The Best Nespresso Capsules For Your Morning Cup Of Coffee In 2023

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Cozying up with a latte at home feels 100 times better when you didn't have to put on your shoes and trek into the outside world to get it from a drive-through. No one loves the occasional eight-dollar-gingerbread-fairydust-sugarcookie-caramel-delight more than we do, but the surge of at-home craft coffee makers has saved our pocketbooks — and, if we're being honest, reinforced our introverted tendencies. Nespresso is our preferred amateur coffee machine that combines pod-style convenience with artfully-made cafe drinks.

If you're here as a new or potential Nespresso owner, welcome from a bunch of coffee fanatics to another! We appreciate this brand for its wide range of coffeemaker styles, opening an accessible gateway to entry-level and affordable craft espresso at home — and any brand that denounces coffee snobbery gets our approval. You may find someday that you've outgrown a basic Nespresso and want to upgrade to a more sophisticated machine — in which case, Nespresso still has you covered — or the basic models may suit your caffeine needs forever. In any case, you need a good stash of coffee capsules to accompany your Nespresso. You could venture into the trial and error of finding the best Nespresso pods out there, or you could follow this list where we've already done the work for you. 

How we picked the best Nespresso capsules to drink in 2023

With dozens of varieties across multiple brands to choose from, we took care in curating this list of the absolute best Nespresso pods to buy in 2023. It was our intention to keep all sorts of coffee drinkers in mind: the ones that are new to Nespresso and making espresso at home, the ones that start each morning with a simple black coffee, the joe lovers on a budget, and the longtime Nespresso users just looking to fine-tune their craft. We kept personal experience with different Nespresso roasts in mind, as well as online retailer reviews. But when it comes to Nespresso products, we were never too concerned regarding quality, given that the company's beans must pass over 40 quality control checks before being packaged for retail use (per Nestlé). 

Another important factor in ranking the best Nespresso pods is the roast and origin. Different roasts are better suited to different brewing methods, and the growing conditions of different countries will impact the subtle flavors of the coffee or espresso. 

Best overall Nespresso pods

While Nespresso's Tamuka mu Zimbabwe espresso pods are a limited edition release, we hope you have the opportunity to swipe up a box before they're gone. This coffee retains more terroir — that's the flavors that naturally occur from the coffee plant's growing environment — because it's a light medium roast, which lends to a taste of berry and currant. The bright complexity of this roast is, in our opinion, best enjoyed as an americano, if you can tolerate black coffee that strong. But the Zimbabwe beans perform well in a milk-based drink, too, because the dairy sugars cut down on some of the coffee's relatively high acidity.

We put the Zimbabwe espresso at the top of our ranking for how sophisticated and clearly well-cultivated of a product it is, especially coming from a young regional coffee industry. Coffee is an up-and-coming industry in the southeast African nation of Zimbabwe; certainly there are more well-known origins from the continent, notably Kenya and Ethiopia. Historians believe that the earliest presence of any significant amount of coffee occurred less than 200 years ago (via Truly Experiences) whereas Ethiopia, largely considered to be the birthplace of coffee's discovery, has been cultivating the crop for thousands of years, per the National Coffee Association. The country's coffee yield almost sputtered out altogether thanks to political turmoil and climate problems, says Nespresso. 

As of January 2023, Tamuka mu Zimbabwe is currently available through Nespresso for $1.10 per capsule. 

Best for daily drinking

When the only priority is getting gassed up and out the door, you need a coffee that is simple yet profound, an easy drinker that doesn't tend to bore. For a robust but very palatable cup of black coffee, you can't go wrong with beans from Sumatra. This iconic coffee is grown in rich, volcanic soil on the Indonesian island of, you guessed it, Sumatra. We endorse Sumatran beans as a great daily drinking coffee for their low acidity (high-acid coffee can be a hassle for people who are sensitive to GERD issues, explains Health Digest) and rich, creamy, almost-milk-chocolate-like flavor profile that is enjoyable in many forms. Some crops of Sumatra have a more sharp, spicy (like allspice and clove) overtone to them, but the Starbucks variety, in our personal experience, is a softer dark roast without that woody edge.

A 32-pack of the Starbucks by Nespresso single-origin Sumatra coffee is listed for $1.28 per capsule on Amazon.

Best for decaf drinkers

Decaf is great to have on hand if you are an evening coffee drinker, are prone to caffeine-induced anxiety, or just want to cut down on the jitters. Whatever your reason for choosing decaffeinated coffee, anyone who drinks it can attest to how difficult finding a quality decaf can be. The selection is always slim, taste can be hit or miss, you have to watch out for brands using potentially harmful and outdated decaffeination methods (from Consumer Reports), and you can forget about finding any of the cool flavors that full-caff coffee comes in.

