How to Choose the Right Espresso Machine or the Coffee Maker? Expert's Blog.

Original And Alternative Compatible Capsules for Nespresso, Dolce Gusto. Plus Refillable Pods Overview.

My independent advices are based on 6 years of experience in coffee machines sales

I prepared detailed table for each capsule system: Nespresso, Dolce Gusto, Tassimo, Cremesso and Keurig. For each company there is a list of original flavours and overview of alternative capsules: refillable/reusable caps and third-party compatible pods.

1. Nespresso

Let’s start with capsules for the worlds most popular single serve espresso makers – Nespresso. It has 18% global market share according to Bloomberg and that why it has the biggest number of cheaper alternative capsules.

Alternative caps compatible with Nespresso machines are produced by many local companies all around the world. In most cases alternative capsules are cheaper compared to price of original Nespresso falvours. Nevertheless some brands produce more expansive pods because they claim to use more expansive speciality coffee.

Generally there are no problems or risks to your coffee maker if you use not original caps. However the most cheapest one could have some percent of defective capsules, which could leak or have wrong shape.

The example of the capsule jammed inside the Delonghi Nespresso maker because of wrong shape. Howevere that’s the very rare problem. Usually there is no risk when using non-official pods. The reason why Nespresso asks you to use their caps is simply matter of greed. Photo: screenshot from ‘animalsinternet’ channel on YouTube.

 

I will name few alternative capsule brands with decent quality for each market:

  • In North America one can find Gourmeso (about $.49 per pod), Starbucks, Bestpresso, Artizan Coffee, Cap Mundo, Mixpresso. Pay attention to the words ‘Nespresso compatible’ becuase this brands also produces caps of other type.
  • In Europe: Julius Meinl, CRU Cafe, Starbucks, Viaggio, Rene Variety, Mediflor, Abbantia, Capsul’in, Caffesso, Mixpresso.
  • In Asia: Caffilord, Cafe Royal, Meseta.

There is a cheaper alternative – multiusable refiilable capsules. They are produced mainly in China and quite easy to use – just put ground coffee inside and close the capsule. After preparing coffee the reusable capsule could be use again, just wash it. But be careful – capsules, especially metal ones, could be very hot just after usage.

In my opinion, using reusable caps is not the best idea. You will need a decent coffee grinder to use them (it means grinder with real burrs inside that costs at least $120+). Also it’s almost impossible to properly tamper coffee inside the capsule without special equipment in your home kitchen. After all, using single serve machine with reusable caps spoils the initial idea of such machines, I mean ‘coffee with one touch and no mess around’ philosphy. As for me it’s kludge and it’s better and more comfortable to use classical manual pump espresso makers, which are designed for ground coffee usage. But it’s you who choose.

Most of reusable caps are manufacrued in China. So the best and cheapest way to buy them is Aliexpress. There are three types of Nespresso reusable pods:

 

NB! All above mentioned alternatives of Nespresso is for so called OriginalLine. It’s old good known Nespresso caps. In 2017 Nespresso launched new capsule type for US market called VertuoLine, which is designed to make both espresso and american coffee. The Virtuo’s moto is “Mug lovers this way”. There is still no alternatives or refillable caps for VirtuoLine since this system is patented.

Nespresso new (VirtuoLine) and old (OriginalLine) pods/capsules

 

Here is the table of original Nespresso caps (excluding limited edition series):

Photo Name Serie Intensity (maximum is 12) Decription Nespresso’s index Recommnded price in US
Капсула Казаар Неспрессо Kazaar,

dark blue

INTENSO 12 Robusta from Brazil and Guatemala and Arabica from South America. High intensity, bitterness and notes of pepper are balanced by a full and creamy texture. 7623.50 $0.75
Dharkan,

Blue-green

capsules

INTENSO 11 Blend of Arabicas from Latin America and Asia roasted at low temperature. 7624.50 $0.75
Ristretto,

black colored capsules

INTENSO 10 Ristretto combines the best South American Arabicas, from countries such as Colombia and Brazil, with great East African Arabicas, famous for their citrus aromas with a touch of Robusta for added zing. 7615.50 $0.7
Arpeggio,

violate/purple color

INTENSO 9 Blend of Central and South American Arabicas. The long roasting reults in intense bouquet, combining cocoa and roasted notes. 7431.50 $0.7
Roma,

