Best Nespresso Capsules in 2018 – Buyer’s Guide
Coffee is one of life’s small pleasures.
Commercial coffee chains are great but they’ve also raised the bar in what we expect at home. Once you’ve got used to your mocha or latte at Starbucks, a bland cup of instant doesn’t hold much appeal.
Luckily, there’s a huge selection of top-notch coffee machines on the market so you can replicate your favorite drink at home. Nespresso machines, produced by Nestle, are extremely popular, cost-effective and user-friendly.
Today, we’ll look at the best Nespresso capsules so you can put your new machine through its paces and enjoy your coffee exactly as you like it.
Before we get started, though, you need to be clear about the 2 different machines, the OriginalLine and Vertuoline. We’ll walk you through the differences so you can make the best choice for your needs. It’s pointless launching straight into the pods without a bit of background on the machines…
I. Nespresso OriginalLine vs Nespresso VertuoLine Capsules
Before looking at the capsules, a brief snapshot of Nespresso history…
Back in the 1970s, a Nestle employee invented the Nespresso machine and brought it to market. Nespresso was formed as subsidiary of Nestle in 1986. The machines and Nespresso pods hit the European market in the late 80s and North America in the early 90s. Since then, they have showed no signs of losing popularity.
In 2014, the VertuoLine came onto the American market to service the demand for larger servings of coffee. At this point, the earlier generation machines were termed the OriginalLine.
There are 3 main differences between the OriginalLine and VertuoLine…
- Type of Drink
- Brewing Technology
- Nespresso Capsules
Type of Drink
With the OriginalLine, you’ll be able to brew only espresso or lungo. Lungo is a short black with double the amount of water used for espresso.
The VertuoLine offers you the choice of espresso, lungo or straight coffee so you’ll get more choice if you like an assortment of different drinks.
While the OriginalLine machines sold extremely well in Europe, the American market called out for larger coffees so the VertuoLine was introduced.
OriginalLine machines work in the same way as a conventional espresso maker. Hot water and pressure are applied to freshly ground coffee. This method delivers a top-tier espresso.
With the VertuoLine, centrifugal force is used instead of pressure. The water temperature is also lower. Sadly, this combination of decreased pressure and cooler water leads to espresso tasting rather weak and underextracted. It also comes out almost lukewarm. This is one of those ideas that works better in theory than practice. Bear it in mind if you are tempted by the VertuoLine machines but enjoy strong, piping hot espresso.
The OriginalLine and VertuoLine use different Nespresso pods.
These capsules are substantially more expensive than ground coffee. The selling point is that they are much cheaper than heading to the coffee shop.
Capsules are sold in Grand Cru collections. This is a term you normally associate with fine wine. It’s a neat marketing trick from Nestle to boost perceived value.
Although you get the additional option of regular coffee with the VertuoLine, it’s still a pretty young machine so overall choice of pods is more limited.
We’ll break down the layout of each batch of capsules so you can see at a glance what’s on offer…
There are 6 Grand Cru collections along with the occasional Limited Editions.
With 26 regular pods and the 2 current Limited Editions, you really will be spoiled for choice with the OriginalLine.
- Pure Origin
- Limited Editions
With a choice of short, 40ml espresso or much larger 230ml coffees, there are less Grand Crus available but the range is sure to grow.
Each of these blends is designed to be taken with froth or milk. While it might seem like a restricted selection of pods, it’s a question of what you want from your machine…
For lovers of a hulking mug of coffee, the VertuoLine is the smart option.
Although there are currently no decaffeinated blends, you can enjoy a vast range of different coffees without being overwhelmed by choice.
