Ah, Nespresso. The revolutionists of a coffee world in which ground beans and instant coffee once ruled the day. The moment Nestle invented the concept of capsule coffee, the other coffee manufacturers could be seen shaking in their boots, as well. Nestleboasts an enormous amount of market influence and has done a very good job of taking a large chunk of the coffee drinking population and converting them away from beans and towards their coveted capsules.
It is easy to see why more and more coffee lovers are making the move to the capsule coffee model. Especially when George Clooney is seducing housewives everywhere in the company’s TV and billboard advertisements. While it perhaps is not the best way, nor the most economical way to consume coffee, it offers extraordinary consistency and convince that some see as a godsend in the busy world in which we currently inhabit.
Although some coffee aficionados may disagree, the Nespresso brand pods are indeed impressive in terms of flavor. However, the problem with them is their cost. You can bet your bottom dollar that you’re going to pay quite a bit more to have your satisfying, mess-free caffeine hit, ready on demand.
However, all hope is not lost, and even if you have bought a Nespresso machine you are not forever condemned to pay their premium pricing or be bound by their selection. This article will review some of the best third-party capsules that are compatible with the Nespresso system. We will see that opening up to other brands has the benefits of potentially saving you quite a bit of money while also giving you the freedom to explore a much wider variety of flavors and blends.
Option #1 – Mugpods
Mugpods are an up and coming Nespresso compatible capsule manufacturer form the UK. Last time we checked, they were in fact the only company making Nespresso compatible pods in the United Kingdom. If that is not true today, then they certainly were the first, and we can take it that they know a thing or two about making quality capsules.
One of the best things about Mugpods is the massively reduced prices of their products when compared to Nespresso. This is likely because every time you buy a box of capsules from Mugpods, Mr Clooney doesn’t get 50% of the commission! More importantly, users of Mugpods’ products don’t seem to report that the lower priced capsule compromise on quality when compared with the official Nespresso branded ones, which is amazing given the savings that can be made.
All of Mugpods’ capsules are manufactured from BPA-free plastic which is excellent as you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals ending up in your drink. Furthermore, their pods are covered in foil which allows users to place the spent pods in the recycling section of the bin─these pods don’t just save you money, but they are also good for the environment.
Mugpods also offer a very large selection of flavors and options. We’re not talking about only coffee here either. The Hot chocolate options are to die for–think mint chocolate, hazelnut and caramel varieties. They even offer milkshake capsules which are perfect for the kids, and you can get these in sugar free varieties, as well. Mugpods are the creators of the world’s first double shot coffee pod, so it is fair to say that these guys are ones to watch out for in the future.
If you’re looking to make large savings on traditional Nespresso pods, and are interested in experimenting with hot chocolate, milkshakes and double coffee shots, then Mugpods is certainly a goodoption to consider. Additionally, there is no minimum order value, so you can try a few and see if you like them before taking the plunge and becoming a Mugpods’ fanatic.
Option #2 – Caffe Ottavo
Caffe Ottavo is a not-so-well known supplier of Nespresso Compatible pods from Puglia in Italy. Unlike the somewhat misleading Swiss company who makes Nespresso, Caffe Ottavo is genuinely 100% Italian. The company is quite popular in Italy, and has started to expand to the international markets. They have an experienced team of coffee experts and roasters who carefully source very high-quality beans and import them directly from the country of origin.
They offer a range of ten different capsules that can be used with Nespresso machines. These range from full-bodied, aromatic flavors, such as the “Gran Gusto” to the intense authentic “Fortissimo.”Additionally, the consumer can enjoy a range of teas, such as the spicy and refreshing “Orzo” and the regenerative“Ginseng.”The company also offers decaffeinated varieties for consumers who love the taste of coffee but want to control their caffeine intake.
One drawback, and it is a rather large one to be fair, is that they have reported that the capsules from Caffe Ottavo are occasionally incompatible with their Nespresso machines. Now, weather it is because these users are using them with older versions of the Nespresso machine, or not, is not entirely clear as the majority of users have reported no problems. However, one of the main selling points of capsule coffee making is consistency. If using these pods detracts from the consistency and convenience of the process, well,that is certainly not something that is going to make anyone happy.
The Caffe Ottavo capsules are very reasonably priced for the quality of the coffee that they produce. Many users have even said that the company’s pods are far superior to those that Nespresso produce while others have complained about their less-than-ideal compatibility. The tradition of coffee making in Italy really does shine through in these capsules, and with a very attractive price,they could become a major player in the capsule coffee scene if they can address the poor compatibility issues. However, they are certainly worth a look at as the promise of savings is huge, but we recommend ordering a small amount to gauge ease-of-use with your Nespresso machine.
