Nespresso vs. Keurig: Beginner’s Comparison Guide


Even though I’m not the biggest fan of this type of single-serve pod coffee makers, I can’t deny that they’re quite convenient to use, and let you prepare a decent cup quickly and effortlessly.

But it may get confusing when choosing which one to get which is why I decided to go over the differences between the two leaders in the industry – Nespresso vs. Keurig.

The fact that Keurig holds the largest market share in the US may convince you that it’s the best alternative.

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that many consumers would swear by the superiority of its main competitor – Nestle’s Nespresso.

Furthermore, there must be a reason why Nespresso is an established market leader in Europe.

In this comparison guide, we’ll compare Keurig and Nespresso coffee makers by their most essential characteristics.

So let’s dive in!

Nespresso vs. Keurig: The Comparison

The comparison between Nespresso and Keurig coffee makers should begin with a quick overview of their basic descriptions.

General Overview

Both Nespresso and Keurig machines brew coffee from single-serve coffee capsules and pods.

The brand Nespresso is owned by Nestlè, which is based in Switzerland.

Keurig is owned by Dr. Pepper – a company, based in the US.

There are two types of Nespresso machines – Original and Vertuo:

  • With Original Nespresso coffee makers you can make ristretto (0.85 oz./25 ml.), espresso (1.35 oz./40 ml.), and lungo (3.7 oz./109 ml.) coffee.

    Related Post: Espresso vs. Ristretto vs. Lungo: Comparison Guide

    The used technology allows for extraction that results in a cup with flavor intensity and mouthfeel, similar to those of a shot that’s made with a home-grade espresso machine with a pressurized portafilter.

    Original Nespresso makers are targeted for people who like simple, more concentrated espresso-style coffee drinks.

    Some models, such as the Nespresso Lattisima, have integrated milk frothers that are used to make lattes, cappuccinos, and other classic espresso-based beverages.

    You can buy others, such as the Nespresso Pixie, in a combo with a separate milk frother.
  • With Nespresso Vertuo coffee makers you can prepare a larger variety of coffee drinks with larger serving sizes.

    Most models accept coffee pods that produce espresso (1.35 oz./40 ml.), double espresso (2.7 oz./ 80ml.), gran lungo (5 oz./150 ml.), and drip-style coffee (7.77 oz./ 230 ml.).

    With some Vertuo models, such as the Vertuo Next you can also use capsules that let you prepare 18 oz./530 ml. of “pour-over” coffee.

    Vertuo machines are targeted for people who like both espresso, and larger drip-style coffee drinks.

    Unlike the Original pods, Vertuo pods have a barcode that’s situated under their rims.

    The machine reads the barcode to create optimal brewing conditions for the specific pod you’ve inserted.

    Vertuo models don’t have integrated milk frothers, but are often sold in combination with Aeroccino milk frothers.

Both Original and Vertuo coffee brewing systems use technology that creates a stable foam layer that lays on the surface of your coffee beverage.

With Keurig coffee makers you can make coffee in various serving sizes.

Most models have 8 oz. (240 ml.) and 10 oz. (296 ml) serving presets.

Nevertheless, some of them, such as the Keurig K Supreme Plus, offer 4 oz. (118 ml.), 6 oz. (177 ml.), and 12 oz. (355 ml.) servings as well.

Unlike Nespresso coffee makers, Keurig machines don’t produce coffee with a stable foam layer.

You can use them to prepare less-intense drip-style coffee drinks with a thinner body.

It’s also worth noting that unlike Nespresso machines, Keurig single-serve makers can also be used to make other beverages such as tea and hot chocolate.

Just like Nespresso, some Keurig models have integrated milk frothers. One such machine is the Keurig K-Cafe.


Now that we have the basics out of our way, let’s dive in a bit deeper into the comparison of Nespresso vs. Keurig.

Price Comparison: Initial Investment

Generally, Keurig coffee makers are less expensive than Nespresso makers. You can find Keurig models that are below $100. In comparison, the cheapest Nespresso models aren’t less than $140, even if discounted. Therefore, if you’re looking for the most affordable single-serve coffee maker, Keurig is a better option compared to Nespresso.

For further clarification, here’s an approximate price range for Nespresso and Keurig machines:

  • Nespresso Original: $200 – $850. The most expensive one is the Nespresso Creatista Pro. It has an integrated steam wand, and it’s made of high-quality materials, such as stainless steel. The least expensive Original Nespresso machine is the Essenza Mini.
  • Nespresso Vertuo: $145 – $210.
  • Keurig: $80 – $200.

Cost per pod

When comparing Keurig versus Nespresso coffee makers, we shouldn’t only focus on the price of the machine itself.

