While my preferred espresso machine is a simple machine with a pressure brewer and a frothing wand, some of my family members do have Nespresso machines and the coffee those machines make is just amazing.
However, Nespresso capsules can get very expensive very quickly, as you can see in this comparison between VertuoLine and OriginalLine. Both cost about $0.75 to $1.00 per pod, which can add up, especially if you drink 2-3 cups per day like I do. The solution is to use one of the pods from this list of the best Nespresso compatible capsules.
The superb coffee brewed by Nespresso machines and the high relative cost of the pods has led to an increase in manufacturers making Nespresso compatible capsules.
These capsules cost about $0.50 or so on average per pod, which can be much less than the cost of the Nespresso capsules. Over time, this will add up to significant savings over some time.
Incredibly, there’s a lot of variety and generic Nespresso pods to choose from.
The one catch is that these generic pods only work with OriginalLine machines.
VertuoLine machines have a barcode system that is proprietary and can’t be copied by other manufacturers, so if you have a VertuoLine machine, sadly, you’ll be stuck with Nespresso capsules(more on that below the list of alternative pods).
To make things easier for you, we’ve already tested and compared the best products available to narrow the field down to these top choices.
|Bestpresso Coffee for Nespresso Original Machine||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|50 Fairtrade Flavored Coffee Capsules||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|HiLine Coffee Broadway Dark Roast||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Nespresso Compatible Capsules||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Jones Brothers Coffee||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Caffesso 80 Nespresso Compatible Coffee Capsules Pods||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
Best Nespresso Compatible Capsules and Pods: Our top 10 picks
1. Bestpresso Nespresso Compatible Capsules
Established in 2013, Bestpresso has been making quality alternatives for Nespresso pods for a long time. Their flavor names are quite similar to Nespresso, but the cost is significantly less.
You’re looking at around $0.35 per pod, significant savings compared to original Nespresso pods.
Our recommendation: Go for the variety pack as your first purchase. You’ll get a whole selection of pods that you can try, and if you’re really into it, you can even do a bit of a cupping session with multiple capsules to get an idea of which flavors you like and which flavors you don’t.
2. Gourmesso Nespresso Compatible Capsules
Gourmesso makes a wide variety of alternative Nespresso capsules. If it’s important to you(it is to us), a lot of their coffees are Fair Trade certified, which means their suppliers are treated fairly and paid well.
Gourmesso is based in New York, NY(my hometown!)
It’s important to note that not all of their coffees are not Fair Trade certified, though some are organic. You’ll be able to see which is which when you choose your particular pod of preference.
Each pod will cost you around $0.50 – this is an average, of course.
Espresso varieties available
- Ristretto Blend Forte: Dark roast with Latin American, African, Asian blend and slight spice
- Ethiopia Blend Forte: Dark roast with Ethiopian, South American, Central American blend and slight citrus
- Honduras Pura Forte: Dark roast from Honduras with chocolate notes
- Messico Blend Forte: Dark roast with Mexican, Indian, Asian blend and full body
- Tarrazu Forte: Dark roast from volcanic region of Costa Rica with bold and spicy profile
- SFCC House Blend Espresso*: Dark roast organic blend from the San Francisco Coffee Company
- Nicaragua Mezzo: Medium roast with South American, Asian blend and slight bitterness
- Colombia Arabica Mezzo*: Medium roast with Colombian, Indian blend and licorice notes
- Brasile Blend Dolce: Light roast with Brazilian, Peruvian, Asian blend and hint of citrus
- Decaf Peru Dolce: Light roast from Peru with hints of chocolate
Lungo varieties available
- Lungo Italico Forte*: Dark roast with Indian, African blend and woody/earthy notes