Option #3 – Caffe Calgari
Caffe Calgariis another Italian manufacturer that has been in the coffee business for over a century. They have five varieties of capsules that are compatible with the Nespresso system. While you won’t save as much money with the Caffe Calgari capsules as some of the other brands in this review, you certainly won’t skimp on quality either. Consumers rave about the quality of the espresso produced by these capsules with some even comparing it to that which you would find down at your local Italian café. The biggest crowd pleasing flavor that they offer is the Espresso Ristretto, quickly followed by the Grand Espresso. The company also offers a decaffeinated version so there is a strength and caffeine content for everybody
One drawback of the Caffe Calgari range is that the capsule packages are not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as the Nespresso Pods. The designers at Nestle really hit the nail on the head when they were coming up with the plans for the Nespresso pods, taking influence from modern and classic traditions. If you love the look of the multi-coloured pods in your kitchen, then you’re going to be let down by the design of these pods.
However, designs aside, if you’reafter potentially the best tasting capsule pods on the market today that encapsulate the long and proud tradition of Italiancoffee making, the Caffe Calgari pods are certainly worth a shot.
Option #4 –Podista
Podista are an Australian company that produce quality Nespresso compatible capsules. These guys are quite similar to Mugpods who we reviewed earlier in the article. The company is committed to providing high-quality coffee capsules at affordable prices.They even mention that they don’t wish to fund another wing of George Clooney’s mansion on LakeComo like Nespresso seems so keen on doing. Podista are, in fact, the world’s first company to offer multi-beverage pods. That’s right, these are the guys who invented the Nespresso Hot chocolate so we can take it that they know a thing or two about Nespresso pods.
Podista offers quite a range of coffee pods to choose from. Form the company’s innovative hot chocolate capsules to their fiveseparate strengths of espresso shots, they have something that will suit almost every taste. The quality of the crema that their coffee shots produce is deemed to be exceptional according to regular consumers. Furthermore, the company is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of their operations. All of their capsules are 100% BPA-free and fully recyclable which is not something that all manufactures provide.Additionally, they offer a brilliant range of sugar free, hot chocolate and other flavored hot beverages. This is one of the reasons so many customers keep coming back to them, as you can now use your previously one dimensional Nespresso machine to produce a whole host of delicious and interesting beverages.
Finally, their packaging is the best that we have come across so far. They have used state of the art technology to design packaging that is roughly less than half the size of many of the big players on the market.
If you are after an affordable coffee pod solution that passes the taste test with flying colors, and also gives you the freedom to experiment with beverages,such as mint hot chocolate and hazelnut hot chocolate, then Podista Nespresso compatible pods are certainly worth checking out for yourself.
Option #5 -Caffe Vergano
Caffe Vergano was one of the first manufactures to realize that they could capitalize on the success of the Nespresso machine by producing compatible capsules. This Italian company has been involved in the world of coffee for over 130 years and is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
They offer a wide range of coffee options for consumers to enjoy; with five different strengths of capsules, each with their own distinctive taste and character, it is hard to get bored with them. On the whole, users seem to be very impressed with the quality that these capsules are capable of. The capsules come in boxes of 10 and the folks at Café Vergano claim that these capsules recreate the traditional coffee experience in a contemporary way.
The price is a major selling point when we compare these capsules to the Nespresso brand capsules. Given we are paying less, we would expect to get a coffee experience less impressive than the Nespresso capsules can provide, however that is simply not the case.
Another exciting thing about Caffe Vergano is that they have a range of refillable Nespresso capsules. Not only are these extremely environmentally friendly, but they allow you to experiment with you own blends and varieties of coffee outside of the standard capsule world. Furthermore, they also have a range of completely biodegradable pods, so you can chuck them in the compost bin just like you would your vegetable peels─a major selling point given the current global warming crisis that we find ourselves in.
If the environment matters to you, and you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to Nespresso pods, the Caffe Vergano Nespresso compatible pods are an excellent option for you. You may lose a small bit of flavor in comparison, however, for most normal coffee drinkers, it shouldn’t be a major drawback as the coffee is still quite good.
So, there you have it; five tasty, reliable and affordable alternatives to Nestlé’s Nespresso capsules. Not only do the alternatives listed here offer you the opportunity to save a significant amount of money over the course of a year, but they also give you a much larger selection of beverages to choose from. With various types of roasts and blends available from different manufacturers, the opportunities for exploration are literally endless. If you are thinking of making the jump to another brand, we recommend that you order a small package first and see how you like it, as there would be nothing worse than ending up with a pantry full of coffee that you don’t like! Pick one─and let us know how it goes!