One of the major reasons for the popularity of Nespresso machines is their convenience. When using your Nespresso, you can have a cup of your favorite caffeine fix ready within a push of a button.
And people are well aware of that, which is reflected in the fact that half of the Americans rely on single-cup coffee-brewing machines to get their daily cup of coffee.
If you’re a long-term Nespresso user, you might have noticed the disturbing piles of single-use pods that accumulate over time. Indeed, of the 39,000 capsules produced worldwide every minute, 29,000 of them end up in landfills.
So even though Nespresso capsules are easy to use, the alarming rate at which they contribute to waste every day requires a solution. And one possible solution to this problem is switching to reusable pods.
How do they work? How do they compare to the original pods? And what are the best reusable Nespresso caps?
We are going to debunk the reusable Nespresso pods and have a look at the best picks we found.
Quick Summary: Best Nespresso Reusable Pods
|CAPMESSO Reusable Espresso Capsules||Check on Amazon →|
|Alchemy Bar Nespresso Capsules Refillable||Check on Amazon →|
|i Cafilsa Stainless Steel Refillable Coffee Capsules||Check on Amazon →|
|SEAL POD Refillable Nespresso Pods||Check on Amazon →|
|Blusea Coffee Pod Holder Filter Set||Check on Amazon →|
Are Nespresso Pods Environmentally Irresponsible?
The idea of an instantaneous cup of coffee that doesn’t require much preparation or effort is a mesmerizing one. All you need to do is put a capsule into your Nespresso machine, and you’ll have your favorite beverage ready within seconds.
The convenience creates an environmental problem of creating vast amounts of waste by the single-serving Nespresso capsules.
The company tries to encourage recycling and provides recycling bags for the customers which then can be returned full of used caps to Nespresso recycling facilities or participating stores. The coffee machine giant Nespresso claims that 29% of their used coffee pods are recycled globally.
However, the material of Nespresso capsules is prone to mold and creates an unpleasant smell, which discourages consumers from recycling. As a result, despite having more than 100,000 Nespresso recycling points, people are more inclined to use the bin instead of the recycling program and most of the pods end up in landfills.
That’s why reusable Nespresso capsules could be the answer to the problem.
Why Give Reusable Capsules A Chance?
Since recycling Nespresso capsules is not convenient and quite ineffective, using reusable pods reduces the amount of single-use capsules that would otherwise end up in landfills.
They don’t complicate the coffee brewing process too much, so you can still enjoy the convenience of your Nespresso machine and reduce its waste contribution, making your caffeine habit more sustainable.
Apart from benefiting the environment, you will also be benefiting your wallet. While, a single Nespresso pod costs around $0.70, if you’re using the reusable pods, it will cost you $0.22 per refill. If you only drink two coffees a day, the simple swap could save you $16 a month and more than $200 a year. And that is worth considering.
More Freedom With Brewing
As some of the coffee enthusiasts will be aware, even though Nespresso coffee is convenient and easy to use, the coffee out of a capsule will never be of the highest quality.
Even though it is sealed for freshness, by the time the coffee gets to you, some experts argue, the coffee has already begun to go stale. It might have been ground for months or even years before it makes its way into your cup.
By switching to reusable capsules, you are getting more freedom and control over your brewing. You can use whatever coffee you prefer and you can grind it fresh yourself just before brewing.
Things To Keep In Mind Before Buying
The first thing to consider when shopping for refillable Nespresso pods is the kind of Nespresso you own, or you intend to buy. Since Nespresso revolutionized the system of brewing, the mechanics between the Original and the Vertuo line of machines is different.
The machines from the Original line create high pressure before pushing water through the coffee grinds, a system that is similar to an espresso machine.
However, the Vertuo machines push water into the capsules and then spin them around to blend the water and the grinds together. This method can produce a better drink, but as a result, more mechanics needs to go into the capsules.
Most of the reusable coffee pods are compatible only with the Original line, so do some research before buying.
With different kinds of refillable pods on the market, you need to choose the one that suits your needs and priorities. For example, if a good crema on your shot is important to you, the different lids will produce different results.
The main differentiation is between the sticker-type tops and the latching-type tops. While the sticker-tops are adhesive and disposable, the latching tops are a part of the capsules themselves.
The drawback of the sticker pods is that you need to restock the lids, so they are not as environmentally responsible. The major upside, however, is that they can build up much higher pressure and, in turn, more substantial crema.
While the latching tops don’t need to be replaced, the resulting crema when using these will be inferior.
While the plastic pods are much cheaper, some of the manufacturers use questionable plastic that might not be BPA-free. Additionally, not all of them are resistant to the heat created by the brewing, which might cause them to explode during the process. So it’s probably best to stay away from that possibility, right?
The stainless steel pods are much more durable and can withstand high temperatures with ease. But if you get the ones with a screw metal closure, they are prone to clogging and should be descaled from time to time.
How To (Re)Use The Pods
Since the convenience and mess-free operation might be the main reason you got a Nespresso machine, the idea of complicating the process can be off-putting. But brewing with reusable pods is a straightforward process. Just follow these simple steps:
- Grind the coffee of your choice. The fresher the grind, the better your shot will taste.
