Although most of our dedicated Roasty fans are keen home coffee brewers who prefer to make their beverages from fresh beans, there will always be a few folks out there who also enjoy the convenience and speed of pod coffee machines.
Now, there are many different makes of home coffee machines that use pods or capsules, as they’re also commonly known. But perhaps one of the best-known household names amongst these is Nespresso, and because this rings true, we’ve put together an easy guide for picking the best Nespresso capsules for your tastes.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks For Nespresso Capsules
Quick Summary: Best Nespresso Capsules
|Linizio Lungo Capsules||Check on Amazon →|
|Arpeggio Capsules||Check on Amazon →|
|Intenso XL Capsules||Check on Amazon →|
|Diavolitto Capsules||Check on Amazon →|
|Ristretto Decaffeinato Capsules||Check on Amazon →|
|Decaffeinato Capsules||Check on Amazon →|
|Vanilla Éclair Capsules||Check on Amazon →|
|Hazelino Muffin Capsules||Check on Amazon →|
|OriginalLine Variety Pack||Check on Amazon →|
|VertuoLine Variety Pack||Check on Amazon →|
SO, WHAT IS NESPRESSO?
Seriously? Okay, we’ll humor you.
Nespresso machines and coffee consumables are made by the Swiss company, Nespresso, part of the Nestlé food group. For those who switch TV channels during the ads or head to the kitchen to make a cup of brew, you’ll need to check out Nespresso’s most famous marketing commercial that features the “face of Nespresso,” George Clooney.
Nespresso’s brewing machines fall into two categories — OriginalLine, which solely brews espresso capsules, and VertuoLine, which makes both coffee and espresso — and use an original, patented coffee “pod” system to produce one cup of superior-quality coffee.
The machines are pretty much idiot-proof; you just load your chosen pod into the machine, hit the start button, and wait while the machine prepares and dispenses your brew for you.
As the machine flushes hot water through the coffee pod, the coffee flavor is extracted from it, and the brew drains down into your cup.
Before you brew, you can choose the cup size and the coffee capsule that you’ll need to give you the flavor and the strength of espresso you’re after.
Also, a Nespresso machine can be used for making lattes and cappuccinos, but you’ll need to add a separate electric milk frother to your coffee-making kit to create the finished drink yourself.
Nespresso has released lots of different varieties of coffee capsules for use with their at-home brewers, using quality Robusta and Arabica beans to make the ground coffee used in the capsules so many have grown to love over the years.
Unfortunately, the wide variety of Nespresso capsules on the market can make working out the difference between them and selecting the ones you’d like best a bit of a challenge.
But as you know, challenges are what we do best here at Roasty (besides coffee, obviously), so we’ve put together a guide to the wonderful world of Nespresso coffee pods.
This isn’t quite an exhaustive list, as some Nespresso collections are limited edition or seasonal and thus, subject to change, but we think this information makes a pretty good roadmap as you begin your journey into the world of Nespresso coffee.
ALL NESPRESSO CAPSULES ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL…
Now, every Nespresso pod is not just a Nespresso pod. They fall into two different categories, OriginalLine or VertuoLine. These pods are not interchangeable, and each must be used in their respective machines.
Nespresso OriginalLine capsules are for the more traditional at-home baristas who solely want to brew an espresso-based cup of coffee. VertuoLine capsules, however, were designed to accommodate the coffee drinker who occasionally enjoys a shot of espresso.
The categorization goes beyond Original and Vertuo, though. Within each line are several basic types of capsules that form “collections,” lumping similar pod flavors and roasts together to make the Nespresso capsule community easier to navigate.
One more thing to note about Nespresso capsules and their collections: each roast is rated 1-13 on an intensity scale, so you know just how strong of a brew you’re getting. Anything labeled as intensity 6 or below is considered not intense, and anything intensity 8 or above is intense.
ALL ABOUT NESPRESSO ORIGINALLINE
Under the umbrella of the OriginalLine, Nespresso offers a variety of collections that are sure to accommodate each and every espresso enthusiast.
