During frantic mornings and throughout busy periods of the workday, we often need a boost to help rally us through these tense periods. Coffee is the go-to drink of choice for a busy, working world. Did you know that coffee is the second most consumed beverage in the world? Whether you’re short of time or of patience, every minute counts. If you’re like me, oftentimes you find yourself walking out the door in a haste, only to realize you forgot your coffee! 😱
If you can relate to the above, or if you just don’t have minutes of precious time to spend making your coffee, then single-serve coffee machines are the answer. When it comes to this category, Nespresso and Keurig shine above the rest. Single-serve is what they do best, and they’ve cemented themselves as household and office staples. Anyone you ask is more than likely to have heard of at least one of these brands.
What is Espresso, and How Is It Different From Coffee? A Brief Explanation.
Before we compare Keurig and Nespresso, it’s helpful to provide some context on what exactly is espresso, and how is it different than traditional coffee? While both traditionally brewed coffee and espresso are both technically coffee in a broad sense, they differ in how they’re made and how they are prepared. If were to order coffee and be handed an espresso, you’d probably be disappointed, the same is true vice-versa.
Let’s start with the beans themselves. Coffee beans made for espresso are usually roasted for longer than those meant for traditional coffee. Another difference from espresso is that espresso beans are generally meant to be ground finer than coffee beans. Aside from these differences, both kinds of beans are technically the same. You could theoretically use coffee beans for espresso and vice-versa, assuming you have the right gear.
Delving into the process itself, espresso should be understood to be strong, black coffee that is made by tightly packing coffee grounds together. Because of this tight packing of grounds, espresso machines utilize intense pressure and heat to force water through and produce coffee that meets the espresso standard. The intensity in this extraction process is what gives espresso its signature taste and the layer of foam that forms at the top of the cup often referred to as crema.
With traditionally brewed coffee, there are multiple methods for making coffee. Keurig and Nespresso here utilize what’s referred to as the drip method for their traditional coffee machines. Drip here refers to the idea of coffee that is made with a drip machine where the water saturates the coffee grounds and drips through a hole in the bottom of the basin as it filters through it. Other brew methods that aren’t covered here include full-immersion and pour-over.
Is Nespreso The Same As Keurig?
Due to the differences between traditional coffee and espresso, you might be rightfully wondering this. In short, the answer is a resounding yes!
While Keurig is mostly associated with single-serve coffee by folks, they also have single-serve espresso machines that they sell. The same and opposite can also be said of Nespresso. They’re mostly associated with single-serve espresso, but they also sell great single-serve coffee machines. The most striking similarity the two share is that they’re both targeted towards delivering the best single-serve experience.
Nespresso Vs Keurig Review
Which should you choose? While both have their strengths and similarities, both have key differences. Speaking of saving time, feel free to skim our side-by-side comparison table, or read the detailed reviews below.
Keurig vs Nespresso, Which Is Better? Our Recommendation
When it comes to coffee, the two most important things are convenience and taste. Nespresso is the clear winner here in both of these categories. Even when compared to Keurig’s K-Cafe machine, which contains a built-in milk frother and can make hot and cold drinks, the taste of the coffee and espresso produced isn’t as full tasting and strong as what Nespresso produces. In the end, the decision ultimately comes down to if you want more variety (hot and cold brew, options like tea, apple cider, etc.) or if you strictly want the best coffee.
Keurig is the OG when it comes to single-serve coffee machines. Founded in 1990, Keurig for a time stood unopposed and became a staple of every office and home. Keurig truly pioneered the single-serve coffee industry, and they still dominate this space today. Keurigs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and in various price points.
Keurig utilizes a drip-pressure method for brewing coffee in a short period of time. While the convenience is self-evident, One of Keurig’s problems has been that many times their machines produce hot brown water at best, instead of actual coffee. Sometimes getting a more expensive or better k-cup brand can remedy this, but even with the best coffee k-cups Keurig coffee seems adequate at best.
Back in the old days, this compromise was acceptable, but as newer competitors like Nespresso have come into this competitive space, good enough is no longer good enough.
