Coffee capsule machines have become an essential appliance in the modern kitchen. They are quick, clean, convenient and bring the experience of cafe style coffee to your home.
They use pre-packaged coffee capsules, which removes the need for filling and tamping a professional portafilter (the fancy handles on commercial coffee machines) while still yielding café quality espresso coffee. The pods are hermetically sealed, giving them a much longer shelf life that pre-ground beans would normally have. When you’re ready for a coffee, the capsule is pierced, and hot water is pumped through under pressure and then poured into the cup.
The big players in the market are Nespresso and Caffitaly, which both offer an extensive selection of coffee capsules to peruse and choose from. However, since Nespresso lost their patent back in 2012, a vast number of third party coffee pod makers have joined the fray – launching their own products often with an ethical or sustainable point of difference.
With so many companies beginning to produce their own capsules compatible with the Nespresso system, we’ve rounded up the top options available in the New Zealand Market to see how they compare.
We’ve highlighted key differences on price, flavours, and sustainability for each of these but of course this is just our take. Try them and see for yourself.
Key differences between Nespresso pods
Not all Nespresso pods are created equal. While this may be expected between genuine espresso pods and their 3rd party competitors, there is also some key differences within the Nespresso range. When assessing alternative pods, we look at the following:
- Caffeine Content – the amount of caffeine varies hugely between brand and flavour of coffee pod, though this information isn’t typically available on the packaging. We’re rounded up the caffeine content of the Nespresso range here for your convenience.
- Arabica/Robusta beans – This is the type of coffee bean that finds its way into the capsule. While a few brands offers entirely arabica capsules, most are in fact a blend of the two. Typically, Robusta is responsible for more intense bitterness and strength, and arabica for more flavour and aroma.
- Sustainability – Nespresso have now introduced a recycling program for their OriginalLine, VertuoLine and Dolce Gusto pods. Caffitaly pods aren’t recyclable. However, 3rd party manufactures are starting to innovate with biodegradable and now compostable pods. There are also reusable coffee pods, which is where we come it!
- Price – George Clooney’s face isn’t cheap and Nespresso charge top dollar for their offerings. Some third-party pod makers will compete with significantly cheaper ricing, which others work out similar but with another point of difference such as organic coffee, fair trade, or biodegradable coffee pods.
What about recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable coffee pods?
Firstly, it’s important to point out that neither Nespresso, nor any other name brand capsule coffee maker offers a biodegradable or compostable coffee pod. Nespresso instead launched their recycling program back in 2016 which has been hugely successful with an estimated 58% percent of all Nespresso pods being now recycled and over 270 locations across New Zealand.
There’s been a surge in manufacturers who celebrate a point of difference by now offering bio-degradable or compossible coffee pods compatible with the Nespresso range of machines. This is definitely a step in the right direction, but it’s important to understand what is really meant by these ecological buzz words and to understand if this is really making a difference.
Biodegradable refers to a material that will disintegrate over time in the ocean or ground with the help of bacteria and enzymes. This can happen in a short time or it can take many years.
The term compossible takes this one step further by referring to a material that, when it breaks down, adds to the nutrient content of the soil thus forming compost. Compostable products need to breakdown at a similar rate to the materials it’s composted with such as food scraps or green matter – although there’s no official timeframe given for this to happen.
So what does this mean? Compossible coffee pods give us the best peace of mind when looking for a sustainable solution. Biodegradable coffee pods may seem like they took the same box but could take years to disintegrate fully and still leave toxic or non-organic compounds behind.
How to recycle your Nespresso Pods
Fortunately, Nespresso have been vigorously expanding their recycling program across New Zealand and around the world. With just a little extra effort from you the consumer, you can have the convenience over single use coffee without the guilt of adding to waste going to landfill.
In New Zealand, Nespresso provides the following two options to recycle used coffee pods.
- Fill a pre-paid post bag and drop off at your nearest NZ Post Shop.
- Return to the recycling bin in any Nespresso Boutique store.
- Recycle at a participating florist or garden center collection point.
We’ve written a complete guide to recycling you Nespresso brand pods, which you can check out here!
Where to buy Nespresso OriginalLine Pods
As a rule of thumb, capsule coffee machines will always work best with that brand’s capsules. This means choosing a machine that uses coffee capsules you like as it’s not easy to switch once you’re invested into a system. Here’s our summary of the major brands available. We’re going to look at name brand capsules first as this makes up over 70 percent of the capsule market – though this market share is starting to dwindle.
