If you're a coffee lover and you want to make high-quality coffee from home fast, Nespresso capsules are hard to beat. They usually come in the form of a cup and are made to be used with a Nespresso-compatible machine. These cups have a premeasured amount of coffee and the machine is set to use just the right amount of water at the right temperature. All you have to do is pop the capsule into the machine, add water, and push start and you'll get a fresh cup of coffee in a few minutes. The ease of use is what attracts most coffee lovers, but these coffee capsules can also have delicious flavors and exceptional coffee.
One of the best things about Nespresso capsules is the variety they offer. Let’s take a close look at Nespresso capsule types and see which ones would fit your coffee drinker profile the best.
Capsules vs Pods
You first have to understand that there are two types of Nespresso capsules. People often conflate pods and capsules together but mistaking a pod for a capsule could result in you not being able to use them in your machine.
The main difference between Nespresso pods and capsules is their form. The capsules look like little cups and Nespresso pods look like teabags. The brewing process is somewhat similar, but you have to check what type your machine can use. Some Nespresso machines will be able to handle both types while some will only be able to use cups or Nespresso pods. You also have to make sure that the machine can handle Nespresso cups specifically.
Comparing Different Nespresso Capsules
There are tons of different coffee capsules on the market, and you can identify a Nespresso flavor by its color. You can choose cups based on intensity, but you can also get cups with coffees coming from a single origin, or blends if you want something more affordable and aren’t very picky about where your coffee beans come from.
Nespresso machines and cups were originally made for espressos (espresso pods are still very popular), but you can make virtually any type of coffee with some of the capsules and machines we have right now. Let’s take a look at some of the main types of Nespresso capsules.
These are the classic capsule and are made to produce stronger coffees with less water. They will give you a short espresso shot and the strength will depend on the cup you choose. Don't underestimate the amount of caffeine those cups contain just because they're small, however.
If you want to know how much caffeine in a Nespresso pod, espresso pods or capsules can contain as much as 120 mg of caffeine. This is about 20% more than what you'll get in the average 8oz cup of coffee or even with a double espresso, so you might want to be careful with your consumption.
There are different espresso capsules available and they are all made from blends. To be specific, there are four types of espresso capsules: Capriccio, Volluto, Livanto, and Cosi.
Capriccio capsules have a lighter taste with cereal overtones. Volluto capsules have more of a fruity and sweet flavour and with slight biscuity notes. Livanto capsules are characterised by their malty, caramel flavour with hints of chocolate fudge, while Cosi capsules have a fruity/cereal flavour with toasted notes.
As their name indicates, Intenso capsules are the ones with the most intense flavour Nespresso has to offer. These capsules score in the 9 to 12 range in intensity which is the highest on Nespresso’s scale. These are the capsules you should be looking for if you want an intense and bold coffee with a complex flavour profile.
There are five types of Intenso capsules. You have Arpeggio capsules that have cocoa, toasty and woody notes. Both Ristretto and Dharkan capsules have cocoa notes as well, but Dharkan capsules have more of a toasty cereal flavour. Roma capsules will give you a cup with a dark roast and woody flavour. You then have Kazaar capsules which are the most potent in the Nespresso line but still have a full bodied, creamy almost peppery taste to them, which is characteristic of some dark roast intense coffees.
Single Origin Capsules
These capsules are best for connoisseurs who like knowing where their beans come from and have favorites they prefer to stick to. All the beans in those blends come from one single location and come from some of the best coffee-producing countries on the planet.
At the time of writing, Nespresso offers Columbian, Ethiopian, Indian, and Brazilian single-origin capsules. Ethiopian coffee is recognized as some of the best in the world and is known for its musky, floral notes. Colombian coffee is one of the most popular coffees in the world as well and has a very unique blend of blackcurrant and cranberry notes. Indian coffee features cocoa, cloves, and nutmeg flavors while Brazilian coffee is known for its toasty undertones and is a renowned as one of the best origins in South America. Coffee from Costa Rica is also available, which is one of the best in Central America.