Brownish-gray capsule

INTENSO 8 Central and South American Arabicas combined with Robusta. Ideal for small shots of espresso. 7439.50 $0.7
Livanto,

gold

ESPRESSO 6 Medium roasted arabica from Central ans South America. With caramelised notes. 7443.50 $0.7
Capriccio,

emerald green

ESPRESSO 5 Arabica and robusta. Light acidity and a very characteristic cereal note. 7413.50 $0.7
Volluto,

light gold

ESPRESSO 4 Light roasted blend of Brazilian and Colombian Arabicas. 7435.50 $0.7
Cosi,

light brown

ESPRESSO 4 A blend of East African, Central and South American Arabicas which has been lightly roasted to create a delicate and balanced marriage of lightly toasted cereal and fruity notes. 7642.50 $0.7
Indriya from India PURE ORIGIN 10 Strong and spicy. Blend of arabica and robusta from India, short roasted. 7510.50 $0.72
Rosabaya de Colombia PURE ORIGIN 6 Colombian Arabicas deploys typical notes of red fruits jam, and echoes winey flavours. 7515.50 $0.72
Dulsão do Brasil PURE ORIGIN 4 Pure brazilian arabica (red and yellow Bourbon beans). Smooth tasteю 7530.50 $0.72
Bukeela ka Ethiopia PURE ORIGIN 3 Colombian Arabicas deploys typical notes of red fruits jam, and echoes winey flavours. Ideal for lungos. 7633.50 $0.72
Envivo Lungo LUNGO 9 Dark roasted Arabica from India with a Robusta from Mexico. 7654.50 $0.7
Fortissio Lungo LUNGO 8 Rich and full-bodied blend of Latin American Arabica beans. 7834.50 $0.7
Vivalto Lungo LUNGO 4 100% arabica from South America and Eastern Asia. High acidity with flower nores, medium roasted. 7810.50 $0.7
Linizio Lungo LUNGO 4 100% arabica from South America. Smooth. 7622.50 $0.7
Caramelito VARIATIONS 6 Based on Livanto blend from ESPRESSO series. Caramel flavoured. 7628.50 $0.75
Ciocattino VARIATIONS 6 Based on Livanto blend from ESPRESSO series. Cacao flavoured. 7626.50 $0.75
Vanilio VARIATIONS 6 Based on Livanto blend from ESPRESSO series. Vanilla flavoured. 7627.50 $0.75
Arpeggio Decaffeinato DECAFFEINATO 9 Decaffeined Grand Cru Arpeggio 7644.50 $0.7
Decaffeinato Intenso DECAFFEINATO 7 Decaffeined blend of sith american arabica and asian robusta. Dark roasted. 7449.50 $0.7
Volluto Decaffeinato DECAFFEINATO 4 Decaffeined light roasted Grand Cru Arpeggio 7645.50 $0.7
Vivalto Lungo Decaffeinato DECAFFEINATO 4 Decaffeined medium roasted Grand Cru Arpeggio 7646.50 $0.7

2. Dolce Gusto

Dolce Gusto single brew system is notable for drinks variety – besides black coffee and lattes/cappiccinos there are cold drinks and hot chocolate. However overall number of original drinks are small compared to Nespresso. Still, DG capsules are more widely sold, including private label capsules of major retailers like Auchan. And there are a lot of alternative non-official Dolce Gusto capsules that you can buy online or at shop nearby.

Another important characteristic of Dolce Gusto coffee makers is that they can brew coffee and milk based drinks (like cappiccino) in one touch. But the flip side is that powder milk and emulsifiers are used in Dolce Gusto caps to achieve that easiness. Also, for each of ‘milky’ drink you should use two caps (usually one – for basic espresso, and second – for milk foam). That’s why the price for such drinks doubles.

In my personal opinion Dolce Gusto original pods are not so tasty as Nespresso one.

Below I list all official Dolce Gusto flavors (as for June 2017). I mark with sign some of them, that indicates that capsule contents some ‘unnatural’ content like instant coffee (used basically in cold drinks) and powder milk:

