What does Nespresso Intensity Level mean? A quick guide for you!

What does Nespresso intensity level mean? This is probably one of the most common questions that arise in every user of the Nespresso machine, and many are wondering Does the intensity mean caffeine content? Have you ever wondered why the Nespresso pod (Original Line pod) has more caffeine? 

Nespresso coffee capsules have earned a good reputation in the single-serve coffee industry. Nespresso has made a name with its high-quality coffee and espresso pods and accessories.

Throughout this article, we will focus on everything from how intensity impacts caffeine to knowledge about the weakest and strongest Nespresso pod. Which Nespresso pods are suited best for you, other caffeine content information, and much more so you don’t need to look further.


What is meant by Nespresso pod?

 Nespresso capsules are filled with a few grams of finely ground coffee beans. The exact amount and the type of coffee beans vary by variety and size, but that’s all they contain. These are tiny aluminum pods filled with the same stuff you put in your drip coffee maker or espresso machine.

Are you wondering how long you can store Nespresso pods? Read a detailed guide on how long does Nespresso pods last?

What does Nespresso 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 found in coffee.

If you ever purchased a Nespresso capsule, you have probably noticed that each capsule has a unique number mostly undefined on the Nespresso website.

These no’s range from 1 to 13, and Nespresso defined it as nothing more than intensity. However, there is a misconception that intensity means caffeine content, but these scales, on the contrary, defined hardness, bitterness, and roast level of coffee beans.

The higher the intensity rating of coffee beans, the heavier will be the body, with more bitter coffee, and more flavorful solids.

Nespresso intensity level ranges from 1 to 13. A rating below six is defined as Light, whereas above the rating of 8 on the intensity scale is considered dark or intense and can undergo long roasting. This scale rating affects the flavor of pods.

Does intense coffee contain more caffeine content?

Nespresso machine users might relate this question to whether intensity means caffeine content or correlate a higher number for the Nespresso capsule with higher caffeine content.

Caffeine act as 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.

 From this, we can conclude that the caffeine content of a cup of coffee has nothing to do with the intensity.

So please don’t confuse caffeine content with strength, then avoid some types of coffee just because of their strength rating.

What does Nespresso Intensity mean, then?

The ultimate answer to this question is the way coffee beans are roasted, which significantly impacts the flavor profile, bitterness, and richness of the coffee brewed from each type of Nespresso capsule.

If you preferred darker coffee brewed with a full-body, a rich aroma, and bold, then the strongest pods suited best for you, which have intensity on Nespresso number scale ranges between 9 and 13.

Espresso pods with an intensity level of 9 or higher will definitely give you that powerful coffee experience. These pods are great for drinks prepared with milk, such as lattes and cappuccinos.

Read more: Nespresso Essenza Plus vs mini

Least Intense (Intensity Level ranges from 1 to 5) 

Nespresso coffee pod with intensity level ranges from 1 to 5 defined as least intense (brew a coffee with flavor, a bright profile, a light body, and a sweet taste).

Coffee will undergo a shorter and lighter roasting process, and the flavor profile of espresso shot will reflect characteristics of its climate and origin of the soil.

Low intense coffee pods are especially great for drinking black or Americano-style (with water), allowing the unique flavor of coffee origin to come through.

Medium Intense (Intensity Level ranges from 6-8)

Medium intense pods fall on Nespresso scale rating ranges between 6, 7, and 8. Compared to other coffee and Espresso, these pods typically taste rich and bittersweet.

Aroma, taste, acidity, and flavor profile are balanced, enabling you to prepare any drink ranging from black to water or milk.

Strongest Intense (intensity Levels range from 9-13)

Nespresso coffee pods with intensity levels ranging between 9 to 13 are defined as strong intense (prepare darker coffee brewed with a full-body, a rich aroma, bold, acidity, and bitter flavor).

These pods are ideal for drinks prepared with milk, such as lattes and cappuccinos, and will amuse you with a powerful coffee experience.

