The Ultimate Guide To Coffee Capsules in 2021

By: | Updated: April 13, 2021

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Capsule coffee, or pods as they are known, have become a staple in homes and offices across the country.

From what brand to choose, to how to recycle your coffee pods, we get a lot of questions from our readers to help them navigate through this market. 

For this reason, we crafted an ultimate FAQ guide for coffee capsules 2021 that answers the most popular questions in relation to coffee capsules. Let’s dive in!

guide to coffee capsules

What’s The Difference between Nespresso, Dolce Gusto, and K-Cups

This posts discusses all kinds of coffee capsules (K-cups, Nespresso Original, Nespresso Dolce Gusto). If you are looking for our best Nespresso capsules guide head on over here

Nowadays, there are a lot of different capsule variations on the market. When purchasing a coffee capsule, you need to make sure that it’s compatible with your coffee maker.

If you are thinking about purchasing a coffee capsule machine, it’s important to know the differences before making your purchase.

The three top choices when it comes to coffee capsules are Nespresso, Dolce Gusto, and KCups.

If you are interested in the capsule machines themselves we’ve written detailed guides on Nespresso machines and Keurig (KCups) machines

Let’s have a look at what the differences are between each brand.

Nespresso vs Nescafe Dolce Gusto

Although both Nespresso and Dolce Gusto are produced by the same company (Nestle), these are different capsule systems. The capsules from the two brands are entirely distinct in terms of size, density, as well as materials.

What this means is that you can’t use the Nespresso capsules on a Dolce Gusto machine, and vice-versa. However, you can also find adapters that allow this.

Before making your pick between the two, we will objectively assess the pros and cons of each capsule system. Let’s start with Nescafe Dolce Gusto.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Dolce Gusto

Pros

  • Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee machines, as well as the capsule are cheaper than the Nespresso ones.
  • You get more coffee per capsule compared to Nespresso.
  • The Dolce Gusto Play & Select system has up to 7 levels while Nespresso only has two options: long and short.
  • Dolce Gusto varieties are specifically designed for long coffee lovers.
  • You can also make other drinks other than coffee, such as hot chocolate and tea, as they have capsules for that.

Cons

  • Unlike Nespresso, Dolce Gusto doesn’t have as many speciality coffees.
  • Dolce Gusto coffee machines don’t come with a capsule reservoir. What this means is that to put a new capsule in, you have to take the old one out. Nespresso coffee makers have a special reservoir where all the used capsules go.
  • If you’re an espresso lover, you’ll be disappointed as Dolce Gusto is not as intense as Nespresso.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Nespresso

 Pros

  • If you’re a coffee lover, you will love Nespresso. The taste of coffee is extremely authentic. With their two varieties: OriginalLine and VertuoLine, the choices are endless.
  • As of the time of writing this post, Nespresso only covers coffee. However, you have a lot of flavors to choose from.
  • A lot of the capsules are able to produce crema (foaming) thanks to the Nespresso machine.
  • There are many compatible capsules in the market.
  • Nespresso capsules can be recycled.

 Cons

  • The capsules are more expensive than Dolce Gusto
  • Capsules that produce long coffees make very short coffee at 110ml. Since a cup needs more than 220ml, you need to use two capsules. Dolce Gusto solves this by producing long coffee capsules at the right size.
  • Although this is changing, Nespresso physical stores are as of now limited. While you can purchase Nespresso online, Dolce Gusto is more easily available.

What Is The Difference Between Keurig K-Cups From Nespresso & Dolce Gusto Capsules

The Keurig K-Cup consists of a plastic cup and an aluminum lid. Each K-Cups is nitrogen sealed to allow optimum freshness, as well as a longer shelf life.

Aside from the capsule design, the difference can be found also in the way Keurig capsule machines work.

Keurig machines use a patented spray nozzle to pierce the aluminium lid of the K-Cup which together with a filter keeps the coffee grounds in place while the liquid passes through.

K-Cups vs Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Which One Should You Choose?

Given all the above information about the three capsule brands, all of them have their unique offerings.

Your choice depends on your personal preferences, here’s what we recommend:

Keurig K-Cups: Choose these if you want a vast array of beverages and flavors to choose from.

Nespresso: If you’re looking for high quality coffee this is the one to pick. We especially recommend it for espresso lovers since the majority of capsules feature the signature crema that characterizes a great espresso.