Photo Name Contents Description Recommended price per drink (not per capsule)
Espresso 16 capsules in pack: natural ground coffee, dark roasted. Classic espresso $0.59
Ristretto (Espresso Ristretto) 16 capsules in pack: natural ground coffee, dark roasted. Classic italian ristretto – a smaller and stronger version of espresso $0.59
Ristretto Ardenza 16 capsules in pack: natural ground coffee, dark roasted. The most intensibe flavour in Dolce Gusto range $0.59
Barista (Espresso Barista) 16 capsules in pack: natural ground coffee, dark roasted. Not sold in US
Espresso Intenso 16 capsules in pack: natural ground coffee, medium roasted. Full bodied espresso witn some notes of nut and fruits. $0.59
Espresso Caramel 6 capsules in pack: natural ground coffee, dark roasted + natural caramel flavor Caramel flavored espresso $0.59
Grande 16 capsules in pack: natural ground coffee (arabica), medium roasted Ideal for preparing bug mugs of coffee with more intensive taste that filter coffee $0.59
Grande Intenso 16 capsules in pack: natural ground coffee (arabica), dark roasted A little bit stronger version of Grande $0.59
Americano 16 capsules in pack: natural ground coffee (arabica), medium roasted Milder that Grande $0.59
Lungo 16 capsules in pack: natural ground coffee (arabica), medium roasted Classical italian lungo, best to brew about 60-100 ml $0.59
Cappuccino 16 capsules in pack:

8 capsules natural ground coffee, dark roasted

+

8 capsules: powder milk, sugar, emulsifier

Cappuccino $1.19
Cappucino Skinny/Light 16 capsules in pack:

8 capsules natural ground coffee, dark roasted

+

8 capsules: powder fat-free milk, emulsifier

Fat and sugar free cappuccino $1.19
Latte Macchiato 16 capsules in pack:

8 capsules natural ground coffee, dark roasted

+

8 capsules: powder milk, sugar, emulsifier

Classical layered latte macchiato: layer of milk on bottom, espresso and layer of milk foam on top $1.19
Latte Macchiato Vanilla 16 capsules in pack:

8 capsules natural ground coffee, dark roasted

+

8 capsules: powder milk, sugar, natural vanilla flavor, emulsifier

Vanilla flavored Latte Macchiato $1.19
Latte Macchiato Caramel 16 capsules in pack:

8 capsules natural ground coffee, dark roasted

+

8 capsules: powder milk, sugar, natural caramel flavor, emulsifier

Caramel flavored Latte Macchiato $1.19
Cortado Espresso Macchiato ⚠ 16 capsules in pack: powder milk (61.8%), instant coffee (36.5%), stabilization agent (Potassium phosphate, Sodium citrate), emulsifier Instant coffee with powder milk $0.59
Café au Lait ⚠ 16 capsules in pack: powder milk (73.7%), instant coffee (24%), stabilization agent (Potassium phosphate, Sodium citrate), emulsifier Instant coffee with powder milk, more ‘milky’ taste compared to Cortado Espresso Macchiato $0.59
Chococino 16 capsules in pack:

8 capsules: sugar, coco powder (32%), emulsifier, natural vanilla flavor, cinnamon.

+

8 capsules: powder milk, sugar, emulsifier

Hot chocolate $1.19
Chococino Caramel 16 capsules in pack:

8 capsules: sugar, coco powder (32%), emulsifier, natural vanilla flavor, cinnamon.

+

8 capsules: powder milk (50%), sugar (35%), natural caramel flavor, emulsifier

Caramel flavored hot chocolate $1.19
Mocha ⚠ 16 capsules in pack:

8 capsules: powder milk, sugar, coco powder, instant coffee, emulsifier.

+

8 capsules: powder milk, sugar, emulsifier.

Thick hot chocolate with some coffee taste $1.19
Nesquik 16 capsules in pack: powder milk (46.1%), sugar, coco powder (10.5%), powder sugar-free milk, flavors, salt, соль, yeast extract, vitamins, cinnamon. Neqsuik 🙂 $0.59
Espresso Decaffeinato 16 capsules in pack: natural ground coffee, medium roasted. Cafien free espresso $0.59
Cappuccino Ice ⚠ 16 capsules in pack:

8 capsules: powder milk (46.5%), sugar (41.7%), instant coffee (10.6%), natural identical flavor, coconut oil, emulsifier.

+

8 capsules: powder fat-free milk (39%), sugar (37.2%), powder milk (12.6%), glucose syrup, coconut oil, emulsifier, stabilization agent.

Cold cappuccino based on instant coffee powder and milk powder.

Should be brewed in ‘cold water’ mode, each DolcE Gusto coffee maker has such mode.

$1.19

 

Resuable/refillable Dolce Gusto capsules are less known, nevertheless they exist and are sold mainly online on Aliexpress. Chineese manufacturers made a lot of similiar caps. All of them are divided into three types:

Author: Dmitriy

14/06/2017

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