But Nespresso users are in luck, because the Volluto Decaffeinato pods from Nespresso are still brimming with flavor and body, and the brand uses a natural decaffeination method (via Nespresso) that is effective in extracting over 99.9% of the beans' caffeine. In this roast, you can expect notes of graham cracker and berries — or that's what we picked up anyway, a classic Arabica bean flavor profile. 

The Nespresso Volluto Decaffeinato coffee pods are available at $0.80 per capsule through Nespresso.

Best for cappuccinos

When we make a cappuccino, it is often the Cosi Nespresso pods that we reach for. Cappuccinos are a light and airy craft coffee drink, and all of those foam bubbles means less milk and dairy sugars to soften the edge of a very robust espresso shot. Using too boisterous of a roast would mean an overpowering cappuccino. We think Cosi perfectly strikes that delicate balance needed with the milk foam to create a beverage that is flavorful without overwhelm. If you're partial to sipping espresso on its own, the Cosi roast is wonderful for that, too; it blooms into a beautiful golden crema.

Cosi espresso achieves a lot of complexity through its very diverse bean blend, another reason that we recommend it for cappuccinos. According to Nespresso, this coffee is created with beans from South and Central America as well as East Africa. Traditionally, cappuccinos are not a flavored drink — just espresso and milk, and maybe some sugar — giving this multileveled blend a wide-open stage to perform on.

As of January 2023, Nespresso Cosi espresso capsules are available for $0.80 per capsule through Nespresso. 

Best budget pods for Nespresso machines

Even when making espresso drinks at home, that coffee can sure add up dollars and cents wise. Nespresso pods are great, but if you want to trim up your expenses a little bit, we recommend the Lavazza espresso capsules. This brand offers a variety of roasts to choose from in its variety — including a decaf option, a very bold espresso, a few moderate intensity roasts, and a very mild roast — and the pods fit traditional Nespresso machines, albeit not perfectly, according to some users. One Amazon reviewer complained of the fact the cups were not recyclable, and another said the pods are more difficult to dislodge due to their plastic material. You aren't getting S-tier world-class coffee, but at half the price per capsule compared to Nespresso, the value still appears to be solid. 

A 60-pack of Lavazza espresso capsules is available for $0.42 per capsule via Amazon.

Best Nespresso pods for lungo shots

A lungo espresso shot is one made with the same amount of coffee grounds as a regular shot, but with more water. This espresso extraction method, which is just one of many, may give you more espresso by volume, but that's not necessarily the goal. Lungos soften the intensity of espresso while creating a double shot — think adding another surround sound speaker but turning down the volume by half — and also transform the flavor profile through its prolonged water-grounds interaction time. Not every roast is well-suited for lungos; coffee that is already quite bitter by default will only be made more so through lungo extraction. You also want to use a full-bodied bean that won't have its flavor washed out entirely by the extra water. 

We've tried and dismissed several Nespresso pod varieties in search of the perfect roast for lungos, and we believe that Nespresso's Buenos Aires Lungo pods are the winner. This coffee is low in bitterness — just a one on a one-through-five scale, says the brand — and has just enough oomph through its cinnamon bark and clove-ish tastes to hold up in a watered-down shot. 

At the time of this writing, the Buenos Aires Lungo Nespresso pods are available for $0.80 per capsule from the brand. 

Best after-dinner roast Nespresso pods

Do you have an after-dinner ritual? For some it's a nightcap or a cigarette, and for others it's an evening walk. If you happen to enjoy a twilight cup of joe, we like Nespresso's Cocoa Truffle capsules. The rich, chocolatey flavor is far from the sweetness of a real dessert, so coffee drinkers with an insatiable sweet tooth may need to dress it up a bit, but we find it to be perfect with some steamed half-and-half in a simple breve. 

Plus, Cocoa Truffle is made with a medium roast (it tastes like a full city roast to us, which is, in our opinion, the best one) so that beautiful caramel flavor from the perfect level of roasting just contributes to the indulgent taste of this brew. Of course, if you are very sensitive to caffeine, you may want to brew a smaller size or skip this one as an after-dinner sipper altogether. 

The Barista Creations Cocoa Truffle Nespresso capsules are $0.85 per pod from Amazon.

Best Nespresso pods for affogatos

Continuing on in the discussion of espresso for dessert, we have a recommendation for making affogatos, too. In case you aren't familiar, this type of espresso drink isn't really a drink it all, depending on who you ask. An affogato is a shot of espresso poured over ice cream or gelato — and some folks say it should be scooped up with a spoon, while others argue you're meant to sip on it as the ice cream melts. Regardless, a good espresso pod for affogatos is one that balances out the rich sweetness of ice cream and maintains its own complex and robust flavor.

