Nespresso machines are quickly gaining ground as the most popular espresso machines in many homes and offices. The major reason behind their enormous presence is their ease of use, speed, and they require very little in the way of cleaning. Their only drawback is that the cost of capsules can add up quickly…especially if you drink several cups a day.
If you are reading this, chances are you own a Nespresso brewer and are either looking for a wider variety of coffee option, a less expensive capsule for your morning cup, or maybe both!
With the rising popularity of Nespresso brewers, the coffee world has been flooded with a large assortment of third party Nespresso compatible capsules. Some are good, some are bad, some are just plain terrible. We have listed our favorites below so you don’t get stuck drinking bad coffee.
|Best Overall||Gourmesso Variety Pack|
|Best Flavor Pick||Gourmesso Flavor Bundle|
|Best Dark Roast Capsules||Peet’s Dark Roast Pack|
|Best Variety Pack||Lavazza Variety Pack|
|Best Decaf Capsules||Artizan Heavenly Project|
|Best Budget Pick||Cafe La Llave|
What are Nespresso compatible capsules?
Nespresso compatible capsules are coffee fill pods that are produced solely for Nespresso’s wide range of coffee machines. Each capsule, regardless of brand, are similar in shape and size to the Nespresso brand capsules.
The pods are made from either aluminum or food grade plastic, topped with an aluminum top, and are used exactly the same way traditional Nespresso brand capsules are used. It is important to note that not all Nespresso machines use the same style pods, so make sure the capsules you are purchasing are compatible with your model.
Peet’s Coffee Espresso Capsules
Peet’s coffee is a well known company that has retail stores throughout the United States. Their coffee hub is their roasting plant located in Alameda, California. They hire some of the most select and highly trained coffee roasters in the United States to constantly work to improve the taste of their coffee.
Peet’s has also partnered with g2 Revolution to create an innovative recycling solution for their coffee capsules to avoid filling up the nation’s landfills. Spent capsules can be placed into Peet’s recycling bags (which hold up to 100 capsules and are provided for free) and Peet’s will take them to a special recycling plant where the aluminum is carefully separated and recycled and the coffee is made into compost.
Peet’s Nerissimo is its signature espresso. The super dark espresso is said to be the some of the blackest and sweetest espresso in existence. Coming in at an intensity level of 11, this is some of the darkest espresso you can get. If a dark roast is your style, this Nerissimo blend may just be your next guilty pleasures
Peet’s Ricchezza is another bold espresso, but with hints of blossoms, berry, and sweet brown sugar. Compatible with the OriginalLine machines, this medium roast coffee has a tried and true flavor you will love.
If you love dark roast espresso but are looking for a little more variety, check out Peet’s Dark Roast Pack. Each pack has 4 varieties including the Nerissimo and Ricchezza mentioned above, as well as Ristretto and Crema Scura.
Each capsule, designed for use in the OriginalLine machines, is hermetically sealed to preserve the aroma and provide a more intense espresso flavor. The high quality espresso is made from 100% Arabica beans and when brewed, is topped with a thick and smooth cream indicative of the high quality of Peet’s coffee.
Artizan puts a lot of effort into their coffee. They even have a “Love it” guarantee. If you ever place an order that you don’t love 100% they vow to make it right by replacing it with one you will love or give your move back!
All of Artizan’s coffee beans are freshly roasted in their state of the art roasting facility in Miami Gardens and their freshness is always guaranteed.
Artizan is also environmentally friendly. They are Certified Organic, FairTrade, Rain Forest Alliance, UTZ, and bird friendly.
Their Nespresso compatible capsules are made in the same facilities they roast their coffee with a product called ecovio. Ecovio is a bioplastic derived from corn and it is both compostable and biodegradable.
The Heavenly Project blend uses a combination of beans grown at high altitude in Indonesia and South America with a touch of Indian Robusta. Coming in at an intensity level of 10, the Heavenly Project blend is quite aromatic and has notes of chocolate and citrus.
