Alex has never been professionally involved into the world of coffee, however he knows much more than any average barista. Being an avid coffee lover, Alex is constantly searching for new tips, tools, and techniques to make his morning cup of java even more perfect.
Mary has been dealing with coffee almost all her life long: in her teenage years, she worked as a barista in a number of well-known coffeehouses, later developing her knowledge and skills while studying at the university as well. Several years after graduation, she managed to open her own small coffee bar.
Last updated: April 16, 2021
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If you like to mix regular coffees with some specialty blends, the Nespresso capsules may be a good choice for you. Nespresso has a wide variety of capsules available, with seemingly countless flavor and size options to choose from. If you’re interested in the best Nespresso capsules but aren’t sure just how to choose one, we can help.
We’ve reviewed eight of the best-selling Nespresso capsules on the market, including a few from each of the Nespresso machine lines. Our top choice is the Nespresso Arpeggio, due to its full body, boldness, intensity, and great flavor. Of course, this one may not be for everybody, so if you prefer a light or medium roast, milder intensities, or a variety of flavors, you may want to try out a few of the others on our list instead.
When it comes to buying the Nespresso capsules, there are a few things you should look at. The first thing to check out is the origin of the beans used since the beans of different areas will have different flavors and aromas. The intensity is another important factor, as this will alter the body, flavor, and aroma of the brewed coffee. The cup size will tell you how much you’re brewing with each capsule and what type of coffee you’re making. To help you choose the best Nespresso capsule to meet your tastes and preferences, we’ve created a comparison table with in-depth reviews and added a buying guide at the bottom to give you all the information you need to make an informed choice.
There are a few reasons that the Nespresso Arpeggio capsules are the best Nespresso capsules for espresso. It is made using a combination of Arabica beans from Central and South America, which gives this coffee a very distinctive flavor and a full body.
These beans go through a long, intense roasting process, which brings out the fruity or malted characteristics of the bean’s origins. They are then ground fine, which gives the coffee its full body.
The intensity level is quite high at 9, which means that as well as the full body, it also has generous woody aromas. There are also grilled and cocoa notes that tantalize your taste buds as you sip this delicious brew.
The Nespresso Arpeggio coffee capsules are compatible with the OriginalLine coffee machines, which are known for making stronger, hotter coffee. This works great with these capsules, as they are meant to make a tasty 1.35-ounce cup of espresso to get your morning started. They can also be used for a more intense, bolder Ristretto, or you can add some steamed milk for a latte or a cappuccino if you prefer one of these creamier beverages.
There are 5 sleeves of 10 capsules included with this package. This gives you enough to have a tasty cup of coffee every morning for almost 2 months. They are a bit pricey, though these capsules are still cheaper than going to your local café for your morning brew each day.
If you like a larger cup of coffee that isn’t quite as strong as espresso, while still giving you that kick start in the morning, the Nespresso Melozio may be the best Nespresso Virtuoline capsules for you. This coffee brews a cup of almost 8 ounces, so you can savor it for as long as you like before it runs out.
This coffee is made from Central American Arabica beans, which give some balance to the coffee. They are combined with Brazilian Bourbon coffee beans that contain notes of sweet honey to enhance the Arabica, giving it a unique flavor.
The Brazilian Bourbon beans are split-roasted, which brings out the rich, sweet cereal notes and adds a smooth texture. The second split roast of the Arabica then soften the character and add the balance this coffee is known for.
Though lighter roasts usually have a lot of acidity to them, the acidity level is quite low in the Nespresso Melozio, as is the bitterness. It also has a full body to go with the smooth flavor and rich aroma.
Though you can drink this coffee black if you like, it is enhanced when milk is added. This brings out the soft, sweet side, as well as bringing out those biscuity notes. The Melozio works well as a latte, a cappuccino, or a macchiato, so you can enjoy this coffee a different way every morning, or stick with the one you like best.
If you love the taste of vanilla, you have the option of adding a flavored creamer or other types of flavoring to your regular coffee. Another option is to buy a coffee with the vanilla flavoring incorporated right in it before you even start the brewing process. The Nespresso Vanilio is one of these flavored capsule options.
This Nespresso capsule contains a blend of the highest quality Arabica beans from Costa Rica and Columbia. These beans are cultivating using traditional methods, which helps to preserve their natural flavors and aromas.
These beans are then given a medium roasting, which brings out the malted notes and creates a delicate bouquet from the fruity ones. You’ll taste and smell hints of cereal and caramel as well, for a whole new coffee experience.
The vanilla flavoring doesn’t mask these notes, either. Instead, it adds some rich, velvety vanilla aromas and flavors subtly, giving the coffee a mellow texture at the same time.
The Nespresso Vanilio has an intensity of 6, so it is right in the middle of the spectrum in this area. It also doesn’t have a lot of bitterness or acidity that could alter your enjoyment level.