- Lungo Arabica Forte: Dark roast with Mexican, Peruvian blend and intense flavor
- SFCC House Blend Lungo Dark*: Dark roast organic blend from the San Francisco Coffee Company
- Lungo Latino Mezzo: Medium roast with South American, Central American, Asian blend and fruity aroma
- SFCC House Blend Lungo Medium: Medium roast organic blend from the San Francisco Coffee Company
- SFCC House Blend Decaf Lungo*: Medium roast organic blend from the San Francisco Coffee Company
Specialty varieties available
- Biscottino: Dark roast with South American, Asian blend and cookie flavor with no added sweeteners
- Soffio Caramello: Dark roast with South American, Asian blend and caramel hint
- Soffio Cioccolato: Dark roast with South American, Asian blend and chocolate hint
- Soffio Vaniglia: Dark roast with South American, Asian blend and vanilla hint
- Soffio Gianduia Caramello: Dark roast with Latin American, Asian blend and caramel nuttiness
- Soffio Nocciola: Dark roast with Brazilian and Indian blend and hazelnut
- Soffio Cannella: Dark roast with Latin American and Asian blend and cinnamon
- Soffio Noce Di Cocco: Dark roast with South American and Indian blend and coconut
- Soffio Mandorla: Dark roast with Brazilian and Indian blend and almond
- Soffio Ciliegia: Dark roast with Latin American and Asian blend and subtle cherry notes
- Decaf Vaniglia: Dark roast organic from Peru blended with vanilla flavors
- Decaf Cioccolato: Dark roast organic from Peru blended with chocolate flavors
Our recommendation: You can always go with the variety pack(see below). The Lungo Latino Mezzo is one of my favorites as I am a huge fan of Latin American coffee. The flavors are incredibly rich and earthy, and if I can get my hands on some Latin American coffee, I’ll always be daydreaming about having my next cup.
3. HiLine Coffee Nespresso Compatible Capsules
HiLine coffees come from Latin America, South America, and Africa – some of the finest places in the world to get coffee!
They don’t have any storefronts – all of their business is conducted online. Presumably, this is to keep costs down and pass on the savings to you, the customer!
They make a lot of different products: whole bean, ground, Keurig, and of course, alternative Nespresso capsules. The cost per capsule will vary from $0.50 to $0.60 per capsule depending on the variety you get.
These generic capsules actually have less slightly less caffeine than traditional espresso – while an espresso shot contains about 80 mg of caffeine, these coffees will have about 60-70 mg, which is closer to a normal brewed beverage.
- Wall Street: Dark roast from Sumatra with creamy, nutty profile
- Greenwich Village: Dark roast from Brazil with fudge, orange and vanilla
- Broadway: Dark roast from Sumatra with fruity, tart notes
- Liberty: Dark roast from Colombia with raspberry and caramel
- Times Square: Dark roast from Brazil with chocolate and sage
- Grand Central: Dark roast from Colombia with caramel and cherry
- Soho: Medium roast from Guatemala with chocolate and blackberry
- Brooklyn: Medium roast from Ethiopia with sweetness, walnut and blueberry
- Chelsea: Light roast from Guatemala with cinnamon, citrus and blackberry
- Central Park: Decaf from Brazil with cacao nib and nuttiness
- West Village: Dark roast from Guatemala with notes of cocoa and almond
- Kona Blend: Dark roast from Hawaii with real Kona coffee
Decadent and flavored varieties:
- Vanilla Macaron: Dark roast from Ethiopia
- Creamy Coconut: Dark roast from Brazil
- Hazelnut Cupcake: Dark roast from Ethiopia
- Chocolate Donut: Dark roast from Ethiopia
- Peppermint Bark: Dark roast from Sumatra
- Pumpkin Spice: Dark roast from Brazil
- Sea Salt Caramel: Dark roast from Ethiopia
Our recommendation: The Broadway coffee is incredible. Nespresso machines do a great job of producing a cup that just explodes with aromas and flavors in your mouth. The flavor notes of the Broadway coffee will do really well and you won’t be disappointed. Alternatively, just go with the variety pack 🙂
4. Cafe Joe USA Nespresso Compatible Capsules
Cafe Joe USA, interestingly enough, is actually from Israel and they’re a fresh face in the USA market. They’ve been one of the leading coffee companies there for over 20 years.