That said due to Keurig’s long-held dominance in this space when most folks think of a convenient, single-serve coffee machine, Keurig is the first thing that comes to most people’s minds. In addition to this prominence, Keurigs have proven to be very versatile machines. For instance, Keurig has over 400 different pods, spanning from coffee and tea, all the way to more specialty drinks like apple cider and hot chocolate. In addition to this, Keurigs can be readily used to create hot water for use with your own drinks.
This vast variety is only limited by the number of different k-cups on the market, as well as the brewing process itself that Keurig uses to make its drinks. That said, Keurig has begun to roll out machines like their K-Cafe, which can produce coffee, cappuccino, and lattes.
Can Nespresso capsules be used in a Keurig?
Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding no. The capsules are too small to fit properly in a Keurig, and the Keurig’s top and bottom needles pierce the capsule, spoiling their intended flavor.
Keurig’s K-Cafe vs Nespresso Vertuo
The K-Cafe is the flagship of Keurig’s household machine line. This behemoth of a machine comes with a built-in milk frother, as well as the ability to make cappuccinos and lattes. That said, this functionality comes at a cost, with a hefty price tag of around $200. This price puts the K-Cafe squarely in the same price range as Nespresso. For $200, you could buy a Nespresso Evoluo which is their most expensive machine for their Vertuo brand at $200. The Evoluo has the functionality to make both quality coffee and espresso.
So the question then, is can the K-Cafe deliver? The overwhelming consensus is no. The reason being is that the K-Cafe still uses the same traditional brewing method as its siblings. Therefore, even though the K-Cafe comes with brewing modes like cappuccino and latte, as well as a shot brew setting, it lacks the pressure and proper technology to produce espresso-grade coffee like lattes and cappuccinos. A visual indication of this can be seen in videos with the K-Cafe. Because of the intense pressure required to produce espresso, it will have a crema (the foamy layer on top) that people love. in addition to not having a crema, the quality just isn’t in the same league as Nespresso brews in terms of taste. In case you don’t take my word for it, see what Reddit has to say below in some of the comments on r/Coffee.
K-Cafe vs Nespresso Vertuo Reddit Comments
3 points · 1 year ago
Pretty much this. The K-cups are intended for coffee, and what the Keurig [shot] is going to produce is about 1.35 oz of coffee instead of the usual 7-8 oz that it normally would. The marketing even calls it a coffee shot, and it doesn’t look like it produces any crema. Vertuo is the exact opposite - it has a different method to pull an espresso shot, but can also do coffee. The pods themselves are specific to the type of drink and in theory the coffee blend and grind for its particular purpose. The coffee brewing method is different and does produce a crema, which can make the coffee a bit bitter for some.
Keurig will be cheaper, more varied, and more widely available. Nespresso will cost more, less variety, but produce a more authentic espresso shot and related drinks.
1 point · 1 year ago
Keurig can’t make real espresso, it makes “espresso-style” coffee. Basically a small concentrated cup, but it’s not espresso.
7 points · 1 year ago
We have Keurigs at my office for years and tried about every different type of pod. I have Nespresso at home and consider it my treat every evening and all weekend long. There really is no comparison. Taking convenience out of the picture, I’d much rather make my own coffee than drink Keurig coffee.
Once you’ve had Nespresso there really is no going back to Keurig. As soon as I tried it I knew I had to get one. Before Nespresso I would grind beans at home to make coffee. I rarely do any more.
As far as ordering I just make sure I stock up, but shipping is pretty fast.
I have an original line Nespresso machine and can’t speak to the Vertuo or Starbucks unit.
I don’t consider myself a coffee connoisseur. I just like a good cup of coffee. Hope that helps.
Since the beginning, one of Keurig’s biggest criticisms was that their k-cups weren’t recyclable. To combat this, Keurig eventually introduced things like reusable k-cups that could be bought online through them or third parties, as well as biodegradable k-cups for a few select brands of their k-cups. That said, most of their k-cups, including their popular specialty brands like hot chocolate, pumpkin spice, apple cider, and etc., are not biodegradable.
Keurig has been making strides as a company towards fixing this glaring issue, on their website they stated on their recycling roadmap that 100% of their k-cups would be recyclable by the end of 2020. In December of 2020, Keurig achieved this goal.
