Nothing has disrupted the coffee industry more in the last 20 years than the invention of the single serve coffee capsule. But, this new way of consuming coffee isn’t for everyone and its introduction has certainly divided the coffee community.
Many accuse the popularity of Nespresso as a fad. Worse still, they accuse it of being an excessively expensive convenience compared to traditional ways of drinking coffee at home. There, we want to help answer the big question: is Nespresso worth it?
Nespresso is arguably the most premium single-serve coffee pod on the market. They have over 35 unique flavors which are crafted from ethically sources coffee beans from around the globe. However, if you’re looking to save money, or prefer drinking stronger coffee, there may be better capsule coffee systems out there.
|Hermetically sealed pods stay fresh for years||Capsules are expensive|
|Over 35 flavors to choose from||Coffee is weak – A typical nespresso capsules contains between 4.5 and 5.5 grams of coffee.|
|Coffee machine has sleek design and small footprint||Single use pods are bad for the environment|
|Convenience & Consistency|
|Many compatible 3rd party compatible capsules|
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
What are Nespresso pods and how are they made?
Nespresso capsules were designed to add convenience to people’s daily routine. Each one can produce a delicious cup of coffee quickly without you having to complicate your life by calculating coffee doses or programming a modern coffee maker.
But you might be wondering how Nespresso pods are made? Well, this is how capsules created:
- The first step is to roast the coffee beans until they reach their optimum point; this guarantees that the flavor is perfect in each sip.
- Subsequently, the coffee is ground until it becomes a very fine grain, which will allow all the properties of the coffee to be extracted quickly.
- After grinding, the coffee is packed in pods. Each pod contains between 5 and 7 grams of 100% pure coffee, which is enough for a delicious cup of coffee. Pods are formed and made of aluminum.
- Once the coffee is put into the pod, it will be hermetically sealed. To do this, the machine will fill each coffee pod with nitrogen, and then it is covered with an aluminum lid in a way that prevents and oxygen getting in before its sealed. This type of sealing of each pod allows the coffee’s freshness to be maintained for long periods of time without losing any of its properties, as can occur with traditional coffee packaging.
- When the pods are sealed, another part of the machine will paint them with a food-grade lacquer. This will help identify the flavor or characteristics of the capsule content and help prevent the aluminum in the pod from corroding or being damaged.
This manufacturing process is carried out at an industrial scale in a perfectly sterile environment, which guarantees each of the Nespresso capsules’ quality and integrity.
The value Nespresso offers
A large part of Nespresso detractors point to price as one of the main cons, often asking, “Is Nespresso worth it?”
The truth is that Nespresso is more than just coffee; it is a complete experience that helps save time and effort, and create delicious café quality at home.
Nespresso pods offer a touch of luxury and elegance in the preparation process. There is no denying that it is very attractive to see the coffee capsules arranged in a display next to the machine, much more than the traditional coffee packaging. After all, coffee is a complex topic, but being able to choose a completely different flavor just by the colour of the pod you use adds a great deal of variety to the home coffee drinking experience.
Nespresso machines are much more compact that traditional coffee makers, and their designs are attractive and minimalist, so they will always look good in any kitchen and will not take up much space. Without forgetting that once you find the coffee that you like the most, you can buy the number of capsules you want, and you will always have the same experience in each cup.
Nespresso offer over 35 different flavors within their OriginalLine range alone. These range from traditional espresso coffee to fruit flavors, to chocolate, with different degrees of roasting, herbaciousness, and much more. Which undoubtedly results in a much greater range of options than traditional coffee.
Additionally, another problem with traditional ways of preparing coffee is that it is very common for the flavor and intensity of its aroma to vary drastically from one cup to another. This will not happen with Nespresso, since due to its content and way of preparation, each of the cups you prepare will have the same aroma and flavor.
The quality of the Coffee
Another detail that stands out about the pods is that they contain 100% premium grade Arabica and Robusta coffee. Unlike what many believe, they do not use instant coffee, nor do they add any type of additive to enhance the natural flavor of the coffee.
Shelf life and freshness
Their method of packaging the coffee (known as hermetic sealing) also guarantees that the quality and freshness is preserved much longer than even whole bean coffee bought from the shop. Traditional coffee will also rapidly lose flavor and aromatic properties once they have been opened – a problem that Nespresso avoids by only puncturing the capsule when you are ready to brew the coffee.
Know exactly what you’re drinking
Because Nespresso pods are already portioned for you, you know exactly what’s in each cup of coffee you make. This means attributes such as the calorie and caffeine content will always be the same – making it easy to factor into your lifestyle.
This makes it a much healthier option for drinking coffee. Besides, they allow you to control what will be in each of the prepared cups. For example, although Nespresso capsules are made of pure coffee, it is possible to add milk, sugar, and other ingredients to prepare other coffee variables.
There are Nespresso machines that carry out this entire process automatically to the user’s taste, which gives an additional guarantee of a consistent experience in each of the cups.
Likewise, other variables of the Nespresso pods include flavored coffee, milk, and sugar. So, without a doubt, Nespresso goes much further than a simple fashion, but they facilitate modern life, at least when it comes to the intake of this popular drink.
Another fun feature of Nespresso is the big range of variety packs they offer. You can taste a particular flavor, and if you like it, you can continue consuming it, but otherwise, you will not have wasted money on a complete package of flavored coffee.
We particluarly like this one which has 10 capsules of 10 different flavours.
The price of the machines.
As in the world of traditional coffee machines, there are different prices for Nespresso machines. These prices vary by each piece of equipment’s characteristics and quality since some include more advanced functions.
