Coffee pods are everywhere at the moment, so how do you know where to start? We rounded up the best-tasting coffee pods to help you find your perfect brew.
Approximately one-quarter of American coffee drinkers opt for coffee pods, but with so many different brands, blends, and flavors on the market, finding the best one is quite a task. Not to mention, there are so many brewers out there, too, which can only use certain pods.
We’re here to make it easier; I tried so many different pods so that you don’t have to. In this article, I’ll share the best-tasting coffee pods you can find, whether you’re team Nespresso, Keurig, or something else.
1. The Original Donut Shop Regular Medium Roast Coffee Pods
These pods by the Original Donut Shop are among the most popular ones, and once you try them, you’ll see why. Medium-roasted, this coffee is full-bodied with notes of chocolate and rye. It’s also low in acidity and has no lingering bitter aftertaste.
It’s worth noting that these are some of the most affordable pods on the list. Yet, the quality is at par with many premium capsules. What’s also great is that these pods come in packs of different sizes, from 32 to as many as 400!
2. Amazon Brand – Solimo French Roast Coffee Pods
As an Amazon brand, Solimo might not be the first one that comes to mind when choosing coffee pods. That’s why these capsules are quite a refreshing surprise.
Solimo pods come in different flavors, but the French roast definitely stands out from the crowd. It’s the brand’s darkest roast, which is bold and full-bodied, with prominent nutty and smokey notes.
These pods come in packs of 24 to 100 pods, so you don’t have to think about repurchasing all the time. In case you don’t end up liking them (which I highly doubt), you can get a refund.
3. Starbucks Pike Place Roast Coffee Pods
Overall, Starbucks makes excellent coffee, so it’s not surprising to see the brand’s coffee pods on this list. There are many Starbucks flavors to choose from, but Pike Place is the franchise’s most popular one for a reason. This medium-roasted blend of Latin American coffee gives you a clean and full-bodied cup with notes of cocoa and praline.
What’s great about Starbucks coffee is that you can trace it from bean to cup. The brand is fully transparent about the whole process, from sourcing to roasting, so you know exactly what you’re drinking.
4. Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast Single Serve Pods
For those who want to feel a strong caffeine kick, Death Wish Coffee is an excellent choice. The brand is known for making a strong cup of java, and these pods do just that.
This coffee is not strong just in terms of caffeine but in terms of flavor as well. This blend of Arabica and Robusta is dark-roasted, which brings out the subtle cherry and chocolate flavor profile.
If you’re unsure whether you’ll like this coffee, you can always go with a 10-pod pack. For those already in love with the flavor, buying in bulk of 72 saves you the need for constant repurchasing.
5. Bones Coffee Company Jamaican Me Crazy Flavored Pods
If you’re a fan of flavored coffee, then the Bones Coffee Company range is definitely worth checking out. You have classic options, like French vanilla or caramel chocolate, but this brand also offers plenty of unique flavors you might not find elsewhere; the White Russian, Holy Cannoli, and Cranberry Creme Brulee are just a few.
The Jamaican Me Crazy blend is a top pick. It expertly combines coffee liquor flavoring with vanilla and caramel; it feels more like a dessert or cocktail than a morning drink.
Now, I know that packaging is not a functional feature – but it’s so cute it’s worth mentioning. Inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and Day of the Dead, every box has a unique image. It’s so beautiful you’ll have a hard time throwing it away.
6. Nespresso VertuoLine Espresso Bold Variety Pack Coffee Pods
Who says that plain espresso is boring? With proper coffee beans, that can’t be the case.
This variety pack for VertuoLine machines features two flavors: Diavolitto and Altissio. Both types of pods come in two packs of 10 capsules, so you’re set for around a month.
Diavolitto is dark-roasted and intense, with a creamy texture and notes of fine oak wood and leather. Altissio, on the other hand, is medium-roasted and smooth with soft cereal notes. Both make a nice layer of crema, which provides a hint of bitterness to your cup.
7. Nespresso OriginalLine Ristretto Coffee Pods
These OriginalLine pods contain a blend of three types of coffee; nutty and chocolatey South American Arabica, lightly acidic East African Arabica, and a touch of Robusta. You get a really intense and flavorful cup of ristretto.
The coffee is bold and syrupy with intense woody and spicy notes. It has a rich mouthfeel, and the strong aftertaste lingers for a while. It’s also low in acidity, so it’s gentle on your stomach.
Nespresso never shares the exact caffeine content of its pods. But given the other information we have, it’s safe to assume that these ristretto pods are packed with caffeine. This makes them a perfect choice for a morning cup of coffee. Learn more in our explainer on Nespresso intensity levels.
8. illy Coffee Classico Medium Roast
If you like your coffee smooth and balanced, illy is a brand to keep in mind. The company only uses Arabica beans, which are known for their sweet taste and mild acidity. What’s more, Arabica is never bitter, no matter the roast.
This particular coffee is medium-roasted, and it’s the perfect middle-of-the-road flavor. It makes a full-bodied cup of coffee with notes of caramel, orange blossom, and jasmine.
Well-balanced, this coffee is something both casual drinkers and coffee aficionados can enjoy. It’s like vanilla ice cream; sure, it’s somewhat of a basic flavor, but it’s still great.
9. Lavazza Espresso Intenso
You’ve probably already tried Lavazza coffee, as the brand supplies hundreds of cafés and restaurants with quality Italian Joe. Since making a pod brewer of its own, the Lavazza a Modo Mio, you can enjoy this quality coffee at home with the push of a button.