This is a game-changer as I know many folks, myself included, who simply didn’t want to use Keurigs due to the environmental impact that their near forever-lasting, plastic k-cups had. That all said, Keurig does state that you should check locally on their recycling webpage, their k-cups aren’t recyclable in all communities. Just in case you have doubts about whether a particular k-cup is recyclable, all of their boxes should have a recycling symbol that closely matches the one below, on the far right of their recycling instruction image.
When it comes to brewing temperature, all Keurig machines target a temperature of 192° F.
Myself personally, being a coffee aficionado*(I own just about every kind of coffee machine or brewing accessory. Coffee is a personal hobby.), I actually have heard and read on places like Reddit’s r/Coffee and on professional coffee brewing YouTube videos that the ideal temperature is around 205° F for coffee. 192° F seems a bit cold to me, but again Keurig machines are known for being made to brew multiple different kinds of beverages. It’s very possible that this temperature would be more ideal for drinks like tea.
When it comes to taste, Keurig has often “good enough” results. Most regular Keurig drinkers have probably had a watered-down, brown watery substance that was passed off as coffee one time or another. That said, getting a better quality coffee brand k-cup and selecting small cup sizes for the Keurig helps here. With Keurig, these really are the only two levers you have to pull: what brands you buy and what cup size you select. Taste hasn’t ever been a strength of Keurig, but what they lack in taste, Keurig makes up for in variety, price, and convenience. Coffee aside, some of the sweeter drink options like hot chocolate, pumpkin spice, and apple cider, just to name a few, aren’t too shabby.
Nespresso has disrupted the single-serve coffee market. Aside from its higher price point, Nespresso seems to have none of the shortfallings of Keurig. That said, they deliver when it comes to convenient, quality single-serve coffee.
Nespresso utilizes a patented extraction technology for its brewing method known as Centrifusion. What this means is that you can insert a capsule, close the lid and once the extraction button is pressed, it spins the capsule up to 7000 rotations a minute. This blends the ground coffee with water, all to produce a perfect cup and delicious crema. The Nespresso machines even read the capsule barcodes to deliver the best in-cup results for each blend.
Sounds fancy! But to break this down a bit, these rotations allow Nespresso machines to recreate the intense pressure required for espresso brews and produce both good quality espresso and coffee.
When it comes to variety, they have over 70 different capsule flavors. These flavors are split between the coffee and espresso categories, but even so, this definitely provides enough variety for these two drink types. Unfortunately, drinks like tea, hot chocolate, and pumpkin spice will be out of the question since these capsule flavors don’t exist.
Ultimately, having drunk both Nespreeso and Keurig, I will definitely say that Nespresso is hands down the winner if your goal is a good tasting, convenient coffee.
Can Keurig cups be used in a Nespresso?
No. Mainly because k-cups are too big and bulk to fit into the small, compact notch for placing capsules. Also, Keurigs aren’t designed to work with Nespresso’s Centrifusion technology.
Does Nespresso have more caffeine than Keurig?
Yes. Nespresso’s brewing method produces a stronger extraction when brewing coffee. This might vary slightly depending on what k-cup or capsule brands you use, but overall because of Nespresso’s superior brewing technique they will tend to have the stronger drinks.
Nespresso’s capsules are made from aluminum, which they state does a better job at preserving the freshness and flavor of the coffee than other materials like plastic. Because they’re made of aluminum, all Nespresso capsules are 100% recyclable.
Surprisingly, Nespresso machines brew at a temperature of around 181° to 187° F for espresso brews, and 172° F for coffee brews. This seems surprisingly low, but given the way, Nespresso’s brewing method works, too hot might reduce the effectiveness of the Centrifusion technology.
When it comes to taste, Nespresso produces a good cup of espresso and coffee. That said, don’t expect these brews to taste better than your local coffee shop. Ultimately while good, the drinks produced here will be on the weaker side when compared to drinks made with high-quality brewing machines and equipment. Unless you are a coffee aficionado*(and maybe not even then, if you’re on the go), you won’t be disappointed with Nespresso’s quality.
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