Updated: July 1, 2022 by Owen Richardson
Although I still feel nothing beats coffee from choice beans that you’ve ground and brewed yourself, I am a huge fan of Nespresso, for its convenience and quality. For a brew that takes almost no time and effort to make, I’d say it’s pretty good coffee and would happily drink it in a pinch.
However, you must understand now the importance of choosing the best Nespresso capsule to make sure you get the best coffee possible from your machine. So today I will review my favorites and break it all down.
There is not a better Nespresso capsule than the Nespresso Ispirazione Arpeggio Intenso. With cocoa and woody hints, it is full of rich flavor and body that can’t be beaten regardless of whether you drink it as a stand-alone shot of espresso or with a dash of milk!
Here Are the Best Nespresso Capsules
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of why these capsules are the best Nespresso for your perfect espresso, below is an overview of each of them and their key features.
|1. Nespresso Ispirazione Arpeggio Intenso|
|2. Nespresso Livanto|
|3. Nespresso Ristretto Intenso|
|4. Nespresso Kazaar Intenso|
|5. Nespresso Volluto|
|6. Nespresso Roma Intenso|
|7. Nespresso Ristretto Decaffeinato|
|8. Nespresso Colombia Master Origin|
|9. Nespresso Capriccio|
|10. Nespresso Cape Town Envivo Lungo|
1. Nespresso Ispirazione Arpeggio Intenso Dark Roast Coffee – Best Overall
Nespresso offers a large variety of capsules and this one, in particular, I ranked best overall for a number of reasons. This dark roast blend is a great combination of South and Central American Arabicas. It is perfectly roasted and brings out the best of each region with its flavor. With an intensity rating of 9, the flavor is strong but not overpowering. It is a great blend to have on its own or mixed with a little bit of frothed milk.
- Dark roast
- Intense grilled notes with subtle cocoa and woody hints
- Bold taste
If you enjoy a bold-tasting espresso with heavy and creamy notes then you will thoroughly enjoy this Nespresso blend. This blend was originally created in 1993 and has stuck around due to its large fan base.
- Rich flavor
- Excellent when combined with milk or as a stand-alone cup
- Some coffee drinkers will not want a blend this strong
Although bold, this dark roast blend is a great overall Nespresso capsule regardless of whether you enjoy your espresso plain or with milk added. The rich flavors will shine through and even though it is a blend, you can taste each coffee with every sip.
Nespresso Livanto capsules provide a medium roast coffee that boasts a blend from South and Central American Arabicas. It contains malted notes while fruity notes evolve throughout the consumption of the drink.
This blend began with a Brazilian arabica, which is a more mellow coffee. With this base note, arabicas from South and Central America were then added that bringing the fruity and malted notes.
- Medium roast with great flavor
- Caramel and toasted cereal notes
This blend is great for those who are not sure if they will like a dark roast. It is a lighter roast than the Arpeggio, but still full of flavor. With an intensity scale rating of 6, it will not be overpowering.
- Smooth and rich flavor
- No bitter taste
- May not be strong enough for some coffee drinkers
This medium roast coffee would be a great starting point for someone who is new to Nespresso capsules. It is not too strong or bitter, but still provides a great amount of flavor and richness in your cup of espresso.
If you love a very strong and bold coffee flavor, then you will love the Nespresso Ristretto capsules. This blend was created with a great base of Brazilian arabica, and then a small amount of robusta from South India was added. The blend was completed with South American and East African arabicas to create its intense flavor.
- Acidic and fruity notes
- Split roasting so you can taste each coffee
- Cocoa bitterness
With an intensity level of 10, this coffee is great for those that love something strong and slightly bitter. It can be drunk alone or with a splash of milk to tone down the intensity.
- Rich flavor
- Long-roasted Robusta coffee gives it great body
- Can be too bitter for some people
This blend is an excellent choice for those that want something that will be rich enough to drink as a stand-alone espresso shot or with milk added. The flavor is intense enough that even with the addition of milk, you will still be able to taste every note coming through each sip.
This intense blend is made for those that are seeking a coffee that is strong, bitter, and full of body. This blend was carefully crafted using 4 different coffees to create the most perfect robust flavor. A washed robusta was used to bring strength to the coffee, and the other coffees in the blend are Latin American arabicas that bring a note of sweetness.
