With 15 billion Nespresso compatible pods sold every year around the world, it is no surprise that many companies are wanting to sell on this popular market.
For a long time Nespresso had the market cornered on coffee pods and capsules. They first launched in 1986 with four signature portioned coffee blends: Capriccio, Cosi, Bolero (now Volluto) and Decaffeinato. It was not until 2011 that their patent expired and other brands could start making coffee in the signature pod form.
Now that this is the case, many Nespresso pod alternatives and Nespresso compatible pods have been made, but which ones are the best?
In this article we have reviewed the 10 best Nespresso pod alternatives sold in the UK, to help you make a decision.
Best Coffee Pods: At a Glance
- Best Keto Coffee Pods - Rejuvenation Water Keto Coffee Pods
- Best Variety Box - Sendero 50 Pod Variety Box
- Best Strong Intensity - Illy Forte Extra Bold Roast
- Best Medium Intensity - Brew Black Supremo Pods
- Best Mild Intensity - Starbucks House Blend Coffee Pods
- Best Organic Pod - Kiss the Hippo Compostable Organic Pods
- Best Black Tea Pods - Note D'Espresso Black Tea Capsules
How to Choose the Best Coffee Pods and Coffee Capsules for You
What’s the difference between a coffee pod and a coffee capsule?
The use of the two words, pods and capsules, are often used interchangeably by consumer and manufacturer.
Both describe the same thing; a small aluminium (or plastic) container with a single serving of coffee inside.
Some brands do offer other hot beverages inside such as black tea, matcha tea or hot chocolate.
If you are environmentally conscious, then you can opt for a reusable coffee pod made of metal and fill it with your own coffee. Or for less fuss but still looking after the planet, some companies now do compostable coffee pods.
Whatever beverage you choose, in whichever capsule, you need to make sure that the pod is the right fit for your coffee machine.
Will every pod or capsule fit every coffee machine?
No, definitely not.
Even Nespresso capsules come in both standard and Vertuo varieties, and these are not interchangeable – you need to use the correct capsule for your type of machine.
Similarly, you can’t chop and change between different manufacturer’s capsules: Nescafè’s Dolce Gusto, Lavazza’s A Modo Mio and Nestlé’s Nespresso and Vertuo capsules only work with their specifically designed machines.
Even with just original Nespresso machines there are many options and choosing the right one for you can seem like a daunting task.
For guidance, check out our article on the top 5 Nespresso machines here.
Do all coffee pods and capsules produce the same type of coffee?
Although most different pods will produce coffee to a similar standard, and the general effect of using a Nespresso compatible pod and machine will be of a higher standard to most at home coffee brewing, each brand will have a unique flavour due to the intensity/roasting of the coffee, the addition of other ingredients and even the packaging will all have an effect on the flavour of the pod.
To help you choose, manufacturers often label pods or capsules with a strength score to give you an idea of the intensity of coffee they will produce, and you can also choose from a wide range of different blends and coffee styles.
Some companies also add ingredients to the pods along with coffee, such as our Nespresso compatible keto coffee pods, which have MCT oil blended into each pod for instant energy and a creamy vegan espresso.
The Best Nespresso Pod Alternatives UK
Best Keto Coffee Pods
Rejuvenation Water Nespresso Compatible Keto Coffee Pods
The Ketogenic (keto) diet is low carb, high fat and moderate protein diet.
These are the best keto coffee pods for someone following the diet as they have MCT oil already blended into them. This saves the hassle of having to add it yourself with the use of a blender when making a keto coffee.
They can be used in a range of keto snack recipes or simply add butter (or. a vegan alternative) to make bulletproof coffees. Bulletproof coffees have become a very popular staple, to many people following the diet, as a convenient but filling breakfast.
With the long list of benefits of keto coffee, it is no wonder these pods are so popular, not only in the keto community, but by people not following the diet that understand the health benefits of adding MCT oil to the diet, such as for a pre-workout.
The coffee used in each compostable pod is 100% Arabica coffee. This, along with the high quality MCT oil, creates a tasty creamy vegan espresso, that is not harmful to the environment.
What's not to love!
Best Variety Box
Sendero 50 Pod Variety Box
This Taster Box contains 5 packs of Nespresso compatible capsules (50 capsules total), each filled with specialty grade coffee.
Just like the keto coffee pods, Sendero use 100% Arabica Coffee all packed into compostable pods.
What is so special about this variety pack is the range of coffees that you get all with different flavour notes. Perfect if you like to change up your coffees every day or for a family who all have different preferences.
Taster Box includes 5 packs, each containing 10 capsules:
- 1x Colombia, Strength: 3/5, Tasting Notes: Dark Chocolate & Almond
- 1x Guatemala, Strength: 3/5, Tasting Notes: Tangerine & Chocolate
- 1x Peru, Strength: 4/5, Tasting Notes: Cherries & Caramel
- 1x Mexico, Strength: 5/5, Tasting Notes: Peach & Orange Zest
- 1x Uganda, Strength: 5/5, Tasting Notes: Cocoa & Raspberry
Purchase at Amazon : £17 for 50 pods.
Best Decaf Pod
L'OR Espresso Ristretto Decaf Coffee Pods
These pods are perfect for anyone who loves the rich, dark taste of coffee but does not want the caffeine.
Craving for a full-bodied strength? Drink the Ristretto Decaffeinato. A tasteful blend with woody aromas and notes of toasted almonds.