II. List of The Best Nespresso Capsules
1. Best OriginalLine Nespresso Capsules
Best Nespresso OriginalLine Capsules
Nespresso Variety Pack for OriginalLine (Combo)
Ristretto Nespresso OriginalLine
Arpegio Nespresso OriginalLine
Roma Nespresso OriginalLine
Livanto Nespresso OriginalLine
Capriccio Nespresso OriginalLine
Fortissio Lungo Nespresso OriginalLine
Rosabaya Nespresso OriginalLine
Indriya Nespresso OriginalLine
Volluto Nespresso OriginalLine
2. Best VertuoLine Nespresso Capsules
Best Nespresso Vertuoline Capsules
Nespresso VertuoLine Best Seller Assortment (Combo)
Nespresso VertuoLine Intenso Coffee
Nespresso VertuoLine Hazelino Coffee
Nespresso VertuoLine Giornio Coffee
Nespresso VertuoLine Melozio Coffee
Nespresso VertuoLine Stormio Coffee
Nespresso VertuoLine Odacio Coffee
Nespresso VertuoLine Diavolitto Espresso
Nespresso VertuoLine Altissio Espresso
Nespresso VertuoLine Voltesso Espresso
III. Nespresso OriginalLine Capsules Overview
Now we’ve given you an overview of the differences between the OriginalLine and VertuoLine pods, we’ll look at each of them in a little more detail.
We’ll start with the first generation capsules and then show you 10 of the best blends available. After that, we’ll repeat the process for the up-and-coming VertuoLine. Once you’re done, you should have a clear idea about the best Nespresso capsules for your palate.
There are 6 Grand Cru collections along with the occasional Limited Editions.
Espresso: A traditional espresso with 4 blends to choose from. Best served in 40ml espresso cups. The flavor is fairly mild and well balanced
Intenso: If you want a rich and intense short drink, opt for 1 of the 5 Intenso blends. Serve in espresso cup or as an even smaller Ristretto (25ml). The result is almost syrupy
Lungo: 4 Lungo blends give you the immediacy of an espresso but with twice the water. Use a long 110ml cup for the best long coffee. There are several intensities to choose from
Pure Origin: With 3 Espresso and 1 Lungo Grand Cru, each of the Pure Origin pods comes from a single country (Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, India). This is coffee at its finest
Decaffeinato: For anyone who wants the taste of coffee without the kick, 4 rich decaffeinated blends means there’s something for everyone
Variations: This is the label used for flavored Nespresso capsules. Enjoy caramel, chocolate or vanilla in a little espresso cup
Limited Editions: Keep your eye out for any Limited Edition Grand Crus. As of writing this review, you can get Intenso on Ice and Leggero on Ice. By definition, these are subject to change
Although the cost per serving comes out at triple that of most ground coffee, there is one main advantage to using these pods beyond the taste sensation…
The aroma of ground coffee will erode over time. With these hermetically-sealed capsules, your morning fix will still smell divine even if the pod has been in the cupboard for some time.
Capsules are rated for intensity on a scale between 0 and 12. Blends with a higher intensity are more bitter but less sour. The espresso will have progressively more body as the number rises. A dark color does not always mean an intense coffee. Many other factors come into play.
The OriginalLine capsules don’t come with a barcode like the VertuoLine. We’ll outline what this does when we check out the VertuoLine capsules in more depth.
The main thing to keep in mind with the OriginalLine is that espresso is the only intended brew. You can choose the strength – lungo or Ristretto – but the only function is espresso. If you buy this machine looking for a large mug of coffee, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
26 Grand Crus with a changing variety of Limited Editions means there’s no excuse to get bored with your machine. The array of flavors, aromas and strengths leaves you completely spoiled for choice.
For business owners, there is a separate range of commercial, pad-shaped capsules. These are not interchangeable with consumer pods.
If you want a wide choice of different espresso and you’re happy with a short drink, the OriginalLine is your best bet.
We’ll look now at 10 of the best Nespresso OriginalLine capsules so you can enjoy a delicious gourmet coffee any time you want.
Check out these 10 Nespresso pods and find which one tickles your fancy…
IV. Best Nespresso OriginalLine Pods
1) Nespresso Variety Pack for OriginalLine (Combo)
Kicking off our look at the best Nespresso pods for the first generation machines is a generous pack of 50 giving you a choice of 5 different blends.
- 10 x Arpeggio
- 10 x Capriccio
- 10 x Livanto
- 10 x Ristretto
- 10 x Roma
We’ll walk you through all of these blends below so we won’t waste your time by doubling up on information.
These 5 blends are all varieties of Arabica.
Arabica comes from the mountains of Ethiopia. Believed to be the first species of coffee ever cultivated, this cultivar accounts for almost ¾ of production worldwide.
If you’re not sure what you fancy and want a bumper pack in the pantry, opting for this variety pack is a smart move.
You can also choose from multiple packs yielding you further savings for buying in bulk.