If you ever see a blue Nespresso pod, then you’re dealing with a Luongo capsule. These capsules produce “longer” coffees, meaning that their flavor is a bit lighter with a higher water to coffee ratio. They are the best option for those who like mixed coffees like cappuccinos or lattes.
While their taste is not as intense as some of the other capsules in Nespresso’s collection, Luongo capsules have a very complex flavor profile.
There are currently four types of Luongo Capsules. You have Linizio Lungo capsules which have a subtle cereal taste. Fortissio Luongo capsules will produce a cup of coffee that will be slightly more intense with sweet, malt notes. Vivalto Luongo capsules have roasted cereal and flower notes while Envivo Luongo capsules have a unique mix of gingerbread and caramel notes.
Luongo capsules are the best option for those who like to drink coffee for the taste and not the caffeine content.
Speaking of caffeine content, one of the capsules offered by Nespresso comes with decaffeinated coffee. You should know, however, that decaffeinated coffee will always have some caffeine in it, and Nespresso is very transparent about the amount of caffeine in their capsules. These contain about 0.1% caffeine and Nespresso has done a great job at removing most of the natural caffeine from these blends.
Decaffeinato capsules are the best option for people who are trying to reduce their daily caffeine intake but can’t give up their coffee yet. These coffees are just as complex as any other types in the Nespresso selection as well.
There are currently four types of Decaffeinato capsules on the market. You have Decaffeinato Arpeggio capsules, which feature woody cocoa notes. Their intensity is also higher compared with other Decaffeinato capsules. Decaffeinato Vivalto Lungo capsules have woodsy notes, but cereal and floral notes as well. Decaffeinato Volluto capsules feature biscuit and fruity notes while Decaffeinato Intenso capsules have more of a chocolate fudge taste with intense flavour.
Nespresso has capsules for people who like to have some flavors added to their coffees too. Even if you consider yourself a purist, we suggest that you give some of these capsules a try as they could add variety to your selection and allow you to discover something new.
There are currently three types of variation capsules. You have Vanilio Grand Cru capsules that have a vanilla flavour, Caramelito Grand Cru that have a caramel flavour, and Ciocattino Grand Cru, which has a chocolate flavour.
How to Choose the Best Nespresso Capsule for You
The first thing you have to consider when picking a capsule is how intense you want your coffee to be and the amount of caffeine in it. You must know how much caffeine is in a Nespresso pod as it can vary greatly from cup to cup. Like we mentioned earlier, you have cups that will contain as much as 120mg of caffeine, so you have to be careful if you're trying to limit your caffeine intake or if you want more caffeine to kickstart your days.
The next thing you will have to look for is what type of taste you want. If you have a discriminative palate and want to get a consistent taste every time, then it might be a better idea for you to stick with a single-origin coffee cup. You'll know exactly what you're going to get every time and won't have to deal with off notes.
You can also pick your pods based on their flavour profile. If you want an intense coffee, then you have to look for cups with an intensity rating of nine or greater. If you want something more subtle but still robust, you can go with a coffee within the six to eight intensity range, and anything under six is considered mild.
You also have to know which flavour notes you like in your coffee. If you prefer subtle cocoa notes, then Ristretto capsules might be a good choice for you. If you prefer woodsy notes, then you could look at Roma or Arpeggio Capsules. If your taste buds prefer something more complex with a mix of fruity and caramel notes, then look for Volluto, Livanto, and Cosi capsules.
We would also suggest that you try a variety pack you’ll find out there. A variety pack is the easiest way to explore different Nespresso flavors. Try a variety pack of different types of Nespresso pods with different intensities until you find something that works for you.
This is all you need to know if you want to find the best Nespresso capsule for you. Don’t be afraid to try different types, and add more than one type to your collection. You can also consider using reusable pods and capsules which reduce your environmental impact as compared to single serve capsules.
There are also a variety of alternative options for pods and capsules, some compatible with Nespresso machines and some which are not- you can check out the full range of options here.