Top 7 Best Nespresso Pods [Expert Reviews]

In a hurry? The Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano are the best Nespresso pods.

If you’ve got a Nespresso machine, you know that there are tons of different pods to choose from. 

But, which is the best?

As a seasoned coffee fanatic, I’ve done the research and put together a complete guide to the best Nespresso pods. 

Here are our top picks as well as a buying guide to help you choose the right pods for your tastes.

The Top 7 Best Nespresso Pods

Nespresso Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano

The Inspirazione Ristretto Italiano is made using a medium-dark roast. 

It’s an intense, strong coffee with a dense body. The brew is made with Arabica beans from Colombia, Brazil, and East Africa.

For this pod, Nespresso used a slow roasting process, which adds acidity and fruity notes to the coffee. 

Still, it’s quite an intense brew, coming in at a 10 out of 13 rating. As a result, it tends to be quite strong and bitter. 

Pros: 

  • It has a strong flavor, so you can use it for lattes and not lose the taste of the espresso under the milk
  • It’s made from Arabica beans, so it has a lot of complexity
  • It’s super aromatic, so you get a flavorful cup of coffee

Cons: 

  • It has some bitter notes, so it might not be such a crowd-pleaser
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Nespresso OriginalLine Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar

Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar pods have a sweet yet very dark flavor. They’re ranked at an intensity of 12 out of 13, so these are strong

The pods are very bitter and have a heavy body with not much acidity. The flavor notes are wood and spices that balance out the heavy flavor. 

These pods are made with Robusta beans, so they produce an excellent crema. If you like lattes and cappuccinos, these are good beans to use to brew them. 

Pros: 

  • The coffee is super strong, so it works well for milk-based beverages
  • They’re made from Robusta beans, so they produce a thick and rich crema

Cons: 

  • This brew is very intense, so some people may find it’s too dark for their liking
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Nespresso Master Origin Ethiopia

These capsules are floral with a hint of musk in the background. 

They’re made from dry-processed Arabica beans, which means that part of the coffee cherry is dried in the sun. This is a method that’s popular for Ethiopian coffee.

The beans have an aromatic flavor profile with spices and orange blossom notes. It’s a short, light roast so you get some nuanced flavors in your cup of coffee. 

Overall, this coffee bean has an intensity of 4 out of 13. As a result, it’s pretty smooth and quite acidic.

Pros: 

  • The coffee is pretty light, so it’s perfect for pairing with fruity desserts or breakfasts
  • Is a lightweight coffee, but still offers a powerful flavor and intense caffeine kick

Cons: 

  • This Nespresso coffee pod is small, so you can only use it for a 1.4-ounce pour
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Nespresso OriginalLine Ispirazione Espresso Variety Pack

This variety pack offers coffee drinkers multiple flavors in one box.

In other words, you can try a couple of different flavors at once without having to shell out for multiple packs of different coffee. 

The flavors included in this pack are:

  • Capriccio – Intensity 5
  • Ispirazione Genova Livanto – Intensity 6
  • Ispirazione Roma – Intensity 8
  • Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio – Intensity 9
  • Ispirazione Ristretto – Intensity 10

This is the perfect pack for anyone wanting to try out different Nespresso pods or who’s new to the world of coffee. 

Pros: 

  • There are multiple intensity levels included, so you can try everything from light to heavy-bodied coffee
  • The coffees come from a variety of different origins, so you can check out new flavor profiles

Cons: 

  • You’re buying in bulk, so it’s a bit more expensive
  • Even though there are multiple types of coffee, the majority are on the darker side
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Nespresso VertuoLine Double Espresso Chiaro

The Nespresso VertuoLine Double Espresso Chiaro is made out of washed and dry-processed Arabica beans. The beans are from Latin America, and have a short and intense flavor. 

This blend makes for a woody and earthy cup of coffee. 

They have an intensity of 8, without too much bitterness or acidity. They’re slightly darker than your average medium roast, but not so dark that they start to taste smoky. 