2) Ristretto Nespresso OriginalLine
If you’re looking for an espresso that’s packed with flavor and body, a pack of 50 Ristretto pods is the perfect solution.
Ristretto is an Intenso.
South American and East African Arabicas are blended with a touch of Robusta to deliver an extremely powerful drink brimming with contrast.
Slowly roasted beans taste fruity and slightly acidic. Nespresso throw in a hint of chocolate to counter this. This is where that contrast is most evident…You’ll get winning strength set off against bitterness and that clash of flavors that just seems to work.
Rated at 10 on the Nespresso intensity scale, this coffee is not for the lighthearted. From the unusual bouquet through to the distinctive taste, you’ll either love it or hate it. We’d strongly recommend with any of these capsules that you try one first before investing in a pack of 50.
Serve in a 25ml or 40ml cup and get your day started with a bang.
3) Arpeggio Nespresso OriginalLine
Arpeggio is rated 9 for intensity so with this pack of pods you’ll get another powerhouse espresso.
This is another Intenso Grand Cru.
Arabicas again come to the fore, this time from South America and Central America.
Cut from the same cloth as Ristretto, you’ll enjoy the same robust, full-bodied taste. This is amplified due to the extremely fine grinding it undergoes.
The long roasting process means you can appreciate all aspects of the mix. You can really detect the chocolate undertones although they are not overpowering. There’s also a distinct malted, fruity taste common to much of the coffee that comes from Costa Rica.
Arpeggio is versatile. Serve in 25ml, 40ml or large 150ml Americano cups.
4) Roma Nespresso OriginalLine
Rated 8 on the Nespresso intensity scale, Roma is the mildest member of the Intenso range.
Rather than the sledgehammer blow of a really feisty espresso, the balance is more delicate with Roma.
Arabica from South America and Central America go hand in glove with a touch of Robusta. This results in a strong coffee that’s very full but not overpowering.
A combination of fine grinding and light roasting delivers a short, mid-strength espresso that leaves a delicious lingering aftertaste. With a sweet, almost woody hint to it, Roma is coffee as it should be: powerful yet subtle.
If your preferred beverage is a mild and short espresso, investing in some Roma pods is a wise move. Save yourself a trip to the local coffee shop each morning and enjoy your shot before leaving home.
As with Arpeggio, you do have an option to use larger mugs if you prefer an even lighter drink. 25ml or 40ml small cups work well. Opt for a 150ml Americano if you want something more substantial.
5) Livanto Nespresso OriginalLine
We switch to the Espresso Grand Cru now with Livanto, the strongest of the 4 blends in this signature range.
The same Central and South American Arabicas make an appearance in this fine medium roast. The Costa Rican part leads to the familiar maltiness while the Colombian cultivar gives a fruity zest to the blend.
Part of the enjoyment of fine coffee is the aroma. With Livanto, you get a real blast of what seems like freshly roasted coffee seeping from the roaster along with a whiff of caramel.
Avoid the very small Ristretto cup and serve as 40ml espresso or 150ml Americano according to taste.
If you’re not a fan of more acidic and bitter blends, Livanto provides a much more finely balanced alternative.
6) Capriccio Nespresso OriginalLine
Another Espresso, Capriccio is the second-strongest rated 5 for intensity.
They say you shouldn’t change a winning formula, and when it comes to the finest espresso, Nestle stick with the predominantly South American Arabica. With Capriccio, you’ll get a small dose of Robusta to add a certain kick.
Cereal notes come front and center. There’s a very faint trace of acidity and the overall effect is a rounded coffee.
Whether you want a short 40ml burst of energy or a longer 150ml Americano to relax with, Capriccio is a subtle espresso dominated by cereal tones. It could best be described as an acquired taste so, as with all pods, try to check it out before ending up with 50 capsules you don’t really like.
7) Fortissio Lungo Nespresso OriginalLine
Of the 3 Lungo Grand Crus, Fortissio Lungo is the strongest and, in our opinion, the best.
South American Arabica beans are still present. This time, India joins the mix with some fine Malabar cultivar. The way these beans are ravaged by monsoons after harvesting brings about a dramatic profile.
Fortissio Lungo is very intense and pretty full-bodied. It’s 8 on the Nespresso intensity range. The roasting really helps to bring out the individual characteristics of this superb coffee.
