Nespresso vs Keurig: The Most Essential Guide to the Best Tasting Pods

For many of us, time is of the essence most mornings. While it would be nice to brew a fresh cup of coffee, our weekday schedules sometimes don’t allow it. Instead of picking up a cup of coffee from a chain, many of us have thought about investing in coffee pod machines to save time.

In this article, we’re going to look at two of the heavyweights in the coffee pod brewing industry: Nespresso vs Keurig. By the end of the article, you’ll know which machine will best meet your needs. 

What Is a Coffee Pod Machine?

Coffee pod machines are foolproof gadgets designed to make brewing coffee and other hot beverages easy. They eliminate the need to grind coffee beans, measure out ground coffee, and bring water to a boil in a kettle. 

coffee pods, coffee in a clear glass, with nespresso machine and frother in the background, nespresso vs keurig

These machines operate with pods. Pods are single-serve containers containing ground coffee inside a plastic container. The container is lined with filter paper and sealed with aluminum. When you place the pod inside the machine, it pierces the foil. 

The machine heats the water. The water is forced through the pod’s coffee at high pressure, much like a traditional espresso machine. A coffee pod maker makes brewing coffee as simple as using a tea bag to prepare a cup of tea. 

Here are the steps the generic coffee pod machine takes to brew your hot cup of joe: 

  1. You fill the tank in the back of the machine with water 
  2. The machine’s pump draws the water in and pumps it through the machine
  3. The machine’s heating element heats the water to the ideal temperature 
  4. The water passes through a narrow needle, increasing its pressure
  5. The machine pumps the high-pressure hot water through ground coffee in the pod
  6. The coffee pod’s filter paper keeps the coffee grounds from falling into the coffee
  7. The coffee drips into the cup

That’s the magic a pod-based coffee machine uses to brew your coffee. Now let’s take a closer look at the Nespresso and the Keurig. Sales of coffee pod machines are expected to continue to grow through 2025, and these two are some of the biggest names in the industry.

What is Nespresso?

Nespresso is a Nestle brand specializing in making coffee makers for use with coffee pods, which Nestle calls capsules. Nestle produces several Nespresso models under the Nespresso brand, including the Nespresso VertuoPlus, Nespresso CitiZ, Nespresso Inissia Nespresso Lattissima Plus, and the Nespresso Vertuo. The Nespresso coffee maker brews single-serve coffee drinks quickly and easily. 

silver and purple coffee capsules on a trophy beside a coffee machine, nespresso vs keurig

Nespresso machines use pods to brew coffee. These pods are easy to use, small, and come in many flavors. Using Nespresso, a coffee lover can brew many different types of coffee. As the name suggests, a Nespresso machine makes espresso with the touch of a button.  Coffee capsules are also available, but espresso is Nespressos’ bread and butter. 

How to Use Nespresso

Using a Nespresso is a relatively straightforward process. 

  • Fill the Nespresso’s tank with water. They recommend keeping it at 90% capacity
  • Place a coffee capsule in the coffee capsule compartment
  • Put your coffee mug on the Nespresso tray
  • Push the button according to the drink you want to make 
  • Wait for the Nespresso to fill your coffee mug with your beverage of choice

What is Keurig?

The Keurig coffee machine has become a fixture in offices and homes alike. There are many Keurig types, one for almost every taste. Keurig is the most popular single-serve coffee brewer in the United States. John Sylvan invented this phenomenon in the mid-1990s. 

keurig coffee maker in one corner of the picture, nespresso vs keurig

The Keurig uses K-Cups, which are pods of coffee sealed with plastic and nitrogen. The device’s small needles puncture the K-Cups coffee pods, a stream of hot water passes through the K-Cups to brew the coffee. 

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There is a Keurig for almost any taste. The inexpensive Keurigs that brew a single cup sell for less than $100. Then there’s the Keurig OfficePro that boasts four cup sizes, brews iced coffee, and has a customizable brew temperature. You can even purchase a commercial-grade Keurig. 

How to Use Keurig

  • Fill the water reservoir 
  • Choose your coffee but don’t remove the foil lid
  • Insert the K-Cup in the machine
  • Place your coffee cup in the center of the tray at the bottom of the machine
  • Press the brew button. Some machines let you choose your cup size
  • Wait for the Keurig to fill your coffee mug with your beverage of choice

Keurig vs Nespresso

While Keurig and Nespresso are two of the biggest names in single-serve coffee machines, Keurig is still the overall champion when it comes to sales. If you don’t own a pod-based coffee machine, you may wonder which one would give you the most bang for your buck. 

Or, you may be considering an upgrade and wondering if you should move from Keurig to Nespresso or vice versa. Here we’re going to take a more detailed look at the differences between the two brands. 

