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Best Nespresso compatible pods 2023: Tasty capsules from Lavazza, Rave and more

Fancy a change from Nespresso? We’ve rounded up the best third-party pods below

The best Nespresso compatible pods don’t always have to come directly from Nespresso. While the brand does have plenty of roasts and flavours to choose from, there are just as many third-party capsules available: from widely recognisable brands such as Lavazza, to lesser-known names and independent roasters.

It’s nice to have a choice, but the growing number of brands joining the Nespresso bandwagon doesn’t make that choice any easier. In a market as broad as this, it can help to have some guidance when it comes to finding the right coffee capsules for you.

That’s why we’ve put together the following buying guide and roundup, to help you find the very best pods – whether you’re after a strong morning kick, a mellow everyday blend or something more luxurious. Whatever your cup of tea, there’s a coffee capsule out there for you.

If you’re looking to minimise your carbon footprint, we suggest you also check out our roundup of the best reusable and compostable Nespresso capsules.

READ NEXT: The best Nespresso machines to buy

Best Nespresso compatible pods: At a glance

How to choose the best Nespresso compatible pods for you

Coffee capsules are widely loved for their ease of use and convenience. But there are still a number of things to take into account before buying.

Are third-party pods safe for my Nespresso machine?

For the most part, capsules that have been specifically designed to work with Nespresso machines work fine, and you needn’t worry about them damaging your machine.

That being said, some will work better than others. Due to the slight discrepancies in manufacturing, the shape and material of third-party capsules aren’t always a perfect fit for Nespresso machines. This can result in slight water leakage when dispensing coffee and, in some cases, capsules getting stuck (requiring a bit of a prod to dislodge them into the capsule bin).

What sizes are there?

While the pods themselves are all the same size, Nespresso will usually recommend serving sizes for each of its coffees – whether that be Ristretto (25ml), Espresso (40ml) or Lungo (110ml).

When it comes to third-party capsules, this isn’t always specified and, as such, all of the pods in our roundup below were tested in an espresso size. However, some brands will still provide serving recommendations – for example, as a longer drink or with milk.

Anything else I need to consider?

It’s important to mention that many independent brands won’t be able to match the level of strength that Nespresso delivers with its own pods. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great third-party pods out there.

So, with that said, read on for our pick of the best Nespresso-compatible pods.

READ NEXT: Our favourite coffee pod machines from a range of top brands

The best Nespresso compatible pods you can buy in 2023

1. Rave coffee pods: Best compostable Nespresso compatible pods

Price when reviewed: From £3.29 | Check price at Rave One of the standout perks of Rave’s coffee pods is that they’re compostable. While Nespresso pods can be recycled, this usually involves dealing with a middleman recycling scheme such as Podback, meaning you’ll need to take them to a drop-off point, or arrange for kerbside pickup if it’s available in your area. Rave’s pods, on the other hand, can simply be disposed of with your food waste for collection by your council, though they can’t be thrown on your compost heap.

That’s not all. They’re also affordable, starting at £3.29 for 10 pods, and they taste pretty great, too. Our favourites are the Columbia El Carmen pods. Rated four out of five on the intensity scale, they deliver an energising kick, balanced with a lingering sweetness. However, we also rate Rave’s Signature Blend and the Swiss Water decaf option, among others.

Key features – Servings: 10, 50, 100; Cost per cup: From 29p; Coffee style: Espresso

Check price at Rave

2. Artisan Coffee Co Capsules: Best luxury Nespresso compatible pods

Price when reviewed: From £5 | Check price at Artisan Coffee Co Not only do you get a decent range of roasts and flavours to choose from, but Artisan Coffee Co matches each of its pods with a little pairing chocolate: a nice touch if you’re after something a bit more “gourmet” or, well, artisanal. Yes, it may be a bit of a gimmick, but the pods themselves hold up and we were suitably impressed with what we tasted. All told, the brand offers six different roasts, varying in intensity and flavour profile. We suggest going for the taster pack to start off with: this has ten pods of each roast, with a single pairing chocolate for each, and will cost you around £30.

On the subject of price, they’re a bit more expensive than average, costing at least 50p per cup. That said, as far as luxury coffee pods go, we would recommend Artisan’s pods.

Key features – Servings: 10, 60, 180; Cost per cup: Around 50p; Coffee style: Espresso

3. Colonna Capsules: Best for variety

Price when reviewed: £24 | Check price at Colonna Coffee Colonna’s range of single-origin coffees, sourced from Africa and the Americas, vary throughout the year. Admittedly, this makes it a little bit trickier for us to test and give a definitive recommendation. That said, variety is the spice of life, so if you like to switch things up every now and then, Colonna’s pods might be the best choice for you.

The brand also specifies which pods are best for espressos and which are best for lungos, making it easy to find the right brew. Like the Artisan Coffee Co pods above, though, they’re rather expensive. It’s also worth mentioning that the minimum number of pods you can buy at once is 40 (four boxes of 10) and some are only available when you buy a Colonna capsules subscription. Given the sheer range of roasts available, though, which also include Geisha coffees, this is worthwhile for regular coffee drinkers.

Key features – Servings: 40 minimum; Cost per cup: 55p; Coffee style: Espresso, lungo

Check price at Colonna Coffee

4. Lavazza Compatible with Nespresso pods: Best-value Nespresso compatible pods

Price when reviewed: £3.50 | Check price at Lavazza Striking an excellent balance between flavour and price, these aluminium pods from coffee giant Lavazza are an excellent alternative to Nespresso’s own capsules. These are some of the best-tasting third-party pods we’ve tried and, at just 35p per cup, they’re great value, too.

We particularly enjoyed the Espresso Maestro Intenso for its robust cocoa flavour, but there are six different capsule blends to choose from in total, including Lavazza’s classic Qualità Rossa and a tasty decaf espresso. If you’re after some classic Italian coffee for your machine at a great price, this is it.

Key features – Servings: 10; Cost per cup: 35p; Coffee style: Espresso, lungo

Check price at Lavazza

5. Dualit Nespresso compatible pods: Best tasting single origin third-party capsules

Price when reviewed: £13 | Check price at Amazon If you’re all about single origin coffee, Dualit’s Organic Colombian pods are a must try. With a deliciously smooth and distinctive caramel flavour, they’re a good value alternative to Nespresso’s single origin offerings. There are only two single origins in the main aluminium capsule range, the Coloumbian and the Indian Monsoon (a darker roast), however Dualit also has a number of other blended pods in its range that are also well worth trying.

One downside is that these pods do tend to suffer from a little water leakage prior to dispensing the coffee, though we didn’t find it altered the taste of our coffee in a dramatic way. It’s also worth noting that, while we tried the aluminium range, Dualit also offers industrially compostable varieties of some of its pods, which may be preferable if you have a food bin at home.

Key features – Servings: 50; Cost per cup: 26p; Coffee style: Espresso, lungo

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