Though these capsules come in espresso sizes, you can add some frothed milk to them for some specialty drinks. The vanilla flavor makes this one of the best Nespresso capsules for a latte or a cappuccino right in your kitchen.
If you want the strength and flavor of espresso but in a larger cup of coffee, the Nespresso Fortissio Lungo may be the right capsules for you. These capsules have the same amount of coffee in them as the espresso blends but are meant to keep the water in contact with the coffee for longer, pulling out the flavor to avoid a weak, thin cup of coffee.
The Fortissio Lungo coffee is made with a blend of two flavorful beans. The first is the Indian Malabar Arabica beans, which are exposed to monsoon winds soon after they are harvested, which helps bring out their aromatic profile. These beans are then blended with the Latin American Arabica beans to give this coffee a more intense character. The beans are then split roasted to give them a full body and a rich flavor.
The results of this unique bean blend is a full-bodied cup of delicious coffee that has a rich aroma with sweet cereal and malty toasted flavor notes. There is some bitterness but this is pleasant instead of jarring as you sip your coffee. The round, smooth texture also has a wonderful fullness that coats your palate for a delicious aftertaste.
This coffee has an intensity of 8, which is strong without being overpowering, so it wakes you up gently in the morning. Included in the package are 50 individual capsules of this tasty Lungo coffee.
If you love to brew and enjoy a full-bodied espresso right in the comfort of your home, the Nespresso Altissio may be the best Nespresso VirtuoLine capsules for you to try out. These capsules are a bit pricey but the flavor and aroma, plus the high intensity level, might be exactly what you’re looking for. They may also reduce your café visits, which can save you time and money in the long run.
This coffee is created using a blend of South American beans for the intensity and Costa Rican beans to add some balance. The result is a full-bodied coffee with a bold flavor and a velvety texture.
The beans go through a unique process to get this result. First, the beans get a short pre-wetting, then they are intensely roasted very quickly at a high extraction temperature, which helps to bring out the boldness and full body this espresso is known for. This creates an intense brew with notes of smooth cereal and just a hint of Robusta.
Though this espresso is fine on its own, with low acidity and only a bit of bitterness, it can be enhanced by the addition of some milk. This will complement the full body without drowning out the aroma and flavor. This way, you can enjoy this lovely blend as a latte or a cappuccino if you like, or stick with the small espresso cup when you need that morning kick.
Nespresso capsules may save you money by allowing you to make your coffee at home instead of getting it at your local café. They can still be pricey, though, so it’s nice to find a pack that is a bit budget-friendly. There are 30 capsules in this pack, with three flavors of decaffeinated coffee to pick from.
First is the Vivalto Lungo Decaffeinato, which has a woody aroma and sweet cereal and floral flavor notes. This coffee is made of a blend of South American and East African Arabica beans. They are roasted separately to bring out the complex flavors, then combined during the decaffeination process to help maintain its strength and richness.
The Volluto Decaffeinato is made of Arabica beans from South America, which are lightly roasted to bring out the sweet biscuit aroma and fruity flavor notes. This coffee has a low intensity of 4, with low bitterness and medium acidity for a balanced profile.
If you want a bit more intensity, try out the Arpeggio Decaffeinato. This coffee is a blend of dark roast cocoa-flavored Arabica beans from Brazil and Costa Rica combined with the light roasted, fruitier South American Arabica. This creates a full-bodied coffee with a high intensity of 9.
Though the lack of caffeine won’t give you that morning burst of energy to wake you up, it does allow you to sample these flavors all day long without worrying about losing any sleep at night.
If you don’t want to drink the same cup of coffee every day, the Nespresso Intenso Variety Pack may be the best Nespresso coffee capsules for you. It comes with an assortment of five different Nespresso coffee blends that work in any of the OriginalLine Nespresso machines.
First is the Kazaar coffee, which has a woody and spicy aroma profile. With an intensity level of 12, this coffee is best for those mornings when you need a really strong brew to get your morning started.
The Dharkan brew is long roasted, bringing out the hints of bitter cocoa and cereal notes. This one also has a high intensity level of 11. The Ristretto is intensely roasted, with a generous fruity aroma and a 10 in intensity for a full body.
The Arpeggio is another of the great blends which uses an intense roasting process. The intensity is a bit lower than the previous capsules at 9, though this is still a strong coffee with hints of cocoa.
The last type in the package is the Fortissio Lungo. With an intensity level of 8, it is the weakest on the list, though it still gives you a rounded body full of the malty toasted and sweet cereal aroma.
There are 50 capsules included in this variety pack, so you get 10 of each type. This allows you to choose a different one each morning, depending on your mood or how much of a wakeup you need.