- Bitterness with notes of pepper
- Dense and creamy texture
- Split roasting process so you can taste each coffee
This coffee blend is one that is meant for those that truly enjoy a very bitter, strong, and robust flavor. With an intensity of 12, the Kaazar blend would be ideal for adding some milk to tone down the flavor if it is too much as a stand-alone.
- Rich flavor
- No acidic aftertaste due to very low acidity
- The intensity will likely be too high for most people
The Kaazar blend is one of the richest in flavor and intensity and is the perfect blend for those who are seeking a robust coffee full of bitterness. Its high intensity level makes it a great blend to add milk to as you will still get all of the flavors coming through.
The Nespresso Volluto mild roast coffee has a scent that will draw anyone into the kitchen. It has a round body with sweet biscuit and light fruit notes. It was made with a combination of Brazilian and Columbian arabicas that come from very small plantations.
- Cereal and fresh notes from light roasting
- Sweet and biscuity aromatic profile
- Lower intensity of 4
This mild roast blend carries a low intensity and is a great choice if you are unsure of what you prefer in a Nespresso capsule. This capsule is made particularly for espressos and carries a light and appealing flavor.
- Smooth yet light flavor
- No bitterness
- Could be too light for those that prefer robust flavor
The Volluto blend is a great option for someone that is new to espressos and is not sure what they prefer intensity-wise. It is low in intensity, but still has a light and smooth flavor.
This lightly roasted blend was created with a base of natural arabicas from the Brazilian plateaus that gives a cereal aroma. This is combined with a robusta to give a woody note and finished off with arabicas from southeast Mexico. This region is beneficial to coffee trees because it has rich volcanic soils that are exposed to rain, and is populated by forests that provide shade and coolness.
- Light roast with deep roasted notes
- Hint of acidity
- The different beans are roasted separately to give it the perfect blend
Although the Roma is a light roast, it has body and an intensity level of 8 so it provides a great flavor. This blend can be used for both ristretto and espresso.
- Light roast that still carries robust flavor
- Smooth and works well as an espresso shot or combined with a little bit of milk
- Potentially too acidic for some
This blend is light yet full of incredible aromatics and robust taste. It has slight acidity and good body so it will be well-liked by many.
For those that want to enjoy the taste of an incredible ristretto or espresso, but do not want the caffeine, these Ristretto Decaffeinato capsules are perfect.
The decaffeinated version boasts the same great tastes as the caffeinated version. It is created with a base from Brazilian arabicas with a little bit of robusta from South India. South American and East African Arabicas are added to finish out the blend.
- Decaffeinated for those who do not prefer caffeine
- Roasty with a soft cocoa aromatic profile
- Acidic and fruity taste
Slow split roasts of the different beans make this a great decaffeinated option with robust and rich flavor.
- Powerful and rich flavor
- Can be slightly bitter
With an intensity of a level 10, this decaffeinated blend is perfect for those that do not want the caffeine of the standard blend but still want a rich and bold flavor with hints of acidity and fruity notes.
This medium roast Nespresso coffee was created using washed Colombia arabica. It has acidity and brings out winey red fruit aromas. With an intensity of 6, it is a more mild coffee that still boasts a lively and vibrant taste.
- Medium roast
- Blackcurrant and cranberry notes
- Smooth and fruity
Best served as an espresso or lungo, this coffee is light and acidic.
- Full of bright and lively flavor
- Not overly intense
- Potentially too acidic for some
With a fruity and bright flavor, this medium roast creates an incredible espresso or lungo. It has acidity, but is smooth and balanced.
With a rich and distinctive aromatic profile, this medium roast coffee is made to make a great espresso. It is made from Arabicas that originated in South America and has a hint of lightly roasted Robusta.
- Lightly roasted with rich flavor
- Cereal note stands out
- Light acidity
This medium roast has an intensity level of 5 and is best used for a standard espresso. Although it is a lighter roast, it has a rich flavor and very distinct aroma.
- Medium intensity level
- Rich flavors
- Distinct aromatic profile
- Might be too mild
The Nespresso Capriccio is a great middle-ground capsule when selecting one for espresso. With mild intensity but rich flavor, it is a great choice to make an espresso or even a latte!
