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Best Nespresso Capsules: Pod Reviews for your next brew

Since the Nespresso machine is one of the most popular brands around, it is no surprise that there is a world of choice where coffee capsules are concerned.

But which are the best Nespresso capsules?

What Do These Coffee Names Mean?

When you start working with a coffee machine, you might notice some weird terms such as Ristretto and Gran Lungo. if you are unfamiliar with these terms, be sure to read through their definitions before you head to our recommendation list with the best Nespresso capsules.

Espresso

The espresso is a concentrated form of coffee. It is often full bodied, and therefore carries the preference of consumers who like their coffee strong.

Now, espresso is usually made by pulling a shot from a coffee machine. However, you can also make an espresso with one of the appropriate Nespresso capsules.

Lungo

A Nespresso Lungo is a longer espresso drink. For your convenience, the Lungo is placed in a single pod, which delivers a full bodied espresso with lots of aroma. The Lungo can be enjoyed on its own, but it can also be mixed with some milk or other additive.

Ristretto

A Ristretto is typically made from full flavored Arabica coffee beans. Nespresso has made a dedicated Nespresso pod with Ristretto as well, which is characterised by its typical cocoa flavor and woody overtones. To make this unique blend, Nespresso uses coffee from South America and Central America.

Gran Lungo

The Gran Lungo is another larger version of the basic espresso. So, it means your espresso simply goes in a bigger mug. To provide a comparison, the standard espresso is approximately 40ml, while the Gran Lungo is a whopping 150ml.

Alto XL

The Alto XL is a 14oz coffee drink. It is made with both Arabica and Robusta beans, depending on which Nespresso pods you have.

This is also the best drink for anyone who cannot decide between Robusta beans and Arabica beans, as this wonderful drink combines them both and delivers a dry woody, caramel flavor.

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Coffee

Coffee is basically a collective name for all the coffee bean based beverages that can go in your Nespresso machine. Of course, coffee can be made from both Arabica and robusta beans, and this could mean different flavors.

As you become more proficient with Nespresso pods, you will start to have a preference for different beans, this means you will be able to distinguish between Arabica and Robusta.

So, the best Nespresso capsules are often obtained through a process of trial and error. Or you could cut out the long research and simply choose from our list of best Nespresso capsules…

Best Nespresso Capsules

So, now that we elaborated on some of the different Nespresso capsules and the different types of coffee that can be made on Nespresso machines, let us take a look at the best Nespresso capsules on the market today. Of course, there are many to choose from!

Variety packs

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If you have no idea which kind of Nespresso pod carries your preference, it can help to choose one of the variety packs from Nespresso. In fact, the Nespresso Variety Packs are usually the best choice for beginners.

So, what’s in a variety pack? That depends on which Nespresso machine you have. For example, if you have a Vertuo machine, then Nespresso currently offers a double espresso assortment, for all those espresso fans, but also the Capsule Master assortment.

Evidently, the Capsule Master assortment is most interesting to those newbies out there.

The Nespresso Capsule Master assortment contains five distinctive coffee flavors, each “designed” by a master craftsman in their country of origin.

It includes the Origin Mexico, Origin Colombia, Stormio, Odacio, and Melozio. Please note that each of these has a different intensity, which we will elaborate on a little later.

If you have an original machine, then you can find your favored coffee capsule in the Original range. Fortunately, there are many to choose from, with assortments going all the way up to 150 capsules.

The Original Italiana range is especially recommended, as it introduces the consumer to full bodied coffee flavors in minimal time and effort.

Ristretto

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The Ristretto coffee capsule is the best choice for coffee lovers who enjoy their coffee between a medium roast and a dark roast. It is an accurate representation of the Italian coffee culture, delivering a coffee capsule with medium acidity, a little more bitterness and plenty of body.

When you try the Ristretto, you will notice an intense coffee flavor, but also some fruity tones throughout. Interestingly enough, you can also get this particular Nespresso capsule in a decaffeinated version.

Since the Ristretto is strong and powerful, I would recommend this one for anyone who likes overstated coffee flavors. It is less suitable for those that like a milder coffee taste and like to add some milk to their medium roast. That being said, you can always experiment.

Arpeggio

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If you like intense as well as creamy, then the Arpeggio from the originals range might have everything you need.

As you may have guessed already, this is a dark roast that provides quite the overstated and strong coffee flavor.

However, it does have a lot of creaminess as well in its purest form, so those looking to try something stronger without losing their beloved creamy coffee can try this one as a stepping stone to the stronger stuff.

Livanto

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The Nespresso Livanto is one of my personal favorites, because this is the best Nespresso capsule where balance is concerned. I like my coffee to provide a little bit of everything, and the Livanto certainly stands out among other espresso capsules in that regard.

