The Ultimate Guide To Nespresso Pods

By: | Updated: April 12, 2021

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Choosing the best coffee for your taste buds may not be easy. This is especially true when you buy a new coffee machine, such as Nespresso

There are so many doubts that can come when thinking about the right compatibility of coffee with this machine.

For this reason, we have created this detailed guide and our selection of the best Nespresso capsules. For our other ultimate guide on different types of coffee capsules (K-cups, Dolce Gusto) head on over to our Guide to Coffee Capsules.

Nespresso capsules are easily found, both in stores and online. Today, however, there are also “Nespresso-compatible” or those capsules created specifically for the Nespresso coffee machine, but which are not sold by the brand itself. We will talk about this and much more in our article. Let’s begin!

The Most Important Things In a Nutshell

  • 80% of the Nespresso capsules are made with coffee belonging to the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ program. This program has been created to produce capsules which are more environmentally-friendly and are produced sustainably. 
  • It is right that you know that, in addition to the originals, today you can find compatible capsules for use with the Nespresso system.
  • Before choosing Nespresso capsules you should follow some criteria such as the variety you are interested in and the number of capsules you need. We will talk about this and more in the final section of the article. 

The Best Nespresso Capsules on The Market: Our Selection

You have your Nespresso coffee machine, but you haven’t used it yet because you are undecided about which capsule to buy? 

In the section below you will discover what, according to our research, are the most popular Nespresso capsules on the market. Among these, you will find both the original and the compatible ones.

1. Nespresso Capsules OriginalLine – Arpeggio Intenso

The Arpeggio Intenso capsules are made from 100% Arabica coffee beans originating from Central and South America.

At the upper end of Nespresso’s intensity (level 9), Arpeggio delivers a thoroughly roasted coffee blend with malty, fruity profiles.

Arpeggio beans are finely grinded to bring out the full-bodied flavor synonymous with coffee beans from Latin America. The final result is a woody taste with subtle cocoa notes.

The Arpeggio Intenso is perfect for those wanting an intense, full-bodied coffee that is also packed with aroma and flavor.

Editor’s Note: Nespresso Arpeggio Intenso is only compatible with the Nespresso Original Line capsule coffee maker. Before purchasing, make sure that you are getting the compatible capsule for your coffee maker.

2. Nespresso Capsules OriginalLine – Ristretto Intenso

The Ristretto Intenso capsules are made from a combination of Arabica coffee beans originating from Brazil and Columbia, and East African beans.

A small touch of Robusta coffee beans is added to the mix to produce a fruity and slightly acidic note to this espresso. 

At the highest of Nespresso’s intensity (level 9), Ristretto Intenso delivers a thoroughly roasted coffee blend with intense, chocolaty profiles. 

Ristretto beans are very finely ground to create an Italian-style brew, making this the capsule of choice for espresso lovers (and those who like stronger coffees). 

If you’re looking for a potent, yet perfectly balanced espresso, these Ristretto Intenso pods are the obvious choice for you.

Editor’s Note: Nespresso Ristretto Intenso is only compatible with the Nespresso OriginalLine capsule coffee maker. Before purchasing, make sure that you are getting the compatible capsule for your coffee maker.

3. Nespresso Capsules OriginalLine – Variety Pack

If you’re unsure which Nespresso capsule to pick, this batch of assorted capsules from intensity level 5 through 10. 

The Nespresso OriginalLine Variety Pack gives you the opportunity to test different coffee blends at a range of different strengths (and flavors). 

This pack is also ideal for those who don’t want to commit to a large single pack that has a single intensity and flavor. 

When purchasing the variety pack you’ll get 5 Nespresso OriginalLine blends, each containing 10 capsules. The blends are:

  • Ristretto: Intensity level 10
  • Arpeggio: Intensity level 9
  • Roma: Intensity level 8
  • Capriccio: Intensity level 5
  • Livanto: Intensity level 6

The coffee blends included in this pack are medium and dark roasts so if you’re looking for something lighter with less intensity, this is not the pack for you.

