Best Nespresso capsules: pods rated and reviewed

One of the main benefits of Nespresso is that it has a quality range of capsules available. In fact, of all the pod systems we’ve reviewed it’s Nespresso that consistently comes out on top for producing high-quality espresso and longer drinks. The downside of having such a range is that it can be hard to find the best Nespresso capsules. Here, we work our way through the entire range to help you find the capsules you like.

Related: Best Nespresso machine

Every capsule we’ve reviewed comes with an intensity rating. This describes how strong the coffee tastes, but it isn’t an indicator of caffeine content. Typically, longer and darker roasts have a higher intensity rating, compared to lighter roasts. All Nespresso capsules are designed for a specific volume. Ristretto is an intense 25ml drink, although not all Nespresso machines offer this option. Espresso is a 40ml shot of coffee. Finally, lungo is a 110ml slightly longer drink. Some varieties are designed for multiple volumes.

Master Origin

Master Origin Nicaragua

An interesting and complex blend

Nespresso Master Origin Nicaragua

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Rating:
10

Intensity: 5

Volume: Espresso (40ml), lungo (110ml)

Nespresso says: Smooth honeyed textured and sweet cereal notes.

We say: Nespresso has used Black Honeyed Nicaraguan coffee in this blend. With this process, part of the cherry is left on the coffee bean while drying to give a fuller-bodied coffee.

The resulting beans are split roast with a medium and shorter roast to give the finished Master Origin Nicaragua coffee. Is it worth the effort? Totally. The coffee is exceptionally smooth, with a delicious sweetness to it on the first taste before the more cereal notes come through. This is one of the more interesting blends and one of my favourite.

Master Origin Colombia

A smooth and refreshing cup of coffee

Nespresso Master Origin Columbia

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Rating:
9

Intensity: 6

Volume: Espresso (40ml), lungo (110ml)

Nespresso says: Lively acidity and a burst of winey red fruit.

We say: For the Master Origin Colombia, Nespresso has used 100% Columbian Arabica. To preserve its origin flavours, the batch has a short roast at medium temperatures.

The resulting cup is an exciting explosion of flavour. On the first hit, you get the full fruitiness of the coffee. It’s a very smooth drink that slides down without any bitterness. The result is a coffee that delivers a freshness that’s hard to find elsewhere. A great cup for a summer’s day or as a nice way to wake up.

Master Origin Ethiopia

A refreshing and subtle cup of coffee

Nespresso Master Origin Ethiopia

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Rating:
9

Intensity: 4

Volume: Espresso (40ml), lungo (110ml)

Nespresso says: This is Ethiopian Arabica at its finest – decadently aromatic.

We say: A smooth and delicate blend of coffee for when you don’t want something to hit you hard. The Master Origin Ethiopia has a gentle, fruity aroma. With a light roast, the flavours are subtle and there’s a gentle fruitiness with just a hint of bitterness. This cup may be a bit too mellow for many, but for those who like a more refreshing, subtle cup of coffee, this is a great capsule.

Master Origin Indonesia

Adds punch but lacks complexity

Nespresso Master Origin Indonesia

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Rating:
7

Intensity: 8

Volume: Espresso (40ml), lungo (110ml)

Nespresso says: Velvety thick, wildly aromatic, notes of cured tobacco.

We say: The coffee beans used in the Master Origin Indonesia are wet-hulled in the moist Indonesian environment. Once dry, the beans are split roast, with a medium and shorter roast to bring out the full range of flavours in the coffee.

A woody undertone tends to dominate the drink, with an intense taste. Surprisingly, given the first hit of flavour, the coffee isn’t as bitter as you’d expect, offering a smooth texture. This blend lacks some of the complexity of the other variations, but it’s a good choice when you want something with a bit more punch.

Master Origin India

Lacks subtlety but packs a punch if you like intense coffee

Nespresso Master Origin India

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Rating: 6

Intensity: 11

Volume: Espresso (40ml), lungo (110ml)

Nespresso says: Long-lasting wood and spicy aromatics.

We say: Nespresso has used a blend of Indian Arabica and Robusta in the Master Origin India. The Robusta is “monsooned”, where monsoon winds repeatedly swell and dry the beans to give the flavour. A split roast, using a medium and shorter roast preserves the flavour of both types of coffee.

You’ll get a big hit of woody flavours from this powerful coffee, with some spice too. It has a rather bitter aftertaste, with a much stronger, more burnished end to it. I prefer a coffee with a bit more subtlety – but if you like your coffee strong and powerful, it’s a good choice.

