Your average Nespresso capsule will cost around $0.75 for OriginalLine machines and around $1.00 for VertuoLine machines.
While it’s much less than an espresso or latte at your local coffee shop, those costs add up.
With capsule-based coffee machines taking off over the last decade, competitors have sprung up to meet the demand of the coffee-consuming public:
Quality pod alternatives at an affordable price.
We’ve tasted nearly all of the best Nespresso compatible capsules and have landed on these 6 as the best, factoring in quality, cost, and reliability.
Best Nespresso Compatible Capsules
The table below gives a quick summary of the 6 best Nespresso compatible capsules.
See a lot of red Xs in the VertuoLine column? None of these companies make VertuoLine alternatives!
The main reason Nespresso released their VertuoLine series was to introduce its capsule scanning technology, which prevents unlicensed capsules from being used.
The result? No alternatives at this time for VertuoLine machines.
Click each brand in the table below to jump to its section.
|Brand||OriginalLine||VertuoLine||Varieties Available||Cost Per Pod|
|1. HiLine||19||$0.50||Explore HiLine pod varieties|
|2. Cafe Joe USA||10||$0.45||Explore Cafe Joe USA pod varieties|
|3. Lavica||7||$0.50||Explore Lavica pod varieties|
|4. Gourmesso||27||$0.50||Explore Gourmesso pod varieties|
|5. Jones Brothers||5||$0.45||Explore Jones Brothers pod varieties|
|6. Caffesso||13||$0.35||Explore Caffesso pod varieties|
HiLine imports their coffees from high altitude, small lot farms in Latin America, Africa and South America. To keep overhead costs down, they’re an online-only business without any physical storefront locations.
- Whole bean coffee
- Ground coffee
- Nespresso-compatible capsules
- Keurig-compatible pods
As a result these capsules will run you about $0.45-$0.65 each.
Each capsule has 5.0-5.5 grams of coffee with approximately 60-70 mg of caffeine (except decaf of course, which has about 1 mg of caffeine).
You can read about HiLine’s pod compatibility on their website.
Price Per Pod: Around $0.50
Varieties Available (Standard)
- Wall Street: Dark roast from Sumatra with creamy, nutty profile
- Greenwich Village: Dark roast from Brazil with fudge, orange and vanilla
- Broadway: Dark roast from Sumatra with fruity, tart notes
- Liberty: Dark roast from Colombia with raspberry and caramel
- Times Square: Dark roast from Brazil with chocolate and sage
- Grand Central: Dark roast from Colombia with caramel and cherry
- Soho: Medium roast from Guatemala with chocolate and blackberry
- Brooklyn: Medium roast from Ethiopia with sweetness, walnut and blueberry
- Chelsea: Light roast from Guatemala with cinnamon, citrus and blackberry
- Central Park: Decaf from Brazil with cacao nib and nuttiness
- West Village: Dark roast from Guatemala with notes of cocoa and almond
- Kona Blend: Dark roast from Hawaii with real Kona coffee
(Can you tell this company is headquartered in New York, NY?)
Varieties Available (Decadent & Flavored)
- Vanilla Macaron: Dark roast from Ethiopia
- Creamy Coconut: Dark roast from Brazil
- Hazelnut Cupcake: Dark roast from Ethiopia
- Chocolate Donut: Dark roast from Ethiopia
- Peppermint Bark: Dark roast from Sumatra
- Pumpkin Spice: Dark roast from Brazil
- Sea Salt Caramel: Dark roast from Ethiopia
- Coffee capsules compatible with Nespresso Original Line machines
- 3 bags, each containing 20 capsules, totaling 60 capsules
- 20 capsules of Wall St Roast (Intensity 10)
- 20 capsules of Liberty Lungo DarkRoast (Intensity 10)
- 20 capsules of Greenwich Village Roast (Intensity 10)
Cafe Joe USA is new to the United States market, but that doesn’t mean they’re new to coffee.
To the contrary: They have been the leader in Israel’s coffee scene for over 20 years!
Cafe Joe USA sources their coffee from the major coffee growing regions of the world and offers multiple different varieties, which fall into four categories:
- House roast
- Extra strong roasts
- Specialty blends — bold and vibrant — representative of countries’ tastes
- Lighter, more delicate roasts
Recently I gave Cafe Joe USA a full review.
The summary: fresh coffee for much less than Nespresso brand capsules. While they don’t have as many different roasts as the other competitors on this list, Cafe Joe does have something for everyone — and it’s good stuff at a great price.
