Nespresso Intensity Levels Explained (Flavors Chart!)

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Johny Morrisson

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. 13 is the highest in terms of roasting and strength and 1 is the lightest. An intensity rating below 6 is considered smooth and light, while a rating above 8 is considered strong and intense.

Key Takeaways

  • 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. It does not necessarily 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 coffee flavors and bitter undertones.

Least strength (Intensity Level ranges from 1 to 5) 

Low-intensity Nespresso coffee pods with intensity levels ranging from 1 to 5 offers 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-intensity Nespresso coffee pods are best for making 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.

Medium Intensity Nespresso capsules are versatile enough to be enjoyed in a variety of ways, from black to milky drinks as they offer balanced aroma, taste, acidity, and flavor profile.

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.

These coffee pods are typically a blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. Robusta beans are blended with Arabica to increase the intensity and caffeine content.

High-intensity Nespresso pods are ideal for preparing milk-based espresso drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos, as the creaminess of milk pairs well with strong and intense coffee

I personally love Medium-intensity pods for straight Espresso shots and strong-intensity pods for Milk based drinks.

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

Nespresso Vertuo Pords chart

Table of Vertuo line capsule Flavors

Nespresso podSizeIntensitycaffeine contentFlavor
SolelioCoffee2100-200 mgFruity & Light
VoltessoEspresso460 mgBiscuity & Sweet
Melozio DecaffeinatoLungo4less than 12 mgMalty Cereal & Creamy
EthiopiaLungo4120 – 200 mgFruity and Floral
ElvazioCoffee4120-200 mgFruity & Delicate
GiornioCoffee4120-200mgFloral & Velvety
XL Dolce IntensoAlto4228 – 350 mgCaramel & Toasted
Half CaffeinatoCoffee590 mgSweet & Velvety
ColombiaCoffee5170 – 200 mgWashed Arabica
OrafioEspresso650 – 60 mgCaramel & Roasted
ChiaroDouble Espresso6120-200 mgWoody & Earthy
Arondio Gran Lungo6120-200 mgCereal & Lightly Acidic
Hazelino MuffinCoffee6120-200 mgHazelnut
Caramel CookieCoffee6120-200 mgCaramel
MelozioCoffee6120-200 mgHoneyed sweetness
Vanilla Custard PieCoffee6120-200 mgVanilla
Decaffeinato IntensoEspresso7less than 12 mgCocoa & Fruity
Costa RicaLungo7120 – 200 mgMalty & Sweet
OdacioCoffee7120-200 mgFruity & Lightly Acidic
Intenso XLAlto7228-350 mgWood & Dark Caramel
ScuroDouble Espresso8120-200 mgCocoa & Vanilla
Fortado Gran Lungo8120-200 mgCocoa & Oak
StormioCoffee8120-200 mgSpicy & Woody
AltissioEspresso960 mgRoasty & Creamy Cereal
Altissio DecaffeinatoEspresso9Less than 12 mgFull-Bodied & Creamy
IntensoCoffee9120-200 mgRoasted Brown Sugar
DiavolittoEspresso10150 mgOak Wood & Leather
IL CaffeEspresso1150 – 60 mgVery Intense
A Table of all Nespresso Vertuo pods

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.

IL Cafe is a 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 Vertuo pod is Intenso with a rating of 9. It’s a blend of Guatemalan Robusta with bold and bitter notes, blended with 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:

Original Line Nespresso Pods chart

Table of Original line Capsule Flavors

Nespresso pod
SizeIntensitycaffeine contentFlavor
EthiopiaEspresso455-65 mgFruity notes
CosiEspresso455-65 mgMild & lighted toasted
VollutoEspresso455-65 mgSweet & Light
Volluto DecaffeinatoEspresso4less than 3 mgSweet & Light
Buenos AiresLungo4100-110 mgSweet and cereal notes
CapriccioEspresso555-65 mgRich & Distinctive
CapriccioEspresso555-65 mgRich & Distinctive
NicaraguaEspresso555-65 mgHoney & Sweet Cereal
ShanghaiLungo575-85 mgFruity Blend
Caramel Crème BruléeEspresso655-65 mgCaramel
Cocoa TruffleEspresso655-65 mgFruity espresso
GenevoEspresso655-65 mgToasted Cereal & Sweet Caramel
Vanilla ÉclairEspresso655-65 mgVanilla
Tokyo VivaltoLungo675-85 mgRefined and Flowery notes
VeneziaRistretto855-65 mgIntense& Roasted
IndonesiaEspresso855-65 mgTobacco Leaves & Woody
Roma IntensoEspresso855-65 mgWoody & Cerealy
Stockholm FortissioLungo875-85 mgSweet cereal and malty notes 
Firenze AppeggioRistretto950 mgIntense with fruity notes
Rio De JanieroEspresso955-65 mgSandalwood and Herbal notes
ItalianoRistretto1050 mgRoasted and fruity notes
Ristretto DecaffeinatoRistretto10less than 3 mgSoft Cocoa & Subtly Fruity
Cape townLungo1075-85 mgIntense& Roasted
India Espresso1155-65 mgWoody & Spicy
Palermo KazaarRistretto12110 mgPowerful Bitterness with notes of Pepper
NapoliRistretto1360 – 70 mgHighly intense and roasted
A Table of all Nespresso Original pods

Which Nespresso original line pod is the strongest

Napoli is the Strongest Nespresso original pod with an intensity level of 13. It offers 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?

No, 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. However, in most cases, higher-intensity pods also have more caffeine.

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 scale depends on how the coffee beans are roasted, which has the ultimate impact on the 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.

Read a detailed guide on Nespresso Caffeine Content

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 affect the taste and quality of coffee.

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 Dark Roast vs Light 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.

Coffee beans from Sumatra, Vietnam, and India have high intensity and feature strong, bitter, and spicy flavors while beans from Ethiopia, Colombia, and Kenya are less intense and produce a smoother coffee with fruity notes.

See our detailed article on What’s the best coffee in the World

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 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

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 above 8. However, taste is a completely subjective matter.

Check out my favorite Nespresso Pods


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.

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.

3 thoughts on “Nespresso Intensity Levels Explained (Flavors Chart!)”

  1. Thanks for explaining the intensity scale in an easy way! I had no idea the higher numbers meant bolder coffee. Will refer back when trying new pods.


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