While many roasters neglect the less-popular decaf, that is not the case here. This is no one-note affair; it’s been crafted with the same skill and attention as the top-selling caffeinated blends. It’s richly aromatic with an intensity of 9 and exceptionally bold flavours to match.
Best Strong Intensity
Illy Forte Extra Bold Roast
With an intensity of 9, this coffee has the maximum intensity rating (Illy uses their scale out of 9, rather than the Nespresso scale to 11), with a bold flavour and features classic dark roast flavours of toasted cereals and bittersweet chocolate.
This Italian brand is a global force in coffee beans, specialising in carefully crafted 100% Arabica blends.
They source their beans carefully worldwide to produce a unique blend designed to highlight all that coffee can be. You’ll get the floral notes of Ethiopian coffee, chocolate flavours from Guatemala, fruit from Colombia, sweet caramel from Brazil, and just a hint of spice from Indian beans.
This Nespresso compatible pod is perfect for people who love a dark, vibrant, and very full-bodied espresso. It’s fantastic as an espresso shot or makes a particularly lovely base for a latte or cappuccino.
Best Medium Intensity
Brew Black Supremo Nespresso Compatible pods
With a 7/12 intensity, these Nespresso compatible coffee pods have dark chocolate, nutty, piquant aromas with a fruity context.
Perfect for someone wanting the fully body rich flavour of a stronger coffee but without the intensity.
Each Nespresso compatible capsule is made of plastic, filled with 100% Arabica coffee and made in Italy.
Best Mild Intensity
Starbucks House Blend Coffee pods
If a lighter and brighter brew is what you’re after, you will be pleasantly surprised by Starbucks.
While full-bodied dark roasts have long been the standard for espresso, with most coffee connoisseurs opting for this, there’s no law saying a mild intensity lighter roast can’t also make a delicious shot.
Actually, this past decade has seen coffee trend towards lighter roasts with bright acidity and complex flavour profiles. So, it’s no surprise that Nespresso compatible capsules are following suit.
Being such a big business, Starbucks are able to source the top beans and deliver consistency with every batch of pods. Using 100% Arabica beans and packed into an aluminium pod, quality is the key word that comes to mind with these Nespresso compatible pods.
Best Healthy Nespresso Compatible Pod
Rejuvenation Water Turmeric and Beetroot Health Pods
Who says that your Nespresso machine has to be for coffee only? At rejuvenation water we've changed how we use Nespresso machines. These large appliances shouldn't just have one purpose.
These healthy Nespresso capsules are a compostable and vegan option that not only tastes incredible, but also contains some of the essential nutrients that your body needs to thrive.
The turmeric and beetroot health pods contain vitamin C, vitamin D, and prebiotic plant-based fibre that feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
The Nespresso compatible health pods are affordable, yet high-quality. They’re low in sugar and can be enjoyed hot or cold. If you’re trying to limit your caffeine intake, these are a perfect replacement to your morning coffee as they contain no caffeine but still give you a refreshing boost to set you up for the day.
Best Organic Pod
Kiss the Hippo Compostable Organic Pods
Organically grown coffee has environmental, socioeconomic, and health benefits, so it’s well worth seeking an organic brew.
All of Kiss the hippo's products, even their Nespresso compatible coffee pods are certified carbon negative.
They're also dedicated to helping people as well as the planet. That means supporting the amazing humans at every link of our coffee chain, as well as partnering with a host of world-changing charities at a local and global level — from leading coffee researchers here in London to inspiring clean water initiatives in Kenya, Nicaragua and beyond.
They have three flavours for their organic Nespresso compatible coffee pods:
Organic House Blend: Chocolate, Caramel, Red Berries
Organic Classic Blend: Dark Chocolate, Molasses, Almond
Organic Decaf: Dark Chocolate, Toffee, Brazil Nut
Best Nespresso Compatible Matcha Tea Pod
Rejuvenation Water Matcha Energy Health Pods
The first ever matcha tea in a Nespresso compatible capsule. This revolutionary pod is a game changer for all the matcha tea drinkers out there.
Making this kind of tea normally involves whisking the bright green Matcha powder into hot water. This can be a long and messy affair, with most people making it once and then never making it again.
One of the advantages of our Matcha Pods for Nespresso is that you do away with all that and get the perfect beverage quickly and consistently. Enjoy genuine organic Japanese matcha at the push of a button.
The organic Japanese matcha used in these healthy Nespresso capsules is enriched with plant prebiotic fibre and a full B vitamin complex. You can enjoy a rich matcha whilst also consuming some of your essential nutrients.
You can even add the milk of your choice to your matcha Nespresso pod to make a rich, creamy matcha latte.
Best Black Tea Pods
Note D'Espresso Black Tea Capsules
For all the tea lovers Note D'Espresso Black Tea Capsules is the best Nespresso pod alternatives. Each Nespresso compatible pods has 2g of black tea enclosed. Although they are not compostable coffee pods, they are in a recyclable plastic.
The company even sell other flavours of Nespresso pods, such as Black lemon and Chamomile.
Add a splash of the milk of your choice to make a milky tea if black tea isn't for you.
Purchase at Amazon: £14.42 for 100 pods
Whether you're just purchasing a Nespresso machine and don't know which pods to start with, or you are getting bored of your same old Nespresso capsules and looking to change things up, hopefully this guide can help you make an informed decision purchasing your new pods.
Which ever new Nespresso compatible pods you purchase make sure you check they are the right ones for your machine and that you dispose of your pods in the correct way.
By Alex Warmisham ANutr - Nutritionist at Rejuvenation Water