They get their coffee from all of the major regions, and coffees are available in lots of different types.
The price per pod will be around $0.45 and there’s enough of a variety to satisfy everyone:
- Joe: Fruity acidity with honey aftertaste
- Decaf: Fruity acidity with honey aftertaste (but dsecaffeinated)
- Extra Strong: Dark chocolate with light cherry undertones
- Ultra Strong: Bittersweet chocolate with light cherry undertones
- Trieste: Hazelnut with slightly bitter finish
- Lucca: Slightly nutty with a subtle honey sweetness
- Chiari: Soft and smooth, though the robusta beans give it some balanced depth
- Cuba: Strong and spicy with notes of chocolate designed to hold its own with milk-based drinks
- Costa Rica: An intense roast with some balanced sweetness and subtly vibrant fruitiness
- Columbia: Robust with balanced bitterness, some spicy notes, and a touch of fruit
Our recommendation: We love the Cuba, which happens to be a very rich and earthy coffee with lots of chocolate tones. These go really well with frothed milk for extremely rich and decadent lattes and cappuccinos.
5. Lavica Nespresso Compatible Capsules
As the name suggests, Lavica is an Italian company and they specialize in alternative Nespresso pods. Since they have such targeted products, they make a small range of pods, but they’re very, very good.
Because they’re masters of their craft, their pods are almost identical to Nespresso in terms of taste.
The best part? The savings, of course! These run about $0.50 per pod.
- Oro: Dark roast with 90% Robusta, 10% Arabica and complex, bittersweet chocolate and hazelnut
- Fortissimo: Dark roast with 90% Arabica, 10% Robusta and sharp, intense flavor
- Italiano: Medium-dark roast with 60% Robusta, 40% Arabica and smooth caramel and hazelnut
- Lungo: Medium roast with 60% Robusta, 40% Arabica with smooth richness
- Amabile: Medium roast with 50% Arabica, 50% Robusta and ideal balance of bitterness and sweetness
- Belgian Chocolate: Medium roast with 60% Robusta, 40% Arabica and smooth, chocolate flavor
- Decaffeinato: Medium roast with 70% Robusta, 30% Arabica and a rich flavor
Our recommendation: We love the Oro blend for a very strong, in-your-face caffeine shot paired with an incredibly intense and dark flavor. We recommended some medium roasts above, but if you’re into a a strong jolt on your tongue and your brain, consider trying the Oro.
6. Jones Brothers Nespresso Compatible Capsules
Jones Brothers coffee is based out of the Netherlands, in Amsterdam(famous for their “cafes” and coffee shops!). Jones Brothers make this list because their coffees are a good blend(pun intended) of cost and quality.
For the price, you’re getting some decent coffee. It may not knock your socks off every time but you’ll enjoy your beverage.
You’re looking at around $0.45 per pod.
Available varieties by Jones Brothers:
- Gigolo: Very dark and smooth with hints of cocoa
- Noir: Dark roast with strong chocolate flavor and hints of hazelnut
- Enigma: Dark roast with roasted nuts and rich cocoa finish
- Revive: Dark-medium roast with citrusy balance
- Elevate: Medium roast with soft, light profile, lemon zest and sweetness
Our recommendation: Jones’ Brothers coffees lean towards the dark end of the spectrum, so if those are your preference, you’ll enjoy anything from their offerings. The best thing we’d suggest is to get the sampler pack(see below) and choose the best one that you like.
7. Caffesso Nespresso Compatible Capsules
Caffesso is based in the United Kingdom. It seems like these alternative Nespresso pods are from all over the world!
Caffesso has a slogan of 3 C’s: coffee, club, and compatibility.
Coffee: These capsules produce coffees with rich, barista-quality crema. It’s quick-and-easy and produces a nice beverage.
Club: Caffesso’s website offers a loyalty program where you can earn points on each purchase and redeem them for future purchases.