Cereal is present but it’s quite subdued. With a malted taste offset against a slight bitterness, this Lungo is rich and sweet.
As with all Lungo, it’s best served in a 110ml cup.
8) Rosabaya Nespresso OriginalLine
We’ll take a glance at 2 of the Pure Origin Grand Crus before switching back to a final Espresso…
Rosabaya is Colombian coffee at its finest. This blend is hand-picked and specially prepared resulting in a mild and acidic espresso that can also be enjoyed as a 150ml Americano.
Fruit is dominant and the aroma is wine-like. You can smell blackcurrants, redcurrants and a trace of cranberries. The way in which it’s treated wet then transferred to a colder, dry region while drying in parchment really intensifies the aroma.
Separately roasting the varieties means that you get a shot of fruit and acidity without either becoming too much.
For a superb Colombian coffee good for any occasion, check out the Rosabaya. It delivers in fine style.
9) Indriya Nespresso OriginalLine
The most intense of the Pure Origin range, Indriya is 10 on the Nespresso scale.
Arabica and Robusta combine winningly. The coffee is grown at high altitude in Southern India.
Although extremely intense, a quick and light roasting alongside some Robusta brings about more than a hint of bitterness.
India has a rich heritage of using spices and they come through fully with this Indriya blend. Pepper and nutmeg are counterbalanced by cloves and a subtle cocoa.
There’s a zero-tolerance selection process in place for the beans ensuring that nothing short of perfection makes it into your cup. These capsules might be fairly expensive but they are money very well spent.
Serve as Ristretto (25ml), espresso (40ml) or Americano (150ml) according to preference. You’ll get the full range of options with Indriya.
10) Volluto Nespresso OriginalLine
Finishing out our best Nespresso capsules reviews for the OriginalLine, the second mildest Espresso Grand Cru is a remarkably light and sweet coffee rated just 4 for intensity.
This is the beauty of the Nespresso pods… Everyone in your family can get their preferred drink without needing to compromise. Not everyone wants an espresso that clubs you round the head and this delicate, balanced blend is best served in 40ml or 150ml cups.
Arabicas from Colombia and Brazil are lightly roasted leaving cereal tones. The coffee is grown on small-scale plantations and has a characteristic sweet, fruitiness to it.
Neither full-bodied nor acidic, Volluto is ideal for anyone after an espresso with finesse.
V. Nespresso VertuoLine Capsules
Well, now you’ve had a thorough look at the OriginalLine, it’s time to think about the second generation of Nespresso pods.
Firstly, a swift look at the 3 Grand Crus currently available along with a Limited Edition:
Espresso: There are 4 blends in the Espresso range. Drink in 40ml cups. If you are an espresso fiend, you might be better off with the OriginalLine
Coffee: One of the key benefits of the VertuoLine capsules is the Coffee Grand Cru. This allows you to enjoy a longer coffee similar to a filter version. You’ll get a huge choice of 12 blends offering a full range of flavors extending to vanilla, caramel and hazelnut
Alto: With a sweet and an intense option, the 2 Altos add further variety to the expanding range of VertuoLine pods
Limited Edition: Recently introduced, get a taste of Havana with Café de Cuba. Keep your eyes peeled for new blends
As mentioned, the VertuoLine makes use of a different brewing system. Nespresso have patented Centrifusion technology so that the capsule is spun 7000 times per minute while it gets infused with water. This replaces the traditional pressure method but leads to questionable espresso…
The lower water temperature means the espresso is a little weak.
The thing is, the intended purpose of this machine was to add the option of coffee more in line with the filter version widely preferred in the US and it succeeded in gaining considerable market share. If you want a wider choice of espresso, you’re better off with the OriginalLine.
One significant advantage of this new generation is the presence of a readable barcode on the pods. The scanning system optimizes your drink by reading temperature, cup size, flow rate, rotational speed and length of time the water contacts the ground coffee. Whatever Grand Cru you choose, it will be served at its very best.
Although they do not warrant separate Grand Crus, you can find decaffeinated and half-caffeinated capsules in the VertuoLine stable.
Nespresso VertuoLine coffees have a characteristic crema. This is the froth that forms as a natural part of the brewing process.