Price Per Pod: Around $0.45
- Joe: Fruity acidity with honey aftertaste
- Decaf: Fruity acidity with honey aftertaste (but dsecaffeinated)
- Extra Strong: Dark chocolate with light cherry undertones
- Ultra Strong: Bittersweet chocolate with light cherry undertones
- Trieste: Hazelnut with slightly bitter finish
- Lucca: Slightly nutty with a subtle honey sweetness
- Chiari: Soft and smooth, though the robusta beans give it some balanced depth
- Cuba: Strong and spicy with notes of chocolate designed to hold its own with milk-based drinks
- Costa Rica: An intense roast with some balanced sweetness and subtly vibrant fruitiness
- Columbia: Robust with balanced bitterness, some spicy notes, and a touch of fruit
- Israel's leading coffee chain, and most popular coffee capsules are now available in the US - over 1 Million capsules sold every month.
- Excellent Caribbean taste. Hints of dark chocolate and slight fragrance of Cuban tobacco. Strength: 9/10
- NOTE: Expiration Date Format is DD/MM/YY
- Innovative and air tight "EVO" coffee capsules ensure maximum coffee freshness.
- Unique tamp dome "EXTRA CREAM" technology generates an especially robust crema and extracts the perfect coffee from our gourmet blends. Compatible with all Nespresso Machines (except "Vertuoline" machines).
An Italian company that specializes in Nespresso compatible capsules, Lavica has a narrow range of very good pods.
By flavor, these pods compare very well with Nespresso. I’d say at least 90% as good, which is great considering the savings.
The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that the capsules all look the same regardless of which variety you get. If you don’t keep the different roasts separate, you’ll never figure out which is which.
Price Per Pod: Around $0.50
- Oro: Dark roast with 90% Robusta, 10% Arabica and complex, bittersweet chocolate and hazelnut
- Fortissimo: Dark roast with 90% Arabica, 10% Robusta and sharp, intense flavor
- Italiano: Medium-dark roast with 60% Robusta, 40% Arabica and smooth caramel and hazelnut
- Lungo: Medium roast with 60% Robusta, 40% Arabica with smooth richness
- Amabile: Medium roast with 50% Arabica, 50% Robusta and ideal balance of bitterness and sweetness
- Belgian Chocolate: Medium roast with 60% Robusta, 40% Arabica and smooth, chocolate flavor
- Decaffeinato: Medium roast with 70% Robusta, 30% Arabica and a rich flavor
- 50 capsules variety pack in 5 unique espresso intensities
- Compatible with all Nespresso machines (except Virtuoline)
- Roasted and packaged in Italy
- 10 Oro, 10 Fortissimo, 10 Italiano, 10 Lungo, and 10 Amabile
- Certified Kosher by KF Kashrus of Federation of Synagogues London and Gluten Free
Headquartered in New York, NY Gourmesso sells a FairTrade Certified alternate to Nespresso brand capsules and make pods for both coffee and tea.
Note that not all of their offerings are Fair Trade Certified (noted below by an asterisk*) and some are organic.
Price Per Pod: Around $0.50
(As of this writing Gourmesso makes a whopping 27 different Nespresso compatible capsules.)
Varieties Available (Espresso)
- Ristretto Blend Forte: Dark roast with Latin American, African, Asian blend and slight spice
- Etiopia Blend Forte: Dark roast with Ethiopian, South American, Central American blend and slight citrus
- Honduras Pura Forte: Dark roast from Honduras with chocolate notes
- Messico Blend Forte: Dark roast with Mexican, Indian, Asian blend and full body
- Tarrazu Forte: Dark roast from volcanic region of Costa Rica with bold and spicy profile
- SFCC House Blend Espresso*: Dark roast organic blend from the San Francisco Coffee Company
- Nicaragua Mezzo: Medium roast with South American, Asian blend and slight bitterness
- Colombia Arabica Mezzo*: Medium roast with Colombian, Indian blend and licorice notes
- Brasile Blend Dolce: Light roast with Brazilian, Peruvian, Asian blend and hint of citrus
- Decaf Peru Dolce: Light roast from Peru with hints of chocolate
Varieties Available (Lungo)
- Lungo Italico Forte*: Dark roast with Indian, African blend and woody/earthy notes
- Lungo Arabica Forte: Dark roast with Mexican, Peruvian blend and intense flavor
- SFCC House Blend Lungo Dark*: Dark roast organic blend from the San Francisco Coffee Company
- Lungo Latino Mezzo: Medium roast with South American, Central American, Asian blend and fruity aroma
- SFCC House Blend Lungo Medium: Medium roast organic blend from the San Francisco Coffee Company
- SFCC House Blend Decaf Lungo*: Medium roast organic blend from the San Francisco Coffee Company