Dolce Gusto: These are ideal for those who want capsule coffee at a reasonable price. Dolce Gusto are also great for long coffee lovers.

Which Coffee Capsules Fit Dolce Gusto?

Since Nestle owns both Nescafe (which produces Dolce Gusto) and Nespresso, it’s important to not confuse the two systems. The Nescafe Dolce Gusto requires much larger capsules than Nespresso.

When choosing capsules compatible with your Dolce Gusto, it’s important to know the correct sizes as well as what capsules fit your Dolce Gusto coffee maker.

Capsule Shape

Strong U-Shape, approximately 54mm diameter, 37mm high

Capsule Features

Originals and compatible ones are all made out of plastic and have a nozzle at the bottom of the capsule. The lids of the Dolce Gusto capsules are made of plastic.

What To Look Out For When Choosing Dolce Gusto Compatible Capsules

It’s very important that you don’t purchase the wrong capsules as they won’t work with your Dolce Gusto machine.

Look out for keywords such as Nescafe, Dolce Gusto, or Nescafe Dolce Gusto Compatible when shopping for alternatives to the original capsules.

What Capsule Coffee Makers Work With Nescafe Dolce Gusto?

  • Nescafe Dolce Gusto®
  • Circolo®
  • Jovia®
  • MiniMe®
  • Genio®
  • Esperta®

Dolce Gusto capsules all work with the above machines. Other coffee makers might too, just make sure to check out the manufacturer’s manual and look for “Nescafe Dolce Gusto Compatible” if you’re not sure.

What Coffee Capsules Are Compatible With Nespresso?

Due to the popularity of Nespresso, there are many brands producing Nespresso-compatible capsules.

Some of the best ones are:

  • BestPresso
  • Gourmesso
  • HiLine
  • Rosso Coffee
  • Lavazza
  • Legato Intenso
  • Artizan
  • & many more

Opting for Nespresso-compatible capsules makes sense since they can be up to 30% cheaper than the original ones.

Furthermore, some Nespresso compatible capsules offer various flavor combinations that are not available with the originals.

What Coffee Capsules Are Compatible With Lavazza Coffee Makers?

Lavazza is one of the oldest and original capsule coffee makers. They have three product lines for this purpose: Blue, A Modo Mio, and Espresso Point.

All the three product lines have different capsule sizes so they are not compatible with each other. However, there are many compatible capsules that work with each individual machine.

We recommend searching for keywords such as Lavazza Blue Compatible, Lavazza A Modo Mio Compatible, and Lavazza Espresso Point Compatible, to make sure you purchase the right capsule.

What Coffee Capsules Are Compatible With DeLonghi Coffee Makers?

DeLonghi is one of the leading coffee appliance brands. They have partnered with Nespresso to create a range of coffee makers that are compatible with Nespresso capsules, among them, the famous DeLonghi Lattissima Series.

You can find all the DeLonghi coffee makers that are compatible with the Nespresso system here.

Important: Similar to the Nespresso coffee machines, please make sure you’re using the right Nespresso or Nespresso compatible capsules. Nespresso OriginalLine capsules will not work with VertuoLine machines, and vice-versa.

Can a Nespresso Pod Be Used Twice?

Yes! With lids being available on the market, a nespresso pod can be used more than once. However, you shouldn’t use it more than two times as the pod material becomes weaker with every use and so does the coffee.

Where To Recycle Coffee Capsules?

Recycling your Nespresso pods is quite easy (although it requires a bit of effort). You just need to make recycling your pods a part of your routine.

On the Nespresso website, you can order a free recycling bag and have it shipped directly to your home. Although if you purchase your Nespresso machine or pods from an official store, you will also get the recycling bags for free. 

Each bag can hold up to 200 OriginalLine Nespresso pods and 100 of the larger VertuoLine. 

Once you’ve filled up your bag, you simply drop it off at a Nespresso boutique store, waste center, or partner store. This is a great initiative from Nespresso as capsules can have a damaging effect on the environment if not disposed of properly.

Ever since introducing their capsule recycling program, it has been a great success with Nespresso reporting nearly 90% of capsules go through their recycling program.

Dolce Gusto and Keurig operate similar recycling programs.

What are K-Cup Pods?