The ability to add milk is another plus point with this second generation of Nespresso.
While the OriginalLine machines were designed with a European aesthetic in mind, the new machines are much bulkier. They come in at roughly the same size as a Keurig.
For busy coffee drinkers who prefer a longer drink along the same lines as filter coffee, the Nespresso VertuoLine is the perfect combination of taste and convenience. Once you get one of this machines at home, you simply wouldn’t want to be without it.
Whether you drink capsules throughout the day or limit yourself to the occasional treat, the VertuoLine is a highly versatile coffee machine that represents outstanding value for money. If you’re honest about your needs, you can soon see whether this or the OriginalLine would be the best fit.
Best Nespresso VertuoLine Flavors
We’ll give you a quick snapshot of 10 of the best Nespresso capsules for the VertuoLine…
1) Nespresso VertuoLine Best Seller Assortment (Combo)
If you can’t make up your mind what to go for, this multipack makes sense. With 10 Melozio, 10 Odacio and 10 Stormier, you’ll get 3 awesome coffees perfect for longer drinks. From medium through darker roasts, you’re spoiled for choice with this combo assortment.
2) Nespresso VertuoLine Intenso Coffee
Intenso is a very thick, dense coffee with a taste that lingers. With Central and South American Arabicas combined with Robusta from Guatemala, this dark roasted coffee packs quite a punch. As with all Nespresso pods, they are available in multiple pack sizes.
3) Nespresso VertuoLine Hazelino Coffee
A sweet, nutty Grand Cru, South American Arabicas are blended into a finely balanced coffee. You can add milk to turn the tinge of hazelnut into praline for a real touch of decadence. If you want some fresh coffee with a twist, check out some Hazelino.
4) Nespresso VertuoLine Giornio Coffee
African Arabica from Kenya and Ethiopia come together in a subtle coffee that’s not too intense. Adding some milk makes it smooth and sweet. This medium roasted blend is tailor made for a morning coffee. The split roast means you fully appreciate all aspects of this blend.
5) Nespresso VertuoLine Melozio Coffee
Brazilian Bourbon beans give you a smooth and luxurious blend with notes of honey and biscuit. This is balanced by Central American Arabica beans for a well-rounded coffee. The light blend is about midway on the intensity scale. It’s this type of capsule that has tempted many coffee lovers towards a Nespresso machine.
6) Nespresso VertuoLine Stormio Coffee
Just under the Intenso at 8 on the Nespresso scale, a mysterious blend from Central America is woody and spicy with a touch of cereal. Beans are roasted dark and long for an intense burst of strong flavor. You can bring this down slightly by adding milk but those roasted notes still linger.
7) Nespresso VertuoLine Odacio Coffee
Rated 7 for intensity, Odacio brings together Ethiopian and Nicaraguan Arabicas for a fruity and full-bodied coffee enhanced by split roasting. Pop in some milk and you’ll notice sweeter, dairy notes. This is a coffee equally good for daytime drinking or after an evening meal.
8) Nespresso VertuoLine Diavolitto Espresso
By far the strongest Espresso Grand Cru at 11/12 on the Nespresso scale, Arabica meets Robusta to satisfy even hardcore coffee fans. The highly roasted blend is bitter and full of body. The smooth and fine texture gives you a powerful espresso without any edge of harshness.
9) Nespresso VertuoLine Altissio Espresso
Highly roasted and with plenty of body, Altissio is not quite as intense as Diavolitto but still punches above its weight. South and Central American beans bring out undertones of cereal. Drinking Altissio with milk enhances the full-bodied taste. Espresso is not the main strength of the VertuoLine but this is a fine Grand Cru.
10) Nespresso VertuoLine Voltesso Espresso
Last but not least, Voltesso is a sweet and well-rounded Espresso. South American Arabicas are blended for a biscuity taste that smells extremely sweet. Light roasted Colombian beans add a little acidity while the long roasted Brazilian coffee adds to the sweetness. This mild espresso is a real delight.
VI. Nespresso Pod Storage
While Nespresso machines come with pretty much everything you need to make a first-rate coffee, how about the abundance of pods you’ll have?
One neat solution is a storage unit.
Since Nespresso pods are sold in bulk, the last thing you want is endless boxes or packages filling your valuable space. Getting a dedicated pod storage unit means you can keep your coffee supplies organized and right where you need them.