Though a less intense cup of coffee isn’t favored by every coffee connoisseur, most will still enjoy the Nespresso Master Origin Ethiopia capsules. This coffee has an intensity of 4, which isn’t super strong but isn’t thin either, giving you a full-bodied cup of coffee to enjoy at any time of the day.
This coffee is made using 100% Ethiopian Arabica beans, which are dried using a careful hand-turned method that ensures the beans are dried evenly before the roasting process begins. They then receive a light, short roast, which maintains those delicate notes that could otherwise be lost among the heavier aromas Ethiopian coffee is known for.
The traditional, natural processing of the beans gives them a unique taste of ripe fruit that combines well with the delicate orange blossom aroma. These mix perfectly to give you a rich, yet delicate, cup of coffee.
Though the acidity level is a bit high in this light roast than some other blends have to offer, it does have very little bitterness, plus this Nespresso coffee has a pleasing aftertaste.
The Nespresso Master Origin Ethiopia also may be the best Nespresso capsules for cappuccino, as they mix well with milk froth without losing those delicate floral notes. There are five packages of 10 capsules included, as well, so you have a total of fifty individual capsules to try out your favorite specialty coffees with to see what works best for you.
What we liked:
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Things to Consider
Going to your local coffee house every day can be quite expensive, plus there are days when you just want a great cup of coffee without leaving the house. That’s why many people are choosing the best Nespresso capsules to go with their chosen Nespresso machine. There are a wide variety of coffee types and flavors to choose from without leaving the comfort of your home.
Advantages of using Nespresso capsules instead of ground coffee
There are several reasons to choose Nespresso capsules instead of ground coffee. The main one is convenience. With ground coffee, you need to fuss with filters and can make a mess pouring the grounds into the machine. It’s also a pain to clean out the filter basket and the coffee pot when you’re finished. A Nespresso capsule has all the grounds inside it, so you never have to touch them. Instead, you just insert them into the machine and press a button to start the brewing process.
Another advantage of the Nespresso capsules is that you can make a single cup of coffee any time you like rather than brewing a large pot. Those bags or tubs of coffee start to lose their freshness as soon as you open them, while the Nespresso capsules are sealed for freshness.
The measurements for the Nespresso capsules are also precise, with each capsule brewing the perfect cup of coffee every time. Since you’re doing the measuring with regular coffee, it’s easy to add a bit more or less each time you make your coffee, so it won’t be as consistent.
Another benefit of the capsules is that they come in a wide variety of different coffee types and flavors. You can buy your favorite or keep a few different ones stocked at all times. You can even buy variety packs in both regular and decaf to suit you and your guests.
Features to consider while choosing Nespresso capsules
If you’re trying to pick out some Nespresso capsules but are unsure where to start, check out the sections below. These will give you all the information you need to get started with your search for the perfect morning coffee.
Which machines they’re compatible with
Nespresso has two different lines when it comes to their coffee machines. These are the OriginalLine and the VertuoLine. The OriginalLine products are the first ones that came out. These use standard pump espresso machine technology, which applies pressure and hot water through an internal pump to brew the coffee. They are great for Espresso or Lungo, though they aren’t meant to make Long Coffee. These machines also brew two sizes to match the brewed drinks, though some also offer e smaller 0.70-ounce Ristretto shot. The OriginalLine machine has a variety of capsule options, all with relatively low prices, like the budget-friendly price on the Nespresso Decaffeinato Variety Pack.
The VertuoLine machines brew the beverages differently, spinning the capsule inside the machine during the extraction process. This takes a bit longer, though the crema is a bit thicker and more pronounced. The VertuoLine machines also include a barcode scanner, which allows the machine to read what capsule is inserted. It then alters the brew settings accordingly. Many of the VeruoLine capsules are more expensive, though, so be prepared to pay a bit more for these extras.
Another thing to consider is that the OriginalLine capsules aren’t interchangeable with the VertuoLine ones. So, the Nespresso Altissio capsules will only work in the VertuoLine machines and the Nespresso Master Origin Ethiopia can only be used with the OriginalLine.
The origins of the coffee beans that are used in the Nespresso capsules are more important than you may think. Different climates, altitudes, the chemistry of the soil, and even sunshine or rain can affect the flavor of the beans. With over 50 countries around the world producing coffee, this makes a lot of different flavors to try, so be sure to check out where the bean is from to learn more about how it should taste.
There are also two types of coffee beans, Arabica and Robusta. The Arabica beans tend to be a bit sweeter and softer, with fruitier notes and high acidity. Robusta beans are stronger, with grainy overtones and a nutty aftertaste. They also have higher caffeine than Arabica. These are generally favored for espresso, due to the deeper flavor and quality crema.
You may have noticed a number stating the intensity level on your Nespresso capsules or their packaging. This number reflects where that particular brew sits on the intensity scale. If you’re unsure what these numbers means, let us break it down for you.
