What do Nespresso intensity levels mean? It’s probably the most common question that arises from every Nespresso machine user, and many wonder if the intensity refers to caffeine content.
Nespresso intensity levels range from 1 to 13. With 13 being the highest in terms of roasting and robustness and 1 being the lightest. In terms of flavors, a rating below 6 is considered smooth and light, while a rating above 8 is considered strong and intense.
- The higher the intensity of the Nespresso Capsule the stronger the Coffee drink it will make.
- Strong doesn’t necessarily mean more caffeine, instead, it refers to body, bitterness, and the degree of roasting of coffee beans.
- IL Cafe is the strongest Vertuo line pod and Napoli is the strongest Original line Pod.
What does Nespresso (strength) intensity mean?
The intensity level is defined as a coffee’s degree of roasting, body, and bitterness. In addition, the intensity is due to the concentration of the coffee. It does not refer to the amount of caffeine content in the coffee pods.
The higher the pod strength of Nespresso, the heavier will be the body, with more intense and robust coffee flavors and bitter undertones.
A Nespresso pod with intensity between 9 and 13 is best if you prefer bold, full-bodied coffee with a rich aroma.
On the other hand, if you prefer light, acidic, and smooth flavors with fruity notes then go for an intensity level below 5.
Understanding the Nespresso intensity scale
Least strength (Intensity Level ranges from 1 to 5)
Low-intensity Nespresso coffee pods with intensity levels ranging from 1 to 5 brew a coffee with mellow flavors, a bright profile, a light body, and a sweet taste.
In these coffee pods, the coffee is roasted shorter and lighter, and the flavor profile of the espresso shot reflects the origin of coffee beans
Low-intense coffee pods are especially great for straight Espresso shots and black or Americano-style coffee (with water).
Medium strength (Intensity Level ranges from 6-8)
Medium-intensity Nespresso pods, with intensity levels ranging from 6 to 8 offer a rich and bittersweet flavor, making them a good middle ground between milder and more intense coffees.
With their balanced aroma, taste, acidity, and flavor profile, these capsules are versatile enough to be enjoyed in a variety of ways, from black to milky drinks.
Strongest strength (intensity Levels range from 9-13)
High-intensity Nespresso pods, with intensity levels ranging from 9 to 13 offer strong, intensely brewed coffee with a full body, a lush aroma, almost no acidity, and a bitter taste.
The coffee in these pods is roasted for very long periods, removing all the acidity and enhancing the bitter and smoky flavors.
The high-intensity coffee pods are typically a blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. And the Robusta beans increase the bitterness in taste and make the drink more robust.
These pods are ideal for preparing milk-based espresso drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos, and will surely amuse you with a powerful coffee experience.
I personally love Medium intensity pods for straight Espresso shots and strong intensity pods for Milk based drinks such as Latte and Cappuccino as the creaminess of milk pairs well with high-strength Nespresso pods
Nespresso Vertuo Pords intensity chart
These are the six sizes of Vertuo Line capsules.
- Espresso — 1.35 ounces
- Double Espresso — 2.7 ounces
- Gran Lungo — 5.0 ounces
- Coffee Mug — 7.8 ounces
- Alto — 14.0 ounces
- Carafe — 18 ounces
Table of Vertuo Pods
|Nespresso pod||Size||Intensity||caffeine content||Flavor|
|Solelio||Coffee||2||100-200 mg||Fruity & Light|
|Voltesso||Espresso||4||60 mg||Biscuity & Sweet|
|Melozio Decaffeinato||Lungo||4||less than 12 mg||Malty Cereal & Creamy|
|Ethiopia||Lungo||4||120 – 200 mg||Fruity and Floral|
|Elvazio||Coffee||4||120-200 mg||Fruity & Delicate|
|Giornio||Coffee||4||120-200mg||Floral & Velvety|
|XL Dolce Intenso||Alto||4||228 – 350 mg||Caramel & Toasted|