The downside to these pods is that they don’t work with all Nespresso machines. If you have the original machine, you won’t be able to use them.

Pros: 

  • Pods are larger, so you can make bigger cups of coffee or stronger drinks
  • They’re a medium-dark roast, so they’re not overly intense for brewing straight coffee

Cons: 

  • They’re only compatible with the Vertuo machine, so if you only have the original Nespresso machine, you won’t be able to use them.
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Nespresso VertuoLine Altissio Decaffeinato

Nespresso VertuoLine is on the dark end of medium brews, coming in at a 9 out of 13 intensity. 

The coffee has an aromatic flavor profile that produces a full body and a rich crema. 

This coffee stands out for its aromatic notes of cereals. These notes are due to the blend of Arabica from Costa Rica and Robusta beans from Brazil.

The coffee isn’t very acidic, nor is it overly bitter. 

The best part about these pods is that they’re decaf. If you can’t (or won’t) drink caffeinated coffee, this is an excellent pick. 

Pros: 

  • The pods are decaf, so you can drink them even if you’re avoiding caffeine
  • The pods taste the same as the original capsules, so you don’t lose flavor just because they’re decaf

Cons: 

  • The pods only work with the VertuoLine machines, so if you have the OriginalLine, you won’t be able to use them
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Nespresso Vienna Linizio Lungo

This coffee is a well-balanced blend of beans from South America. It’s on the lighter end of the intensity scale, only receiving a 6 out of 13. 

The coffee’s aromatic notes highlight the malt and grain flavors. It has a neutral body and smooth acidity and bitterness, so it’s not hard to drink, either. 

Because of its medium body, this coffee is perfect for larger pours. If you like sipping on big cups of coffee, this is a good pod to invest in. 

Pros: 

  • It’s a super smooth cup of coffee, so it’s easy and pleasant to drink
  • It’s not overly intense, so you don’t have to worry about too much bitterness
  • It produces a good lungo pour, so you can enjoy a larger cup of coffee

Cons: 

  • It’s not as intense, so it doesn’t work very well for espresso or espresso-based beverages
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A Buying Guide to Nespresso Pods

Now that you’ve got a clear idea of the different Nespresso pods out there, let’s talk about how to find the right ones for you.

After all, we’ve all got different preferences, machines, and tastes! Here’s a closer look at what to think about when picking up Nespresso pods.

The Machine

The first thing to keep in mind when buying Nespresso pods is the type of machine you have.

There are two Nespresso machines on the market today: the Nespresso Vertuo and the Nespresso Original.

The pods for each machine are made differently, so they’re not interchangeable. If you own an Original machine, you’ll need to look for OriginalLine pods. 

Conversely, if you have a Vertuo machine, you’ll have to look for a Nespresso Vertuo pod. For cappuccino and latte lovers, the Vertuo machine has capsules that work great for those types of drinks.

The Intensity

The next thing to keep in mind when looking for Nespresso pods is the intensity of the brew. 

Nespresso uses an intensity rating from 1 to 13. The darkest, most intense flavors are at the higher end of the spectrum. Lighter coffees sit at the lower end of the spectrum. 

Intense coffees are generally darker, more concentrated, and have more intense flavors. On the other hand, light coffees tend to be more balanced. 

If you love dark, intense brews, you might want to pick a Nespresso pod in the range of 9 to 13. 

However, if you like light, citrusy brews, you’re better off sticking with something in the 1-5 range. 

The Size

Although Nespresso pods all come in the same size, that doesn’t mean that they’re all designed to make the same size coffee. 

When choosing Nespresso pods, one of the things you need to keep in mind is what size coffee you plan to prepare. 

OriginalLine pods come in ristretto (smallest), espresso (standard), and lungo (largest) sizes. On the other hand, VertuoLine has additional sizes designed for coffee and gran lungo.

Make sure to check the pods to see what type of coffee they’re designed for. That way, you’ll get the best tasting coffee when you pull shots on your machine. 