Compatibility: There is a really wide range of machines(Nespresso) that support these capsules.
They’re pretty cheap, too, compared to the other 6 offerings we’ve shown here. One pod will be around $0.35.
- Indiano: Very dark roast from India with Arabica and Robusta blend and caramel notes
- Colombian Single Origin: Dark roast from Colombia
- Sidamo Single Origin: Dark roast from Ethiopia with low acidity and floral notes
- Milano: Dark roast with Central American, South American and African blend with full body
- Forza Roma: Dark roast with Arabica and Robust blend from Brazil, Africa and India with wine and woody notes
- Intenso: Dark roast with Ethiopian, Central American and South American blend and citrus bite
- Lungo Forte: Dark roast with Colombian, African, Latin American blend and subtle smokiness
- Aromatico: Medum-dark roast with South and Central American blend and floral notes
- Italiano: Medium roast with South American and Asian blend and caramel notes
- Vanilla: Medium roast with South American and Indian blend
- Chocolate: Medium roast with South American and Indian blend
- Caramel: Medium roast with South American and Asian blend
- Decaffeinato: Medium roast with South American blend and low acidity
Our recommendation: If you enjoy exotic coffees, these Caffesso coffees may just be what you’re looking for. Most of their coffees are from South and Central America, which is home to some of the best coffee in the world.
I think you’ll be happy with pretty much any coffee you try from Caffesso, but if you would like a specific recommendation, go for the Milano, which is a blend of all of the good coffees of the world!
We’ve linked to the starter pack below for you to try.
8. Peet’s Coffee Nespresso Compatible Capsules
Peet’s Coffee is very well known in the coffee world and their Major Dickason’s blend is fabulously dark roasted and earthy. Sometimes, coffee roasters drop the ball between their coffee beans and their pod offerings but Peet’s Coffee makes superb alternative pods for Nespresso machines.
If you’re into Peet’s Coffee and you love your Nespresso, perhaps you’ve found a match made in heaven.
There are four coffees available in this sampler. You’ll get 10 of each:
- Crema Scura
Our recommendation: Stick to the sampler. Peet’s Coffee is really good and we’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy all of their offerings, so you may just like to get the sampler every time you run out to have a nice variety on hand.
9. Lavazza Nespresso compatible capsules
Lavazza is another very well known brand in coffee. The good news for Nespresso and Lavazza lovers is that they make capsules compatible with the Nespresso OriginalLine series. VertuoLine owners will have to stick with Nespresso.
Lavazza capsules are typically sold as a variety pack.
- Lavazza Armonico Espresso(dark roasted, cereal and caramel)
- Lavazza Decaffeinato Ricco Espresso(dry, fruity)
- Lavazza Avvolgente Lungo(dark roasted, spicy)
- Lavazza Leggero Lungo(medium roasted, fruity and floral)
- Lavazza Deciso Espresso(dark roasted, cocoa and earthy)
Our recommendation: Lovers of Italian coffee rejoice! These Lavazza pods are really nice. In fact, they were some of the first Nespresso compatible pods that I tried, and the dark, rich flavor won me over right away. I had tried the Armonico, which tasted really pleasant in an espresso shot.
10. Il Caffé Italiano Roma Nespresso Compatible Capsules
Il Caffé Italiano has been roasting coffee in a family business since 1870, and they’ve jumped on the Nespresso bandwagon with these capsules that will work with most Nespresso OriginalLine machines.
Interestingly enough, this roaster uses a mix of beans that is 90% robusta and just 10% Arabica. The resulting brew is very strong and intense, and will be higher in caffeine content, too.
The beans they choose tend to have earthy flavors like caramel and chocolate.