Nespresso pods, original and compatible, have blown up here in New Zealand. They have 7 capsule ranges available which are as follows:
- Barista Creations
- Reviving Origins
- Master Origins
Each range comes in different styles, flavours, and strengths – described by Nespresso intensity rating which ranges from 1 to 12. The Barista Creations range also blends flavours such as caramel and vanilla with the coffee.
Our favourite flavours are the Cosi for a smooth aromatic blend, and the Kazaar for a punchy dark coffee that’s packed full of caffeine.
Original Nespresso pods can only be bought at Nespresso Boutique shops and online from their website. There are currently 6 Nespresso boutique stores around New Zealand in the following locations: You can also search on the Nespresso website for your nearest one.
The six Nespresso Boutiques in New Zealand are:
- Nespresso Boutique Newmarket
- Nespresso Boutique Albany
- Nespresso Boutique Sylvia Park
- Nespresso Boutique Christchurch
- Nespresso Boutique Wellington
- Nespresso Boutique Auckland Central
If you’re not able to make it into a Nespresso boutique store, the only other way to get genuine Nespresso capsules is by ordering online on the Nespresso website.
|Nespresso Espresso||87¢ per capsule|
|Nespresso lungo||95¢ per capsule|
|Nespresso Decaffeinato||90¢ per capsule|
|Nespresso Barista Creations||$1.10¢ per capsule|
|Nespresso Ispriazione||87-95¢ per capsule|
|Nespresso Reviving Origins||$1.40 per capsule|
|Nespresso Master Origins||98¢ per capsule (typ)|
Where to buy Caffitaly coffee capsules
Sold in Countdown stores under the Select brand, these capsules come in four strengths – standard, medium roast, smooth and decaffeinated. Other businesses, such as Gloria Jean’s and Moccona, also produce Caffitaly capsules with their own grind blends.
You can’t recycle Caffitaly capsules which is something to bear in mind when deciding what system to go with.
Nescafe Dolce Gusto
Nescafe have 11 flavours from macchiato to Americano, one tea flavour and two hot chocolates. Capsules are available in supermarkets and selected appliance retailers. For some flavours, Nescafe also include milk capsules (used like coffee capsules). However, this results in extra waste.
You can find Dolce Gusto capsules in the following retailers to name a few, as well as the dolce gusto website directly dolce-gusto.co.nz
- Noel Leeming
- Harvey Norman
- The Warehouse
- Dick Smith
The Best 3rd Party Nespresso compatible pods and where to buy them
No manufacturer recommends using third-party capsules in its machines, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work. “Compatible” capsules are readily available in supermarkets all around New Zealand and online.
As you might imagine, pricing and quality and compatibility vary significantly between brands but generally most 3rd party pods work out cheaper than the name brand variant.
Some third-party pods differentiate themselves by being biodegradable, compostable, or sustainably sourced coffee. Here’s our top 5 third party Nespresso pods and where you can find them in New Zealand.
Will using 3rd party pods void my warranty?
Potentially – This varies between manufacturer, so you’ll need to read the fine print on your warranty to check. Your rights under the New Zealand Consumer Guarantees Act however would only be affected if they caused a fault with the machine.
Caffesso – Nespresso and Dolce Gusto Compatible Pods
Caffesso is a UK brand that offers amazing quality coffee for a great price. Caffesso is guaranteed to work in your machine, has won awards in the UK and has been chosen by some of the most prestigious hotels in the World. The pods are hermetically sealed to keep in freshness.
Caffesso is guaranteed to work in all models of Nespresso machines, including the new Essenza Mini, Creatista, and Prodigio machines.
Switching from original Nespresso capsules to Caffesso capsules will save you hundreds of dollars per year. Our compassion finds Caffesso is roughly 25% cheaper on average
|Nespresso Original||87¢ per capsule|
|Caffesso||65¢ per capsule|
You can pick these up at www.mycoffeecapsules.co.nz Who sell Caffesso to homes, hotels and businesses all across New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Starbucks – Nespresso AND Dolce Gusto Compatible Pods
In August 2018, Nestlé and Starbucks joined forces to create a global coffee alliance to launch their new range of Starbucks by Nespresso capsules. These combine Nestlé’s coffee and system know-how with the Starbucks’ unique coffee flavours and house blends.
The range includes six signature flavours, ranging from Starbucks blends and single-origin coffees, all made from 100% high-quality arabica coffee, ethically sourced from farmers in the world’s premier coffee-growing regions.
