Nespresso is one of the most popular single-serve coffee systems in the world. One reason for its popularity is the wide range of coffee options that the company offers in its patented capsule system. While the sheer variety of choices may seem overwhelming at first, the following guide will help you find the perfect blend for your tastes.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are the Various Types of Nespresso Capsules?
- 2 What Is the Best Nespresso Capsule Flavor in 2017?
- 3 Best Nespresso Compatible Capsules in 2017:
- 4 Choosing the Best Nespresso Compatible Capsules:
What Are the Various Types of Nespresso Capsules?
Genuine Nespresso capsules are offered only through Nespresso. The capsules are made from recyclable aluminum and contain between five and six grams of coffee to produce a single 1-ounce ristretto shot, 1.5-ounce espresso shot, or a 3.5-ounce long pour call a lungo. It should be noted that Nespresso capsules are rather expensive and can cost up to triple the price of loose coffee and other single-serve brewing systems.
Nespresso offers blends, single origin coffees, and flavored coffees categorized for ristretto, espresso, or lungo sizes. The coffees in each category have different flavor profiles and intensities.
What Is the Best Nespresso Capsule Flavor in 2017?
Regardless of the intensity or flavor profile that you prefer, you should be able to find a Nespresso capsule to suit your tastes. The following are my picks for the best Nespresso capsules for espresso, ristretto, and lungo preparations.
Livanto is a medium-roast blend of Central and South American Arabica beans. It has notes of malt, caramel, and fruit for a well-balanced flavor.
Capriccio is a blend of South American Arabica and Robusta beans. The light roast makes this blend slightly acidic.
A combination of light-roasted Brazilian and Colombian Arabica beans, the flavor profile of Volluto is slightly sweet and fruity.
Arabica beans from Central and South America as well as Africa are lightly roasted to bring out the coffee’s citrus notes. Cosi is the mildest of the espresso blends.
A blend of Rubusta beans from Guatemala and Brazil along with Arabica beans from South America, Kazaar has a bitter, peppery flavor profile coupled with a creamy texture.
Dharkan is a blend of Arabica beans from Asia and Latin America. The beans are long-roasted at a low temperature to bring out the notes of dark chocolate and toasted grains.
Full of intense flavor, Ristretto features African and South American beans for a flavor that is acidic and fruity with notes of chocolate.
Arpeggio is strong and intense. The roasting process brings out hints of cocoa with woodsy, roasted notes.
This blend is a combination of Arabica and Robusta beans from Southern India. The flavor has distinct hints of cocoa while the bouquet brings to mind spices common in the region, including pepper, cloves, and nutmeg.
A blend of different Colombian Arabica coffee beans, Rosabaya de Colombia has notes of cranberries, red currants, and black currants that are reminiscent of jam or wine.
Made from red and yellow Bourbon coffee beans, Dulsão do Brasil is lightly roasted for a balanced flavor profile that has hints of toasted grain.
This blend of two different Arabica beans from Ethiopia has a decidedly floral bouquet and a flavor profile with notes of wood and musk.
This medium-roast coffee has a sweet, caramel flavor with a creamy texture that brings to mind soft toffee.
Arabica beans from Central and South America are medium-roasted to produce a coffee with a flavor that is slightly bitter with notes of dark chocolate.
As its name suggests, Vanilio has a subtle vanilla aroma with a body and flavor that is smooth and silky.
Nespresso has perfected its decaffeination process to ensure that its Arpeggio Decaffeinato and Volluto Decaffeinato retain all of the intensity and flavor of the caffeinated versions. The company’s decaffeinated espresso line also includes Decaffeinato Intenso, which is full-bodied with hints of toasted grains and cocoa.
If you prefer something even stronger than espresso, Nespresso machines also allow you to brew a short espresso, also known as a ristretto. The Kazaar, Dharkan, Ristretto, Arpeggio, and Indriya from India blends mentioned above all work well prepared as a ristretto. If you are looking for a short espresso that is still mild, you can try the Roma capsule. The light roast brings out the woodsy notes of the beans.
If you prefer your ristretto decaffeinated, try the Arpeggio Decaffeinato.
Envivo is a bold blend of Arabica and Robusta beans from India and Mexico. Its aroma and flavor profile are reminiscent of woods and gingerbread, which make it a perfect choice for a morning cup of coffee.