Editor’s Note: Nespresso Variety Pack is only compatible with the Nespresso OriginalLine capsule coffee maker. Before purchasing, make sure that you are getting the compatible capsule for your coffee maker.

4. Nespresso Capsules OriginalLine – Ethiopia Master Origin

As the name suggests, Nespresso’s Master Origin Ethiopia is a single origin Arabica blend from Ethiopia.

This region in the coffee belt is known for its aromatic coffee profiles. This is no exception, featuring a soft body with light intensity (level 4) with citrusy flavors.

In our opinion, this light-roasted blend is most likely too fruity for those who are serious about espressos (we recommend choosing a capsule with intensity above 8). However, for those who like sweeter, fruity coffee, this capsule has it all.

Editor’s Note: Nespresso Espresso Master Origin is only compatible with the Nespresso OriginalLine capsule coffee maker. Before purchasing, make sure that you are getting the compatible capsule for your coffee maker.

5. Nespresso Capsules OriginalLine – Vivalto Lungo

The Vivalto Lungo capsules are made from a combination of South American and Ethiopian Arabica beans.

This blends combines the full-bodied, slightly bitter, Brazilian Cerrado; together with the aromatic, floral notes of the Ethiopian Arabica.

At an intensity level of just 4, you’ll get a milder espresso. Since these capsules are part of the Lungo range, you will be able to make longer 3.7oz espresso.

The Vivalto Lungo blend is roasted separately for this very purpose, to be best enjoyed in a larger cup.

We really love the Vivalto Lungo as while it is the least intense on this list, you can smell a wide range of aromas ranging from subtle floral, woody, and sweet cereal notes.

Editor’s Note: Nespresso Vivalto Lungo is only compatible with the Nespresso OriginalLine capsule coffee maker. Before purchasing, make sure that you are getting the compatible capsule for your coffee maker.

Purchase Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Nespresso Capsules

Before proceeding with this guide, we want to present you with some information concerning the original Nespresso capsules.

We hope to clarify any doubts you may have about them, so when you make your purchase you will be safer and much more informed about what capsule to choose.

guide to nespresso pods

What Are Nespresso Capsules Made Of?

Nespresso capsules are made of recyclable aluminum, as it is the material par excellence to protect them from oxygen, light, and humidity. In this way, the freshness of the aromas, the taste and the quality of the coffee are also guaranteed. 

Furthermore, the use of aluminum allows for minimal packaging, since it is not necessary to use the bags as a wrapper.

How Much Caffeine Is Contained In Each Nespresso Capsule?

The amount of caffeine depends largely on the type of coffee and on several other factors:

  1. Type of green coffee bean (Arabica or Robusta) since the latter contains twice the amount of caffeine.
  2. Degree of roasting. 
  3. Origin of the coffee.

To get a general idea based on the classic dimensions of the different types of blends found in the capsules, look at the following:

  • Espresso (40 ml): between 55 and 65 mg of caffeine.
  • Long (110 ml): between 77 and 89 mg of caffeine.
  • Decaffeinated: less than 0.1% caffeine.

How Is The Coffee From Nespresso Capsules Decaffeinated?

Nespresso coffee is decaffeinated using two different procedures:

  1. Water Process – Use water to eliminate caffeine.
  2. Carbon Dioxide Process – Green coffee is immersed in water, after which carbon dioxide is used to extract caffeine.

All Nespresso decaffeinated products are tested and must contain less than 0.1% residual caffeine.

To verify this condition, the caffeine content is analyzed in all the coffee stages: green, roasted, and the final, finished product.

Do Nespresso Capsules Contain Allergens?

Nespresso coffee blends, including Vertuo variations and range, do not contain any source of allergens or food preservatives. 

The flavors for the Variations blends are available in a very fine powder (encapsulated flavors). These aromatic substances are added to the coffee after grinding but have no contaminants.

How Do I Know If My Nespresso Capsules Have Expired?

Nespresso capsules are hermetically sealed to protect the coffee from the inside from light, humidity, and oxygen.

At the bottom of each pack of Nespresso coffee, you will find both the production date and the expiry date. The latter is almost always 12 months from its elaboration.

