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nespresso compatible capsules

Buying guide: how to choose your Nespresso® compatible capsules

As opposed to coffee beans, Nespresso® compatible capsules (and the company’s own official versions) have been a popular fixture on the French coffee market for many years now thanks to the practicality of their ready-measured portions, which are ideal for light coffee drinkers. Although sometimes criticised, alternative solutions have now emerged to limit their environmental impact, including recyclable options.  But for now, let’s concentrate on finding the right coffee capsules for you! Are you into mild coffee or do you have a weakness for the strong stuff? Perhaps an intense Italian coffee is for you, or maybe you’re more suited to a subtle “monk’s robe” roast from France?

Read on for my guide to help you find exactly what you’re looking for…

Nespresso® compatible capsules: intense and full-bodied

At the end of the day, this is all a matter of taste: if you like powerful coffees with a rich, full body and smooth finish, your first stop should be dark roast coffees from countries like Italy or Spain. The Pellini, Mauro and Vergnano capsules are perfect examples. These coffees exude a uniquely Italian expertise, with a hint of bitterness and toasted notes. Also of interest may be the capsules offered by Kimbo, a brand whose roasters have stayed true to their Neapolitan origins. You’re bound to fall in love with the velvety consistency and strong flavour of their coffee.

This type of coffee is often best enjoyed in the morning, sweetened with a drop of milk. Ideal for the breakfast table, these intense coffees will instantly perk you up! They are also often served later in the day, to add a note of richness and intensity at the end of a meal for example. And why not drink this coffee with a small chocolate, for an extra bit of indulgence? 


Balance and pleasure

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something milder and more fruity, then I’d recommend that you focus on lighter, less intense roasts, the specialty of many a French craft coffee brand. It may have less body than Italian coffee, but a lighter roast will offer you greater aromatic complexity. Cutting-edge French brands such as Cafés Lugat, TerraMoka, Cap’Mundo  and Cafés Tchanqués are bound to be winners. And if you look further afield, there are even milder, lighter roasts being produced in northern European countries, such as the Scandinavian nations and Belgium. These capsules will satisfy any taste buds in search of moderation and subtlety. But who are they best suited to? The answer is mild coffee lovers, who tend to drink several cups a day. These capsules are ideal for a gentle coffee break in the morning. A little tip: they also go great with a piece of fruit or a sweet treat.

The main flavours of coffee

coffee taste

Fortunately, there’s another way of finding your bearings in the jungle that is the Nespresso® compatible capsule market, and that is to choose your capsules according to their flavour notes. As with wine, each coffee presents a different aroma and flavours.

There are four main families of tasting “notes”:

  • Tasty
  • Fruity
  • Floral
  • Spiced

Please note: these families of tasting notes do not refer to flavours that have been artificially added. Rather, these are the specific aromatic characteristics of each coffee, determined by its terroir, its blend of beans, how those beans were grown, the soil, the climate, etc. To find out more, take a look at this very interesting article all about the four main flavours of coffee.

Here are some tips to get you started:

South American coffees, from Brazil or Colombia for example, generally present more gourmet notes with hints of cocoa, caramel and dried fruit. African coffees, especially those from Ethiopia, offer more developed floral and fruity notes (citrus fruits, especially lemon, apple, etc.). Finally, coffee from India has a more spiced, slightly peppery flavour. If you’re a fan of aromatic complexity and the more subtle flavour notes, then I advise you to go for 100% Arabica pure origin coffees.

A coffee for every taste

Of course, it can be tricky to find the perfect coffee for you. And if you share your household with others, that task becomes more difficult still! It’s for this reason that, if you’re looking for a coffee to suit a number of different palates, I’d recommend that you try out some blends. These coffees are made up of several different beans and often result in a well-rounded drink with a more balanced combination of flavours. They tend to be to most people’s taste. All roasters (great and small) offer blends of this nature and you should quite easily be able to find one to please everyone. A blend does not necessarily equate to lower quality: some blends are perfectly balanced and offer exceptional flavours.

The capsule: a single-dose container

nespresso caps

We’ve talked a lot about flavours, but what about the capsule itself? If you’re looking for a capsule that preserves as much of the flavour and freshness of your coffee as possible, then look no further than aluminium capsules. But capsules made of aluminium are harder to recycle, as you will need to find a dedicated collection point. Plastic capsules are a good alternative for those of you who don’t have a collection point near your home. These capsules can be thrown out with your other recyclable waste. Just be sure to empty them first by tipping the coffee out into your household waste bin or, better still, onto your compost heap. Finally, if you’re looking for the most environmentally responsible approach, many brands are now offering biodegradable and compostable capsules. Often made from corn starch, they can go straight onto your compost heap or into an industrial composter (always refer to the guidance provided with the capsules).

So there you go! I hope that you will find these tips useful, and that you’ll find what you’re looking for from the ever-growing range of Nespresso® compatible capsules. At, our selection of products is constantly evolving, in order to satisfy the increasingly demanding tastes of our customers. And if you’re still finding the range of choice bewildering, then don’t forget the discovery packs we offer, which allow you to test a variety of options and to narrow down your favourites. Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments section below!

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