If you have a Nespresso machine, you’re probably tired of paying nearly a dollar a pop for the Nespresso brand capsules.
The cost of those capsules adds up very quickly… and they’re not even as good as some of the other (much cheaper) brands of coffee pods out there.
There is another way.
If you’re after more affordable, more sustainable, and better-tasting coffee pods that will fit in your Nespresso Original machine, then look no further. Compatible brands like Gourmesso (Best value), Peet’s (most sustainable), Haymans (Best tasting), Lavazza (our most ethical), and Bestpresso (Our best overall) will help you fall back in love with your Nespresso machine.
Keep reading for what you should look for in a 3rd party Nespresso capsule and our full review of the names mentioned above.
Why Listen To Us? Well, because we KNOW coffee! In fact, we make our own coffee, coffee machine cleaners, and reusable capsules which we've sold to over 41 countries. Our team ouf experts include Tristan (an engineer), Claire (a food writer) and Richy (a barista). So, whether you're looking for a recipe or repair guide, we've got you covered 💚
Table of Contents
Are There Alternatives to Genuine Nespresso Capsules?
Yes – but only if you have the OriginalLine version of the Nespresso machine.
There are 2 different Nespresso machines – the OriginalLine version that makes espresso up to 3.7 oz, and the VertuoLine machine that can make espresso as well as traditionally brewed coffee up to 17 oz.
The OriginalLine machine has lots of non-official capsules from many different companies available at lower prices than the official Nespresso capsules, some of which taste a lot better too. Coffee companies like Lavazza, Bestpresso, Gourmesso, L’or, Cafe La Lave, Meseta, Peet’s, Jones Brother’s, Cafe Joe USA, Cafesso, Hayman Kona, HiLine, Don Francisco’s Old Havana, Il Cafe Italiano Roma, Illy Extra Bold Roast, Lavica, Pressogno, and even Starbucks offer great Nespresso capsules that outshine the originals at a lower price.
Unfortunately, the VertuoLine machine includes a barcode that is scanned to verify that the capsule is the official Nespresso type, and it won’t work with any third-party capsules. There is a capsule that you can refill yourself available for the Vertuoline, but other than that, you are stuck with the handful of expensive, official Nespresso options.
If you have the OriginalLine version of the machine, you’re in luck! Keep reading for a comparison of the best unofficial and third-party Nespresso capsules on the market in terms of their cost, flavor, ethical sourcing, and overall value.
What to Look For When Selecting A Nespresso Capsule Alternative.
Here are the major factors to consider when comparing the best Nespresso capsule alternatives:
The whole point of buying alternative capsules (especially in bulk) is to save money, so the cost per capsule is important. If you are paying more than $0.75 per capsule, you are paying the same price as the originals, which isn’t cost-effective.
You want your coffee to burst with the flavors you like most. If you have a coffee you already love, you might want to look for something similar. For example, if you like a particular kind of Colombian coffee, you might not be able to find the same brand, but you can probably find another Colombian variety.
If you’re not sure what type of flavor you are looking for, you can buy an assorted pack to test out lots of different varieties of coffee and compare them.
3. Compostability and Recyclability
This might not be important to everyone, but disposable plastic capsules which end up in landfills aren’t very environmentally friendly. To fight the waste that comes from daily capsules, many brands make their cups biodegradable and/or compostable.
If this isn’t the case. Look to see if the manufacturer advertises that it can be recycled. The aluminum in Genuine Nespresso pods for example can be recycled, but only through the official nespresso recycling program. Other brands may use types of plastic that are not recyclable, so it pays to check.
4. Ethical Sourcing
Coffee farmers aren’t always paid what they should be for their work, and the rainforest is sometimes cut down to grow coffee. For these reasons, it is important to many people that the coffee beans they enjoy contribute to helping the people who grow coffee, rather than exploiting them.
5. Overall Value
When you compare all of the above, does the capsule offer more than the average value for the cost?
TIP: The best way to buy capsules is in bulk – that is how you see the greatest savings overall. The more capsules you buy, the lower the price per capsule.
On Amazon.com or in stores you can easily find boxes of 20 or more Nespresso capsules for $10 – that’s an individual capsule cost of $0.50 – although if you are looking for the best deals and you are willing to buy more capsules, you can see prices as low as $0.35 per capsule.
That beats the cost of buying the Nespresso original capsules, which retail for between $0.75 and $1.25.
You can usually choose whichever brand and specific variety you like the most and order that in bulk, but if you’re not sure what you want, many brands also offer mixed packs so that you can experience a variety of different coffees.
Rating the Best Nespresso Capsule Alternatives
If you have an OriginalLine Nespresso machine, there are quite literally hundreds of options when it comes to alternative capsules.
And clearly, we haven’t tried every one of these coffee pods on the market.. We probably haven’t even come close.
BUT, we have been leaders in the capsule coffee industry for over 5 years. We make and sell our own reusable coffee pods for all leading brand machines, we’ve tested every Nespresso machine in our warehouse, and are constantly getting sent (or buying ourselves) the lastest brands and flavors of capsules to try, break, bin, or binge.
We rated the options based on the considerations above, and came up with four clear category winners:
- Best Overall: Bestpresso (buy on Amazon)
- Best Flavor: Hayman Hawaii Kona (buy at Hayman’s)
- Best Sustainability: Peet’s (by at Peet’s)
- Best Value: Gourmesso (Get 15% off at Gourmesso)
- Best Ethics: Lavazza (Buy at Lavazza)
Note: We’re going to speak generally about brands here, rather than specific pod flavors. People’s tastes vary so wildly that it’s almost impossible to reach a consensus among our team – let alone the whole internet about what the best flavor coffee pod is. We encourage you to use our recommendations below as guidance, and try a few flavors before making your own judgment if they are right for you 🙂
The Brands We Looked At
- Amazon Brand – Solimo
- Cafe La Llave
- Cafe Pompeii
- Deathwish Coffee
- Don Francisco’s
- Italian Coffee
- Tayste Coffee
- Volcania Coffee
The 5 Best Nespresso Compatible Capsules We’ve Found In 2023
Here’s a breakdown of these brands, what flavors we LOVE, and how you can get some for yourself.