This family business started over 100 years ago when two brothers began growing coffee in Cuba. This authentic Cuban coffee has brought the brew that is enjoyed in virtually household in Cuba to the US. Once in the US, Cafe La Llave rapidly gained popularity and have recently ventured into capsule coffee production.
Viewed by many as the world’s only true Latin coffee, Cafe La Llave’s flavor lies in its rich full-bodied espresso. Just like the traditional Latin coffee brewed in a Moka pot, their nespresso compatible capsules aim to bring you the black yet sweet flavor enjoyed throughout Cuba.
This variety pack brings you the best Don Franscisco’s and Cafe La Llave have to offer. The varieties included are Cafe La Llave, Old Havana, Clasico, Organico, and Nuevo Mundo.
Each coffee has a slightly different roast and intensity score so this variety pack a great way to try out different flavors if you aren’t sure what your favorite coffee type is. With five different flavors to choose from you will definitely have at least one favorite…or maybe more.
Lavazza delighted coffee lovers around the world when they too ventured into the world of capsule coffee. Lavazza is one of the oldest and most reputable names in the coffee business today and now their great coffee is also available in capsule form.
All of their coffee is grown in exclusive facilities around the world and is roasted in their home country of Italy, giving you the authentic Italian coffee experience all in one little capsule.
Our favorite is the Espresso Ricco. This aromatic blend combines Arabica and Robusta from Brazil and Asia to create a flavor combination of Sweet Liqueur and dark chocolate. The espresso has an intense aroma and is topped with a thick and rich crema.
If you prefer a variety pack, Lavazza has you covered there too. This pack features Lavazza’s five best selling coffees and comes with 10 decaffeinated Ricco Espresso capsules, 10 Avvolegente Lungo capsules, 10 Leggero Lungo capsules, 10 Deciso Espresso capsules, and 20 Armonico Espresso capsules.
The Avvolgente Lunco is a dark roast with deep flavor notes of spice. The Leggero Lunco is a medium roast featuring fruity and floral notes. The Deciso Espresso is another dark roast with notes of cocoa and wood. Finally, the Armonico Espresso coffee is a dark roast that features flavor notes of toasted cereal and caramel.
Lavazza’s coffee capsules are compatible with all OriginalLine machines but not with VertuoLine machines.
Gourmesso was started in Berlin Germany and produces high quality coffee at almost half the price of other capsule coffee brands. While a German company, most of their products are now made in the US at their Miami, Florida location.
Gourmesso is very environmentally friendly and uses ethically sourced coffee from USDA certified organic, Rainforest Alliance certified, to Fair Trade, and even offers compostable capsules.
Gourmesso selects only environmentally friendly, high quality coffee beans for the amazing blends in their easy to use capsules. Their capsules are designed for use in the Nespresso OriginalLine machines and are not compatible with the VertuoLine machines.
Made with 100% Peruvian Arabica coffee beans and comes in at an intensity level of 3. This coffee is a light roast with a fully aromatic experience. USDA organic and Rainforest Alliance certified, Decaf Peru Dolce features hints of chocolate and is topped with a rich crema.
Brasile Blend Dolce is one of Gourmesso’s milder blends coming in at only a level 3 intensity. It is a light roast espresso that is slow roasted to bring out its mild aroma and subtle hints of citrus. This blend is ideal for coffee drinkers who prefer a blonde roast to more potent brews.
Nicaragua Mezzo is another one of Gourmesso’s milder capsules with an intensity level of 7. Combining South American Arabica beans with small hints of Asian Robusta beans create this mildly intense coffee. The resulting medium roast brew has a blanched strength and flavor, providing coffee lovers with a smooth coffee experience. This coffee offers a balance of bitter flavor with subtle hints of chocolate.
This is one of Gourmesso’s more robust blends. Consisting of 100% organic Arabica beans grown in Honduras, this Fair Trade certified coffee comes in with an intensity level of 9. The dark roast espresso is mildly aromatic with subtle hints of chocolate and is low in acidity.
Can’t decide? Gourmesso also offers a variety pack featuring 15 different blends with intensity levels of 3-9. The variety pack is a great place to begin if you are just getting started with Nespresso.