Variation (Flavoured)

Vanillo

A touch of vanilla adds that extra bit of smoothness to this coffee

Nespresso Vanillo

 

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Rating:
9

Intensity: 6

Volume: Espresso (40ml)

Nespresso says: A blend distinguished by its full flavour, infinitely smooth and silky on the palate.

We say: Using vanilla correctly is an art: too much, and you get overpowering flavours; too little, and you don’t get anything through. Nespresso has managed the balance right with this blend of coffee.

Smooth, with a hint of vanilla to it, this coffee has a gentle sweetness to it that complements the medium-roasted Central and South American Arabicas. A great coffee for when you want something a bit different and more refreshing.

Caramelito

A touch of caramel is enough to give this cup a lift

Nespresso Caramelito

 

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Rating:
9

Intensity: 6

Volume: Espresso (40ml)

Nespresso says: This delicate gourmet marriage evokes the creaminess of soft toffee.

We say: Caramel can be a bit overpowering and sickly sweet unless used in just the right quantity as Nespresso has done. Just a gentle hint of caramel has been added to the blend of medium-roasted Central and South American Arabicas.

This gives the shot of espresso a sweeter smell, but on taste, there’s an added creaminess and warmth to the coffee. A gentle-tasting coffee, this one’s a good choice for an afternoon, perhaps with a biscuit.

Cioccatino

A touch of extra bitterness and warmth

Nespresso Cioccatino

 

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Rating:
8

Intensity: 6

Volume: Espresso (40ml)

Nespresso says: A rich combination reminiscent of a square of dark chocolate.

We say: Chocolate is a versatile ingredient, working as well in the savoury as the sweet. Nespresso has used a subtle amount of chocolate in the Cioccatino, adding a breath of dark-chocolate aroma to the medium-roasted Central and South American Arabicas.

Chocolate, here, adds a bit more bitterness to the cup, with more depth to the flavour. I prefer the sweetness of the other two flavours, but Cioccatino is different from how you might expect and a nice alternative to a straight coffee.

Lungo (110ml)

Vivalto Lungo

A complicated and interesting blend of three coffees

Nespresso Vivalto Lungo

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Rating:
10

Intensity: 4

Volume: Lungo (110ml)

Nespresso says: A balanced coffee made from a complex blend.

We say: One of the more complicated blends, the Vivalto Lungo uses three types of coffee: high altitude South American Arabicas for light acidity, Ethiopian Arabicas for the floral notes, and Brazilian Cerrado for bitterness and character.

Each type of coffee is individually roasted to bring out its best. The result is one of the more interesting pods that Nespresso does, with an intense aroma. It’s the mix of flavours that hits you: cereal notes give way to a lighter, fruitier taste, with bitterness seeping in at the end.

This is a cup that manages to be mellow and full bodied at the same time, a testament to the choice of coffees and complex combination. A great choice if you want something more interesting.

Fortissio Lungo

A powerful and rich coffee

Nespresso Fortissio Lungo

 

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Rating:
8

Intensity: 8

Volume: Lungo (110ml)

Nespresso says: A long and intense cup that will thrill your palate.

We say: Nespresso split roasts the monsooned malabar Indian Arabica and washed Columbian Arabica to maintain the best flavours from both.

The result is one of the best more intense coffees in the range. Rather than hitting you with bitterness and strength, the Fortissio Lungo starts with gentle, almost sweet, cereal notes that give way to a fuller-bodied coffee with just enough bitterness to get you going.

The combination is both powerful, yet manages to retain the individual profiles of the selected coffees. A fine example of how to do intense while maintaining flavour.

Linizio Lungo

A very subtle and gentle mix of flavours

Nespresso Linizio Lungo

 

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Rating:
8

Intensity: 4

Volume: Lungo (110ml)

Nespresso says: A well-rounded blend.

We say: The Linizio Lungo uses Brazilian and Columbian Arabica coffee. The Brazilian Bourbon is washed, depulped and then left to dry with its mucilage; the Columbian is fermented with its mucilage and then washed after.

The beans are then split roasted: longer and darker for the Brazilian and shorter and lighter for the Columbian. The result is a fine cup that’s mellow and smooth. Fine cereal notes with a light taste and smooth finish, make this a more refreshing cup than many, although it may be a little too subtle for many.

Envivo Lungo

A great coffee to wake you up but this doesn’t have the taste complexity of other capsules

Nespresso Envivo Lungo

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Rating:
7

Intensity: 9

Volume: Lungo (110ml)

Nespresso says: A full body and remarkable level of intensity.

We say: One of the more intense Lungo drinks, the Envivo Lungo uses a combination of Indian and Mexican coffee. The Robusta part of the blend lengths strength and is darker roasted; the Arabica adds the subtlety and is also dark roasted.