This blend is made to create a great-tasting Lungo. It was made with a blend of Indian arabica and robusta. It boasts a full-bodied and intense taste that is packed with flavor.
- Woodsy aroma
- Good amount of bitterness
- Made to create a Lungo only
With a higher intensity of 10, this blend gives off an aromatic profile full of spice and woody notes that come from the robusta beans. Since it is made for a Lungo, it will provide an almost 4-ounce serving of coffee.
- Bold aromatic profile
- Packed with flavor
- Has a good amount of bitterness, which may not be preferred
This Lungo capsule is full of flavor with a good amount of bitterness. It provides an intense aromatic profile and is full-bodied with great roastiness.
How to Pick the Best Nespresso Capsules
Now that you have seen my list of my favorite Nespresso capsules you might be wondering how you are supposed to pick just one to use for your coffee. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your Nespresso capsule so you can ensure you love the cup of coffee you create.
Some of these Nespresso capsules pack more punch when it comes to acidity. If you do not like a strong acidic flavor, keep that in mind when making your selection.
Another thing to consider when selecting a Nespresso capsule is the flavor notes and the roast. People have preferences as to whether they like a dark, medium, or light roast. If you are unsure, I recommend choosing a medium roast to start with. It is a good idea to know if you prefer richer flavors such as cocoa and woody hints or something that is bright and vibrant with floral or fruity notes.
If you have a preference regarding whether you want to create a typical espresso, a ristretto, or a lungo, that’s something to take into consideration when purchasing a Nespresso capsule as well. Some are created for a specific type of coffee shot, but others can be used to create multiple varieties. If you are unsure, it is a good idea to start with a capsule that can be used for at least a standard espresso.
What Is the Difference Between Types of Nespresso Coffees?
If you are looking through my Nespresso coffee capsule reviews, you might be wondering what the difference is between the coffee types. The original Nespresso coffee capsules are made for ristrettos, espressos, and lungo. They are more similar than you might think and just use different amounts of water in their extraction method.
Espresso is a type of coffee made by forcing pressurized hot water through the coffee beans. Espresso is the base coffee that is used for several popular drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites.
Many espresso shots have darker and nuttier notes to them, which is why you may feel that espresso tends to be on the cocoa side of the taste spectrum.
The pour size of espresso shots is typically 30-40ml. It is made through a single basket, and that basket is typically 7 grams of coffee while a double basket is 14 grams.
Ristretto is referred to as a short shot. It translates to “narrow” in Italian. It is typically a 30ml shot of coffee made from a double basket. This means it is a double shot of coffee with half of the water, which allows the first flavors of the coffee to be extracted.
Ristretto gives you more flavor, but less caffeine and bitterness. The floral and aromatic notes of the coffee will come through more, with less of the dark and cocoa notes.
Lungo translates from Italian to “long” and this is truly a long shot of coffee. It has 2 to 3 times the amount of water that is in an espresso shot.
The pour size of Lungo is 110ml and is made from a single basket. A Lungo is very popular in Europe and is commonly served with a little bit of milk. A Lungo is meant to fill a whole coffee cup so it will typically be a more mild shot of coffee, but still full of flavor.
The flavors that usually remain in a Lungo shot are roasted and smoky, which some people do not prefer.
History of Nespresso
The Nespresso brand is part of the Nestlé Group and is based out of Switzerland. All coffee that is made by Nespresso is produced in one of their three factories located in Avenches, Orbe, and Romont, which are all in Switzerland as well.
The company name originated from a combination of “Nestlé” and “espresso.” It was in 1975 that Eric Favre realized that excellent coffee could be made at home. After noticing a coffee shop in Italy was extremely crowded, he put forth the idea of creating espresso machines for home use just like those used in cafes, and eventually developed the Nespresso machine.
Nespresso designed their coffee pods to remain sealed and fresh until use, so you are guaranteed to have a great-tasting coffee.
Just Pop and Brew
Now you know which Nespresso capsules are best and what to look for, you should be able to find one that suits your preferences and will create a great-tasting coffee. There are many great Nespresso machines that are easy to use these capsules with. Along with knowing the best Nespresso capsules, you also know the difference between a typical espresso, ristretto, and lungo so you can be sure to purchase the correct capsule.
I hope this answered any questions you might have and helped narrow down your list of what Nespresso capsules to purchase.