mild Roast Coffee
Consider this pack if you want 30 decaf pods and enjoy sleeping after a delicious coffee drink. Although decaffeinated, there is no compromise with the flavor. With an intensity scale of six, the coffee blend is made using split roasted Arabicas from Costa Rica and Colombia.
These beans deliver a rich flavor and substantial malted and cereal notes along with the milk release notes similar to fresh nuts. The overall flavor is rounded and smooth. These Nespresso capsules are popular among those who love powerful, full-bodied beverages.
- 30 capsules
- Good intensity
- A bit bitter aftertaste but possible to overcome with honey or sweetener
Lavazza Espresso Coffee Variety Pack Capsules – Best Light Lavazza Espresso Pods
Designed for OriginalLine coffee machines, the Lavazza espresso coffee variety packs are roasted and blended in Italy. Thus, you enjoy authentic Italian coffee at home. After all, Lavazza is famous for its classic Italian coffees whose blends are roasted using the conventional European methods in Italy.
Although the overall roast level is medium, the blends offer medium to dark espresso roasts and feature an intensity range of 4 to 10. You get 12 packs each of 10 pods of which 4 are of armonico and 2 each of decaffeinated ricco, leggero, deciso, and avvolgente. Thus, you get to taste different flavors at different intensities.
The Armonica espresso blend has flavors of roasted cereals, caramel, and hazelnut; while the mild Leggero features flowery and fruity notes. Avolgente gives cocoa and spicy notes. Deciso is the strongest one and has spice, cocoa, and wood notes.
- 120 pods
- Five flavors
- Different intensities
- Decaffeinated coffee included
- Smaller pods
Is it possible to use non-branded pods in a Nespresso coffee maker?
Yes, only if you have a Nespresso Original machine. The VertuoLine machines employ barcode technology for reading the pod type to optimize brewing conditions. They extract the centrifugal force used, the water’s force and quantity, and the amount made. Although the brand promises to make better coffee with longer outcomes, having a VertuoLine means restricting to the proprietary pods only. As the pod design of Nespresso is not patented, it has become common to come across replicas.
Can I use Nespresso pods in other coffee machines such as Dolce Gusto or Tassimo?
No, it is not possible to do so, as Nespresso pods are not compatible. The branded ones are of different sizes but they work in a machine of the same brand.
Is there any expiry period for Nespresso pods?
According to Nespresso, users should use the pods within a year from their date of manufacturing. For best taste, most experts suggest using the pods within six months. Although pods do not expire within a year, the freshness needed for an optimal brew can fade away.
How many times can I use a Nespresso pod?
Ideally, only once. Even Nespresso recommends one-time usage. However, considering the lids in the market, you can use pods twice and thrice but do expect a loss in strength with each use.
Are coffee machine pods by Nespresso costly?
The cost of a single Original pod is a bit more than that of a Keurig pod. So yes, Nespresso pods are somewhat costly.
If you enjoy having delicious coffee but lack time to make it through a conventional medium, the Nespresso coffe pods are truly reliable. They are easy to use and give an amazing taste of your choice. However, you need a Nespresso coffee machine.