ESPRESSO AND LUNGO CAPSULES
These pods are for those who think traditional is best — but of course, traditional doesn’t have to mean boring, and Nespresso knows this well.
These capsules contain the smooth, superior-quality coffee that many coffee fans enjoy, and the Espresso and Lungo collection has 7 pods of various intensities: Linizio Lungo, Envivo Lungo, Fortissio Lungo, Capriccio, Vivalto Lungo, Vivalto Lungo Decaffeinato, and Livanto.
These capsules are made for the coffee drinker who enjoys a lower intensity brew, with the strength of these roasts averaging between intensity 4 and intensity 6 on Nespresso’s scale.
MASTER ORIGIN CAPSULES
According to Nespresso, the goal of the Master Origin collection is to allow you to discover outstanding coffee crafted from all over the world without ever having to leave your home.
Formerly known as the Pure Origin collection, this range of pods includes five single-origin coffees, made with Robusta and Arabica beans from India, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, and Colombia. These coffees are packed with strength, with each of them boasting an intensity level ranging from 5-11.
ISPIRAZIONE ITALIANA CAPSULES
Inspired by the classic taste and traditional roast of Italian coffee, the Ispirazione Italiana collection boasts seven roasts — Napoli, Palermo Kazaar, Ristretto Italiano, Firenze Arpeggio, Venezia, Roma, and Genova Livanto — that all range between eight and 12 on the intensity scale.
These capsules can be used for ristretto or espresso, and these multi-origin blends make for a powerful cup of Joe.
Just as you’d expect from any good Italian espresso, the OriginalLine Ispirazione Italiana collection is strong, housing some of Nespresso’s most intense ground beans, ranging from 8-12 on the intensity level.
BARISTA CREATIONS CAPSULES
These six pods are influenced by our beloved barista buddies who make the finest cups of coffee all over the world.
A flavored Nespresso capsule in this collection is best enjoyed with milk, so pop one of these pods into your Nespresso coffee machine and enjoy a satisfying recreation of your favorite coffee shop beverage. Try Chiaro, Scuro, Corto, Vanilla Eclair, Caramel Creme Brulee, or Cocoa Truffle.
GETTING TO KNOW NESPRESSO VERTUO
The Nespresso VertuoLine, on the other hand, includes 27 different capsules spanning across five different collections, so there’s a perfect drink for everyone guaranteed. Remember, though, that these pods are only compatible with VertuoLine machines, so if you already own one of Nespresso’s Original coffee makers, these capsules won’t be a good fit for you.
ESPRESSO AND DOUBLE ESPRESSO CAPSULES
Nespresso sees you, traditional coffee lovers, which is why there’s a VertuoLine collection designed just for you. Pull a regular or double shot (2.7 ounces) of espresso with one of these capsules.
The pods, ranging from low to high intensities, are available in six different blends: Double Espresso Scuro, Double Espresso Chiaro, Diavolitto, Altissio, Decaffeinato Intenso, and Voltesso.
GRAN LUNGO CAPSULES
A gran lungo espresso is slightly larger than a regular lungo, coming in at five ounces, and Nespresso Vertuo’s Gran Lungo collection of capsules makes a wonderful choice on those early mornings where you need a bit more coffee than normal to get you going.
For something intense, try the Fortado pod, but if you’re searching for a drink that’s a bit milder, try Aflorazio or Arondio. For our decaf drinkers, pop in a Decaffeinato Ontuoso capsule; you’ll thank us later.
MUG AND ALTO CAPSULES
The Vertuo Line’s Mug and Alto capsules are for those who, much like us, need a bigger cup of coffee to get some pep in their steps. These pods brew smooth and strong coffee in a larger capacity, with the Mug coming in at 7.8 ounces and Alto at 14.
The intensity of the coffee in this collection ranges from low with the Solelio capsule to high with the deep Intenso pod. Nine other capsules fall in between these two: Intenso XL, Dolce XL, Stormio, Odacio, Melozio, Elvazio, Giornio, and the aptly named Decaffeinato and Half Caffeinato capsules.
