Best Pod Coffee Maker Buyers Guide 2020
One of the popular requests is to tell people whether we think they should get Nespresso vs Keurig K-Cup system and which model is best. There are a lot of reasons to choose one or the other so we will do our best to tell you which is best for you.
Nespresso vs Keurig Convenience
This is the main reason to buy a Keurig
or Nespresso coffee machine. Yes, the pod systems are convenient. Fill the water
tank periodically and they warm up reasonably fast and the pods dispose of
quickly and neatly.
However, many super automatic espresso makers have a bean hopper and store up to 20 pucks or shots worth of espresso grounds. So, with one button you can make great coffee and with less environmental impact at a lower total cost.
Nespresso – What To Know
- Better for espresso, latte and cappuccino drinkers
- Still inferior to most espresso makers in quality and total cost
- Very expensive pods – often $.70 to $1 per shot
- More expensive machines overall
- Smaller coffee selection than Keurig
- Much better milk frothing for lattes and cappuccinos than Keurigs
- More authentic espresso crema
- Tastes more like espresso
Keurig – What to know
- Better for coffee drinkers
- More feature options (drip coffee, milk, thermal carafe, etc.) See the Keurig Buyers Guide
- Still inferior to good bean to cup coffee makers in quality and total cost
- More coffee options (but still less than bean systems)
- Tastes more like traditional drip coffee
- K-cups more expensive than bean and ground based coffee systems
- K-cup options much more limited than beans or grounds
The Keurig K-Classic is a great place to start with Keurig products but there are a lot of other choices. See our Keurig Coffee Maker Buyers Guide for more.
Nespresso ENV150GY VertuoPlus
Nespresso by De’Longhi ENV150GY VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine
Do Keurig and Nespresso Make Espresso?
One common debate with Nespresso
and Keurig systems is do they make actual espresso or is it better classified
as something else. The truth is that, yes, Keurig and Nespresso make espresso. Espresso
isn’t a flavor of coffee it is a process. Water under high pressure is expressed
or pushed through the coffee grounds. Any coffee made this way is espresso.
The standard among espresso
machines is a pump that expresses the water at 15 bars of pressure. Keurig’s
use up to 15 bars of pressure while e Nespresso claims theirs can go all
the way up to 19 bars of pressure.
So yes, Nespresso and Keurig’s do
make espresso all the time. In fact they don’t really make “coffee” in the
sense that it doesn’t make drip, soak brewed or gravity fed coffee. There are
exceptions like the Keurig K-Duo which basically is two coffee systems
in one appliance.
Nespresso vs Keurig Which is Better?
Don’t select between the Keurig vs Nespresso based purely on brew quality. Based purely on brew quality there are better options than either. A top bean to cup coffee maker will brew better coffee and probably save you money over the long run.
But both do make excellent coffee. Starting by looking at the Nespresso ENV150GY VertuoPlus. This is a great value of Nespresso and makes great milk based drinks.
Nespresso vs Keurig Latte and Cappuccino
Neither Nespresso or Keurig is the ideal choice if you like milk-based drinks like lattes or espressos. A top automatic espresso machine will offer push button convenience and better milk handling.
Nespresso has more models with milk steaming and foaming built in. None produce excellent microfoam but the Lattissima Plus is the best in the class..
Nespresso has a better pedigree when it comes to milk handling. Their machines make consistent, good milk and overall their lattes and cappuccinos are better than anything you get with a Keurig model like the Keurig K-Café.
It’s a fine company. We are not here to bash Starbucks. To us, the base level quality question is are they better than Starbucks? Starbucks isn’t bad but gourmet coffee drinks is not their focus and their training and quality of baristas is inconsistent. Our top super automatic espresso machines all make lattes and cappuccinos that dramatically better than what you should expect from Starbucks. Even spending $1000 on an espresso maker will make it cheaper than a daily trips to Starbucks and pod based systems over time.
Best Nespresso For Cappuccino
De’Longhi EN520SL Lattissima Plus
EN520SL Lattissima Pros
Super automatic espresso machines make better cappuccinos. But this Nespresso Lattissima does a great job.
It has 19 Bar coffee expressing pressure and the best milk handling among the Keurigs and Nespresso products. This is the best choice for latte and cappuccino lovers.
EN520SL Lattissima Cons
At about $267 is is expensive for a coffee maker but a good value for an automatic espresso machine which is how you should think about this.
Overall cleaning the Lattissima isn’t hard. BUt some of the pieces in the milk tank are harder to clean than other models.
Keurig vs Nespresso Locking You Into Their Pods
Nespresso and Keurig are sometimes
compared to the shaving razor business. The machines are not particularly expensive
but the disposable pods, like disposable shaving blades and be expensive and much,
more profitable for the manufacturer over time.
One of the issues is the consumer
choice. If you like coffee then maybe you don’t care, but if you LOVE coffee then
choosing a pod system locks you into a much smaller range of coffee and beverage
Like wine, whiskey, oysters, cheeses, chocolates and other great gourmet foods coffee represents a whole culinary world to discover. Take a look at our coffee bean reviews for examples.
Keurig vs Nespresso Environmental Concerns
We addressed this in detail in our overview of the Keurig company. Single serve coffee pods have significant environmental costs. For starters, the fact that most people drink at least one cup a day, and many drink any more, means that over the course of a few years, the decision to use pods does matter.
Single serve coffee pods like
those with Keurig and Nespresso coffee machines are a mix of different types of
materials. So, the combination of organic matter, aluminum, plastic and so on
makes them challenging to recycle.
An alternative to these would be the E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso Pod). In essence these work like large tea bags filled with coffee that are wrapped in a filter. So, hot water passes through them and the coffee drips into a container below. Because the filter pack can be organic materials, like the coffee grounds, this offers different options for disposal.
Nespresso vs Keurig Corporate Responsibility
Many people prefer not to do business with large multinational corporations. If that is you then consider different alternatives because both Nespresso and Keurig are made by multinational conglomerates.
We won’t get into criticisms of Nestle, which owns Nespresso. That’s a long topic already better served by others. Just do your own research and decide for yourself if you feel like all the controversy decides what you buy.
The Keurig coffee systems are made by Keurig Dr. Pepper. Which is a US based conglomerate. As mentioned before buying either a Keurig or Nespresso also locks you into their pods (mostly). If this is a concern to you there are still many family owned espresso machine manufacturers and you can buy small coffee systems, particularly French presses and pour over systems from small firms too.