If you are looking for great flavored Nespresso compatible capsules, Gourmesso is one of the few brands that will give you this option. The Gourmesso Flavor Bundle offers you a total of 50 capsules containing 10 each of Caramel, Vanilla, Hazelnut, Chocolate, and Coconut. Each coffee has an intensity level of 5. This milder intensity level allows the flavor of the coffee to shine.
Bestpresso is an independent company that maintains very high standards in every part of the coffee making process. All of their coffees are Kosher and Rainforest Alliance certified, ensuring you get quality coffee and supporting the environment.
They also have a recycling program similar to Nespresso’s. Their free recycling bags hold up to 200 capsules which can be shipped back for free.
We love Bestpresso’s variety pack of 120 OriginalLine compatible capsules. Each pack contains six of their most popular flavors, including Ristretto, Intenso, Arabica, Espresso, Lunco, and Verona. There is a coffee for virtually anyone.
The capsules contain no preservatives, sugar, or added flavoring and contain over 50% Rainforest Alliance Certified Sustainable coffee. Bestpresso also offers a 60 day satisfaction guarantee so there is no risk in giving it a try.
These capsules are not produced by Nespresso so they do not use the same intensity rating scale but with 6 varieties to choose from, they are a great budget friendly alternative to stock the office coffee bar.
If you love Starbucks but decided coffee at home was a better choice, you can have your coffee and drink it too! Now you can make your favorite espresso drinks at home. The same Starbucks coffee you already know and love is now available for Nespresso OriginalLine machines.
Enjoy four of Starbucks most popular coffees from the comfort of your own home with this variety pack. The pack includes 10 capsules each of Blonde Roast, Columbia, and Pikes Place House blend, along with 20 House Blend capsules. With Intensity levels ranging from 6 (Blonde Roast) to 8 (House Blend), this variety pack is perfect for the casual coffee drinker. If you prefer something more intense we suggest you check out this Intense Variety Pack instead.
Like all Starbucks coffees, these blends are made using 100% Arabica beans that were grown using environmentally friendly methods.
L’OR maintains a gold standard that sets them apart from many other Nespresso compatible capsules. L’OR espresso capsules contain UTZ Certified coffee, only offering the best quality beans grown in sustainable environments around the globe. Each capsule is sealed in airtight aluminum to ensure better quality, longer shelf life, and full intensity with rich crema. After use, L’OR capsules may be recycled with Terracycle.
This variety pack includes a wide variety of roasts ranging in intensity from 8-12. Coffees include spicy Profondo, complex Columbia, refined Or Absolu, powerful Ristretto and intense Onyx. These coffees are all robust and not for coffee drinkers who prefer a lighter roast.
Caffe Pompeii is one of Italy’s fastest growing coffee companies. This espresso from Pompeii, Italy is compatible with Nespresso OriginalLine machines and have a superb espresso taste any serious coffee drinker would love.
Coffee beans are carefully selected, roasted to perfection, and then ground and precisely dosed into the capsules for the perfect cup of espresso every time.
Caffe Pompeii Nespresso compatible capsules are available in the following roasts:
A strong bold blend comprised of 20% Arabica and 80% robusta. Each cup has a full body, persistent aroma, and a strong crema.
Containing a blend of 50% each Arabica and Robusta beans, this espresso has a medium body and sweet aroma topped with a delicate crema.
This coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans had has a delicate flavor with distinct notes of caramel and cocoa. It has a high body density, with a fruity and spicy aroma with a thin foam.
This is one of Caffe Pompeii’s newest blends and is dedicated to Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary. This blend of 80% Arabica from Brazil, Columbia, and Ethiopia combines with 20% Robusta coffee beans from India to form a strong yet smooth brew. The coffee is full bodied with sweet and creamy flavor notes. The taste is out of this world!
Made from 100% arabica, this decaffeinated blend has flavor notes of fruit and spice with a balanced body, topped with a rich crema.
Cap’Mundo has been working to improve their capsule technology in their Paris offices for the past decade. The owner, Olivier Briois, is a coffee connoisseur whose goal has always been to develop a capsule technology that matches the exceptional signature coffee brands of the world. He finally reached this goal with the development of his haute couture IML capsule.