In our opinion, these are a great leap forward for the consumer. Not only are Starbucks pods slightly cheaper than the official Nespresso product, but by deviating from the Italian-centric Nespresso narrative and using blends of coffee we’re used to consuming, they manage to better appeal to the Australasian market.
|Starbucks – Nespresso||85¢ per capsule|
|Starbucks – Dolce Gusto||83¢ per capsule|
L’OR – Nespresso Compatible Pods
L’OR presents a aluminium capsule available in supermarkets in New Zealand.
This capsule Is designed to fit your Nespresso coffee machine. Preserves the coffee aromas thanks to its airtight capsule. Made from coffee beans exclusively sleeved by L’OR. Offers an intense expresso experience and a creamy foam layer. All L’OR blends are made from coffee grown according to sustainable production methods and are 100% UTZ certified.
L’OR works with UTZ to promote the adoption of sustainable coffee growing practices. Our goal is to improve the lives of farmers, workers and their families.
“We strive to preserve nature and protect the environment.”
L’OR are also accepted by the Nespresso recycling program which means you can drop the used capsules off to NZ Post, selected florists and Nespresso Boutique stores around the country.
RENE – Nespresso Compatible Pods
Rene is guaranteed to work in all models of Nescafe Dolce Gusto machines and is one of the best selling Dolce Gusto Compatible Capsules in New Zealand.
We have a massive 21 different blends on offer and switching from buying original Nescafe Dolce Gusto capsules to our Rene capsules will save you lots. At the time of writing the saving is at least $2.24 per pack with original Nescafe Capsules at $9.99 (for 16 or, in some instances 12 pods) compared to Rene Capsules at just $7.75 (for 16 pods).
We stock milk based drinks like Lattes, Flavoured Lattes and Cappuccinos, a Flat White and a Cafe Au Lait, a twin of short black Espressos, a simple milk pod and Kid’s Range, a selection of long black Americanos and a heap of flavoured long black Grandes too…..
MUST – Nespresso Compatible Pods
CoffeePodShop.co.nz stock the MUST Espresso Italiano range of coffee capsules. These are split into two distinct categories. Their Nespresso originals, and their 100% biodegradable pods.
“Our new Biocaps you just throw away the entire capsule, including the lid and seal and each part will break down naturally without harming the environment”
As you can see in the table below, even the MUST biodegradable capsules work out cheaper than the cheapest Nespresso proposition.
|Nespresso Original||87¢ per capsule|
|MUST – Originals||70¢ per capsule|
|MUST – Biodegradable||79¢ per capsule|
Coffee Capsules 2 U
Coffee Capsules 2 U offer an awesome compostable product made from a plant based bio-plastic which is fully certified.
They look good, they’ll work in your machine, they keep the coffee fresh and they’ll taste just great. We can also complete the loop and put them back to nature.
They offer a great service where, for the cost of a return courier ticket, you can get your pods sent in compostable packaging specifically designed for a WeCompost facility. Simply fill the compost bag with your used pods, repack in the original box, and call the courier to arrange pickup. Easy as taking out the trash.
Their compostable packaging is tested and certified to compost in large commercially managed facilities but they don’t recommend trying to compost your used pods in your home compost heap or a worm farm.
Read more at https://www.coffeecapsules2u.co.nz/
What about reusable coffee capsules?
This is where we come in! Here at The Green Pods we realise that whether we are recycling our coffee pods, or buy compostable pods and disposing them ourselves, we know this is a perfect solution. We’re still buying a single use product that costs a vast amount of energy and raw resources to be created and transported from the factories to our homes.
The solution is simple. To fill your own pods and phase out single use products from our lives.
Using fresh ground coffee from your favourite roaster you also get more freedom, as you can customise the blend and strength of your coffee. You can buy your favourite brand of sustainable and fair-trade coffee and drink your morning cuppa with a clean green conscience.
How do The Green Pods work?
You fill reusable capsules with espresso coffee grind you buy from your local roastery or supermarket, tamp the coffee and close the lid, before inserting them into your coffee machine. Afterwards simply scoop out the used coffee, rinse and refill them!
Is it cheaper in the long run?
We think so! Pre-packaged capsules from Nespresso cost about 83¢ per coffee. Using reusable coffee capsules you’ll only pay for the raw coffee that is used, which can cost as little as 13¢ per capsule. This means, if drinking three coffees a day, our Nespresso Starter Pack would pay itself off in less than a month!!