MASTER ORIGIN CAPSULES
Much like those found in the OriginalLine, the Master Origin capsules (previously known as Pure Origin) for Vertuo Nespresso machines allow you to experience the craftsmanship and flavors of coffees from other lands from the convenience of your Nespresso machine. This collection includes spiced coffee from Mexico and fruity, sweet java from Colombia.
BARISTA CREATIONS CAPSULES
Vertuo fans, rejoice! You, too, can relish the barista-influenced flavored coffees best enjoyed in a milk-based beverage.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with these capsules and score a taste of Bianco Leggero, Bianco Forte, Hazelino Muffin, Caramel Cookie, or Vanilla Custard Pie.
BEST NESPRESSO CAPSULES
Now that you’ve become a bit more acquainted with the pod collections in the Nespresso’s Original and Vertuo lines, let’s take a closer look at a few of our favorite capsules and all they have to offer, starting with the OriginalLine.
BEST NESPRESSO ORIGINALLINE PODS
LINIZIO LUNGO CAPSULES
For a coffee that’s totally smooth and balanced, we recommend Nespresso’s Linizio Lungo roast.
This coffee capsule is a proud member of the OriginalLine Espresso and Lungo collection, boasting malty, cereal taste notes. Linizio Lungo is made from coffee beans from South America — specifically Brazilian and Colombian Arabica beans — that are split roasted to release the unique flavor profiles of each coffee bean.
The Arabica coffee in Arpeggio capsules is made from a blend of South and Central American beans, with the malty, fruity profiles that are so characteristic of Costa Rican coffees. Fine grinding helps to bring out the full-bodied flavor further.
As well as intensity, Arpeggio coffee boasts woody, almost grilled overtones, and subtle cocoa notes.
BEST NESPRESSO VERTUOLINE PODS
INTENSO XL CAPSULES
Nespresso’s aptly-named Intenso capsule brews a strong mug of coffee with hints of brown sugar sprinkled throughout and punctuated by a lasting aftertaste. The combination of Central and South American Arabica beans and Guatemalan Robustas rely on a split roasting technique to create this thick and dense brew.
The classic Diavolitto espresso capsule is intense and powerful, delivering a mighty punch of flavor and energy in a petite little package. Brazilian Arabica coffee beans and Robustas from South and Central America join together to create a smooth brew with a creamy texture. One sip of this delightfully bitter and full-bodied drink and you’ll be hooked.
BEST NESPRESSO DECAF PODS
RISTRETTO DECAFFEINATO CAPSULES
The Ristretto Decaffeinato capsules pack all the flavor of the Italian-inspired OriginalLine pod without the caffeine-induced jitters later. The split roasted Brazilian, South American, and East African Arabica beans and the South Indian Robusta beans join forces to create a bold and roasty flavor with notes of cocoa and fruit.
For a mug full of a smooth and well-rounded decaf brew, pop a Decaffeinato capsule into your Vertuo machine, and in minutes, enjoy a blend of Costa Rican and South American coffee.
When it’s enjoyed on its own, you’ll notice malted and cereal notes, but when you add milk — preferably milk that’s been frothed in a Nespresso Aeroccino frother — your tastebuds will dance with delight as a fresh, nutty flavor is released.
BEST FLAVORED NESPRESSO PODS
If you’re anything like us, you appreciate all of coffee’s natural flavors. You love to identify the tasting notes, and you savor every sip. But we also know there’s a time and place for a good flavored brew, and for that reason, we’ve decided to highlight a few of our favorite Nespresso flavor capsules.
Indulge in all the delectable flavors of a sweet, creamy éclair…with a significantly lower amount of sugar and calories. Nespresso Original’s Vanilla Éclair capsule features a classic vanilla aroma and velvety smooth mouthfeel that’s sure to remind you of your favorite dessert.
This coffee is made from fine South American beans hailing from Brazil and Colombia; they come together to create a drink that would impress any real coffee expert, which is probably why it’s been sorted into the Barista Creations collection.
When it comes to a flavored coffee, almost none is more comforting than good old hazelnut. Pop a Hazelino Muffin capsule into your Vertuo machine, and enjoy the sweet taste of hazelnut-infused ground coffee beans.