Coffee that is between 1-4 in intensity refers to a light-bodied coffee that has a more delicate flavor. Coffee that is between 5-7 is more balanced, with richer flavors. The capsules that are 8-10 in intensity have round bodies that include generous aromas. Of course, some go above this level, like a few of the flavors in the Nespresso Intenso Variety Pack. These are off the usual scales. They are full-bodied coffees with a lot of flavor and aroma, though they may be too much for a novice coffee drinker to handle.
There are three main roasts when it comes to coffee beans, each with its own flavor and features for the result. The light roast blends are lighter in color, with no oil. These coffees will be milder in flavor, with high acidity, plus they maintain a lot of their caffeine. Medium roasts have a medium brown color, with a stronger flavor. They have a bit more body, with a balanced aroma, flavor, and acidity. They also have little oil, though the caffeine level is a bit less. The dark roast has a dark brown or black color. They are quite oily, with some bitterness to the flavor and less caffeine.
If it’s a variety pack
Though most of the Nespresso capsules we’ve reviewed include 30-50 capsules of just one flavor, a couple of them are variety packs, like the Nespresso Intenso Variety Pack. This one gives you five different blends to choose from, all with different flavor and aromatic profiles, plus they come in different intensities. This allows you to sample a few in one package, which is great for those who are trying out the Nespresso capsules for the first time. Once you’ve chosen a favorite blend, you can buy that one alone in the future, or continue with the variety pack to give you some options to choose from each morning.
How many capsules are included in a pack
If you love to drink coffee and have a cup or two every day, you’ll likely want to keep a lot of it in stock, which makes a package of 50 a great idea to keep from running out of your favorite blend. Of course, if you only drink coffee occasionally or need to keep some stocked for a friend or relative to have a cup when they visit, a 50 pack of coffee may go to waste. These capsules do have expiry dates, after all, just like the regular coffee bags you buy at your local grocery store. For these people, a smaller package will likely last for much longer than expected. To keep it from going to waste and save yourself some money, it is best to only buy the number of capsules you’re going to use.
There are a few extras to look for in your Nespresso capsules. One is the recyclable capsules, which are quite common for this brand. They even send you a bag to collect them in for free to make this process even easier.
The package design is also something to look at, to ensure it is easy to store your Nespresso capsules. If they come in sleeves, these are easy to stack in a cupboard or by your machine. The circular bottom on the VertuoLine capsules aren’t easy to do this with, though, so if they’re loose, you may need some sort of container for them.
The flavor and aroma are also something to check out. Each blend has its own unique notes, which likely won’t appeal to everyone. Get the ones you know you like. If you want to sample the others, check out a variety pack.
How to make a latte with your Nespresso capsules
It’s easy to make a latte with your Nespresso capsules, using the following steps. You do need a milk frother for this.
Prepare the Nespresso capsule as usual.
Froth the milk in your frother (or Nespresso Aeroccino) as described in the instructions.
Pour the steamed milk over the beverage, leaving a thin layer of frothed milk on top.
Nespresso capsules are made from aluminum, so they are recyclable. Nespresso even makes it easy to do so. They will send you a bag, free of charge, which you can use to collect the capsules. Then you need to seal it and mail it through your regular post office to the recycling facility. The postage is prepaid as well, so it costs you nothing but a bit of your time to recycle those old capsules.
The best Nespresso capsules for an Americano need to have high intensity, otherwise, the extra water added will weaken it too much to make a really good cup of coffee. For this reason, the best capsules on our list for Americanos are the Nespresso Intenso Variety Pack, which all have high intensities, plus are meant for espressos and ristrettos, so they will maintain their full, rich flavor when the hot water is added. This pack also includes five flavors, so you can mix it up every morning.
Yes, you can use these capsules to make lattes and cappuccinos. Some of them are even enhanced by the addition of frothed milk, like the Nespresso Melozio capsules. This brings out some of the notes in the coffee rather than sacrificing the flavor or aroma. You can use any of the capsules in our reviews to create your favorite milky beverages.
If you’re trying out a Nespresso coffee machine for the first time, you may be unsure which capsules to buy. With so many to choose from, it may be hard to pick a favorite. To help, here are the ones we liked best.
Our top pick is the Nespresso Arpeggio. It is made from Arabica beans that go through an intense roasting process to give it that full body and bold flavor. This coffee has a smooth texture, with a woody aroma and tasty notes of cocoa.
The Nespresso Melozio gives you a much larger cup of coffee at 7.77 ounces. This coffee contains a blend of Brazilian Bourbon and Central American Arabica beans. They are medium roasted for balance and a full body, with sweet honey and smooth cereal notes.
For a bit of extra flavor, try out the Nespresso Vanilio. This one contains high-quality Arabica beans that are grown using traditional methods to maintain natural malted, fruity, cereal, and caramel notes. This medium roast also has a subtle vanilla flavor for a mellow texture.