Arabica vs Robusta

arabica and robusta coffee beans

Two of the most commonly grown coffee varieties are Arabica and Robusta beans

Arabica beans are generally sweet, smooth beans that are much more complex. You’ll often find them used for light roasts since it’s easier to taste the flavor nuances. 

On the other hand, Robusta beans have a heavier body and usually give you a richer crema. As a result, they tend to be better for dark roasts and espressos. 

Nespresso has both Arabica and Robusta blends in their line of pods. 

Think about what type of coffee you’ll be brewing and how that will affect which pods you choose. 

If you’re planning to brew up espresso, Robusta might be the better pick. On the other hand, if your main goal is to make brewed coffee, Arabica should do the trick. 

The Origin

The region where coffee is grown also plays a role in the flavor of the coffee. 

For example, in Latin America, coffee usually has nutty, chocolatey flavors. They’re usually pretty sweet coffee blends. 

East African coffee tends to have fruity and tropical flavors. Finally, South Asian and Sumatran blends usually have dark, earthy tones.

Nespresso capsules come in blends grown in a number of different regions. 

Think about what types of flavors you enjoy in your coffee and look for Nespresso coffee pods grown in the corresponding regions. 

That way, you can pick pods that give you the exact kind of coffee you like!

Nespresso OriginalLine vs VertuoLine: The Difference

Nespresso has two different machines, the VertuoLine and the OriginalLine. Despite both being a Nespresso brand, they’re actually pretty different machines.

For one thing, the VertuoLine machines let you make five different sizes of coffee:

  1. 1.35 ounce espresso
  2. 2.7 ounce espresso
  3. 5 ounce gran lungo
  4. 7.8 ounce coffee
  5. 14 ounce extra-large coffee

In contrast, the OriginalLine only lets you prepare three sizes of coffee:

  1. 0.5 ounce ristretto
  2. 1.35 ounce espresso
  3. 3.7 ounce lungo

Another big difference between the machines is the brewing system. With the OriginalLine machines, you just pop your pods into the device and you’re good to go.

In contrast, with VertuoLine, the device uses a barcode scanning system to pick up information about what and how to brew your coffee. This makes for a much higher quality brew.

Finally, OriginalLine machines use an internal pump to apply pressure to the espresso coffee. VertuoLine machines, however, use centrifusion to extract the coffee. 

Both methods work well, but they each affect the taste slightly differently. OriginalLine espresso has less crema than VerutoLine, but the flavor is more fully extracted. 

FAQ

If you have some questions in mind that are still unresolved, I’m not surprised.

To make things clearer, I’ve put together a quick FAQ. Here are a couple of questions and answers to help you out!

What is the most popular Nespresso capsule?

The most popular Nespresso capsule is the Ristretto. Ristretto is a classic intense blend of medium roast Arabicas with a small proportion of Robusta beans. The beans come from Brazil, East Africa, Colombia, and India and is a grade 10 intensity.

Can you run a Nespresso pod twice?

No, it’s not recommended that you re-use your Nespresso pods. While there are people who do it, a lot of the flavor and quality is lost in the second cup. Additionally reusing a coffee capsule can damage your machine.

How can I make my Nespresso taste better?

To make your Nespresso taste better, you can try heating the cup before serving the coffee. You should also regularly clean the coffee maker to make sure there’s no built-up residue impacting the flavor of your drink.

Conclusion

All in all the Nespresso Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano comes in as the clear winner as the best Nespresso capsule. 

The brew is dark enough that you can use it in espresso drinks, but not so dark that you can’t drink it straight. 

On top of that, it’s a super aromatic brew with tons of different flavors lingering in the background. It’s a cup of coffee that stays interesting no matter how many times you drink it. 

However, even while the Nespresso Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano espresso capsule may be our top pick, that’s not to say the others aren’t worth trying. 

Whichever you pick, I’m confident you’ll love sipping on your new Nespresso coffee!

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Jessica Ruth Lee Fleming
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.