Most coffee connoisseurs scoff at the idea of reusing a coffee pod. But why is this? Does it really make a difference? Surely you can save some money by running your used Nespresso pods again?
All Nespresso capsules are designed to be used once, as that first extraction will draw out around 95% of the coffee solids. Any subsequent uses will produce very little actually coffee and mostly just bad flavors. If you are set on reusing your Nespresso pods, we’d recommend buying a specially designed refillable capsule but adding fresh coffee each time you use it.
In this article, we’ll discuss why this is and go over every detail about reusing a Nespresso pod. We’ll also taste some coffee brewed with a resued Nespresso pod (so you don’t have to!)
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
But First, How Are Nespresso Pods Made?
Roast: To begin, coffee beans are roasted and ground to a single uniform size in a separate machine. This is one of the most important tasks because consistency in product quality is what truly distinguishes the Nespresso brand.
Fill: The cups are then filled with the pre-ground freshly roasted coffee.
Purge: To prevent oxygen from entering the pod and ruining the coffee, they first fill it with nitrogen, and then the lid is swiftly fused to the body.
Seal: The pods are sealed with an aluminum lid in a process known as hermetic sealing. This means that, unlike an open bag of ground coffee, it will keep its freshness for up to 3 years (and possibly longer)
Lacquer: The pods are then coated with a food-grade lacquer. This has two purposes: one, it colors the pods so that the consumer can identify the flavor, and second, it protects the aluminum from corroding and dissolving.
Read more: You can read more on how Nespresso pods work in our article here.
Understanding The Two Nespresso Systems (Original vs. VertuoLine)
It is important to note that there are two distinct lines of Nespresso machines, each of which uses a different type of pod. Nespresso machines in the OriginalLine series use a cylinder-shaped pod with a domed top. These pods resemble creamer pods found in a local diner.
The VertuoLine series of Nespresso machines accept pods in the shape of a dome or half circle. Whichever Nespresso machine you choose, you must order the pods that go with it because they are not interchangeable.
Can you use a Nespresso OriginalLine Pod twice?
Yes, you can use the Nespresso Original Line twice, but the quality of the coffee will not be the same. Because there is less coffee in the pod the first time you use it, the coffee will be weaker.
Many coffee connoisseurs scoff at the idea of reusing any coffee pod. In general, each capsule is designed to be used once, as that first extraction will draw out around 95% of the coffee solids from the capsule. Any subsequent uses will produce very little actually coffee and mostly just bad flavors.
Can you use a Nespresso VertuoLine Pod twice?
Just like we’ve explained above, you’re not meant to use a Vertuoline pod twice either.
However, many consumers claim that you can use the Nespresso VertuoLine pod again. There are two reasons for this;
- Extraction Efficiency – The VertuoLine machines are less efficient at extracting the coffee from the grinds. this means that there is more left behind if someone tried to do a second extraction.
- Quantity of Coffee – Vertuo capsules are much larger and contain between 7-11 grams of coffee, compared to the 5 grams in the original line pods. This again means more coffee is left behind for a second extraction.
So, how many times can you use a Nespresso pod?
Although Nespresso pods are not intended to be reused, you can use the same Nespresso pod again, but the second run-through will be significantly weaker than the first. This pattern repeats with each reuse of the pod, resulting in weaker coffee.
Our recommendation: If you do want to reuse Nespresso capsules, you should try it with a VertuoLine capsule and only reuse it twice at the most.
According to reports from Nespresso users who reuse their pods, using a pod more than twice is not recommended. The coffee has been extracted after the second usage, and a third cup will be too weak to enjoy.
Our Test (And The Results)
We extracted the same capsule 4 times to see the result.
As you can see, the most obvious change is the lightness of the coffee. From a dark and rich body in shot 1 to a beer-like colored amber in shot 4.
Next, the crema color also changes. From a muddy brown to almost white, and much thinner (Note: the crema on the left was poured first too, so has subsided a little and is still twice the volume of number 4).
Another thing to notice (which i didn’t expect) is the volume extracted. The first pour is roughly 40ml, then 50ml, and the final two are around 60ml. This is likely due to channeling in the coffee puck, and less coffee solids restricting the flow.
Finally on taste: 3 and 4 were terrible – tasting more like coffee-flavored water than coffee itself. They were also slightly astringent and you could clearly tell they had nothing in them. Interestingly coffee number 2 did pack more of a punch than I was expecting. It has a poor crema and was very thin and watery, but I could still taste the characteristics of the original coffee (albeit diluted).
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Reuse A Nespresso Pod
These pods are designed only to be used once, and here are the reasons you shouldn’t reuse a Nespresso pod.
1. Over Extraction:
A couple of things can happen when you use a Nespresso pod more than once. First, because the ingredients will be over-extracted the second time, you may wind up with a bitter or burnt coffee.
2. Weak Coffee:
Second, your coffee or espresso will likely taste diluted since some of the pod’s original coffee content has been used up for the first time.
3. Poor Taste:
It would be a waste of time to use the pods a second time. If you enjoy coffee, it’s all about the taste, as well as the experience. So don’t mess up what could be a wonderful Nespresso pod experience.
What About Reusable Nespresso Capsules?
Normally, Nespresso capsules are disposable. You are supposed to use them and throw them away afterward.
However, this isn’t great for your budget or the environment.
Reusable Nespresso capsules (like our Green Pods) are made of stainless steel or other durable materials rather than cheap plastic. They do the same job that disposable Nespresso pods do, except that you add the ground coffee to the pods yourself, and clean them out afterward.
This allows you to use the same pod many times.
Learn More: We’ve done a roundup of the 7 best reusable Nespresso pods here:
How You Can Recycle Your Used Nespresso Pods?
Are there any options for Nespresso consumers who want to recycle their spent capsules?
Nespresso offers its dedicated recycling program with various solutions to make recycling spent capsules convenient and straightforward for customers. They have over 100,000 drop-off locations across the world, as well as handy courier and postal services and Recycle@home programs in several countries.
Nespresso capsules are recycled in a variety of ways.
- Used capsules are transported to the Nespresso recycling center.
- To separate the coffee grinds from the aluminum capsules, they are shredded.
- Green energy or nutrient-rich compost is made from coffee grounds.
- The plastic covering and other elements on the empty capsules are melted away.
- When there is only pure aluminum left, it is melted and recycled.
Not sure how to recycle Nespresso pods in your country? We’ve written these guides to help;
- How to recycle Nespresso capsules in Australia
- How to recycle Nespresso capsules in Canada
- How to recycle Nespresso capsules in New Zealand
- How to recycle Nespresso capsules in the UK
- How to recycle Nespresso capsules in the USA
So, do you consider yourself to be an adventurous person or not? I would test using a Nespresso pod twice to see how it turned out.
Does that describe you as well? How horrible can the result be if you follow some basic instructions and pay attention to the ground setting?
In any event, I’d suggest the answer to whether or not you can use a Nespresso pod twice is probably no. Nobody, however, will be able to stop you! So go ahead and try something new.
Although Nespresso never specifically said that pods could not be reused, they are sold as single-use pods. You can reuse a Nespresso pod in a few ways, but this may affect the quality of your coffee.
Not sure what to do with the spent coffee grinds? Check out these 10 ideas on how to upcycle your used coffee grinds here.