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Best reusable and compostable Nespresso capsules 2023: Enjoy a sustainable cup of coffee with the best eco-friendly coffee pods

Help protect the environment with our pick of the best refillable Nespresso capsules and compostable pods for Nespresso

With the best reusable Nespresso pods, you can have a guilt-free brew without having to sacrifice the convenience of the coffee capsule. Indeed, while there are a dizzying array of Nespresso pods you can buy, the more eco-conscious coffee consumers among us may prefer to ditch single-use coffee capsules in favour of a more sustainable – and indeed affordable – approach.

Enter the reusable pod. These capsules can be filled up with ground coffee to deliver a quick cup of coffee over and over again, all while eliminating unnecessary waste. We’ve done the research to bring you our top picks of the best reusable Nespresso capsules available, as well as some of the best fully compostable coffee pods you can buy. You’ll also find our handy buying guide below, with all the information you need to know before you commit.

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Best reusable and compostable Nespresso capsules: At a glance

Best reusable Nespresso capsules

  • Best overall reusable capsule: SealPod
  • Easiest-to-use reusable capsule: BlueCup
  • Best capsule with reusable lids: WayCap

Best compostable capsules

How to buy the best reusable Nespresso capsules for you

How do reusable coffee pods work?

There will be some variation between brands, but most reusable Nespresso capsules work in the same way. Simply fill the pod with your choice of ground coffee, press the coffee tightly into the pod (most reusable pods come with a tamper), attach the lid and pop it in your machine like you would do any other capsule.

What’s the benefit of using reusable coffee pods?

The obvious reason for switching to reusable coffee capsules is that they are more sustainable and eco-friendly. While capsules from brands such as Nespresso, Dolce Gusto and Tassimo can be recycled (with all three brands using the Podback recycling scheme), it’s not always the most straightforward process.

Nespresso’s recycling programme requires you to order a free recycling bag and, if Podback’s kerbside recycling is unavailable in your area, dispose of your used pods at a drop-off point, or request doorstep pickup directly from Nespresso. Meanwhile, third-party pods that can be recycled along with your household waste require taking apart and rinsing before you can dispose of them.

Using reusable coffee capsules simply skips this process. The only thing you need to dispose of are your used coffee grounds and, occasionally, recyclable foil lids. The environment isn’t the only thing that benefits from refillable capsules, either. They also give you greater control over your brew, since you can use any ground coffee you want. They’re also much more cost-effective in the long run.

Will they damage my machine?

The reusable pods in our roundup below have been designed specifically for Nespresso’s classic machines, rather than the dome-shaped Nespresso Vertuo capsules. It’s important to make sure that any capsules you plan to buy are compatible with your machine – if so, they should be perfectly safe to use.

That said, we can’t speak for all brands of reusable capsules, particularly ones we haven’t covered here, so it’s always best to buy with caution if they’ve not been reviewed.

How much do I need to spend?

A set of one or two reusable capsules, plus a spoon or tamper, will usually cost you between £20 and £30. This might seem costly initially, but bear in mind you’ll only need to buy a reusable capsule once. A set of single-use Nespresso capsules could easily cost just as much.

That said, unless you buy a pod with a reusable lid, you will need to buy spare lids. The best reusable capsules use aluminium foil lids that can be thrown in with household recycling (though you should probably rinse them first).

Anything else I need to know?

Before launching into our roundup, it’s worth adding a caveat here. While reusable Nespresso pods are undoubtedly better for the environment, they will very rarely be capable of producing coffee that’s as strong or flavourful as single-use capsules.

If you’re someone who dreads the prospect of pulling a disappointingly weak espresso, it’s worth considering some alternative solutions.

What are the alternatives?

If you drink lots of coffee and want to choose your beans, you should probably ask yourself whether it’s time to bite the bullet and buy a proper espresso machine.

It’s no less convenient than using refillable pods, you’ll get a better tasting coffee, and we’d argue, the overall coffee-making process is a much more enjoyable one. You can find a roundup of espressos machines on our best coffee machines here.