Slightly bitter, Fortissio Lungo has notes of toasted cereal and malt.
This complex blend is slightly acidic with floral notes.
This blend of South American Arabica beans is mild, smooth with hints of sugar cane and malted cereal.
The fresh, floral notes of this blend can be enjoyed either as an espresso or in the taller lungo size.
The richness and complex flavor profile of Vivalto Lungo Decaffeinato are comparable to the caffeinated version.
Where Can I Buy the Best Nespresso Capsules?
True Nespresso capsules can only be purchased through Nespresso or online retailers, such as Amazon. Some popular coffee brands have started offering their own line of capsules that are compatible with the various Nespresso machines. There are even a few refillable Nespresso-compatible capsules available online that allow you to use your favorite loose coffee.
How to Choose Your Nespresso Flavor:
If you have never experienced Nespresso coffees before, I recommend that you begin with a sampler back. This will allow you to experience the wide range of flavors and intensities without having to commit to a whole box of a particular blend. It is also important to remember that Nespresso coffees are ranked on a 12-point scale with a 12 being the most intense. Kazaar is the most intense while Volluto and Cosi are the mildest of the espresso blends.
If you enjoy the subtle variations between coffees of different origins, look to the Indriya from India, Rosabaya de Colombia, Dulsão do Brasil, or Bukeela ka Ethiopia. These coffees range from smooth and mild to intense and spicy.
The capsules sized for lungo espressos are perfect for those days when you need an extra pick-me-up or want to linger over a latte. Each of these blends makes for a robust and full-bodied latte or long espresso.
The flavored espressos are intended for serving in the standard 1.5-ounce espresso shot. Their sweetness makes them well-suited for pairing with a dessert.
Best Nespresso Compatible Capsules in 2017:
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly way to indulge your coffee habit, there are various companies that specialize in manufacturing capsules that are compatible with Nespresso’s OriginalLine machines. It is important to remember that each of these companies uses its own coffee blends, roasting processes, and capsules. This means that the flavor and strength of the coffee, as well as the brewing time, may be different than what you would expect with genuine Nespresso capsules.
The following are my picks for the best Nespresso compatible capsules.
This European-based company is now offering its coffee throughout the United States. All Gourmesso coffees feature Robusta and Arabica beans sourced from various regions around the world, and all of the coffees are fair trade certified. They offer a selection of flavored and decaffeinated coffees as well as capsules for regular and lungo espressos.
These capsules are Gourmesso’s answer to Nespresso’s Variations line. They pair perfectly with a dessert or in your favorite latte recipe.
• Soffio Caramello
This mild and aromatic blend has the subtle and comforting taste of caramel.
• Soffio Vaniglia
The delicate flavor of vanilla complements the chocolate notes of this dark-roast coffee.
• Soffio Nocciola
This combination of dark-roasted Arabica and Robusta beans from Brazil and the warm aroma of toasted nuts brings to mind the hazelnut infused chocolates that are so popular throughout Germany.
• Soffio Cioccolato
This blend of South American and Asian coffee beans produces an espresso that is dark, rich, and creamy with hints of chocolate flavor.
• Soffio Noce di Cocco
This dark-roast coffee has a robust flavor with subtle notes of coconut that add an exotic tropical flair.
Gourmesso offers several high-quality alternatives to Nespresso’s espresso selections.
• Ristretto Blend Forte
This is Gourmesso’s most intense blend. Beans from Asia, Africa, and Latin America are roasted separately to highlight the unique characteristics of the different beans.
• Etiopia Blend Forte
The intense flavor of beans from Ethiopia and Latin America is complemented by bright citrus notes.
• Messico Blend Forte
A combination of Arabica and Robusta beans from Mexico, India, and Asia provide a rich, balanced flavor that is slightly less intense than the Ristretto and Etiopia blends.
• Tarrazu Forte
Tarrazu Forte features dark-roasted Costa Rican beans for a full-bodied espresso that has a fruity aroma.
• Nicaragua Mezzo
Nicaragua Mezzo strikes a perfect balance between intensity and a flavor that is bright and bold.
• Brasile Blend Dolce
A light-roasted blend of Brazilian and Peruvian Arabica beans, Brasile Blend Dolce is well-balanced with a mild aroma and a flavor characterized by subtle notes of citrus.
