Over the last decade, pod-based single-serve coffee makers have revolutionized the coffee industry. These machines are particularly popular among users for their convenience and speed.
According to a report published in Fior markets, the Global coffee pod and capsule market is expected to reach USD 29.2 Billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 8.5% during the forecast period from 2018-2025.
Nespresso vs Keurig is in debate for a time now as they are the two dominant players in the Pod-based coffee maker industry.
In the USA, Keurig is the second most popular brewing system after standard drip coffee makers, with 27 percent of American coffee drinkers using them. And Nespresso is the market leader everywhere except North America, especially in Western European countries.
The main difference between Keurig and Nespresso is the fact that Keurig works like a typical drip coffee maker that serves a regular smooth cup of black coffee, while Nespresso has a pressurized brewing system like espresso machines that produces small shots of strong coffee topped with rich layer of Crema. Besides that, both brands produce coffee in a matter of seconds and are extremely convenient.
So, Is Nespresso or Keurig Better?
In this article, I will make a detailed comparison of these top brands and share their top features as well as their pros and cons so that you can easily make an informed buying decision.
Overview of Nespresso Machines
Nespresso brand is based in Switzerland, and it is a subsidiary of a well-known giant in the food and kitchen business, “Nestle”. These machines brew espresso using coffee pods and are very convenient and simple to use.
Nespresso is debatably not a real espresso, according to many coffee enthusiasts. Certainly, they are right to some extent, but the primary selling point of Nespresso is its convenience, in addition to delivering a drink with a rich and thick layer of crema.
Nespresso has two lines of coffee machines Original line and the Vertuo line. The Original line machines work similarly to traditional espresso machines by generating high-pressure water to brew Espresso drinks only, while the Vertuo line machines use rapid-spinning brewing technology to brew both Espresso and regular coffee.
Nespresso is a well reputable brand spreading across more than 80 countries around the World. It is estimated that more than 14 billion Nespresso coffee capsules are sold every year. Huge number, isn’t it?
Nespresso offers a wide variety of machines ranging from entry-level machines such as the Essenza mini and Pixie to advanced models such as the Lattissima and Creatista series. Prices start at around 150 dollars and can increase up to 600 dollars for advanced models.
Here’s a detailed guide on Nespresso Vertuo Vs original line
Pros of Nespresso over Keurig
- Brew rich and intense espresso-styled coffee – A huge plus if you are a strong coffee lover.
- Best for preparing Lattes and Cappuccinos – Some models have a built-in milk frother or you can buy a separate one in a bundle deal with any Nespresso machine
- Extremely user-friendly and easy to clean and maintain
- Dedicated coffee capsule recycling program – so you have peace of mind that you are not contributing to global waste
Cons of Nespresso
- The machines as well as coffee capsules are very expensive
- Vertuo line and Original line coffee capsules aren’t interchangeable so it might cause confusion sometimes
- Less variety of coffee capsules than k cup pods for Keurig
- The Original line machines do not offer regular drip coffee. The Vertuo line does, however.
Overview of Keurig coffee makers
Keurigs are compact, and lightweight single-serve coffee makers and are very simple to use and operate.
Keurig coffee makers are best to use in offices and homes as everyone can brew a delicious cup of coffee with minimal effort.
Keurig uses k cups for brewing coffee. Unlike Nespresso, there are many brands that produce k cups for Keurig brewing systems, which means a wide selection of pods and a lower cost.
Essentially, Keurig works in a similar way as regular drip coffee makers that are very popular in North America, but they are much more convenient and user-friendly.
There are more than 25 million Keurig units being used in homes and offices across the United States with millions more being added every year. And more than 30 billion k cup coffee pods are used every year.
In the past 30 years, Keurig has launched more than 100 models, with more than 20 currently available on the market. Keurig models range from 100 to 250 dollars, with Keurig mini and Slim being the entry-level models with limited controls and Keurig elite and K café being the advanced models with many customization options.