Each Cap-Mundo capsule is filled with coffee sourced from the highest quality beans. Their beans are sourced from the same farmers year after year to meet their high expectations of quality and consistency.
Each batch of beans is slow roasted in a small monastery in Strasbourg. This slow roast process gives Cap’Mundo a complex flavor that has notes of cedar, coriander, ginger and black pepper.
The History of Nespresso
Nespresso is a Swiss company who makes coffee and coffee machines. It is owned and managed by the Nestlé group and is available in over 60 countries. Their coffee machines use an original, patented capsule system to consistently make cup after cup of high quality coffee. Nespresso ensures this quality by producing every capsule in the world at one of its three production centers in Switzerland.
Coffee pods are found in most households throughout the United States but the concept of placing coffee into a capsule to make a consistent, quality cup of coffee every time started in the 1970s with the Nestlé research and development team. Their idea was simple: to enable anyone, in their homes and work places, to make the perfect espresso coffee, just as those served in the best Italian coffee bars.
In 1986 their concept became a reality. With a team of five employees, the product launched its first test markets in Switzerland, Italy, and Japan. The machine had a manual capsule holder that mimicked a traditional barista movement. They began a Nespresso club concept to provide a range of services to their customers, and finally started to expand to France and the United States in 1991.
In 2001, Nespresso launched the concept machine that would eliminate the need for a manual capsule holder which soon led them to become a global brand. In 2012 they reach a 76% capsule recycling capacity and in 2014 they launched their sustainability vision called The Positive Cup, which targets coffee sourcing, social welfare, aluminium sourcing, and resilience to climate change.
The Benefits of Nespresso Compatible Capsules
Using Nespresso capsules as well as Nespresso compatible capsules like Peet’s coffee, Artizan, and Starbucks, among others provides a number of advantages.
Single Cup Options
It is common when brewing a carafe of coffee to brew more coffee than you actually need. Using capsule coffee prevents this waste by only brewing one cup at a time.
Unlike traditional ground coffee, capsule coffee does not lose its flavor or aroma over time. Once you open a bag of ground coffee, the essential oils begin to evaporate, sacrificing flavor and aroma. Capsule coffee remains sealed until you are ready to consume it so the flavors and aroma is retained.
Brew With Ease
Using a capsule brewer like Nespresso makes preparing your favorite coffee drinks simple. Simply pop in a Nespresso compatible capsule, press the button for your preferred beverage type, and let the machine work its magic. The machine does all the work. It uses the proper amount of water and pressure to brew your favorite drink every time.
Nespresso compatible capsules eliminated the need to measure out and compress the coffee in order to get the rich crema that tops espresso. The pre-filled capsules also mean that the coffee will taste the same every time…regardless of who prepares it.
Capsule coffee uses a machine that can brew a cup in less than a minute.
Capsule coffee makers also eliminate the need for filters and regular cleaning of the carafe, saving you valuable time.
If you only plan on sticking to Nespresso brand coffee, you will have a relatively limited selection of brews to choose from. Using Nespresso compatible capsules offers you a greater variety of beverage choices including flavored coffee and tea. Some manufacturers offer a large assortment of capsules filled with loose tea. Just remember to rinse the coffee brewer before brewing tea so your tea is not contaminated with coffee flavors.
In addition to coffee and tea, some manufacturers have developed capsules with additives that will quickly prepare a “cappuccino” or other delicious coffee beverages for those days you just don’t have time to use the milk frother.
The Disadvantages of Nespresso Compatible Capsules
Nespresso machines have a number of advantages but they also come with a couple of drawbacks. Nespresso machines can only brew one cup at a time and will not brew an entire carafe of coffee. This is generally not an issue, but if you are planning a dinner party with lots of guests, you certainly don’t want a line at the coffee maker.
The other drawback to Nespresso capsules is cost. On average each Nespresso capsule runs from $0.70 – $1.10 each. Third party, Nespresso compatible capsules are a bit less expensive, but if you drink several cups of coffee a day, the cost can add up quickly.