|Half Caffeinato||Coffee||5||90 mg||Sweet & Velvety|
|Colombia||Coffee||5||170 – 200 mg||Washed Arabica|
|Orafio||Espresso||6||50 – 60 mg||Caramel & Roasted|
|Chiaro||Double Espresso||6||120-200 mg||Woody & Earthy|
|Arondio Gran||Lungo||6||120-200 mg||Cereal & Lightly Acidic|
|Hazelino Muffin||Coffee||6||120-200 mg||Hazelnut|
|Caramel Cookie||Coffee||6||120-200 mg||Caramel|
|Melozio||Coffee||6||120-200 mg||Honeyed sweetness|
|Vanilla Custard Pie||Coffee||6||120-200 mg||Vanilla|
|Decaffeinato Intenso||Espresso||7||less than 12 mg||Cocoa & Fruity|
|Costa Rica||Lungo||7||120 – 200 mg||Malty & Sweet|
|Odacio||Coffee||7||120-200 mg||Fruity & Lightly Acidic|
|Intenso XL||Alto||7||228-350 mg||Wood & Dark Caramel|
|Scuro||Double Espresso||8||120-200 mg||Cocoa & Vanilla|
|Fortado Gran||Lungo||8||120-200 mg||Cocoa & Oak|
|Stormio||Coffee||8||120-200 mg||Spicy & Woody|
|Altissio||Espresso||9||60 mg||Roasty & Creamy Cereal|
|Altissio Decaffeinato||Espresso||9||Less than 12 mg||Full-Bodied & Creamy|
|Intenso||Coffee||9||120-200 mg||Roasted Brown Sugar|
|Diavolitto||Espresso||10||150 mg||Oak Wood & Leather|
|IL Caffe||Espresso||11||50 – 60 mg||Very Intense|
What is the Storngest Nespresso Vertuo Capsule
IL Caffe is the strongest espresso pod in the Vertuo line with an intensity level of 11 and delivers bold and rich flavors with a subtle sweetness.
This blend of Vietnamese and Indonesian Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. It’s a popular choice for coffee lovers who prefer intense espresso shots with a thick layer of crema.
In Coffee drink sizes, the highest-intensity pod is Intenso with a rating of 9. It’s a blend of Guatemalan Robusta with bold and bitter notes, enhanced by Mexican Arabicas for a sweeter taste.
Original Line Nespresso Pods intensity chart
In original line pods, there are three sizes available.
- Ristretto — 0.85 ounces
- Espresso — 1.35 ounces
- Lungo — 3.7 ounces
For ristretto pods, there are only high-intensity flavors available, whereas, for lungo and espresso, all flavors are available.
Here’s the flavors chart of the Nespresso Original line:
Table of Original Pods
|Ethiopia||Espresso||4||55-65 mg||Fruity notes|
|Cosi||Espresso||4||55-65 mg||Mild & lighted toasted|
|Volluto||Espresso||4||55-65 mg||Sweet & Light|
|Volluto Decaffeinato||Espresso||4||less than 3 mg||Sweet & Light|
|Buenos Aires||Lungo||4||100-110 mg||Sweet and cereal notes|
|Capriccio||Espresso||5||55-65 mg||Rich & Distinctive|
|Capriccio||Espresso||5||55-65 mg||Rich & Distinctive|
|Nicaragua||Espresso||5||55-65 mg||Honey & Sweet Cereal|
|Shanghai||Lungo||5||75-85 mg||Fruity Blend|
|Caramel Crème Brulée||Espresso||6||55-65 mg||Caramel|
|Cocoa Truffle||Espresso||6||55-65 mg||Fruity espresso|
|Genevo||Espresso||6||55-65 mg||Toasted Cereal & Sweet Caramel|
|Vanilla Éclair||Espresso||6||55-65 mg||Vanilla|
|Tokyo Vivalto||Lungo||6||75-85 mg||Refined and Flowery notes|
|Venezia||Ristretto||8||55-65 mg||Intense& Roasted|
|Indonesia||Espresso||8||55-65 mg||Tobacco Leaves & Woody|
|Roma Intenso||Espresso||8||55-65 mg||Woody & Cerealy|
|Stockholm Fortissio||Lungo||8||75-85 mg||Sweet cereal and malty notes|
|Firenze Appeggio||Ristretto||9||50 mg||Intense with fruity notes|
|Rio De Janiero||Espresso||9||55-65 mg||Sandalwood and Herbal notes|
|Italiano||Ristretto||10||50 mg||Roasted and fruity notes|
|Ristretto Decaffeinato||Ristretto||10||less than 3 mg||Soft Cocoa & Subtly Fruity|
|Cape town||Lungo||10||75-85 mg||Intense& Roasted|
|India||Espresso||11||55-65 mg||Woody & Spicy|
|Palermo Kazaar||Ristretto||12||110 mg||Powerful Bitterness with notes of Pepper|
|Napoli||Ristretto||13||60 – 70 mg||Highly intense and roasted|
Which Nespresso original line pod is the strongest
Napoli is the Strongest Nespresso original pod with an intensity level of 13. It is characterized by a strong and intense flavor with notes of pepper and produces a very thick crema, making it a popular choice for those who prefer a bold and intense shot.