Pros of Keurig over Nespresso
- Machines are relatively cheaper than Nespresso
- Coffee pods are available in a large variety and at a lower price
- Pods are also available for other hot beverages like tea, hot chocolate, Cappuccinos, Lattes, etc. Most models also have an option for an iced coffee drink
- Prepare smooth and plain coffee similar to drip coffee makers
- Very user-friendly and convenient with a portable design – Best for small homes and offices
Cons of Keurig
- The taste of coffee is weak compared to Nespresso
- Pods are made of plastic and aren’t recyclable
- Can’t make authentic Cappuccino and Latte with a rich and strong taste
Nespresso Vs Keurig | Side by side Comparison
Now that you know the basics of Nespresso and Keurig, let’s get into detail about some factors that can help you decide which machine is right for you.
1) Brewing Method
Both Nespresso and Keurig are single serve pod based coffee makers but their brewing method isn’t exactly similar.
Keurig works in a similar way as a traditional drip coffee machine.
You insert the pod in the machine, Keurig heats the water, the needles pierce the pod from the top and bottom and hot water passes through it to deliver the smooth cup of coffee. Sweet and simple!
Nespresso has a pressurized brewing system similar to a typical Espresso machine.
In the original line Nespresso, 19 bar of pressure is generated and forced through the coffee capsules for an espresso shot with a creamy and rich layer of crema.
In Vertuo line Nespresso, the capsule rotates at 7000 RPM to generate a pseudo-pressure that prepares a cup of coffee with a very thick and aerated crema layer.
I am declaring Nespresso a winner as I love strong and robust Espresso drinks more than regular drip coffee from Keurig. If you are a fan of traditional pot coffee then you might like Keurig more. Overall! We can say it depends!
2) The Taste of Nespresso vs Keurig
Even though the taste is completely subjective, I haven’t seen anyone who prefers Keurig over Nespresso when it comes to taste.
A cup of Nespresso coffee is reminiscent of espresso with a rich layer of crema with intense and mouthful flavors.
The best thing about Nespresso is you can make both coffee and Espresso in Nespresso machines while Keurig is only limited to plain coffee drinks.
The Vertuo line has separate coffee capsules for regular coffee drinks and you can easily prepare Americano Coffee in Nespresso original line with a few extra steps.
Keurig coffee makers brew plain and smooth cups of coffee with less intense and light flavors. Keurig is certainly not recommended if you are a fan of strong coffee drinks like Espresso, French Press, or Turkish coffee. If you enjoy regular pot coffee then I am sure you’ll love Keurig too.
The best thing about Keurig is that it isn’t only limited to coffee drinks: you can also find pods for other hot beverages like tea, hot chocolate, etc and there are plenty of flavor options in coffee too, including hazelnut, vanilla, coconut, chocolate, etc.
In my opinion, Keurig delivers a weak cup of coffee, even weaker than traditional drip coffee makers. Only small serving sizes work well with Keurig. On the other hand, you can easily brew rich and strong espresso and a regular 8 oz serving of coffee with Nespresso easily. Also, milk-based coffee drinks like cappuccino and latte taste better with Nespresso.
3) Ease of use
Ease of use and convenience is always the first priority when looking for pod-based coffee makers and both Nespresso and Keurig are extremely user-friendly coffee machines.
All you need to do is insert the pod inside the machine and push the button with the desired serving size and your coffee will be ready in minutes.
Some models from Keurig and Nespresso include fully automatic built-in milk frothers for milk-based coffee drinks such as cappuccino and latte. These include Keurig K cafe and Lattissima and Creatista series from Nespresso. Also, a Standalone Aeroccino milk frother from Nespresso is available that you can buy with basic models at a discounted price.
The Nespresso Vertuo line has taken the ease of use to the next level. It automatically detects the type of coffee pod and brews according to it, so you just need to insert the pod into the machine.
Keurig and Nespresso both have straightforward cleaning procedures. Fill the water tank halfway with vinegar or descaling solution and half with water and run one or two brewing cycles. Cleaning of Keurig coffee makers are relatively difficult as needles and pod holders get clogged sometimes and are hard to clean.
This round is more of a tie than a clear winner. But the Vertuo line Nespresso machine certainly has an edge in user friendliness and also Nespresso machines are easier to clean. Nespresso has an automatic capsule ejection system that adds to user-friendliness
5) Price and the Variety in models
Keurig and Nespresso both offer different models ranging from basic models with limited features up to high-end models with multiple features.