The Espresso Intenso capsules are a blend of Brazilian and Indian coffee beans. It combines Arabica and Robusta beans meaning this blend will wake you up without sacrificing taste.
Espresso Intenso has hints of spice but is full-bodied and smooth. You’ll also be able to detect caramel and chocolate.
If you don’t have the Lavazza Modo Mio coffee maker, you won’t be left out. You can also find this blend, and others, in Nespresso-compatible pods and K-cups, too – just ensure you have picked up a pod suitable for your brewer before purchasing.
10. Bialetti Midnight Espresso
Bialetti is another coffee giant that took advantage of this quick brewing method and manufactured its own pod device and a line of compatible coffee capsules. With a 100-year history, you can trust Bialetti has perfected the art of bringing quality coffee to its customers.
The Midnight Espresso capsules are great for those who are sensitive to caffeine or like to have a cup of coffee in the afternoon but don’t want to switch to decaf. This Arabica and Robusta blend contains 50% less caffeine than a standard espresso shot, so you’ll still feel more alert but won’t find yourself up all night.
The pods whip up a rich cup of coffee with hints of cereal and vanilla. Like Lavazza, Bialetti offers pods compatible with Nespresso machines too.
11. Green Mountain Coffee Decaf Breakfast Blend
Although many coffee lovers will cry “death before decaf,” it has its place. If you’re sensitive to caffeine but love the taste of coffee, why would you give it up?
Green Mountain Coffee’s Breakfast Blend is a bright, refreshing light roast with hints of fruit. It tastes identical to the brand’s caffeinated offerings, so you don’t have to choose between flavor or jitters. It’s gentle and smooth, so it’s good for new coffee drinkers or those who don’t like strong Joe. You might be wondering, can kids drink decaf coffee?
12. Maxwell House House Blend Medium Roast
Maxwell House is one of the most recognizable and trusted names in the coffee business. The House Blend offers that familiar experience we know and love; it’s smooth with low acidity, so it shouldn’t upset sensitive tummies.
Some coffee drinkers find pod coffee leaves behind an odd aftertaste. Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case with Maxwell House; it provides a pleasant and balanced drinking experience until after the last drop.
13. McCafé Premium Roast
Although many people turn their noses up at McDonald’s coffee, it’s surprisingly good. So good, in fact, that there are McCafé locations separate from the fast food restaurants. You can bring that comforting taste home with the brand’s Keurig-compatible pods.
The Premium Roast is smooth, with little to no bitterness and a clean finish. The blend is well-balanced and aromatic; it smells just as good as it tastes.
14. Starbucks By Nespresso, Espresso Blonde
If you love Starbucks, you know picking up coffee daily would drastically fit into your monthly budget. The good news is you can enjoy the classic blonde roast at home. While pods compatible with Nespresso VertuoLine brewers are hard to come by, Starbucks had you in mind as it offers pods compatible with both lines; just ensure you’ve picked up the correct box in the store.
Although light roasts tend to be acidic, the Starbucks blonde roast goes down smoothly. It is delicate with hints of citrus.
15. L’OR Colombia Espresso Capsules
L’OR is another coffee giant that has more than proven itself. Hailing from France, you can trust the brand seeks to bring French coffee culture to customers worldwide. Although L’OR has its own coffee brewing system, you can still use these capsules with Nespresso Original devices.
If you consider yourself a coffee snob, then you’re probably in the market for a single-origin brew that lets the unique properties of the region shine through. The Colombian espresso capsules offer just that; they showcase the velvety texture and fruity flavors found in coffee from this region.
The Colombian espresso pods are tangy with hints of citrus. The bright flavors will perk you up on slow mornings.
16. Nescafé Dolce Gusto Caramel Macchiato
As much as we love espresso, sometimes you crave that coffee shop experience at home. Thanks to Nescafé and Dolce Gusto, you can enjoy a foamy caramel macchiato at home with no effort; you’ll be really impressed by how the device manages to create the three distinct layers that make this drink special.
The coffee is a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans; although Robusta is known for its intense taste, the caramel and milk soften it, hitting that beautiful spot between sweet and bitter.
If you’re in the market for a new pod brewer and love creamy coffee, Dolce Gusto is the one for you, as milky Nespresso pods are few and far between. While Nespresso, Nescafé, and Dolce Gusto are under the Nestlé umbrella, these pods are not compatible with Nespresso brewers.
17. Tassimo Costa Americano
If your favorite coffee shop is Costa, you can still enjoy this java at home if you have a Tassimo pod brewer. The Tassimo Costa Americano pods are smooth yet rich; they brew coffee that is full-bodied and aromatic with a heavenly layer of crema on top. It’s strong enough to perk you up without being overwhelming.
You can also find other beloved Costa drinks, from lattes to cappuccinos and even iced drinks, but the Americano is a simple, tried, and true classic. Tassimo pods are not suitable for other coffee makers, but you can find Costa coffee capsules for Nespresso.
18. Woken Cremoso Dark Roast
For those who are environmentally conscious, pod brewers are a nightmare. Coffee capsules are single-use items, and some kinds of pods can’t be recycled.
Thankfully, Woken Coffee offers delicious Joe in compostable pods – after all, since coffee grounds are biodegradable, it makes sense that the pods should be too. Woken takes it one step further and is carbon-neutral, meaning this brand has a minimal environmental impact overall.
Woken’s dark roast is roasted in Italy and is a blend of beans from South America, Africa, and India. It’s full-bodied but goes down smoothly. Despite being a dark roast, it’s on the milder side in terms of taste.
This brew has fruity notes and an enticing spicy fragrance. You might also be interested in our guide on how to reuse Nespresso pods.
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