On the other hand, if you’re not ready for a manual espresso machine or simply don’t have the budget for a decent one, there are also plenty of compostable capsules to choose from. We’ve included some of our top picks directly below our roundup of the best reusable capsules.

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The best reusable Nespresso capsules to buy

1. SealPod: The best overall reusable Nespresso capsule

Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon

Designed for the Original line of Nespresso machines, SealPod’s reusable capsule is made from stainless steel, offering greater durability over cheaper plastic pods. Filling and sealing the pod can be a little fiddly and there’s an element of trial and error involved. But once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s one of the best reusable Nespresso pods you can buy.

The standard pack comes with one capsule and 100 foil lids that can be disposed of with your household recycling, as well as a two-in-one scoop/tamper and a silicone cover to keep pre-filled pods fresh. It’s worth pointing out that metal pods are likely to be hot after use, so it’s a good idea to wait a while before using them again. Alternatively, you can buy one of SealPod’s multipacks.

Key features – Capsule material: Stainless steel; Lid material: Foil; Number of capsules included: One (100 foil lids); Accessories: Scoop, silicone cover, coffee sample

2. BlueCup: The easiest-to-use reusable capsule

Price: £28 | Buy now from Amazon

Dutch company BlueCup has included a “Cup Creator” with its reusable capsule, designed to help make the process of assembling the capsules more seamless. It looks a little bit like a stout plastic pepper mill, and is used to seal the foil lids tightly onto the capsule with a single twist.

It might sound like a gimmicky idea, but it’s ideal for Nespresso users who drink lots of espresso and want to make the fiddly process of filling a reusable capsule a little quicker and easier. BlueCup’s starter pack comes with two reusable capsules, 100 recyclable aluminium foil lids, plus a sealer and spoon. A refill pack of 400 lids will cost you £22, and you can also buy additional capsules (six for £20). For more info on the Cup Creator, watch BlueCup’s How it Works video.

Key features – Capsule material: Plastic; Lid material: Foil; Number of capsules included: Two (100 foil lids); Accessories: Cup Creator, Bluecup spoon

3. WayCap: The best capsule with reusable lids

Price: £43 | Buy now from Just Natural

Rather than using foil lids that require ringing before recycling, the WayCap capsule has four reusable stainless steel filters that screw onto the pod, with each one suited to a different grind size. That said, we’d recommend always opting for a fine grind for the best results. This is because with a coarse grind, you run the risk of producing a weak cup due to the speed at which the water passes through the coffee.

The Waycap also comes with a “filling tunnel” to make adding coffee to the pod easier, as well as a small tamper for tightly packing your grounds into the capsule. It’s a bit more expensive than our other recommendations, but you’ll end up saving money by not having to buy additional foil lids.

Key features – Capsule material: Stainless steel; Lid material: Stainless steel; Number of capsules included: One; Accessories: Four interchangeable lids, tamper, filling tunnel

Buy now from Just Natural

The best compostable Nespresso capsules to buy

As we’ve touched on above, reusable pods will rarely be able to produce a cup of coffee with the same strength and flavour as single-use capsules. However, if you still want to do your bit for the environment, there are many compostable pods available from a variety of brands and roasters.

What do we mean by compostable pods?

While many third-party coffee pods are recyclable, you’ll often need to empty the grounds out first and rinse the pods before you can put them out with the household recycling. Compostable capsules, on the other hand, cut out the faff by going straight into the compost bin: pod, grounds and all.

1. Rave Compostable Coffee Pods: Best overall compostable pods

Price: From £3.25 | Buy now from Rave

Rave is featured on our roundup of the best coffee beans with its Italian Job Blend, a great dark roast for a morning kick. And as with the brand’s beans, we were suitably impressed with Rave’s range of compostable coffee pods.