While this price is considerably cheaper than going to a coffee shop every day, it is still more expensive than a traditional drip brewer or espresso maker.
Types of Capsules and Packaging
A Nespresso capsule consists of up to 9 grams of coffee and a certain amount of inert gas that prevents oxidation of the coffee in the capsule. The packaging of this coffee can vary based on brand but typically consists of aluminum, or a food grade plastic body with an aluminum top.
The capsules themselves are typically packaged in a sleeve containing 10 – 12 individual capsules.
When selecting Nespresso compatible capsules, keep in mind which kind of Nespresso brewer you have.
OriginalLine vs. VertuoLine
Nespresso coffee machines come in two distinct lines: the OriginalLine and the VertuoLine.
In short, the OriginalLine can only be used to brew espresso while the VertuoLine can be used to brew espresso and coffee. Keep in mind that the capsules for these two lines are NOT interchangeable.
The OriginalLine only brews espresso and uses 19 bar pressure to extract the espresso creating a rich crema on top while the VertuoLine can make espressos to larger cups, up to 17 ounces, and brews everything from a short espresso to a smooth Gran Lungo or a regular coffee. Instead of the high pressure used by the OriginalLine, the VertuoLine uses a modern Centrifusion system that creates holes in the top of the coffee capsules, injects hot water and then spins the capsules extremely fast (up to 7,000 rpms) to extract all of the brewed coffee.
When choosing a Nespresso compatible capsule, keep your machine model in mind and make sure you are purchasing capsules compatible with your machine.
Considering a Nespresso machine and not sure which one is best? Check out our Nespresso buying guide.
Storing Your Coffee Capsules
Now that you have selected the Nespresso capsules that best fit your personal preferences, how are you going to store them? Of course, you could just store them in the box they came in but many prefer both the aesthetic and convenience of a capsule storage system.
We recommend the NIFTY capsule storage drawer for the VertuoLine capsules. You can organize and store up to 40 of your favorite flavors in this space saving drawer designed to fit right under your VertuoLine machine. The drawer has 4 rows of up to 10 storage spots and offers a smooth glide drawer that quietly opens and closes with ease.
For you OriginalLine owners out there, we recommend this flagship coffee pod holder. Stylishly display your coffee capsules right in their box with this convenient dispenser. Made from durable cast iron, this capsule dispenser has a non-slip rubber base to prevent it from sliding around on your countertop. We recommend you put the sleeve of capsules in the dispenser before opening to save yourself the headache of capsules flying all over the counter.
Features to Consider When Choosing Compatible Capsules
Before you begin shopping for Nespresso compatible capsules, there are a few features to consider.
Which machines are they compatible with?
We all know Nespresso means great single serve coffee but Nespresso has quite a few different machines. You want to make sure the capsules you are purchasing are compatible with your particular machine. While there are many different machines out there, Nespresso only uses two different capsule types. The OriginaLine uses a smaller capsule that typically has an almond shaped end while the VertuoLine uses a larger capsule with a rounded end.
The two types of machines use different methods to brew coffee, so if you choose the wrong capsule, it will not work in your machine.
Unfortunately, there are currently no third party capsules available for the Nespresso Vertuoline at this time.
Which varieties are included?
There is nothing worse than wasting your money on an entire pack of coffee capsules that you discover you hate. Some Nespresso capsules come in only one flavor while others come in a variety pack. If you already have a favorite blend or roast, a single pack of all one flavor may be perfect but if you are interested in trying out new flavors, you may want to consider a pack that offers multiple flavors or roasts.
Nespresso’s intensity ranking scale makes finding your perfect coffee capsule easy. Nespresso compatible capsules come in a variety of different roasts and each roast is typically measured on a scale of 1-12, with 1 being the least intense (lightest roast), and 12 being the most intense (strong bold flavor).
Capsules coming in in the 1-4 range tend to be lighter roasts so if you prefer Starbucks blonde roast espresso, you should stick to a capsule in the lower end of the scale. However, if you prefer a bold dark espresso, try something in the 8-12 range. Finally, if you lie somewhere in the middle and blonde is too light but a super dark roast is a bit too bitter, try a capsule in the 5-7 range.