They also have other blends with varying proportions of Arabica to Robusta:
- Venezia: 50% Robusta, 50% Arabica(floral, honey, smokey)
- Firenza: 60% Robusta, 40% Arabica(hazelnut and honey)
- Trieste: 80% Robusta, 20% Arabica(fruity, chocolate, honey)
- Roma: 90% Robusta, 10% Arabica(caramel and chocolate)
- Torino: 90% Robusta, 10% Arabica(bold and intense with a strong aftertaste)
- Napoli: 95% Robusta, 5% Arabica(hazelnut and chocolate)
Our Recommendation: If you enjoy Robusta coffee, these pods are for you. You’ll see that the pods increase in Robusta content as you go down. The more Robusta there is, the more intense and caffeine-laden the coffee will be. Consider your caffeine needs and tolerance, and take your pick!
Alternative Nespresso Pods: A buyers guide
Interestingly enough, capsule coffee is often packed into the capsule freshly roasted and ground. Once the coffee is packed, the capsule is hermetically sealed, which prevents the gases from escaping. Compare this to regular ground coffee, which will immediately lose its freshness once you open the packaging.
Capsule machines are also very fast. You would be hard-pressed to make an espresso as quick as a Nespresso machine. This is because you’re saving a lot of time with grinding and tamping, which is already done for you. The margin of error that can be there in measuring and tamping is also eliminated when using capsules.
As a result, a seasoned barista and a complete novice will make the same level of coffee from a capsule machine like a Nespresso. However, I find it highly unlikely that a seasoned barista would go near a Nespresso machine!
Capsule machines are also very low-maintenance. Most Nespresso machines have a built-in bay which catches the ejected capsules, and you just have to wash the cup you brew in. You should occasionally clean your Nespresso and descale it, of course.
Nespresso has quite a wide variety of flavors already, but if you’re looking to expand your palate even further, you can use the Nespresso compatible capsule brands we’ve listed here.
The biggest disadvantage by far of using capsule machines is the cost. The cost of the machine is one thing, but the capsules themselves are very expensive. Nespresso brand capsules can easily run you one dollar per capsule, and Nespresso compatible capsules such as the ones listed here will still be $0.50 or so.
It’s always going to be cheaper to brew at home with freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee. If you like the no-fuss brewing of Nespresso, you can definitely pick up some reusable capsules and use those with your own coffee.
Additionally, there is a significant environmental cost. You are throwing out a capsule for every drink you make. Normally, you could use coffee grounds in compost or in the garden, but these capsules add to the mountain of garbage in landfills.
How to store capsule coffee
Capsules are quite versatile as far as storage options go. Most high quality capsules are made in a way that you can just store them in their original cardboard packaging.
There are also some storage devices and contraptions that you can use instead, but they’re more for show rather than function.
The coffee is vacuum sealed in the capsule, which prevents it from interacting with anything and potentially tasting stale or weird.
Even then, you don’t want to expose the capsule to unnecessarily severe conditions like heat, moisture, or cold. Store them at room temperature in a dry and dark area.
Do coffee capsules expire?
This is an interesting question. Coffee capsules do in fact expire according to the manufacturer. Most manufacturers state that their coffee capsules remain fresh for 12 to 24 months(depending on the manufacturer).
Coffee grounds don’t really spoil anyway, and when they’re vacuum sealed with an inert gas to prevent oxidation, it’s very unlikely that they will spoil at all.
As long as you’ve stored the capsules properly and they’re not damaged, they should still be ok. Punctured or damaged capsules will go stale very quickly, so don’t use those.
What about Vertuoline compatible pods?
Nespresso’s VertuoLine system is fairly locked into to it’s own ecosystem, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find alternative pods for Vertuo machines.
As far as I know, nobody makes Vertuo compatible pods, but I did find one manufacturer that makes a refillable Vertuo pod. It seems they’ve copied the barcode from an existing Vertuo pod and that does the trick well enough.
That finishes our roundup of the best Nespresso compatible capsules. I hope you’re able to find something you like from this list. Remember, if you’re using OriginalLine machines, you’ll always have the luxury of flexibility since you can use refillable capsules, too.
Last update on 2021-03-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API