Livanto is made with American Arabica beans, obtained from central and south America. The combination of American Arabica beans sourced from different areas provides a more complex taste, but also a balance of malt and fruit due to the longer roasting process.

Roma

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If you prefer your coffee lightly roasted, the Roma might be the best Nespresso capsule for you. The Roma is less complex than the previous coffee capsules, but that does not mean it has less flavor or aroma to offer.

The Roma is made with lightly roasted Arabica beans and Robusta beans, giving this Nespresso capsule quite the unique character. The coffee beans also get their unique character thanks to the rich volcanic soils and rains of southeast Mexico.

Volluto

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Another light roast from South America, the Volluto is packed with flavor. The Volluto is made with the finest Arabica beans, delivering some lovely biscuit and sweet flavors.

Those with a sweet tooth will undoubtedly appreciate the sweet flavors these Arabica beans deliver. It is also an easy-drinking coffee, perfect for your daily coffee in the morning.

Capriccio

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Another brilliant combination of Robusta and Arabica beans, the Capriccio is certainly one of the more popular options in the original range. It has a lovely light acidity and perfect balance, which can be attributed to the South American Arabica beans that were used for this capsule.

Fortissio Lungo

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If you like a larger drink, then the Fortissio Lungo should be on your shortlist, With a low acidity, medium body, and medium bitterness, this Latin American Arabica blend has a lot to offer.

Interestingly, the coffee beans for the Fortissio Lungo are split roasted, this means that different roasting characteristics are noticeable in this blend. On top of that, it also means that the roasting characteristics do not overpower the natural flavor of the coffee.

The Fortissio provides you with a rich coffee flavor, with lovely tones of cereal and malt. The bitterness is not overpowering though, and that makes the Fortissio truly special.

Vivalto

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Properties such as richness and balance can be found in the Vivalto. Thanks to separately roasted South American and East African Arabica beans, this Nespresso capsule provides something truly special.

The Vivalto is best enjoyed in a larger cup, mainly due to the different types of Arabica beans that are used in each of these capsules. By enjoying the coffee in a larger cup, you can truly appreciate the full flavor and body the coffee can offer.

Decaffeinato

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Coffee does not have to contain caffeine to be enjoyable, this much is proven by Nespresso’s Decaffeinato. In fact, Nespresso offers a full range of “Decaffeinato” capsules with different flavors.

The decaffeinated coffee capsules are available in the Original as well as the Vertuo range. Please note that these capsules come in different intensities as well, which means you can obtain decaffeinated coffee that fits your taste preferences very easily.

Melozio

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The Melozio from the Vertuo range provides something truly special, as it is a smooth and balanced combination of Brazilian Bourbon and Central American Arabica beans.

While the Melozio on its own can be quite strong and complex, it is possible to make this coffee a little sweeter and softer. Simply add a little bit of milk to enhance the natural biscuit notes inside this coffee.

Like some of our previous suggestions, the Melozio is also split-roasted, more specifically bourbon beans and Arabica. And the split-roast also reflects in the aroma, as it displays a much rounder aroma.

Giornio

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If you are looking for a coffee with a lovely floral character, the Giornio from the Vertuo range will deliver on all your expectations and much more. Giornio is made with East African Arabicas, delivering a combination flavor of florals and cereal.

Those looking for something similar can also try the Solelio, which has a very similar character but a much lighter body.

Stormio

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The Nespresso Stormio is one of the more intense coffees from the Vertuo range and easily recognized by the dark green colour of the capsule. It is the best Nespresso capsule for those who enjoy distinct roasted notes.

Like most Nespresso capsules, the Stormio has quite the interesting origins story. In fact, the Stormio is made with Arabicas from Guatemala, which are later blended with Nicaraguan beans. The combination of different coffee beans gives the Stormio its unique taste and characteristic aroma.

Altissio

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If you favor the South American Nespresso capsules, the Altissio can provide you quite a few interesting taste notes. It is made with South American Arabica, but also Brazilian Robusta. The combination of beans provides a fuller bodied coffee, complemented by a rounder and smoother aroma.

Speed and convenience

Are these capsules the best choice for consumers? Well, while fresh coffee beans always provide the fullest flavor, decent Nespresso capsules can deliver a nice cup of coffee in minimal time.

So, speed and convenience are the two primary reasons why consumers choose Nespresso pods over fresh coffee.

Of course, you do not necessarily have to choose one over the other. There are many coffee lovers who have a Nespresso machine for the matching capsules, while they also own a manual espresso machine. It all depends on the type of coffee you drink often.

Vertuoline Vs Original

When talking about the best Nespresso capsules, we need to distinguish between the best Nespresso capsules for the Vertuoline and the Original Nespresso machines.

As you may or may not know, Nespresso has two distinct lines of coffee machines. The original machines take the original pods, while the Vertuoline takes the special pods with the barcode.