1. Bestpresso (Best Overall)
With capsules ranging from $0.30 to $0.50, Bestpresso is one of the cheapest options on the list, but that doesn’t mean the quality isn’t there. Bestpresso capsules contain some great coffee.
There are varieties from around the world, as well as flavors like caramel, vanilla, and chocolate.
Not all of Bestpresso’s coffees are ethically sourced, and their capsules are not biodegradable or compostable. However, Bestpresso gives you the option of including a recycling bag in your online order, so you can collect the cups and send them back to Bestpresso to be recycled.
There are some great-tasting varieties of coffee here, even if it is not the most ethical or sustainable of the coffee companies we reviewed, and we think slightly nicer tasting than the Gourmesso pods.
If you are looking for the one of the most affordable Nespresso capsules on the market without compromising flavor, Bestpresso is the right choice.
2. Peet’s Coffee (Most Sustainable)
This is a great choice and almost won for best tasting. Peet’s has a passionate following and if you try their sampler pack you might end up addicted as well.
Peet’s capsules average about $0.70 per capsule.
The espresso varieties are done well, with their Richezza and Crema Scura being two of my favorites.
Sustainability: The company has done an excellent job supporting coffee farmers and the environment at the same time. 100% of their coffee is ethically sourced according to Enveritas standards, and even their roasting process is LEED-certified. They are helping out farms on an individual level with training and other support.
Peet’s capsules are recyclable aluminum rather than biodegradable or compostable (like Gourmesso), but they still rank as the most sustainable on this for the work they are doing to make the coffee supply chain better for farmers and kinder to the environment.
Our Choice: Peet’s Nerissimo is an exquisite coffee for dark roast coffee connoisseurs. With a intensity of 11/13, it delivers a pleasant bittersweet taste that goes well with cream. Peet’s strong brews and smooth flavors embody what every coffee lover craves. The capsules are made of recyclable aluminum the company will provide free recycling bags upon request.
3. Gourmesso (Best Value For Money)
One of the most affordable companies on the market, Gourmesso offers capsules starting at only $0.39 per capsule, with even their higher-end coffees at around $0.55 per capsule.
There are tons of different flavored varieties to choose from in dark, medium, and light roast. You can choose your coffee based on the region (Ethiopia, Colombia, Peru) or opt for a flavor like vanilla or caramel.
Gourmesso also commits to helping the environment, planting a tree for every order placed on their website. Not all of their coffee is ethically sourced, but much of it is.
With the lost cost per capsule, the great selection, and an ethically based business model, Gourmesso is the best value overall. They may not be the tastiest of capsules, but their extensive range and a wide variety means you’re guaranteed to find something you like.
My personal favorite is their new Lady Lungo capsule, but brewed using the espresso button on my machine. The lungo pods contain sligly more coffee by weight, making for a stronger espresso shot. This range of pods is also 100% compostable.. nice!
Note: Gourmesso are currently doing a promotion where you can get 10% off your order of Nespresso capsules if you follow THIS LINK and use the coupon code “A-94UA1V” at checkout.
4. Hayman Hawaii Kona (Best Tasting)
Okay, “best tasting” might be a little bit subjective, but I feel comfortable defending my decision in crowning Hayman Hawaii Kona as the best-tasting Nespresso capsule.
The beans are grown in Hawaii and have a sweet and fruity, mellow flavor without much acidity. While some other brands use only 10% actual Hawaiian Kona beans, Hayman uses 100% and it shows.
Hayman claims to be the finest coffee in the world. I’m sold on the flavor, but there aren’t a ton of varieties. The capsules are not biodegradable, although they are recyclable.
If this coffee is best in taste, it is worst in price. A capsule of Kona coffee costs between $3.80 and 4.44 – although there is free shipping, at least. It’s about 15% cheaper from their official website than on Amazon.
5. Lavazza (Most Ethical)
Lavazza is espresso, and their Nespresso capsules bring the best of their flavors to your home Nespresso machine. If you already love Lavazza, it’s nice to be able to brew it so easily, and if you haven’t had Lavazza, their variety packs of capsules are a great way to get acquainted.
Lavazza capsules average around $0.60.
If you are an espresso lover, Lavazza is for you – their ristretto is intense with notes of caramel, and their lungo is light and flowery. If you’re not into espresso so much and you’re using your Nespresso to brew Americanos, Lavazza might be just okay.
Lavazza was recently awarded the most ethical business in Europe and has launched the Tierra! program to help coffee farmers. Their capsules are not biodegradable or compostable.
The Nespresso system is an easy and convenient choice for making espresso coffee at home, but the ongoing price and limitations of their brand-name capsules can put people off.
Discovering the world of high-quality 3rd party Nespresso compatible capsules suddenly makes the Nespresso system a lot more appealing – and fun – getting to try the limitless options available such as Gourmesso, Hayman’s, Bestpresso, Peet’s, Lavazza, and many many more.
These are some of my favorites, but there are dozens more brands with more varieties of coffee than either of us could taste in a lifetime. The key is to find one that you love at a price you can afford.
If you really want to have full control over what coffee you’re using and want to stick with the convenience of the Nespresso system, then we’ve been using refillable stainless steel capsules that work great and cost a lot less in the long run than even the cheapest single-use pods.