Whether you’re an owner of an OriginalLine or Vertuo Line machine by Nespresso – going through capsules can be quite an adventure!
Nespresso offers a wide variety of capsules to choose from. And if you have an OriginalLine machine, you also have the option of capsules from third-party brands to try. I understand that it’s great that we all have options, but it can also be overwhelming trying to pick the right capsule for the right beverage. But also, here’s the thing… there is no right or wrong here. There’s personal taste and preference. However, if you are looking for some guidance and help in trying out new things, I hope this guide will help you out.
I will split this guide into two sections, one for Vertuo pods and another for OriginalLine capsules. Also, I will include official Nespresso capsules only, just because they’re the only ones I’ve personally tried and I can comment on. Limited Edition capsules will not be included in the guide since they are only available for short periods of time and will be hard to find all year round.
Best Vertuo Capsules
As you know, Vertuo pods vary in size based on the drink you’ll be making…
Larger capsules, as in Gran Lungo (5 oz), Coffee (7.77 oz), Alto (14 oz), are usually enjoyed black or with some milk. If you want to make milk based drinks – where milk ratio is higher or equal in proportion to the coffee – such as lattes or cappuccino, you’re recommended to use capsule sizes espresso (1.35 oz) or double espresso (2.7oz).
Best Vertuo Pods for Lattes
For a latte, you’ll want to start with 7.5 oz of milk and then a double-espresso pod. Your best pick would be one of the Barista Creation pods, which are made specifically to be mixed with milk.
Bianco Leggero: this pod has a very balanced taste. It’s a light roast coffee so it’s quite smooth and has no bitterness to it. It is also blends nicely with flavored syrups.
Double Espresso Chiaro: If you want your latte to taste a bit stronger, this is your pod. Chiaro has an intensity of 6, so it’s a medium roast. It has a bolder taste and some bitterness to it, but it still balances out very well with the milk.
Best Vertuo Pods for Cappuccino
To make a Cappuccino, you’ll want about 4.5 oz of milk and an espresso shot. If you want a stronger tasting Cappuccino, you can use a double-espresso pod (without increasing the milk ratio).
Diavolitto: This is a highly intense pod with an intensity level of 11. On its own, it is quite strong and bitter. Adding milk to it, it will bring the bitterness just a bit, but you’ll still get an overall strong tasting cup of Cappuccino.
Voltesso: For a milder cup of Cappuccino, using this pod with intensity level of 4. This light roast pod will taste very smooth when mixed with milk.
Best Vertuo Pod for Iced Coffee
Whether you want your iced coffee black or with milk, there are two capsules made just for that. These special blends are made to taste great when mixed with ice, they keep their flavored and never taste watered down.
Ice Leggero: this double-espresso pod is a mild tasting coffee with some fruity notes. If you prefer your iced coffee to taste light, this one is for you. Simply brew it over ice and let the ice slightly melt into it. Or brew it over a glass of cold milk and ice.
Ice Forte: this one is a Mug 7.7 oz pod. It’s a dark roast coffee with intense aroma and taste. So try this one if you enjoy your iced coffee strong and black, or with a little bit of milk.
Best Nespresso OriginalLine Capsules
Best Capsules for Lattes and Latte Macchiato
When making a latte using an Original Line machine, you’ll need between 6 to 7.5 oz of milk, to taste. And you’ll want to use two espresso capsules or one Lungo capsule. If you want to make a Latte Macchiato, use less milk (5 oz or less) and a shot of espresso. The difference between these two Latte variations is that a Latte Macchiato has a stronger coffee taste and it’s slightly shorter in size.
Generally speaking, Barista Creations capsules are the best tasting capsules when combined with milk. There are the non-flavored ones and some flavored ones. The flavors in these capsules are not overpowering and certainly are not sweet, they simply add a hint of flavor to your coffee, which you can enhance using a syrup.
Another tip I found to be great is combining two different capsules in one drink. For example, use a stronger capsule with a mild/flavored capsule to create a delicious drink.
Corto: This is a dark roast, Barista Creations blend that has a spicy note to it. It keeps its strong taste even when mixed with the milk. So it’s a great choice for anyone who wants a stronger cup of coffee. You can use two of these or use one Corto and combine it with another mild blend for a more balanced drink.
Vanilla Eclair, Caramel Brulee, Cocoa Truffle: these flavored espresso shots are all mild in taste. The flavors come clear in the aroma of the coffee, but only comes through in taste when mixed with milk. Again, keep in mind that these are not sweet (as in, they’re not sugary tasting). If you prefer your latte to taste sweet, I would recommend adding a pump or two of syrup to your coffee.
Arpeggio: This capsule has an intensity level of 9, so it’s a dark and intense blend. Yet, I find it to make a lovely smooth cup of latte.
Fortissio Lungo: This is a 3.7 oz Lungo capsule, so you’ll only need one of these when making a latte. It has an intensity level of 8, it’s strong but not very bitter so you can expect a balanced taste when it’s mixed with milk.
Best Capsules for Cappuccino
To make a Cappuccino, you’ll want 3 to 4 oz of milk and a shot of espresso.
Scuro: Another Barista Creations pod that works best as a Cappuccino. Scuro is a balanced blend, with medium intensity and bitterness. It has just enough intensity that you can taste through the milk so it’s perfect for anyone who prefer slight taste of intensity that will not overpower the taste of milk.
Chiaro: This is the lightest pod in the Barista Creations family. It’s a very mild tasting coffee, you will not pick up on any bitterness from this one. Whether you like your coffee mild, or like your coffee on the sweeter side, this one is for you.
Volluto: An espresso pod with intensity level of 4. This lighter blend will mix very well with milk and it’s flavor will come through as a Cappuccino since it has less milk. Bitterness level is low.
Best Capsules for Iced Coffee
Like Vertuo, there are two capsules especially created for iced drinks:
Freddo Delicato: Which is a light espresso pod, balanced, less bitterness and fruity notes.
Freddo Intenso: Bold, dark roast espresso. Higher bitterness, toasted and woody notes.
These can be enjoyed directly over ice (always let the ice melt into the coffee for it to nicely cool then drink). Or you can add your choice of milk to it.
Nespresso Accessories You Might Need
Electric Milk Frother
If your Nespresso machine did not include a milk frother, you’ll want to add one to your coffee station to make those delicious and creamy coffee drinks.
Nespresso’s own frother, Aeroccino, is great. If your machine didn’t include one, you can buy it separately. However, it isn’t your only option. There are many brands to pick from…
And if your budget doesn’t allow this type of milk frother, the kind that heats and froths automatically, you can always pick up a budget-friendly handheld milk frother. But remember that you’ll have to heat your milk before you froth it. You can read all about milk frothers and available options here.
If you’re anything like me – a pod hoarder, that is, you’ll definitely need something to organize them. Here are some organizer options:
If you have a sweet tooth or like experimenting with coffee flavors, you’ll want some of these syrup bottles. Keep in mind that they usually do not include a pump, so you might have to purchase that separately. Is a pump necessary? No. But it’s a great way to measure the amount of syrup you’re adding. As these pumps add a measured amount of syrup with each press. Each pump is about 1 oz, but pumps could vary in the amount they put out, so always check before buying. Alternatively, you can use a measuring cup to add in the right amount.