African and Latin American Arabica beans are split-roasted to create a smooth and well-rounded brew that’s good on its own or with a milk of your choice.
BEST NESPRESSO VARIETY PACKS
Say you’ve only just transitioned into the wonderful world of Nespresso machines and capsules and aren’t quite sure what kind of coffee you like best. That’s where capsule variety packs come in handy, allowing you to sample a handful of different flavors and roasts before committing to one.
BEST NESPRESSO ORIGINALLINE VARIETY PACK
If you’ve purchased an OriginalLine machine, sample the best of Nespresso’s medium and dark roast capsules with a 50-count variety pack.
This sampler includes 10 of each coffee — Volluto, Ispirazione Roma, Cosi, Vivalto Lungo, and Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio — and this taste test of a few of Nespresso’s most popular flavors is sure to lead you to your new favorite coffee.
For the more cost-conscious coffee drinker, we recommend Bestpresso’s 120-count variety pack. This sampler is packed with dark and flavored roasts, including Verona, Vaniglia, Caramello, Cioccolato, Brazil, and Colombian brews. Sure, 120 pods are a lot to go through, but we think the reasonable price point makes this variety pack of capsules a worthwhile buy.
BEST NESPRESSO VERTUOLINE VARIETY PACK
For a taste of the top-selling Nespresso VertuoLine capsules, pick up a 30-count variety pack. No, these pods aren’t compatible with any OriginalLine machine, but when you pop one of these babies into your Vertuo brewer, you can enjoy the distinctive and intense flavors of the Stormio, Odacio, and Melozio coffees.
WHAT’S THE STRONGEST NESPRESSO POD?
We know what you’re thinking: having an overview of some of Nespresso’s best pods is great, but which coffee is going to give me the fuel I need to make it through my day? Which pod is the strongest?
As we said earlier, the intensity level of each coffee sold by the Switzerland-based brand is rated on a scale from 1-13, and it’s this numerical scale that helps us accurately answer the question above.
Before we get into that, we first have to define what strong coffee actually is. Many coffee drinkers believe a brew’s strength is determined by its caffeine content, roast level, or even bitterness. But according to the Specialty Coffee Association, coffee’s strength is determined by its concentration — what percentage of the drink is coffee and what percentage is water.
For the most part, Nespresso agrees with the SCA’s belief that coffee’s concentration determines its intensity level, but the brand also believes that the roast level of the coffee beans, body, and bitterness play important roles as well.
So, what wins the award for the strongest pod? That would be the Kazaar capsule, the most intense blend in Nespresso’s Intenso collection. This OriginalLine, Intenso collection coffee is a blend of Robusta beans from Brazil and Guatemala and South American Arabicas that work together to form an exceptionally intense dark roast with peppery notes and a creamy finish.
WHAT IS THE MOST POPULAR NESPRESSO CAPSULE?
There are certain aspects of life we don’t think you should cut corners in. And you’re probably aware by now that coffee is one of them. And that’s why we want to be certain you know which capsule is the best of the best — which pod other diehard coffee drinkers are consistently buying.
What is the most popular Nespresso capsule? The Ristretto pod!
Included in the OriginalLine Ispirazione Italiana collection, the Ristretto capsule is a blend of Brazilian, East African, and South American Arabica beans. Just a dash of Indian Robusta beans are added to the blend and roasted separately to produce a subtle, fruity, slightly acidic note that perfectly complements this intense, full-bodied espresso.
Additionally, the combination of Arabica and Robusta beans are slowly roasted to produce a really intense and original bouquet that’s reminiscent of chocolate, and the grind used for these capsules is fine to create a quality, Italian-style brew.
WHAT ARE THE BEST NESPRESSO ALTERNATIVES?
Normally, we would advise you to stick to the name-brand pods for your Nespresso machine so there’s no sacrificing quality. However, we know how expensive these capsules can be, so we did a little digging for products that will satisfy your coffee cravings without breaking the bank or skimping on flavor.
Meet the Gourmesso coffee capsule. This company was founded in Berlin, Germany, with the hopes of providing high-quality espresso to those searching for a wide variety of coffee. And it seems the company’s done just that.