The entry-level Keurig models, like the mini and slim, start at around 100 dollars, but these machines are limited in terms of customizable options, for example, you cannot change coffee strength, temperature, or serving size.
Keurig also offers high-end models such as the K-elite with a lot of customizable features, the K-duo plus with both the single serve and carafe options and the K Café with a built-in milk frother for preparing milk-based coffee drinks. These models cost between $200 and $250.
Nespresso machines are generally more expensive than Keurig. Entry-level machines, like Essenza Mini, Pixie, and Citiz, costs around 150 to 200 dollars and can only brew lungo and espresso drinks. Nespresso Vertuo models also lie in the same price range.
Nespresso’s Creatista and Lattissima series are high-end machines that have integrated milk frothers and prepare cappuccino and latte at the touch of a button. These machines are expensive and range in price from 350 to 600 dollars depending on the model.
Cost per serving
The recurring costs of Nespresso machines, especially the Vertuo line, are much higher than those of Keurig, as Nespresso pods are more expensive than the k cups.
An overview of the yearly costs for coffee pods from Nespresso and Keueig is shown below:
|Brand||Cost of one pod||Yearly cost for 2 cups a day|
|Nespresso Vertuo line||1.0 – 1.4 $||365 * 2 * 1.2 = 875|
|Nespresso Original line||0.7 – 1.0 $||365 * 2 * 0.85 = 620|
|Keurig K cups||0.5 – 0.8 $||365 * 2 * 0.65 = 475|
The Keurig coffee maker is not only more affordable, but the price of the pods is also significantly less.
Also using coffee grounds in Keurig is also very feasible and easy compared to Nespresso
6) Type and variety of Coffee pods
Keurig K cups are made of plastic and Nespresso capsules are aluminum. Both of these pods are sealed in a proper way to ensure the freshness and quality of the coffee grounds inside.
Keurig and Nespresso coffee pods have different shapes and sizes and are not interchangeable, so Nespresso can’t use Keurig pods and vice versa. The capsules for Nespresso’s original and Vertuo lines are also different and cannot be interchanged.
There are around 5 to 6 grams of coffee grounds in each Nespresso coffee capsule, and the Vertuo line pods have a special barcode that helps the machine determine the brewing parameters for the pod being used.
The Vertuo line capsules are protected by very strict patents and no other coffee brand can manufacture them which means there’s only a limited variety available for vertuo line pods.
The original line coffee capsules do not have strict patents, so many 3rd party manufacturers such as Illy, Lavazza, and Peets make coffee pods compatible with the Nespresso original line machines, so there is a wide variety of coffee pods available also at a lesser price than the Vertuo line.
The variety of coffee pods available for Keurig is far greater than what is available for Nespresso, with more than 400 types of pods available from 60 brands. You can make anything from tea to hot chocolate to latte with a variety of pods.
K cups contain approximately 9-12 grams of coffee grounds and also come with a paper filter to prevent finer coffee particles from getting into your cup.
They are so famous that I doubt there are any supermarkets in North America without a large selection of K cups.
Reusable k cups are also available for Keurig machines so you can save some bucks while using your own coffee grounds.
With the variety and flavors of coffee pods available; Keurig is a clear winner here.
7) Quality and Reliability
As far as durability and reliability go, Nespresso coffee makers are better than Keurig as they are made with better quality materials and have a more sturdy design.
Note: Nespresso don’t manufacture the machines themselves but outsources them to other top brands such as Breville and Delonghi
Keurig coffee makers are also decently made, but owners of Keurig are more likely to experience issues than owners of Nespresso machines.
The fact is that both these brands are known for providing high-quality machines that can last around 3-5 years. If they were not, then they probably wouldn’t be among the industry leaders.
Additionally, both brands offer a 1-year warranty that covers all technical faults.
Although both Keurig and Nespresso manufacture high-quality machines the design of Nespresso is somewhat sturdy and more reliable.
8) Sustainability and Environmental Impact
Using single-serve coffee pods is certainly not a sustainable way to brew coffee.