Cost

If you’re purchasing a Keurig or Nespresso to kick your daily coffee shop habit, you will save money with either machine. There are two important prices to consider when purchasing a single-serve coffee machine: the cost of the machine itself and the cost of the coffee pods. 

If we compare Nespresso vs Keurig, Keurig is the more economical of the two in both respects. Most non-commercial Keurigs will cost you anywhere between $80 and $160 depending on your chosen model. Nespresso machines come at a higher price, starting at $126 with higher-end models costing over $200. 

Nespresso’s capsules are also more expensive than Keurig’s K-Cups. The Nespresso Vertuo’s capsules cost between 90 cents and $1.35 per serving. The Keurig’s K-Cups are significantly cheaper, costing between 35 and 65 cents per serving. Keurig also gives you the option of a reusable filter, allowing you to brew using your own coffee grounds. 

The Nespresso requires a greater outlay of money than the Keurig, and its capsules cost significantly more than K-Cups. Your monthly coffee habit will cost you about twice as much per month with a Nespresso than a Keurig. However, that’s not the whole story. There’s more to learn about these two machines. 

Beverage Variety

The Keurig stands out when it comes to beverage variety. Keurig owners have over 400 types of beverages from 60 brands to choose from. These include the top ten selling domestic coffee brands and Keurig espresso pods. The Keurig doesn’t limit itself to coffee. You can also enjoy the following beverages:

  • Hot chocolate
  • Hot apple cider
  • Tea
  • Lemonade
  • Fruit drinks 

By comparison, Nespresso offers its users 24 different capsules. The Nespresso Vertuo model with barcode scanning technology only offers 17 capsules. Keurig may seem like the obvious winner here, but quantity does not equal quality. 

Many coffee lovers may overlook this discrepancy because Nespresso brews high-quality coffee. 

Brewing Method

Keurig takes a simplistic approach to brewing coffee. It uses pressure brewing. If you have ever seen a used K-Cup, you probably noticed two holes in the center and the bottom of the cup. The Keurig punches holes in the K-Cup and uses pressure to squeeze the coffee out. The entire process takes about 45 seconds to a minute for an 8oz cup of coffee. 

The Nespresso is different. The Nespresso Vertuo uses advanced centrifusion technology to power its coffee brewing. When the Nespresso is at work, centrifugal action and water fusion are combined to spin the capsule at about 7000 rpm. 

Each capsule is punctured around the edges and in the center. Then the water passes through the center and is released from the edge openings. Once the process is complete, only dry coffee grounds remain in the capsules. 

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Time and temperature are the most critical factors in brewing a great cup of coffee. Thanks to its barcode scanning technology, the Nespresso machine can determine the optimal time and temperature combination. The result? Nespresso’s coffee tends to be superior to what you’d get from a Keurig. 

Nespresso vs Keurig: Caffeine Content

For many coffee drinkers, the caffeine content is an important factor when purchasing a coffee pod machine. The caffeine content in brewed coffee from some of America’s most popular chains is, on average, over 200mg per small or medium cup. 

How does the Keurig and Nespresso caffeine content compare to the big brands? Let’s take a look. 

Keurig Caffeine Content 

Given the wide variety of coffee pod brands available for the Keurig, it’s a bit difficult to pin down the exact coffee content in a Keurig K-Cup. K-Cups come in standardized portions. Many famous brands are producing K-Cups with their own blends of coffee grounds.

According to Keurig, their coffee pods contain between 75 and 150 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup. They add the disclaimer that coffee content depends on the amount of coffee in the pod and natural variation. 

Nespresso Caffeine Content

Nespresso manufactures two coffee machines: the OriginalLine and the VertuoLine. The Nespresso capsules’ caffeine content varies depending on the model you are using.

The Nespresso OriginalLine has three types of capsules with varying caffeine content. 

  • Brewed Espresso contains between 55 and 65 mg of caffeine per brewed capsule
  • The Lungo blend contains 20% more coffee per capsule than Espresso. Its caffeine content ranges between 77 and 89 mg per capsule
  • The Kazar blend has the highest caffeine content with 125 mg per capsule 

Nespresso VertuoLine capsules tend to have a higher caffeine content than Keurig coffee pods and the Nespresso OriginalLine’s capsules. 

  • For the espressos, the caffeine content ranges between 60 and 150 mg per capsule
  • Double espressos contain less than 200 mg per capsule 
  • The Gran Lungo contains between 120 and 125 mg of caffeine per capsule
  • Coffee and Alto capsules contain between 130 and 200 mg of caffeine per cup
  • The Half Caffeinato blend contains about 90 mg of caffeine 
  • Decaffeinated blends contain no more than 12 mg of caffeine 

When it comes to caffeine content, the Nespresso VertuoLine beats out the Keurig. 