K-Cups are the pod/capsule version from the popular coffee maker Keurig. Here’s what we love (and don’t like) about Keurig’s K-Cups:

Key Advantages of K-Cups

  • Impressive selection of blends and varieties
  • Lots of off-brand K-Cup compatible capsules on the market
  • Excellent coffee

Key Disadvantages of K-Cups

  • Quite expensive compared to other pods
  • Some claim K-Cup coffee isn’t as flavorful as other capsule brands.
  • Capsules are more wasteful than other capsule brands.

Can K-Cup Pods Be Used In Nespresso Machines?

The Answer Is: Unfortunately, No.

The Keurig K-Cups are incompatible with Nespresso machines for a multitude of reasons, these are:

  • The shape and size of K-Cups don’t work with Nespresso
  • Nespresso capsules have a specialized code, without it the machine won’t work. 

Where To Buy Nespresso OriginalLine Capsules?

Nespresso is by far the most popular capsule brand. The advantage this brings is that they are easy to find.

Here’s where you can find Nespresso capsules, both the OriginalLine and the VertuoLine varieties.

Nespressso.com or Nespresso Club

The first choice amongst new buyers of a Nespresso machine is from the brand’s own website, www.nespresso.com.

Nespresso also has its own membership club called Nespresso club that brings a lot of benefits:

  • Welcome Accessory for new members
  • Extended warranty for your machine ranging from 2 to 3 years
  • Special offers and discounted prices
  • Dedicated customer support for ordering or troubleshooting
  • Nespresso Magazine subscription
  • Easy placement of orders via web, application or call

Nespresso Boutiques

The Nespresso Boutique is a unique concept that brings the complete Nespresso experience under one roof. You will find everything related to Nespresso here, from the latest machines, to all their capsule varieties.

Nespresso Boutiques are especially helpful to new buyers as the helpful representatives will answer any questions you may have.

Amazon

Online is the way to go! In our opinion Amazon is the best place to get Nespresso capsules. The prices are unbeatable and with fast shipping through Prime, this is the option we recommend.

If you’re new to Nespresso, we recommend getting their Variety Packs first which contain different blends of the OriginalLine version. One you like a variety or more, you can order a full box of it.

We have written an extensive guide on the Nespresso OriginalLine capsule here.

Where To Buy Dolce Gusto Capsules?

Similar to Nespresso, you have three choices where to buy Nescafe Dolce Gusto capsules:

  1. Dolce Gusto official website – www.dolce-gusto.us
  2. Nescafe Dolce Gusto stores
  3. Amazon

Where To Buy Keurig’s K-Cups?

Keurig K-Cups, K-Cup compatible, and off-brand K-Cups can be found in a number of places across the country, including:

  1. Keurig’s official website – www.keurig.com
  2. Sam’s Club
  3. Costco
  4. Grocery Stores
  5. Amazon
  6. Gourmesso

We recommend Amazon since you have many options available and the fast shipping through Amazon Prime is very convenient.

Having said that we really love the compostable K-cups over at Gourmesso.com.

How To Save Money On K-Cups

Keurig’s K-Cups come with a significant cost, especially when compared to brewing traditional coffee and even among other capsule brands.

On the upside, K-Cups offer a wide variety of blends which taste really great.

There’s no need to compromise! You can still enjoy K-Cups without going over budget. Here’s our tips on how to save money on K-Cups:

  1. Buy K-Cups In Bulk – This is the best option as you can get good deals when purchasing in bulk.
  2. Choose a Smaller Package When Trying New Flavors – Tastes vary among each one of us, it’s normal that we purchase a particular flavor that we might like. To avoid disappointment (and waste), purchase smaller quantities at first before going all in on a select flavor.
  3. Use coupons and look for discounts – Physical stores, Keurig’s own website, and Amazon, have promotions and discounts periodically, take advantage of it.
  4. Use reusable K-Cups – You can purchase a filter that will allow you to put your own ground coffee inside a Keurig machine. This can save up to 65% compared to using a new K-Cup every time. It also helps the environment.

Final Thoughts

We did our best to help you navigate the ever-growing world of capsule coffee! Today there are many choices from various popular brands. We know it can be confusing choosing the right capsule to you.

Luckily, this market has done excellent progress and the coffee produced from capsules can taste just as good as freshly-brewed coffee.

This guide is constantly updated with more FAQs related to coffee capsules. If you have a specific question that you want us to answer, kindly comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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by Brett