Usually, high-intensity coffee pods will make stronger coffee(contain more caffeine content). Choosing the best coffee beans tends to add more flavor to your drink (Robusta, a coffee bean contains more flavor than the standard Arabica beans)

However, this need not be necessary. Dark roasted beans tend to be intense but do not necessarily contain more caffeine content. Coffee per capsule varies and impacts the flavors, intensities, and amount of caffeine it contains differently.

Here we explained two buying guides organized by pod intensity level. So if you have Nespresso original line machine, you should use buying guide for the original pod. On the contrary, if you have a Nespresso Vertuo line, then you must use buying guide for the Vertuo pod.

Nespresso Vertuo line intensity chart

Nespresso greatly hides their Vertuo line capsule caffeine information. Nespresso’s official website provides wide ranges for each size but doesn’t specify any one of them.

We can find caffeine content for most Vertuo pods. The list below specifies which varieties of Vertuo pod are exact numbers and estimated from ranges and other content provided by Nespresso.

These are the five fundamental sizes of Vertuo Line capsules. A 6th size that is selective to the Vertuo Next is not described here since it’s not as normal and not single-serving.

  • Espresso — 1.35 ounces
  • Double Espresso — 2.7 ounces
  • Gran Lungo — 5.0 ounces
  • Mug — 7.8 ounces
  • Alto — 14.0 ounces

For higher caffeine content, there are two available options Fortado and Diavolitto. However, I recommend Diavolitto because it contains higher caffeine content than everything else in Vertuo pod and is also stronger than any other Espresso-sized Original pods.

Diavolitto, signifying “devil, “is the strongest Nespresso unit capsule for the Vertuo line. It has a smooth and rich surface with oak wood. This coffee is produced using a mixture of broiled Arabica from South America with Robusta espresso beans. It packs around 150 mg of caffeine for every case, more than other Vertuo line espresso capsules.

Table of Vertuo Pods

Nespresso pod
Size Intensity caffeine content Flavor  
Solelio Coffee 2 100-200 mg Fruity & Light View on Amazon
Elvazio coffee 4 120-200 mg Fruity & Delicate View on Amazon
Giornio coffee 4 120-200mg Floral & Velvety View on amazon
Voltesso espresso 4 60 mg Biscuity & Sweet View on Amazon
Melozio Decaffeinato Lungo 4 less than 12 mg Malty Cereal & Creamy View on Amazon
Caffeinato coffee 5 90 mg Sweet & Velvety View on Amazon
Hazelino Muffin coffee 6 120-200 mg Hazelnut View on Amazon
Melozio coffee 6 120-200 mg Honeyed sweetness View on Amazon
XL Dolce Intenso Alto 4 228 – 350 mg Caramel & Toasted View on Amazon
Caramel Cookie coffee 6 120-200 mg
View on Amazon
Chiaro Double Espresso 6 120-200 mg Woody & Earthy View on Amazon
Vanilla Custard Pie coffee 6 120-200 mg Vanilla View on Amazon
Scuro Double Espresso 8 120-200 mg Cocoa & Vanilla View on Amazon
Fortado Gran  Lungo 8 120-200 mg Cocoa & Oak View on Amazon
Stormio coffee 8 120-200 mg Spicy & Woody View on Amazon
Intenso coffee 9 120-200 mg Roasted Brown Sugar View on Amazon
Altissio Espresso 9 60 mg Roasty & Creamy Cereal View on Amazon
Diavolitto Espresso 10 150 mg Oak Wood & Leather View on Amazon
Intenso XL Alto 7 228-350 mg Wood & Dark Caramel View on Amazon
Decaffeinato Intenso Espresso 7 less than 12 mg Cocoa & Fruity View on Amazon
Odacio coffee 7 120-200 mg Fruity & Lightly Acidic View on Amazon
Arondio Gran  Lungo 6 120-200 mg Cereal & Lightly Acidic View on Amazon

Read more: Nespresso Vertuo Next vs Vertuo Plus

Nespresso Original line intensity chart

Nespresso, as described earlier, does not provide information about caffeine content for their capsule. However, we managed to get information about some of the most popular pods used for the Nespresso original machine with proper research.