Nespresso Coffee Makers 

Now that we have a solid background in the Keurig and Nespresso coffee makers, it’s time to take a more in-depth look at the machines each company makes. First, let’s compare Nespresso machines. We’ll take a look at the most popular models: the Nespresso Vertuo vs Original. Then we’ll take a look at the top Keurig models. 

Nespresso Vertuo 

The Nespresso Vertuo is a compact coffee pod machine that brews espresso with the touch of a button. The machine is sleek black and self-contained. You won’t have to worry about it taking up a lot of your counter space. 

There are three pods and four drink sizes available with the Vertuo. There is a barcode reader on the side of the Vertuo. The machine reads the barcode on the capsules you’ve purchased and tailors its techniques to suit the capsule.  The Vertuo is a smart coffee making machine. 

The Vertuo is a machine of habits, and there’s little room for deviation. You cannot use third party pods in the Vertuo. Even the cups you use with the Nespresso should be precise. If you use a cup smaller than the standard espresso size, be prepared to stop the brewing process in the middle of extraction.

How does it do its job? The Vertuo produces outstanding coffee. 

Nespresso Original 

The Nespresso Original differs from the Vertuo in that it focuses exclusively on Espresso and espresso-based drinks such as ristretto, lungo, cappuccino, and latte. Unlike the Vertuo, the Original uses a pump-based system to make its beverages. 

With the Original, you all have access to third-party capsules from a wide range of manufacturers, which isn’t an option with the Vertuo. Whereas with the Vertuo, you get many size options, with the Original, the longest drink you get is 100ml, which is about half the size of a standard coffee mug. 

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Whether the Original or the Vertuo is better largely depends on personal preference. The Original is a good choice for those who prefer a traditional espresso shot, cafe-style cappuccino, or lattes. For those who prefer a longer coffee, either black or with cold milk, the Vertuo is probably the better option. 

Keurig Coffee Makers

Now that we’ve reviewed Nespresso’s two most popular machines, we’ll turn our attention to Keurig coffee makers. There are many types of Keurigs. There’s seemingly a Keurig for every taste, including the smallest Keurig, the K15. 

With all the Keurig machines on the market, it’s challenging to know which one to choose. We’re going to give you an overview of the following models: 

  • Keurig K-Duo Plus Coffee Maker
  • Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker
  • Keurig K-Latte maker

Unlike Nespresso, there is no dedicated Keurig espresso machine. However, there are Keurig espresso pods. While Nespresso specializes in espresso as its name suggests, the Keurig is more a jack of all trades coffee machine. 

Keurig K-Duo Plus Coffee Maker

The Keurig K-Duo Plus does everything a typical Keurig pod machine does plus so much more. This Keurig is a multi-function coffee maker capable of using K-Cups or coffee grounds. It comes with a 12 cup thermal carafe that can keep your coffee warm for up to 2 hours. You can pose the Keurig K-Duo mid-brew for up to 20 seconds to pour a cup of coffee right away. 

It is even programmable. If you want to wake up to a hot cup of coffee, you can program the K-Duo up to 24-hours in advance. There are multiple brew sizes available, and it has a strong brew button to make a more intense single cup and carafe. 

Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker

The Keurig K-Cafe is different from the standard Keurig. Keurig advertises it as the all-in-one coffee house brewer. The K-Cafe is a single-serve coffee, latte, and cappuccino maker. The K-Cafe comes with a milk frother that works with fresh milk and dairy alternatives. You can use it to froth both hot or cold. So if you’re in the mood for an iced latte, this machine can make it. 

You can also make a stronger 2-ounce espresso-style shot, which can serve as a base for frothy drinks. It is not an authentic espresso, but it is a worthy imitation. You can also make regular drip coffee with this machine in various cup sizes. It is also compatible with K-Cups. 

Keurig K-Latte

As the name suggests, this Keurig is all about making single-serve lattes. With the K-Latte, you’re only three steps away from a latte: 

  1. Make a coffee shot using any K-Cup pod
  2. Froth your preferred fresh milk or milk alternative 
  3. Enjoy the creamy latte 

The K-Latte brews lat 6, 8, and 10 oz cup sizes. If you’re not in the mood for a latte, you can brew your regular coffee with this machine as well. It features Keurig’s smart start allowing the K-Latte to heat up and brew in one step. 

Final Thoughts

Depending on your tastes, either Nespresso or Keurig, could be the best option for you. Coffee connoisseurs tend to prefer Nespresso saying it simply makes better coffee. As a Keurig alternative, the Nespresso comes at a higher price than its competitor, both for the machine itself and the coffee pods. 

If you want a versatile machine that brews coffees and other hot beverages, the Keurig may be a better option for you. With Keurig, you’ll have the option to buy K-Cups from a variety of brands. You’re unlikely to get bored with the choices available. 

Both the Nespresso and The Keurig are formidable machines. The best one for you will depend on your personal needs and preferences.

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