We’ll look at 3 of the best Nespresso pod storage systems on the market so you can buy something inkeeping with your kitchen color scheme.
1) Mind Reader "Anchor" Coffee Pod Storage Drawer
This sleek black storage drawer will hold either 50 OriginalLine capsules or 24 VertuoLine capsules stored in an upright position. This gives you more than enough space to house a fine selection of coffee right under your machine.
If you don’t like the look of a black drawer, you can choose from a wide assortment of colors and finishes.Since many customers opt for a wide range of blends, the 5 rows let you keep Grand Crus separated.
This drawer is designed so that your machine sites neatly on top of it. If you are a real glutton for coffee and need to store more than 50 pods, buy a couple of units and stack them on top of one another. This obviously means you’ll need to place them somewhere other than under the Nespresso machine.Superb build quality means this drawer will last the distance. It also protects the coffee pods from heat generated by the machine. You want fresh coffee so you certainly want to avoid the taste being compromised in any way.
For a combination of performance and affordability, this Nespresso storage drawer really hits the spot.
2) AmazonBasics Nespresso Pod Storage Drawer
Amazon produces a nifty little storage drawer, again good for 50 Nespresso capsules, that resembles a small cash register.
There’s a single drawer that allows you to neatly organize your capsules while keeping them close at hand. You can take advantage of the usual 5 x 10 configuration allowing you to separate your Espresso from your Lungo.
The bottom of this sleek unit is fitted with anti-slip pads so you won’t find it moving around on your work surface. It’s sized at roughly 9 x 15 x 2 inches so it will fit snugly in even cramped kitchens.Inside the drawer, a pillar adds the necessary strength to support a heavy coffee machine without any flexing or bending.
The black drawer with mirrored handle should mesh in with most color schemes.
For a perfect mix of durability and accessibility without breaking the bank, this storage drawer is well worth popping on your shortlist.
3) DecoBros Crystal Tempered Glass Nespresso Vertuoline Storage Drawer
A more expensive option for Nespresso pod storage is this glass.
Since the VertuoLine capsules are shaped differently, you’ll need a dedicated storage unit. This will house either 20 of the larger coffee pods or 40 of the little espressos.
Space is so often an issue, especially for apartment dwellers, that the ability to stack your machine on top of the attractive and thick glass with a drawer set in makes perfect sense.
This unit is bulkier than the OriginalLine storage products at 14 x 13 x 3 inches. It’s still compact enough for most needs, though.
If you place a premium on design but don’t want to sacrifice performance or durability, this DecoBros storage drawer is an absolute must.
VII. Tips for Selecting The Best Nespresso Capsules
As we near the end of this comprehensive guide to the best Nespresso capsules, it’s a good time to recap and also to look at how you can choose the most suitable pods for your requirements.
First thing’s first, get the right generation of machine.
If You Love Espresso: There’s no substitute for the OriginalLine
If You Love Regular Coffee: Go for the new generation VertuoLine
Once you know which would work best for you and your family, it’s well worth spending some time reading up on coffee in general.
At this stage, it’s a good idea to check out the stores in your area and see what the availability of capsules is like. If you can’t find any nearby, you can always order online. You’ll often get some great discounts this way.
Read plenty of reviews on the different Grand Crus at your disposal so you can really get a feel for what taste, aroma and intensity you can expect from each blend. Sometimes, the choice can be confusing so focus on the style of drink you like best without being afraid to experiment.
Choosing the best Nespresso capsules is no different from deciding what to have at Starbucks. Once you invest in one of these nifty machines, there’s no chance at all you’ll be returning to an insipid cup of instant any time soon!
We hope you’ve found this comprehensive guide to the best Nespresso capsules to be useful and informative.
With any purchase like a coffee machine, you’re always well advised to take plenty of time thinking about exactly what you want from it. Everyone has different needs and tastes. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
If it’s raw espresso you’re after, the OriginalLine is the obvious choice. For filter coffee lovers and anyone who wants a longer drink with the option of various flavors, the new VertuoLine is the most sensible machine.
Either way, you’re in for a treat with a new Nespresso machine!Feel free to get in touch with any queries or feedback. We love to hear from our readers and we’re always more than happy to help.