While many third party capsules struggle to achieve levels of flavour and strength of Nespresso’s own capsules, we found that Rave’s coffee pods tasted great. Our favourites, the Colombia El Carmen pods, are some of the strongest available, with an intensity rating of four out of five. We found they delivered a decent kick, with a lingering sweetness, while Rave’s own tasting notes mention chocolate, caramel and red fruits. We also tested the Signature Blend pods, which weren’t quite as exciting but still make for a mellow everyday cup, as well as the lighter Swiss Water Decaf option.

During testing, we noticed that a small amount of clear water was sometimes dispensed from the machine before any coffee came through (which may have something to do with the shape of the pods themselves), but this didn’t spoil the overall flavour. Rave’s pods are a great tasting, industrially compostable alternative to Nespresso capsules, but be sure to throw them away with your food waste for council collection, rather than on your compost heap. Better still, at around £16 for 50 pods, they’re remarkably good value too.

Key features – Price per capsule: From 29p; Material: Vegeplast; Compatible with: Nespresso original line; Number of capsules: 10, 50, 100

Buy now from Rave

Also Consider: Kiss the Hippo House Blend Capsules

We also feature the Richmond-based roastery Kiss the Hippo in our roundup of best coffee beans, as a “well-respected name within enthusiast coffee circles”.

The organic house blend, an updated version of the George Street Blend, has been developed from two coffees sourced from Central America (50% Colombia, 50% Nicaragua). It carries notes of caramel, berries and chocolate, and the pods are 100% compostable and carbon negative.

Buy now from Amazon

2. Colonna Capsules: The best single-origin compostable capsules

Price: From £24 (40 pods) | Buy now from Colonna Coffee

We love Colonna’s range of single-origin coffees, and since these vary throughout the year, you’ll never be short of variety. The roastery’s capsules, sourced from farms in Africa and the Americas, are available as short espressos or longer lungo-style pods for those who prefer a lighter, filter-style coffee.

This is the case for Colonna’s regular recyclable pods, which will need emptying and rinsing before being disposed of with household recycling, as well as its compostable range, which can be thrown straight in with food waste. Each box of Colonna capsules contains ten pods, but bear in mind that you must buy a minimum of four boxes, while other capsules are available only through a subscription.

Key features – Price per capsule: 55p; Material: Unspecified; Compatible with: Nespresso original line, Opal One Capsule Machine; Number of capsules: Minimum of 40

Buy now from Colonna Coffee

3. Roar Gill Compostable Capsules: The best for variety of choice

Price: From £3.75 | Buy now from Roar Gill

In terms of sustainability, Roar Gill is up there with the best of them. Not only are all the pods compostable and all packaging recyclable, but the brand also commits to a CO2 neutral roasting process, carbon neutral capsule production and tree planting.

Roar Gill offers a variety of flavours across its pod range including blends, single origins and a decaf option. We’d recommend first timers opt for the Starter Pack, which contains a selection of the brand’s Rare, Bold, Exotic and Cortado pods (£17.50 for 40 pods). You can also buy packs of up to 120 pods, individual 10-pod sleeves or save with a coffee pod subscription.

Key features – Price per capsule: From 38p; Material: Wood fibre bioplastic; Compatible with: Nespresso original line; Number of capsules: 10, 40, 60, 80, 120

Buy now from Roar Gill

4. Grind House Blend Capsules: The best “coffee shop” capsules

Price: £10 (20 pods and tin) | Buy now from Grind

If you live in London, you’ll probably recognise the pastel pink branding of Grind coffee. The capsules are available in a choice of blends including house, decaf, light and dark. The house blend aims to emulate the coffee served in Grind’s cafes across the capital with notes of chocolate and hazelnut.

Not only are Grind’s pods made from compostable bioplastic, but the coffee is 100% organic and free from pesticides and chemicals, certified by the Organic Farmers and Growers Association. When you buy 20 pods from Grind, you’ll also get a reusable tin to store your refills.

Key features – Price per capsule: 45p; Capsule material: Compostable bioplastic; Compatible with: Nespresso original line; Number of capsules: 20, 30, 60 (Amazon only), 100

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