- Use the grind similar to an espresso. It shouldn’t be too fine since that would make the water pass through the grinds too slowly, creating an over-extracted shot. And if the coffee is ground too coarse, the water passes too quickly creating a sour under-extracted espresso-flavored-water.
- Fill the reusable pod with coffee grounds.
- Pack the coffee in with a tamper.
- Close the capsule (depending on the type of lid you’re using).
- Start brewing.
- After the coffee is used, you can simply empty the capsule with a knife and bin it into compost. Or you can use it as a fertilizer for your garden.
Best Nespresso Reusable Pods
CAPMESSO Reusable Espresso Capsules
The CAPMESSO reusable capsules are one of the simplest options with easy operation. Compatible with the Original Nespresso line, these pods come with sticker foil tops that adhere to the capsules. You just press a foil cover onto the cap and slide it into the machine. Thanks to the sticker tops, the resulting crema is better and the cleanup is easy.
The reusable capsules are light and not so durable. You can expect around a month of consistent use out of them. And you’ll also need to restock on the disposable tops. So these capsules provide something in between. More sustainable option than the single-use pods, but still not as durable as some other ones.
Alchemy Bar Goods
The Alchemy Bar Goods refillable pods are compatible with the Original Nespresso line are made out of BPA-free plastic that can withstand high temperatures created by brewing.
These refillable pods are convenient and simple to use. And since they are dishwasher safe, the cleanup is even easier. The latching tops mean that there is no need to replace the coffee pod or any other part of it.
The cost for the latching tops is that the pressure that builds up before the water is released is not that high and the resulting crema is not that thick. The shots you brew with these reusable coffee pods will be weaker and won’t be recreating the full experience.
i Cafilas Stainless Steel Refillable Coffee Capsules
Made from durable stainless steel, these refillable capsules promise exceptional crema. And indeed, they do not disappoint. With a rubber gasket around the rim, they create a strong seal that helps to build up the pressure and create a thick satisfying crema.
For the best result, use finely ground coffee and we also recommend that you fill the pod with coffee grounds just below the top to allow water to push through.
These are also compatible with the Original-line Nespresso machines so double-check the compatibility of your device before you buy.
SealPod Stainless Steel Refillable Nespresso Pods
The stainless steel SealPods are the ones that offer the best value. Compatible with the Original Nespresso line, these feature a sticker top instead of a latching one, they are easy to load up and you’ll have no trouble disposing of the used coffee grounds, ensuring easy cleanup.
The sticker tops also mean better crema on top of your shot since these kinds of tops allow more pressure to be build up during the brewing.
The downside is that they are smaller than the typical capsules, which means that the shots of coffee will be smaller too. The difference not significant but it is something to consider. The sticker tops also need to be restocked once in a while and are not as environmentally conscious as the latching ones.
Blusea Stainless Steel Coffee Capsule
These reusable coffee pods are the only ones from our list that are compatible with the machines from the Vertuo Nespresso line. The Vertuo capsules use a more complicated mechanism when the pods need to spin rapidly while mixing the coffee with water together.
The stainless steel design provides a sleek look and good durability. The solid construction promises no rust, no residue, a special oxygen-sealing technology, and a rich crema on top.
Do Reusable Capsules Work?
The answer is yes. But some things are different when using refillable capsules. For those who love their coffee rich and strong, the bad news is that with reusable capsules, the coffee is lighter. This is because the pods don’t allow you to add as much coffee as there is in the original capsules, resulting in weaker shots.
It is also important to grind the coffee finely, just as you would for espresso, to ensure a good extraction. At the same time, don’t use too much ground coffee since overfilling the pod will cause that water cannot pass through properly.
Nespresso Or Espresso?
Okay, now it’s the time to address the elephant in the room. If you’re concerned with the sustainability of using single-use Nespresso pods, you are looking for pods that would produce a rich crema and want the freedom to be able to use any coffee you want, isn’t it better to use espresso machine instead of your Nespresso?
Sure, if you already have a Nespresso machine and love the simplicity of the brewing and the taste, but you are just looking for a more sustainable option, reusing coffee pods might be for you.
However, if you’re looking to buy a Nespresso machine with an intent to use the refillable capsules, or you’re looking for a way of having more freedom over the brewing process and want to choose which coffee beans you use, it might be the right time to get an espresso machine instead.
The truth is, when brewing with an espresso machine, the resulting shot will be richer, more flavorful, and have a thicker crema on top. Brewing with an espresso machine is also more reliable, less annoying, and will produce a more consistent and better taste.
The main benefit of using Nespresso machines is its convenience. You can have a cup of your favorite caffeine fix within seconds and that’s without any mess or complicated brewing process.
The convenience comes with a downside and that’s the fact that the single-serving capsules have a massive impact on the environment, as well as your wallet. The solution is to be able to reuse coffee pods that you’ve purchased.
The refillable coffee pods reduce waste while still maintaining the convenience of the Nespresso brewers. We’ve given you the list of our best picks out of all the different kinds of reusable Nespresso pods. These include sticker top as well as the latching top ones and the pods made from plastic or stainless steel.
Did you find the ones that will suit your needs or are you ready to make the transition to an espresso machine?