On the second number, there is Palermo Kazaar with a caffeine content of a whopping 110 mg in a single shot.
Also read: Nespresso original vs Vertuo line
Does NESPRESSO Intensity mean more caffeine?
The higher Nespresso intensity doesn’t necessarily mean more caffeine, in fact, it depends on the type and origin of coffee beans and the degree of roasting.
According to Nespresso FAQs
“The intensity is defined by a coffee’s degree of roasting, its body, and its bitterness. In addition, the intensity is due to the concentration of the coffee. It does not refer to the amount of caffeine found in the coffee.”
Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in tea, coffee, and cocoa plants. In addition, it activates the brain and central nervous system, keeps you awake, and helps to prevent fatigue.
Meanwhile, the intensity level depends on how the coffee beans are roasted, which has the ultimate impact on the overall texture and flavor of the coffee. It also stimulates taste with its dense texture, rich flavor, and savory aroma.
So please don’t confuse caffeine content with strength.
In fact, there are Italiano Decaffienato pods in the original series and Altissio Decaffeinato in the Vertuo series have an intensity of over 10 and a negligible amount of caffeine.
How does Nespresso’s intensity level impact the taste and quality of coffee beans?
Higher-strength level doesn’t affect the amount of caffeine content, but it affects the taste and quality of coffee. Here we explained three essential elements and how they influence the taste, quality, and other coffee standards.
1)Degree of roasting
A coffee’s degree of roasting has a significant impact on its flavor, taste, and quality. There are four types of coffee roast
- Light roasts
- Medium roasts
- Medium-dark roasts
- Dark roasts
Generally, the darker the roast, the more intense and bitter the flavors. And lighter the roast more fruity and acidic flavors.
Read a Guide on Light vs Dark roast Coffee
2) Origin of the coffee
The taste and quality of coffee grounds in the Nespresso pods also depend on the origin i-e where the coffee beans were grown.
Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries in the World. Some countries are known to produce higher-quality coffee than others because of their geographical characteristics.
Brazil is the largest exporter of coffee beans while coffee from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Colombia are known for the best-tasting coffee in the World.
See our detailed article on What country has the best coffee
3) type of coffee beans
The type of coffee beans whether it’s Arabica or Robusta can affect the taste of coffee.
Robusta coffee beans have a higher concentration of caffeine and chlorogenic acids than Arabica beans, which makes the taste of the drink intense and robust with bitter undertones.
Arabica coffee beans, on the other hand, have a lower concentration of these compounds and produce a smoother and fruity coffee drink with complex flavor profiles.
Final Thoughts on the Nespresso Intensity Chart
Now, I hope you have a clear idea of What Nespresso’s intensity level means.
The Nespresso intensity chart is a useful tool for coffee lovers who are looking to explore the variety of flavors and strengths that Nespresso has to offer.
For straight Espresso shots and black coffee, I recommend the pods with an intensity level between 5 and 8, and for the milk-based drinks, I will go for an intensity level between 7 and 11. However, taste is a completely subjective matter.
Check out my favorite Nespresso Pods
- Best Nespresso Pods for Latte
- Best Nespresso Pods for Iced Coffee
- Alternative Nespresso Compatible Capsules
Can you run a Nespresso pod twice?
Nespresso won’t recommend you use Nespresso pods more than once. However, you can reuse Nespresso pods if you want. But, the taste, aroma, and flavors will be affected and you will end up with a very bitter cup of coffee.
Here’s a guide on using Nespresso pods twice
What is the lightest Nespresso pod?
Among Original Nespresso pods, Ethiopia (4) and Cosi (4) have the lowest intensity. In Vertuo Pods Solelio (2) and Voltesso (4) have the lowest intensity.
These coffee pods have light-roasted coffee beans with smooth and acidic flavors.