Best Nespresso and compatible capsules revealedDiscover which coffee pods impressed our experts

17 March 2016

Nespresso machine with pods beside it

Can Nespresso compatible capsules make a tasty coffee?

Which Nespresso capsules are best? And are the compatible capsules made by other brands any good? To find out, we tested 26 different coffee capsules, including eight Nespresso varieties and 18 Nespresso compatible coffee pods.

Our taste test uncovered five Best Buy coffee capsules for your Nespresso machine, all of which impressed our panel of coffee experts with their well-rounded flavour. 

We also found a cheap and tasty compatible capsule which, while not quite a Best Buy, was deemed enjoyable by our experts, and could save you around £90 a year if you switch from your current Nespresso capsule.*

Find out which coffee capsules are tastiest - and how you can save on your coffee habit - by seeing our full review of Nespresso coffee capsules.

Our Nespresso capsule test

Focusing on espresso and ristretto (concentrated espresso) varieties, we asked a panel of four coffee experts to blind-taste coffee made using each capsule. 

Nespresso capsules: we put a range of popular Nespresso capsules to the test, including capsules from the classic and intense espresso ranges such as Arpeggio, Cosi, Capriccio and Roma, and some of the Pure Origin varieties such as Bukeela ka Ethiopia and Rosabaya de Colombia.

Nespresso compatible capsules: we focused on brands available in supermarkets, including popular brands like Cafepod, Carte Noire and Taylors, as well as own-brand capsules from Lidl and M&S.

Our experts tasted each espresso with and without milk, assessing the flavour, aroma, overall appearance, and quality of the crema (the golden foam found on top) to create an overall score for each capsule.

Nespresso varieties compared

27%the difference in score between our best and worst-scoring Nespresso pods

Our taste test results show that the Nespresso variety you choose could have a big impact on the quality of your morning brew.

The top-scoring Nespresso capsule was described by our coffee experts as having a pleasing sweetness to it, and an attractive golden crema. However, another Nespresso pod scored only 48% and left our experts unimpressed with its bland and thin flavour.

See which Nespresso variety came out on top, and how it compares to rival capsules from compatible brands, by heading to our Nespresso capsule comparison table.

Best Nespresso machines

Whatever capsules you choose, you’ll also need a decent coffee machine, as poor extraction can affect the flavour. We've found that Nespresso machines differ in terms of how well they make espresso, despite using the same basic capsule system. 

We've tested all the most popular models, including the Nespresso Pixie, U, CitiZ and Maestria. Head to our coffee machine reviews to compare the different models and find the best. 

We've also tested coffee machines from other capsule brands such as Tassimo, Illy, Lavazza and Dolce Gusto. Find out which three recently tested capsule models have joined the ranks of our top-scoring coffee makers by checking out our Best Buy coffee machines.

*Note: calculation based on price of a standard Nespresso capsule, and two coffees per day over one year.

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