Can you use k cups in Nespresso (And Vice Versa!)

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Johny Morrisson

So you have switched to a Nespresso machine and you are wondering whether your old K cup pods will work with the Nespresso machine or not.

No, you can’t use k cups in Nespresso and also you can not use Nespresso Pod in a Keurig. Since Nespresso machines are designed entirely differently from K cup machines, the design of pods for both these machines is also very different.

The Difference between K cups and Nespresso Pods

The main difference between K cups and Nespresso Pods is that K cups work with pod-based coffee makers that brew regular drip coffee like Keurig, while Nespresso Pods are solely designed to work with Nespresso machines to brew espresso-like concentrated shots of coffee.

Buying a new coffee maker is often a tedious decision for coffee lovers, and you should know your preferences before buying one, whether you prefer a smooth drip coffee or strong and intense shots of espresso.

The working Principle of Nespresso is completely different from K cup machines

You might have seen a traditional Espresso machine in cafes with a large boiler and pump mechanism. Well! Nespresso machines might look compact compared to traditional Espresso machines but they work on the same principle.

Read a detailed guide on Nespresso vs Espresso

Nespresso machines use a pump to force water at high pressure through coffee capsules at 15 bars, producing a rich and thick layer of crema. K-cup machines, on the other hand, force water at normal pressure through K-cup coffee pods.

That’s the primary reason coffee pods for both these machines are designed differently.

If you accidentally try to put a k cup in a Nespresso machine it might get crushed by the pressurized brewing system of Nespresso and the machine will start leaking.

The working Principle of Nespresso is completely different from K cup machines

The size of K cups is not similar to Nespresso capsules

K cups are usually long and wide, whereas Nespresso capsules are dome-shaped.

Kcups will not fit in Nespresso machines as their pod holders are only designed to hold Nespresso capsules.

Also, the amount of coffee in a k cup is more than Nespresso capsules and that makes sense since Nespresso delivers a 1.25 oz shot of Espresso while the K cup machine delivers a full 6-8 oz serving of coffee.

You can easily distinguish between a Nespresso coffee capsule and a Keurig coffee pod visually.

Nespresso vs Keurig capsules

The grind sizes in both coffee pods are different

K cups have a medium grind size, which is suitable for drip coffee, whereas Nespresso capsules have fine coffee grounds as required for espresso.

Also read: Can you use your own coffee in Nespresso

Which Pods are compatible with Nespresso?

Nespresso machines are only compatible with Nespresso coffee capsules specially designed for their brewing system. Another confusing aspect is that Nespresso offers two lines of coffee machines, the original and Vertuo, with a separate capsule line for both. So, you must keep this in mind while buying coffee capsules for your Nespresso.

Traditionally, espresso machines are expensive, but have you wondered why Nespresso machines are relatively cheaper? This is because Nespresso makes recurring commissions from selling coffee capsules.

“Nespresso makes money by selling the machine at a cost but selling the coffee pods at a recurring premium. This is similar to how Razor companies make money”

Nespresso original vs vertuo capsules

Nespresso Original line compatible capsules

Original line Nespresso capsules have a shape like a coffee cup as shown in the image on the right.

Original line machines work with both the branded Nespresso capsules and the 3rd party capsules designed specifically for Nespresso machines.

Check out Best Nespresso Compatible Capsules

Nespresso Vertuo line compatible capsules

Nespresso Vertuo Capsules have a wide, dome shape and come in different sizes, from small 1.35 oz Espresso to large 14 oz Alto.

These capsules have a barcode imprinted on them and the Nespresso Vertuo line machines scan the capsule’s barcode and brews accordingly.

This barcode technology restricts the usage of any 3rd party capsule and works only with capsules designed by Nespresso.

It’s both good and bad, the good part is Nespresso keeps the quality of coffee in their capsules and knows what works best with their brewing system, and the bad part is sometimes it’s hard to find Nespresso Veruo capsules in local stores and also they are very expensive.

Read a detailed Comparison between Nespresso and Keurig coffee makers

Also check out:


Can Starbucks Pods Be Used In Nespresso?

Yes, you can use Starbucks pods in Nespresso as Starbucks is a verified partner of Nespresso and manufactures capsules for both Vertuo line and original line Nespresso machines.
Just make sure to pick to right capsule as I told you earlier the original line capsules are not compatible with the Vertuo line and vice versa.

Are Nespresso pods more expensive than K cups?

Yes, Nespresso pods are more expensive than K-cups. On average, Nespresso pods cost between $0.80 – $1.00 each while K-cups are usually $0.50 – $0.80 per pod.


Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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