However, since the expiration date simply acts as an indicator of optimal freshness, taste, and aroma, the unopened capsules are completely safe to consume after that date.

So don’t worry if you still have capsules that you haven’t consumed, as long as they are closed. 

Remember that if you feel the smell of coffee coming from a capsule, this means that it is not properly sealed – and should be discarded immediately.

Are Nespresso Capsules Organic?

Although Nespresso currently does not supply organic coffee, it does offer Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ coffee. 

Currently, over 80% of the capsules have been created with ingredients from this program, which emerged in 2003 to meet the need for an infusion of the highest quality in the world.

Today Nespresso works with over 70,000 farmers in 12 countries. The program represents Nespresso’s long-term commitment to farmers and coffee communities. 

Its actions are based on support, training, financing and technical assistance to continuously improve quality, sustainability, and productivity.

Are There Nespresso Compatible Capsules?

Admittedly: Nespresso capsules are particularly good, offering a creamy coffee that everyone likes. The first compatible capsules that went on the market not only didn’t work well, but they could also ruin the coffee machine.

Fortunately, today things have changed and many manufacturers offer capsules compatible with the Nespresso system, not only do they have excellent tasting coffee, but they are also perfectly functional with the Nespresso machine.

They also offer a larger selection of blends and are significantly cheaper than the original ones. Something to consider if you’re a regular coffee drinker.

We’ve included a great source of Nespresso compatible capsules from Gourmesso who lists a great variety of blends and brands.

Purchase Criteria

We have almost reached the end of our guide.

Before saying goodbye though, we want to give you the latest tips you should follow to choose the right type of coffee for your tastes and needs. 

Follow these criteria and you will not regret your purchase!

  • Intensity
  • Coffee Quantity
  • Capsule Quantity (per package)
  • Original or Compatible


This scale of intensity was created by Nespresso and is related to the consistency and taste and olfactory characteristics of the coffee, not to the quantity of caffeine. 

This clarification is important as many people believe that maximum intensity is related to the amount of caffeine contained in each capsule.

Based on this scale, the coffee has been divided into three levels:

  • 1-4: Coffee is delicate and slightly full-bodied flavor.
  • 5-7: Coffee is rich in flavor and balanced.
  • 8-10: Coffee has strong aromas and round-bodied flavor.

Coffee Quantity

Depending on the type of coffee you will prepare, Nespresso offers you different options for capsule sizes. 

The brand has designed a wide range of coffees to taste, but they always rely on the following sizes: 25 ml, 40 ml, and 110 ml. 

Note: These measures refer to the original capsules since the Vertuo ones are another story.

Capsule Quantity (per package)

The presentations of the packaging may vary in the number of capsules.

In general, the packages are 50 or 100, but it is important to make sure of this detail to confirm that we are paying a fair price per Nespresso capsule. 

Original or Compatible

Our article as you have seen almost completely referred to the original Nespresso capsules, but as we have told you there are compatible capsules that offer quality and savings. 

While with the originals you can be on the safe side for their good taste, for the compatibles you have to do a few experiments and find the ones you like.

We advise you to read some opinions on the compatibles, to understand what people who bought them before you think. 

You will discover not only if they are good, but also if they work well with your Nespresso coffee machine, if they are 100% compatible and other details that, reading only the description of the coffee you probably would not find.

Final Thoughts

Once having a Nespresso coffee machine could be considered almost a luxury. Today, thanks to the variety of capsules available and the possibility of finding compatible ones, coffee as at the bar is within everyone’s reach. 

Of course, not all capsules are the same, but by now you should know how to choose the right ones for you.

The last recommendation we make to you is to always make sure that the capsules you buy, original or compatible, are exactly compatible with the Nespresso coffee machine in your possession. For our guide to Nespresso capsules machines head on over here.

For the rest, enjoy the experience of tasting the different varieties and your palate will thank you.

When you have chosen your next Nespresso capsules we would like to receive a message with your considerations or any advice for other buyers. 

You can also ask us a question and we will get back to you as soon as possible. And don’t forget to share this guide with good coffee lovers!

If you still don’t own a Nespresso machine we recommend you to read our buying guide below:

by Brett