Nespresso's Ispirazione Italiana Napoli is just so. Shots of this espresso are velvety and thick, perfect for cascading over a scoop of vanilla ice gelato. Further, Napoli is made with Robusta coffee beans, which are a quite different flavor experience over the more commonly used Arabica. Robusta coffee often tastes earthy and unpleasant compared to quality Arabica, but we don't pick up on that with the Napoli roast. This espresso's intensity serves as the ideal balance that an affogato needs. 

The Ispirazione Italiana Napoli espresso pods are available for $0.80 per capsule through Nespresso. 

Best Nespresso pods for lattes

The best Nespresso pods for making lattes at home was an easy ranking to decide, because Nespresso created an espresso specifically for milk-based drinks. We had to jump on trying this roast when it came out, and we are so happy that we did. The Bianco Doppio is incredibly smooth, with no bitterness on the palate at all; just bursting tastes of sweet berries and pastry — or biscuit-like flavors. It's a very light roast, which may lead to more acidity, but there was nothing unpleasant about the espresso's brightness. 

With the intended purpose of the Bianco Doppio being milk-based drinks anyway, any tasting characteristics of this espresso that the drinker finds to be extreme or unpleasant (not that we detected anyway) would be masked by the sweetness of the steamed milk. Using a light roast for lattes completely transforms the flavor; where medium- and dark-roast craft coffees remind us of candies with their cocoa and caramel tasting notes, light- and blonde-roast craft coffees liken more to buttery patisserie with fresh berries. 

At the time of this writing, Nespresso's Bianco Doppio espresso capsules are $1.15 per pod through the brand website. 

Best dark roast Nespresso pods

The best dark roast Nespresso capsules are none other than the brand's own Intenso. It's a classic Nespresso variety, prevailing because of the incredible depth in flavor that this coffee contains. Intenso will immediately greet your tastebuds with the flavor of sweet chocolate, followed by the lingering iconic dark roast caramelization taste of molasses and brown butter.

This pod is meant to be brewed as a cup of coffee — not espresso for a craft drink — but even so the Intenso is full-bodied with a robust crown of crema. There is the faintest whisper of smoky char in the taste, which some coffee drinkers may not enjoy, especially if you aren't already a dark roast drinker. We enjoy Intenso with nothing but a generous pour of half-and-half or heavy cream, but you can ease the punch of this brew by adding sugar and making a cafe au lait instead. 

For $1.25 per pod, you can get the Nespresso Vertuo Intenso coffee pods from the Nespresso website. 

Best single-origin Nespresso pods

Some coffee drinkers may be skeptical over how much a product being single origin really matters, but coffee grown in Colombia will definitely have some different flavor characteristics than Kenyan harvests. It's not a punch-in-the-face difference, but enough that you could pick up on it if you pay close enough attention. Coffee enthusiasts often seek out single origin coffees to explore and compare the personalities of coffees from around the world. 

So, why Colombia? The country's growing regions are perfect for the cultivation of prime coffee plants — tons of rain in a tepid environment, volcanic soil, and plenty of farming real estate at high altitudes, explains Colombia Co. The vast majority of Colombian coffee is shade-grown and picked by hand, which means only the ripest, highest-quality crops are selected for harvest. 

As far as Nespresso's Master Crafted Single Origins Colombia pods, we recommend brewing these as a lungo if you're new to specialty roasts and single-origin coffees. There's a lot going on in this fine work of Colombian craftsmanship: we have a bright, wine-like acidity, and yet a bold bitterness. That's not to say that this espresso tastes like batteries or cough syrup; it's still a very smooth and complex roast, but diluting the kick with a lungo can help create a more authentic first impression of the Colombian beans' flavor profile. 

The Nespresso Colombia espresso pods are $0.85 per unit and are available through Nespresso.

Best flavored Nespresso pods

There's no shortage of purists out there who love to hate on flavored coffees. And their negatively isn't entirely unfounded; bottom-tier flavored coffees may be loaded with additives, or made with stale or low-quality beans. But if one of the little joys bringing you light in an all-too-often dim world is a cup of cinnamon streusel java, we aren't going to shake a finger at you. We actually are inclined to agree; when it seems we are told that all food and drink items are out to kill our health, it's just a matter of what we give the knife to. 

Because stale beans and chemicals we can't pronounce be darned — flavored coffee is yummy. And Nespresso's Caramel Créme Brulee espresso pods are delicious. This variety is made with Brazilian and Colombian Arabica crops, creating a divine and velvety flavor base. Over top is the flavor of buttery caramel and a smoky touch of burnt sugar. Nespresso says there's notes of vanilla and coconut to be detected in this brew as well, but those flavors were negligent at best — and apparently not direly necessary components for it to be a fabulous espresso. 

For $0.85 per pod, you can get Nespresso's Caramel Créme Brulee espresso pods from the brand's website.