Among the factors that must be taken into account before choosing a machine, the following stand out:
- Cup sizes you allow (1 or more measures)
- Type of capsule you use
- Machine dimensions
- If it includes Steam Pipe or option to prepare recipes
- Water tank capacity
- Additional Hot water Tap
- Manufacturing materials
The most economical Nespresso models range from $ 149 to $ 199, such as the Essenza Mini, one of the cheapest and most compact Nespresso machines on the market. Or the Pixie, which offers almost the same specs as the Essenza Mini but features an industrial-level design and finish. For its part, the Vertuo Next provides some additional features such as a capacity for six different sizes of cups and is made from recycled materials.
In the middle price range, we find prices between 229 and 379 USD. The Essenza Plus stands out in this category, which has a removable water tank, automatic shut-off, four measures for cups, and an option for hot water if you want a tea. Besides, you can connect to the internet to order new capsules automatically.
For its part, the Lattisima One includes recipes to prepare four varieties of coffee automatically, which are Macchiato, Cappuccino, Latte or Espresso, at the push of a button, as a container for milk.
The highest prices for Nespresso machines range from $ 599 to $ 799. Here, without a doubt, the Creatista Pro stands out. This machine has an exquisite stainless steel design. It also has a steam wand for milk frothing, a fully tactile digital screen that allows you to prepare different recipes, heats up quickly in just 3 seconds, and has an option to program different sizes of coffee cups.
It’s important to note that the price of the Nespresso machine will have no effect on the quality of the coffee produced – Every machine uses the same pods, and same coffee making system. What you are paying for is the extra features such as milk frother, water tank size, capsule holders and the general aesthetic of the machine
You can check out our in depth analysis of which Nespresso machine is best for you here.
The price of the capsules.
Nespresso capsules’ prices vary, depending on the type of presentation, flavour, or variety of the coffee. Prices usually range from $ 0.70 to $ 0.80 for individual Nespresso Original Line capsules. In the case of packs, costs range from $ 35 to $ 70 depending on the quantity and variety of capsules (between 50 and 100 capsules per pack).
|Nespresso OriginalLine Range||Average Price|
In the Vertuo Line case, individual capsule prices range from $ 0.85 to $ 1.60, depending on the variety of coffee. It is also possible to find different types of assorted packs, from $43 to $66, including 40 to 60 kinds of Nespresso capsules for Vertuo machines and even add accessories.
The main difference between the two centers not only on the capsule shape, but the OriginalLine only allows you to prepare espresso varieties. In contrast, the VertuoLine prepares not only Espresso but also regular coffee.
In any case, it is essential only to buy the capsules that are compatible with the machine that you have at home since otherwise, you could not use them.
The price per kilo of coffee in Nespresso Pods.
It makes sense that we’ll be paying a premium for the convenience of having the coffee ground, measured and packing in a tiny aluminium capsules – but exactly how much more is this costing us when compared to buying coffee buy the bag?
We can look at the price per kilo of coffee in Nespresso pods to work this out.
A Nespresso espresso capsules contains exactly 5grams of coffee, and cost $0.87 each. This means you’ll get 200 capsules from a kilo of coffee, and it will cost you about $174.
Now let’s compare that with a 1kg bag of coffee available from a local supermarket
How much will I spend on Nespresso Pods?
Nespresso make their money on the pods they sell, not on the machines. Working out how much money you’ll be spending each year on coffee pods is essential in deciding if Nespresso is right for you.
We’ve looked at exactly how much using the Nespresso system costs in this article here. In short, we looked at the price of the most popular Nespresso pods on Amazon, and then worked out the average number of coffees each household drinks per day.
Based on this logic, we can therefore conclude the average cost of buying capsules for your Nespresso machine is around $1328 each year.
The environmental impact of single use coffee pods.
What we’re not told is that these innocuous little pods could be contributing to a global environmental disaster, with around 56 billion ending up in landfill last year alone. Every minute a whopping 39,000 capsules are made worldwide, while 29,000 are dumped in landfill sites.
Key facts about the damage coffee pods are doing to the planet:
- Coffee pods take between 150 and 500 years to breakdown in landfill
- 44% of Nespresso pods are taken to be recycled
- 56 billion pods ended up in landfill last year alone.
As these truths come to light, some of the world’s biggest producers of coffee pods have been forced to rethink their strategies and appeal to a more environmentally conscious consumer base. For instance, Nespresso has successfully deployed its recycling program in 44 countries.
However, Nespresso recycling program sounds good in theory, but in reality there are some gaps.
- Recycled metal from the capsules isn’t able to be used to make new coffee pods, due to the specific alloy required. This means every coffee pods you buy is made from new ‘virgin’ metal.
- The recycling process of shredding the old capsules, removing the coffee, cleaning and smelting the metal is extremely energy intensive.
We’ve taken a look at what the real impact of single use coffee pods is, and what you can do to play your part in minimising it. You can read our full article here on the damage single use coffee pods are having on our planet.
So… Is Nespresso worth it?
The answer is; well, it depends.
If you are looking for good quality expresso coffee at home, then Nespresso is a great option for you. Nespresso makes the coffee making experience one of convenience and luxury, with their sleek, elegant countertop espresso machines.
But, if you are looking for great coffee at a great price, then Nespresso may disappoint you due to the small portions of coffee in each pod, and the high price you’ll end up paying for each kilogram equivalent of coffee.
Of course, at the end of the day the decision if yours.
I’d recommend you try out the Nespresso system by buying one of their cheaper machines like the Essenza Mini to see if you like it. A cheap Nespresso machine and a variety pack of capsules can be purchased on Amazon for as little as 200 USD and see what you think. If you do decide that Nespresso is right for you, then you can double down on one of the more premium machines later on.