“Coffee pods are one of the best examples of unnecessary single-use plastics that are polluting our planet.” – USAToday
The environmental impact of Keurig coffee pods has been widely criticized over the last few years. Fortunately, Keurig is taking action and is committed to making 100% of its packaging recyclable or compostable by 2025. In 2020, Keurig eliminated rigid polystyrene from its primary packaging portfolio.
Still, it is far from being fully sustainable, but you can reduce the impact by using reusable coffee pods and your own grounds. A cost-effective way to brew coffee that is also environmentally friendly.
On the other hand, Nespresso capsules are made of aluminum and can be easily recycled. With more than 120000 recycling stations around the globe, Nespresso strives to make recycling as easy as possible for its customers.
In general, Nespresso is more environmentally conscious than Keurig at the moment.
9) Appearance and Design
While the design is a completely subjective matter, I bet that just by looking at Nespresso’s premium design one could easily say that they are more expensive than Keurig.
Keurig machines are entirely made of plastic and have a bulky appearance that isn’t appealing. On the other hand, Nespresso machines are compact in size with a very stylish and modern look.
10) Some Extra Features
Here’s the list of some extra features Nespresso and Keurig offer
Keurig typically offers three to five-cup sizes of 6, 8, and 10 oz, though some models also offer options for 4 oz and 12 oz. Considering the amount of coffee grounds in a k cup remains the same no matter what brew size you choose larger brew sizes typically result in a watery cup of coffee. In my experience, a 6 oz brew size results in a good and strong cup of coffee.
The original line Nespresso machines only offer single espressos (1.35 ounces) and lungos (4.7 ounces), and the advanced models also offer one-touch cappuccino and latte drinks.
Nespresso Vertuo machines offer both coffee and espresso drinks. There are five drink options: single espresso (1.35 ounces), double espresso (2.7 ounces), lungo (4.7 ounces), coffee (7.7 ounces), and alto (14 ounces).
Nespresso machines don’t allow users to play with brewing parameters like coffee strength, brewing time, and water temperature same is the case with entry-level Keurig models.
In advanced Keurig models, like the K elite, you can adjust the strength from mild to robust and the temperature from lukewarm to extra hot.
Brew over ice
Keurig models (but not all!) include a feature called brew over ice that lets you make iced coffee.
No Nespresso model has this feature.
Nespresso machines have an automatic capsule ejection system that automatically discards the capsule into the waste capsule container. In addition to saving time, this prevents your hands from getting burned while removing the hot capsules.
Most Keurig and Nespresso models (but not all!) have an automatic descaling alert that lets you know when it’s time for descaling.
Auto shut off feature
Both Keurig and Nespresso offer auto shut-off that automatically turns off the machine after a few minutes of inactivity so you don’t need to turn off the machine after every use. This not only saves you money but also protects the machine from electric shocks.
Keurig Vs Nespresso | Our Final Verdict
In this side-by-side comparison of Nespresso vs Keurig, it’s clear that both brands are outstanding at making coffee quickly and easily.
So, is a Nespresso better than Keurig?
To make things even easier here is a quick showdown of Keurig and Nespresso.
Buy Keurig if
- You prefer plain and smooth regular servings of coffee
- You are looking for an affordable option
- You also want to prepare other hot beverages like hot chocolate, tea, etc.
- You want the flexibility of choosing among a wide variety of coffee pods
Buy Nespresso if
- You are an Espresso lover and prefer strong flavors
- You are looking for a more fancy and durable option
- You love milk-based coffee drinks Capuccino and lattes with strong and rich flavors
- You want an environmentally friendly way to enjoy pod coffee
You may like to read:
- Nespresso vs Lavazza
- Nespresso Vs Ninja
- Keurig vs Drip coffee maker
- Keurig vs French Press
- Is Keurig Worth it
- Is Nespresso Worth it
Can I use Keurig pods in Nespresso?
No, Keurig k cup pods are different in shape and size than Nespresso coffee capsules so they can’t be used in a Nespresso machine. Also, Nespresso Vertuo line capsules can’t be used in Nespresso original line machines and vice versa.
Does Nespresso coffee have more caffeine than Keurig?
By volume, there is much more caffeine in Nespresso than in Keurig but by typical serving, an 8 oz cup from Keurig will have more caffeine content than a single shot espresso from Nespresso.