This is one coffee that hits you straight away. Woody, almost bonfire-like, taste dominates on the first sip, leaving behind the darker, more bitter flavours of the coffee. A wake-me-up-in-the-morning shot, the Envivo Lungo is one of the better examples of an intense coffee but I prefer something with a bit more subtlety.

Espresso (40ml)

Volluto

A smooth, light and flavourful cup

Nespresso Volluto

 

Rating: 9

Intensity: 4

Volume: Espresso (40ml)

Nespresso says: Sweet and biscuity flavours.

We say: For the Volluto capsule, Nespresso has used light-roasted Brazilian and Columbian Arabicas to help preserve that origin flavour. The result is a lighter, sweeter espresso.

That’s no bad thing. From the Brazilian coffee, you get the hit of darker, cereal flavours; the Columbian coffee delivers the sweeter, fruity notes. Both hit you at the same time, mixing and complementing each other for a distinctive and interesting cup.

The result is a great coffee: light on the palate but strong in flavour. A great cup to enjoy on an afternoon.

Cosi

A light coffee packed with flavour

Nespresso Cosi

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Rating:
9

Intensity: 4

Volume: Espresso (40ml)

Nespresso says: A delicate and balanced marriage.

We say: Cosi uses three types of coffee in its blend. There’s Costa Rican Arabica for the cereal notes, Kenyan Arabica for the fruity notes, and Latin American Arabica to harmonise the cup.

The result is one of my personal favourites. Each Arabica is light roasted to preserve its origin flavour, resulting in a light espresso that packs in the flavour. There’s a gentle cereal, woody taste first, making way for a smoother, fruitier finish with little bitterness.

A great cup for the afternoon, Cosi shows that you don’t need an intense coffee to get that hit of flavour, and proves that subtlety is often the best approach.

Capriccio

A light coffee but it lacks the flavour profile of other varities

Nespresso Capriccio

 

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Rating:
7

Intensity: 5

Volume: Espresso (40ml)

Nespresso says: An espresso with a strong aroma.

We say: South American Arabica grown at high altitude gives the Capriccio its light acidity, mixed with Brazilian Bourbon and a touch of Robusta for strength. Light roasted, the Capriccio is designed to retain the origin flavours.

The combination is a lighter coffee. The cereal notes come through immediately, with a smooth and light finish. If you’re looking for a lighter espresso then this capsule delivers, but it lacks the more complex flavour profiles of other coffees in the range.

Livanto

An interesting but not always successful blend of coffees

Nespresso Livanto

 

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Rating:
6

Intensity: 6

Volume: Espresso (40ml)

Nespresso says: A well-balanced espresso.

We say: A blend of Cosa Rican and Colombian Arabica coffee, the Livanto uses a medium roast to preserve those origin flavours. The result is one of the more delicate shots of espresso, with a light and fruity aroma to it.

There’s an interesting duality to this cup: on the first sip, you’re hit with both the fruity notes and a touch of bitterness. It’s a complex and interesting combination, although the coffee does seem to veer more towards the bitter in the aftertaste.

An interesting blend, the flavour combination can be a little hard to decipher at times.

Limited Edition (2019)

Cafe Venezia

Nespresso Cafe Venezia

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Rating:
9

Intensity: 8

Volume: Lungo (110ml)

Nespresso says: Coffee from the ancient Ethiopian region of Harar mixes with Indian Arabica to create a cup rich with the exotic perfume of the East.

We say: Well balanced with a floral tone to it, the Cafe Venezia produces a smooth drink. It works well as a standard 110ml lungo, although it can be enjoyed as a 40ml espresso, too.

There’s a soft, fruity note to begin, with a slight sweetness that makes it a refreshing cup of coffee. There’s a slight bitter aftertaste with more woodier flavours. A great cup for any time of the day.

Cafe Istanbul

Nespresso Cafe Istanbul

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Rating:
9

Intensity: 10

Volume: Ristretto (25ml), espresso (40ml)

Nespresso says: Reminiscent of the mystery of the oriental bazaar.

We say: Strong intensity coffees can often forego flavour and character for bitterness. The Cafe Istanbul gets it right. Sure, it presents the deep taste you’d expect, but this medium-roasted blend of Yemen Mocha plus Indian and Indonesia Arabica packs in the flavour.

After the initial sip, which carries an intense hit of bitterness, there’s a peppery and spicy aftertaste. Surprisingly good fun, this is high-intensity coffee at its best. You can take it as an espresso but go for the ristretto if you want a more concentrated burst of flavour.

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