The latter automatically sets the brewing conditions on the Vertuoline, ensuring you get the best result.

While there are some differences between the Vertuoline and the Original coffee machines, we will look mainly at flavor. Of course, brewing conditions are important, so these variables will be discussed for flavors as well.

Understanding Nespresso’s Intensity scale

Nespresso capsules all have a number attributed to them, which can be found on its accompanying intensity scale. The intensity of a coffee basically refers to the profile of the coffee blend, which is in turn based on factors such as roasting, body, and bitterness.

Contrary to popular belief, the intensity rating of Nespresso capsules is not related to the caffeine content at all, even though it may sometimes appear like that.

But as a general rule of the thumb, the higher the intensity number, the stronger and fuller the body and aroma of the coffee.

Pros and cons of capsules

Coffee pods have increased in popularity dramatically in recent years. But are there certain advantages to the use of pod coffee? And are there disadvantages too? Below, we listed some of the most prominent pros and cons of coffee capsules.

Advantages

One of the main advantages of pod coffee is that they are a huge timesaver. Making coffee with coffee pods is a lot easier and faster than other coffee making methods, which makes it perfect for those coffee lovers who are stressed for time.

And the speed of coffee pods is not only good for use at home. After all, some cafes and restaurants also start to implement pod coffee, as it means staff does not have to be especially trained to create a wide variety of coffee drinks.

And while you may not find pod coffee in the more established coffee shops, you can find them in some businesses where coffee plays a less prominent role.

Another massive advantage to capsules is that you can get a huge supply of them without needing too much storage space. After all, you can store hundreds of coffee pods without needing a special storage cupboard.

Coffee in capsules can also be kept fresher for longer, as it is kept into individual capsules and subsequently individual packaging. So, coffee grounds in these capsules will stay fresh longer than a larger quantity of coffee ground or beans bought beforehand.

Freshness is important when it comes to premium coffee. After all, as soon as you open your coffee grounds, the oils and the aroma of your coffee will dissipate. By having the grounds in individual capsules, the aroma and the oils remain intact.

Another big advantage of capsules is that they can make a single serving as well as multiple servings. Of course, the latter does depend on the brand of coffee machine you have and the pods they provide.

I must also mention that coffee made from capsules involves a lot less maintenance too. Manual coffee machines and self-ground beans tend to need a lot more clean up afterwards. Therefore, easy maintenance can be another benefit for consumers.

When you choose coffee in capsules, you are also able to make a wide variety of coffee beverages with zero experience. Even if you have no brewing experience, you can make a latte, cappuccino, or even a great espresso with no knowledge.

The final advantage of capsules is that they provide a more consistent coffee flavor. After all, making coffee with different brewing techniques and beans can influence the taste and aroma of your coffee dramatically. With capsules, you always get a consistent result, providing you keep your Nespresso machine maintained.

Disadvantages

Obviously, there is a difference between coffee made from fresh coffee beans and coffee that comes from capsules. At most, it will emulate the flavor of your favorite fresh beverage.

And while you can get an amazing beverage from Nespresso capsules, they are never completely at the level of barista quality coffee.

Another disadvantage to capsules is that you can be limited in flavors, mainly because machine manufacturers create their own range of capsules that are not compatible with other machines. So, choosing your coffee machine automatically means choosing a select range of flavors.

Depending on the brand you choose, capsules can be a little expensive. Even though many manufacturers keep the price per pod very reasonable, capsules turn out to be more expensive per coffee than a selection of coffee beans.

Some brands of capsules can be difficult to recycle, and this could be a reason why some consumers refuse to use pod coffee. That being said, the environment is becoming a priority for many companies, and this includes capsule manufacturers.

So, while not all capsules are the most environmentally friendly right now, this is sure to improve in the future. We must also mention that Nespresso recycle their own capsules.

They provide their customers with prepaid envelopes in which they can return their capsules. However, keep in mind that the envelope can be quite big, so it will take a long time before you can send your capsules back.

Finally, keep in mind that certain capsules are not compatible with other brands. So, if you choose Nespresso capsules, it is very likely you will need the accompanying machine to use them. So, before you decide on a coffee machine, it can be a good idea to check out the coffee range first and foremost.

Conclusion

There are many advantages to capsules, ranging from speed and convenience to a consistent coffee flavor.

Nevertheless, your preferred coffee type will always come down to personal preference. So, some might prefer the speed and convenience of capsules, while others like to finetune their brewing methods and make their coffee from fresh beans.

In conclusion, if you prefer speed and convenience, and love the taste combinations Nespresso has to offer, then you certainly won’t be disappointed with the range Nespresso offers you.

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About Shabbir

Shabbir is the Chief Caffeine Officer at Coffee In My Veins. When he's not weighing out coffee beans for his next brew, you can find him writing about his passion: coffee.

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