These are total caffeine contents, not per ounce. Just keep in mind the Original Line pod sizes:

  • Ristretto — 0.85 ounces
  • Espresso — 1.35 ounces
  • Lungo — 3.7 ounces

Palermo Kazaar and Napoli are the two highest original line caffeine capsules on the intensity scale. But we highly recommend Palermo Kazaar as it contains higher caffeine content.

Palermo Kazaar, containing higher caffeine content, is the strongest original pod. The flavor is highly intense and bitter. The specific aroma (SPICY) is rich in notes of roasted wood. One pod contains 125mg of caffeine, double that of any other pod.

Table of Original Pods

Nespresso pod
Size Intensity caffeine content Flavor  
Cape town Lungo 10 75-85 Intense& Roasted View on Amazon
Napoli Ristretto 13 110 mg High intense & Roasted View on Amazon
India  Espresso 11 55-65 mg Woody & Spicy View on amazon
Cosi Espresso 4 55-65 mg mild & lighted toasted View on Amazon
Ethiopia Espresso 4 55-65 mg Fruit Jam & Orange Blossom View on Amazon
Buenos Aires Lungo Lungo 4 104 mg sweet and cereal notes View on Amazon
Volluto Espresso 4 55-65 mg Sweet & Light View on Amazon
Volluto Decaffeinato Espresso 4 less than 3 mg Sweet & Light View on Amazon
Capriccio Espresso 5 55-65 mg Rich & Distinctive View on Amazon
Nicaragua Espresso 5 55-65 mg Honey & Sweet Cereal View on Amazon
Caramel Crème Brulée Espresso 6 55-65 mg Caramel View on Amazon
Cocoa Truffle Espresso 6 55-65 mg fruity espresso View on Amazon
Genevo Espresso 6 55-65 mg Toasted Cereal & Sweet Caramel View on Amazon
Vanilla Éclair Espresso 6 55-65 mg Vanilla View on Amazon
Indonesia Espresso 8 55-65 mg Tobacco Leaves & Woody View on Amazon
Roma Intenso Espresso 8 55-65 mg Woody & Cerealy View on Amazon
Stockholm Fortissio Lungo 8 80 mg sweet cereal and malty notes  View on Amazon
Ristretto Intenso Ristretto 8 55-65 mg Soft Cocoa & Subtly Fruity View on Amazon
Ristretto Decaffeinato Ristretto 10 less than 3 mg Soft Cocoa & Subtly Fruity View on Amazon
Tokyo Vivalto Lungo 5 75-85 mg  flowery notes, and refined roastiness  View on Amazon
Scuro Espresso 7 75 mg sweat fruity View on Amazon

How does Nespresso 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

One can’t be denied that the coffee’s degree of roasting influences the coffee brew’s overall 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 higher the coffee brewed. Dark roast is going to be much richer and bitter than lighter roast.

2)Concentration of coffee

The amount of Nespresso coffee’s concentration is another very important aspect that affects the coffee brew’s intensity levels and overall quality.

 In particular, a cup with a score of less than six on the intensity scale is considered light or not intense. Meanwhile, those with an intensity level of 8 or higher on the scale are classified as dark or intense.

 For most people, coffee rated at an intensity level of 8 or 9 is an unpleasant, deeply sweet, and sour brew with a strong aroma. 

 However, Less than six intensity level coffee offers a more pleasant taste for everyday consumption.

3) Bitterness level of coffee beans

As explained earlier, bitterness level depends upon the kind of brew varying from Light to dark roast. So, choose the right coffee beans with appropriate intensity levels according to your preferred taste.

Lightly roasted coffee beans having low-intensity levels brew a coffee with more flavor, a bright profile, a light body, and a sweet taste. This is ideal for those who cannot drink too bitter a flavor.

On the other hand, dark roasted beans having higher intensity levels prepare darker coffee brewed with a full-body, rich aroma, bold, acidity, and bitter flavor.


What does Nespresso intensity level mean? Do not correlate intensity with caffeine content as the intensity of Nespresso refers to the richness, bitterness, and roast degree of coffee beans. So we can say true intense coffee has bitter flavor, heavy and solid body.

The intensity numbers associated with different Nespresso capsules can give you an idea of ​​how they prepare coffee, but the taste is a good thing to keep in mind too!

Anything you want to share, do comment.

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