Gourmesso’s options include almost any kind of coffee you can think of, whether you enjoy a nice flavor like caramel or pumpkin spice, or a simple medium roast.
Gourmesso’s capsules have become the European leader in Nespresso-compatible pods, so it’s no wonder these products have taken the American market by storm as well. Bear in mind, though, these pods are only substitutes for Nespresso OriginalLine machines, so if you have one of the brand’s VertuoLine machines, you’ll need to look elsewhere for pods.
Next on our list of Nespresso capsule dupes is Bestpresso.
As you probably already guessed from the company’s name, Bestpresso aims to deliver the best coffee possible, sourcing beans from the Americas, Africa, and Asia, roasting them carefully, grinding them finely, and encapsulating the grounds into temperature migration certified pods; this means that when the hot water is filtered through these grounds in your espresso machine, no flavor will be lost or altered. In other words, you’ll get the best possible drink every time!
Sorry, Vertuo lovers, you’re out of luck here; yet again, these capsules are not compatible with Nespresso VertuoLine machines.
REUSABLE COFFEE CAPSULES
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any Vertuo compatible pods from any brand besides Nespresso, but never fear, reusable pods are here!
Using reusable coffee pods definitely has its perks, like eliminating waste and therefore helping the environment, saving you money on expensive single-use pods, and giving you the ability to use the freshest, highest quality coffee in your Nespresso machine.
For a reliable reusable alternative, try the Blusea stainless steel capsule. Not only are these little pods sleek, but they’re also highly durable — no rust, corrosion and acid resistant, and dishwasher safe.
WHICH NESPRESSO CAPSULE IS BEST FOR A LATTE?
If you’re one of the many who love nothing more than to start the day with a nice, hot latte, you know the secret to making one of these delicious beverages lies in the quality of the espresso, and you’re probably wondering if a Nespresso machine and capsules are capable of delivering the steamy, classic coffee drink you’ve grown to know and love.
The answer is yes. But which of Nespresso’s capsules will produce the best-tasting result?
According to Nespresso’s official latte recipe, your best bets are the medium roast Vivalto Lungo or Fortissio Lungo pods. For a stronger drink, opt for Fortissio, with an intensity of 8, but if you’re looking for something less intense, try Vivalto instead, as it only boasts an intensity 0f 4.
And if you want to add an extra bit of oomph to your latte, consider trying one of Nespresso’s Barista Creations pods, like Bianco Leggero. This flavored coffee, with its notes of caramel and sweet biscuit, is strong enough to stand on its own. But like the other capsules in this collection, it’s designed to complement milk beverages well, so if you use one of these babies, you know you’re in for a treat.
So the next time you’re craving a good latte but don’t have the time or energy to stand in line at a coffee shop, just pop in a Nespresso pod, pull out your handy dandy milk frother, and let the machines do all the hard work for you.
WHERE TO BUY NESPRESSO PODS
Captivated by these capsules and wondering how you can get your hands on some of them? We’ve got just the answers you’re looking for!
Maybe you’re in charge of stocking enough coffee to satisfy everyone in the office, or perhaps you’re the type of person who drinks five or six cups a day. Either way, buying your capsules in bulk is your best bet. If that’s the case, we suggest logging onto Amazon’s website and ordering a 30 or 50-pack of pods.
Plus, Amazon is a great place to find other Nespresso-compatible pods, too, so this site may be helpful to bookmark on your browser if you’re on a budget.
Of course, you can always get the goods straight from the source: Nespresso. Shop from the comfort of your own home by visiting the company’s official website, but if you’re fortunate enough to live near one of Nespresso’s 700 boutiques across 68 countries, stop into the storefront for a quality coffee-buying experience.
Maybe you don’t live near a Nespresso boutique but would prefer to pick up your pods in-store over ordering them online. Luckily, Nespresso is a popular brand, and while you may not find the store’s full inventory, you can find a wide variety of capsules at big retailers like Walmart or Target.
WRAPPING IT UP
So, there you have it, a detailed overview of some of Nespresso’s best coffee capsule offerings, as well as some tidbits of information with which you can impress all your coffee-loving friends.