Varieties Available (Specialty)
- Biscottino: Dark roast with South American, Asian blend and cookie flavor with no added sweeteners
- Soffio Caramello: Dark roast with South American, Asian blend and caramel hint
- Soffio Cioccolato: Dark roast with South American, Asian blend and chocolate hint
- Soffio Vaniglia: Dark roast with South American, Asian blend and vanilla hint
- Soffio Gianduia Caramello: Dark roast with Latin American, Asian blend and caramel nuttiness
- Soffio Nocciola: Dark roast with Brazilian and Indian blend and hazelnut
- Soffio Cannella: Dark roast with Latin American and Asian blend and cinnamon
- Soffio Noce Di Cocco: Dark roast with South American and Indian blend and coconut
- Soffio Mandorla: Dark roast with Brazilian and Indian blend and almond
- Soffio Ciliegia: Dark roast with Latin American and Asian blend and subtle cherry notes
- Decaf Vaniglia: Dark roast organic from Peru blended with vanilla flavors
- Decaf Cioccolato: Dark roast organic from Peru blended with chocolate flavors
* Denotes not FairTrade Certified
- SATISFACTION GUARANTEE - We promise to go above and beyond to make you completely happy with your coffee for Nespresso* machines - Contact us any time with any feedback or questions
- FAIRTRADE CERTIFIED - Every Gourmesso coffee capsule is a Fairtrade Certified coffee pods- Sustainably made without any preservatives - naturally gluten-free and sugar-free
- OUTSTANDING TASTE WITH LESS EXPENSE - Excellent espresso with bold taste and great crema - Save +30% over Nespresso* pods with our espresso capsules made from BPA-free, food grade plastic and aluminum foil top
- COMPATIBLE WITH ORIGINAL LINE MACHINES that accept Nespresso Capsules* - Our Nespresso* coffee pods alternative are fully compatible with Essenza, Citiz, Pixie, Lattisima, U, Gran Maestria, Inissia, prodigio, KitchenAid, Creatista Nespresso Originalline machines*
- INCLUDES - Etiopia Blend Forte - 2 boxes - Intensity 10 Ristretto Blend Forte - 2 boxes - Intensity 10 Messico Blend Forte - 2 boxes - Intensity 9 Tarrazu Forte - 2 boxes - Intensity 8
Based in Amsterdam, Jones Brothers does a good job combining cost and quality.
They don’t make the cheapest coffee.
They don’t make the best coffee.
But generally you’ll be happy with it for the price.
Price Per Pod: Around $0.45
- Gigolo: Very dark and smooth with hints of cocoa
- Noir: Dark roast with strong chocolate flavor and hints of hazelnut
- Enigma: Dark roast with roasted nuts and rich cocoa finish
- Revive: Dark-medium roast with citrusy balance
- Elevate: Medium roast with soft, light profile, lemon zest and sweetness
- Jones Brothers Coffee Company
A UK-based company, Caffesso launched in 2012. They tout the 3 C’s that define their company:
Coffee — Caffesso capsules truly are no muss, no fuss and yield a high great coffee beverage with a barista-quality crema.
Club — If you purchase your capsules through Caffesso’s website, you’ll automatically be enrolled in their Club where you can earn points to redeem for Caffesso products.
Compatibility — Caffesso has gone the distance to ensure compatibility with a wide array of Nespresso machine models. You can read here to see all of the machines they support.
I’ll add a 4th C:
Cost — Caffesso is a touch less expensive than HiLine. While I advocate trying all brands to see what you like, there’s no doubt Caffesso pods are pretty easy on your wallet.
Price Per Pod: Around $0.35
- Indiano: Very dark roast from India with Arabica and Robusta blend and caramel notes
- Colombian Single Origin: Dark roast from Colombia
- Sidamo Single Origin: Dark roast from Ethiopia with low acidity and floral notes
- Milano: Dark roast with Central American, South American and African blend with full body
- Forza Roma: Dark roast with Arabica and Robust blend from Brazil, Africa and India with wine and woody notes
- Intenso: Dark roast with Ethiopian, Central American and South American blend and citrus bite
- Lungo Forte: Dark roast with Colombian, African, Latin American blend and subtle smokiness
- Aromatico: Medum-dark roast with South and Central American blend and floral notes
- Italiano: Medium roast with South American and Asian blend and caramel notes
- Vanilla: Medium roast with South American and Indian blend
- Chocolate: Medium roast with South American and Indian blend
- Caramel: Medium roast with South American and Asian blend
- Decaffeinato: Medium roast with South American blend and low acidity