If you own a Nespresso machine, chances are that you’re obsessed with it. Even if your neighborhood has plenty of coffee shops, there’s something about making that perfectly concocted, barista-quality drink from the comfort of your own home. There’s also no greater satisfaction than finding the best Nespresso pods that become your new favorite.
However, trial and error can get a little tricky without doing your research. You can end up with a sleeve of something you hate, taking up valuable pantry space. Certain factors to consider when choosing your coffee or espresso pod include:
- Roast – This indicates how long beans were roasted, Light roasts usually have a less bold flavor but a higher caffeine content. A dark roast has a stronger flavor but is generally lower in caffeine.
- Intensity – Pod intensity is rated from 1 – 13 in Original capsules, and this is based on the overall bitterness, body and roast of the coffee. The higher the score, the more intense it’ll taste.
- Aromatic notes – This helps make up the scent and flavor of drinks — some are more flowery and fruity, while others are biscuity with hints of cereal, and there are also more intense cups.
- Cup size – The Nespresso Original makes a ristretto, aka a short shot, but also makes a larger espresso and a lungo, or a long shot which is best for Americanos. The only difference is how much water is added.
We rounded up the best Nespresso pods for the Original as well as a couple of honorable mentions for the Vertuo as well. Here are the most popular Nespresso pods of 2022.
1. Ristretto Italiano
This complex dark roast comes in the form of a short shot, making it versatile for an espresso, americano, cappuccino or latte. It has a bold taste that’s never bland, working great in any hot or cold drink that you could conjure up. Unlike some lighter roasts, it provides balance in milky drinks and you won’t lose the flavor, even under steamed milk. It has bittersweet notes with some fruity acidity and notes of cocoa, making it a must-have for any Nespresso lover.
2. Firenze Arpeggio
BEST FOR LATTES
A popular and low acidity dark roast with an intensity level of 9, the Firenze Arpeggio works well in multiple drinks. However, it gets a special shoutout for lattes because of its smooth and creamy notes that still remain intense. It’s made from a blend of intensely roasted Central American and South American coffee beans for an unforgettable taste. If you ever get tired of lattes, this will also make a delicious cortado or flat white.
BEST WITH MILK
Ideal for anyone who finds the Chiaro pods a little too sweet or too much of a light roast, this dark roast does well with or without milk and features a more delicate sweetness that pairs beautifully with its intensity. With split-roasted beans from Columbia and Ethiopia, this pod has some chocolatey notes that are richer than they are sweet. Still, its intensity level of only 6 out of 13, so it’s a dark roast that’s not too strong.
BEST INTENSE PICK
One of Nespresso’s best-selling flavors, this ristretto is their most intense pod at a 13 out of 13. Still, through that intensity, notes of creamy cocoa shine through, making it a crowd-pleaser. It’s a pod that’s filled with mystery and will kickstart your mornings. Even though the Napoli pod is super strong, it’s not overly bitter. Ideal for latte, espresso and American lovers alike, this balanced and roasted pod is an exceptional one that’s full of body.
5. Freddo Intenso
BEST FOR ICED COFFEE
Although light roasts are mouthwatering in the colder months, when it’s in an iced coffee, it can quickly turn watery. That’s why we recommend the Freddo Intenso over the lighter Freddo Delicato. It maintains a bold flavor, whether it’s paired with dairy, almond or oat milk, and can stand up to several melting ice cubes without losing its vibrant flavor. It’s been described as sweet with cereal notes and a slightly bitter aftertaste. It’s also tasty in hot drinks.
BEST FRUITY NOTES
The Cosi pod, made from Kenyan and Latin American Arabica beans, is lower on the intensity scale. Light roasts are a polarizing topic — they can be sour or weak when they’re not done right, but this one is rich and balanced with fruity notes. You won’t find any notes of nuttiness or cocoa here, but if you’re seeking a lightly toasted cereal flavor with juicy bursts of fruit in between, you’ll enjoy the taste of the Cosi.
7. Bianco Leggero
BEST VERTUO PICK WITH MILK
Although the OG Nespresso has tons of fans, we can’t forget the owners of the newer Vertuo models. When it comes to lattes, the Bianco Leggero is #1. Without any bitterness, this double espresso is comparable to the Original’s Chiario pod, with a more luscious foam and biscuity finish. It feels creamy and decadent with or without sugar and is versatile with any milk. It’s the main pod stocked in my pantry thanks to its unique mouthfeel and subtle caramel notes.
BEST VERTUO PICK
The Odacio isn’t as mild as the Melozio, nor is it as intense as the Stormio. It’s the Goldilocks of coffee when it comes to Vertuo pods, and is a must-have for anyone who prefers a full cup over an espresso. A true medium roast, it’s a mellow coffee that can be drunk black and with milk or sugar. Finished off with a perfectly frothy crema, this drink rivals the quality you’d find in the best coffee shops around the world.
9. Nespresso Original Line Variety Pack
BEST VARIETY PACK
Perfect for when you can’t decide or easily get bored with flavors, you can’t go wrong with the Inspirazione variety pack. It includes a range of different roasts and is comprised of Nespresso’s best-selling original pods. Filled with decaf, lungo and espresso options, this large selection is perfect for figuring out what your favorite pod is. If your desire for intensity in coffees often changes, this assortment is ideal.