Coffee beans are produced all over the world and the climate and soil of the general region the beans are grown can greatly dictate their flavor. While coffee origin may be unimportant to some, many coffee connoisseurs want to know exactly where their beans come from.
If you prefer Colombian coffee or a great Sumatra, consider the origin of the coffee when shopping for Nespresso compatible capsules. Chances are your will love capsules containing coffee from these origins too.
How many capsules are in a pack?
Nespresso compatible capsules greatly vary when it comes to how many are in each pack. Some come with as few as 10-12 capsules per package while others come with anywhere from 50-120!
Paying close attention to how many capsules are in a package will help you determine the cost per capsule. If you are looking for Nespresso compatible capsules, chances are you are looking to spend a little less on great coffee. If this is the case, it is more important to consider the cost per unit rather than the overall package price.
Variety packs are typically larger and allow you to try a number of different flavors, and roasts but at the same time, you also don’t want to buy 120 capsules of a coffee that you discover you don’t really like.
Are Nespresso compatible capsules any good?
In short, yes. Nespresso compatible capsules can be quite good and provide you with a greater variety of choices than just using Nespresso produced capsules. Know, however, that you will never get the same flavor out of any capsule that you will get usingartisan roasted and freshly ground beans.
What brands are compatible with nespresso?
There are a wide variety of coffee brands that make capsules for Nespresso brewers. There are the Nespresso produced capsules themselves, as well as compatible capsules made by Gourmesso, Bestpresso, Peet’s, and Starbucks just to name a few. When in doubt, read reviews before you buy and make sure the capsule you are buying is compatible with your specific model.
Is it safe to drink expired coffee capsules?
Safe? Yes. Ideal? No. The shelf life of a Nespresso compatible capsule is typically 12-24 months. Capsules that are past their expiration date are perfectly safe to consume from a food safety perspective as long as they are still sealed and not punctured. However, as the capsules age, the coffee can start to lose flavor and its distinctive aroma notes so it may not have the same quality as an unexpired capsule.
Can I use my own coffee in my Nespresso machine?
If you truly want to use your own coffee, you have the option to do so. Refillable cups for Nespresso machines are available in both a reusable version and a disposable version. It should be noted that these reusable cups are produced by third party manufacturers and not by Nespresso.
Can I use capsules more than once?
While there are a number of hacks out there that will explain how to empty your used capsules, fill them with coffee, and cover them with foil so they can be reused in your machine, this method is risky at best. You could end up with a substandard cup of coffee or you could damage your machine so we wouldn’t advise it.
Are capsules bad for the environment?
It depends. If you use your capsules and then toss them in the trash, then yes. Landfills are loaded with spent coffee pods, however, most capsules can be recycled. Nespresso itself has a recycling program and will recycle your used Nespresso produced capsules.
If you decide to go with a Nespresso compatible capsule, check the packaging to make sure it is recyclable and then make sure you put the spent capsules in the recycling bin rather than the trash.
Which roast level is best for a less intense coffee taste?
Sometimes when it comes to coffee there are just too many options. If you are left scratching your head trying to decide which capsule is best for you, you’re in luck. Nespresso capsules use an intensity level ranking to help you find the perfect fit.
If you prefer a milder coffee go with a light roast in the 1-4 intensity range. If you usually drink a medium to medium-dark roast try something in the 5-8 intensity range. Feel free to experiment but we would recommend you avoid the 10-12 intensity range.
What capsules are compatible with the Vertuoline machines?
Nespresso has a patent on the Vertuoline capsules so compatible capsules will most likely not be available until 2030.
There is a wide variety of Nespresso compatible capsules out there but when it comes down to which is the best…well, that is simply a matter of personal preference. Hopefully our buyers guide will help you find the perfect capsule for you. If you are just starting out down the Nespresso road, be sure to experiment and try lots of different capsules at first to narrow down your favorites so you will never waste money on coffee you don’t love again!
Prefer Nespresso brand pods instead? Check out our buying guide.