These capsules are well-suited for a lungo espresso made with twice the water but half the coffee of a regular espresso.
• Lungo Latino Mezzo
Medium-roasted beans from Latin America and Vietnam create a well-balanced coffee that still has a rich flavor and crema.
• Lungo Arabica Forte
Lungo Arabica Forte is more intense than the Lungo Latino Mezzo. The beans, which are sourced from Mexico and Brazil, are slow-roasted to ensure a strong, smooth flavor that is not too bitter.
• Decaf Peru Dolce
Gourmesso uses a water/vapor process to decaffeinate its coffee. Arabica beans from Peru are light-roasted to bring out hints of chocolate.
Jones Brothers uses only 100 percent Arabica beans sourced from premier coffee growing regions around the world. They then design a roasting profile to highlight the best characteristics of each blend.
This is the most intense coffee offered by Jones Brothers. It has full body and flavor with notes of chocolate and caramel.
An intense, slightly acidic coffee, Noir has hints of hazelnuts and chocolate to create a smooth aftertaste.
This dark-roasted coffee has plenty of intensity that is balanced out by a floral aroma and citrus notes.
Enigma provides an espresso with a fruity aroma and chocolate finishing notes.
This coffee is sharply acidic with a light body and distinct lemony notes.
Rosso Caffè sources its beans from coffee plantations around the world. The beans are custom roasted and blended at the company’s own production facility, which allows them to control the quality.
As the name suggests, this coffee is rich and full-bodied yet smooth and aromatic with hints of fruit.
Dark-roasted beans from Costa Rica and Tanzania create a smooth coffee with the subtle aroma of hazelnuts and a flavor with earthy, woodsy notes.
Costa Rican beans give Ricco a well-balanced body and a rich flavor that is pleasantly sour with hints of chocolate.
Intellegente uses Sidamo beans from Ethiopia to produce a coffee that has a fruity aroma with woody notes.
Purismo is delicate and mildly acidic with a flavor reminiscent of granola.
This coffee is indeed delicate with notes of granola and fruit.
The subtle aroma of vanilla complements the notes of walnuts for a smooth and creamy coffee.
This is for anyone who likes their coffee with the indulgent, sweet flavor of rich caramel.
• Crème Brulee
This blend is characterized by a rich aroma and a hint of sweetness from the notes of fruit.
Bestpresso ensures that all of its coffee beans are sourced from sustainably grown crops. The beans are then roasted and ground according to precise standards for a consistently delicious cup of coffee.
This blend is ideal for a short espresso. It is intense, creamy, and has lingering notes of chocolate.
Intenso has the right amount of intensity for espresso or lungo preparations. It has a rich aroma that lingers and a flavor with hints of berries.
This blend is for those who like their coffee a little less intense. The flavor is light and sweet, and the aroma has notes of citrus and flowers.
This blend produces a coffee with a deep hazelnut color. The flavor is slightly sweet, and the aroma brings to mind flowers and chocolate.
This blend has a rich crema and golden color. The flavor and aroma have hints of almonds.
Choosing the Best Nespresso Compatible Capsules:
I do not believe that there is a significant difference in quality between these Nespresso compatible coffee capsules. Genuine Nespresso capsules do tend to produce the best results; however, each of these compatible capsules is an acceptable alternative. Whichever company you decide to try, I do recommend that you start with a variety pack to determine which blend is your favorite.
A Word about Nespresso Vertuoline:
Nespresso’s OriginalLine brewers use the traditional combination of high pressure and hot water to brew espresso. The company also offers its Vertuoline series, which actually spins the capsule to create a coffee with a thicker crema.
Vertuoline machines use a different type of capsule that contains a barcode to tell the machine the volume and type of coffee that it is brewing. These capsules are not interchangeable with other Nespresso capsules, and there are no compatible alternatives available at this time.
Best Nespresso Vertuoline Capsules:
Nespresso offers a range of Vertuoline capsules comparable to those for their OriginalLine coffee makers.
This is an intense blend of Guatemalan and Nicaraguan Arabica beans with notes of spice, cereal, and wood.
Coffee beans from Ethiopia provide fruity notes while Nicaraguan beans provide complementary cereal notes.
This blend has notes of honey for a smooth and slightly sweet coffee.