If affordability is an essential buying criteria for you, you should also consider how much the coffee capsules cost.

Keurig coffee pods are less expensive than Nespresso capsules. The average price range of Keurig coffee capsules is $0.50 to $0.70, while Nespresso pods’ cost isn’t lower than $0.75 for Original, and $0.95 for Vertuo. Furthermore, you can find some Keurig capsules on Amazon for less than $0.40 per unit. Therefore, if you want to spend less money for a cup of coffee, go for a Keurig instead of a Nespresso coffee machine.

For more insight, it’s essential to mention that k-cups usually contain 0.3 oz. to 0.4 oz. (9 grams to 12 grams) of ground coffee.

The amount of coffee in Nespresso coffee capsules depends on the type of the pod (ristretto, espresso, lungo, double espresso, grand lungo, coffee, or pour-over), and whether it’s Original or Vertuo.

Type of pod: Ground coffee weight
K-cups 9 grams to 12 grams
Original Line Capsules (0.85 oz., 1.35 oz., 3.7 oz. servings) 5 grams to 6 grams
Vertuo Espresso (1.35 oz. serving) 5 grams to 7 grams
Vertuo Double Espresso (2.7 oz. serving) 9.5 grams to 12.5 grams
Vertuo Gran Lungo (5 oz. serving) 9.5 grams to 10.5 grams
Vertuo Coffee (7.77 oz. serving, Mug) 12.5 grams
Vertuo Pour-Over (18 oz. serving, Carafe) 9.5 grams to 10.5 grams

Obviously the higher price of Nespresso pods, compared to k-cups can’t be explained by the amounts of coffee they contain. After all, they vary within the same range.

What makes Nespresso pods more expensive is that they’re made of aluminum, not plastic (polypropylene) like most Keurig pods.

Furthermore, Vertuo pods have printed barcodes on their undersides that the machine reads. This may be the reason why they’re more expensive than both Original capsules and k-cups.

The quality of the ground coffee also plays a role in pricing. It’s safe to say that Nespresso puts in a bit more effort when selecting the coffee beans they’re using for their capsules.

It’s also worth noting that some limited edition single-origin coffee pods by Nespresso can reach the price of $2.00 per unit.

Here’s a general overview chart of the prices of Nespresso and Keurig capsules:

Type of pod: Approximate price range
Keurig K-cups $0.50 to $0.70, but you can find pods that cost less than 0.40 per unit
Original Nespresso capsules $0.75 to $1.10
Vertuo Espresso $0.95 – $1.00
Vertuo Double Espresso $1.10 – $1.45
Vertuo Gran Lungo $1.10 – $1.15
Vertuo Coffee (Mug) $1.20 – $1.30, but can reach $2.00 for some single-origin limited edition capsules
Vertuo Pour-over (carafe) $1.60

Taste, Mouthfeel & Flavors: The Differences between Keurig and Nespresso

Nespresso coffee makers produce more intense coffee beverages that resemble the type of drinks you’d get from a home-grade espresso machine.

Keurig coffee machines make coffee that it’s generally weaker in terms of flavor, and has a lighter mouthfeel.

Espresso fans, and those who like more concentrated coffee beverages with stronger flavors, would often describe Keurig coffee as watery, weak, and diluted.

On the other hand, if you’re used to having a large mug of drip coffee, you may like the cup you would prepare with a Keurig.

With that being said, Keurig has been trying to make single-serve coffee makers that produce more intense flavors.

Furthermore, some of them have strength control feature that allows you to adjust the flavor intensity of your coffee.

Such machines are the Keurig K-Cafe Single-Serve coffee maker, as well as the Keurig K-Supreme Plus Smart Coffee Maker.

It’s also worth noting that the Nespresso brewing system allows for the creation of a thick foam layer. Keurig machines won’t produce any foamy crema on the surface of your drink.

When it comes to flavors, Keurig offers much more variability compared to Nespresso.

You can find Keurig coffee capsules in different flavors: vanilla, coconut, hazelnut, chocolate (mocha), etc.

Furthermore you can get coffee-free Keurig pods to prepare tea, hot chocolate, and other hot beverages. This option is highly appreciated by those who have kids.

On the other hand, Nespresso offers a larger variety of single-origin specialty coffee pods.

These are great for those who really care about their coffee’s flavor, and want to explore the taste of coffee beans of higher quality.

Author’s Note: I’ve actually tried both Keurig and Nespresso coffee side-by-side. After the taste test, I’d definitely choose Nespresso over Keurig. Nespresso coffee has a more balanced flavor, it has more texture, and it’s overall much more enjoyable.

Caffeine Content

The caffeine content in Nespresso and Keurig coffee drinks depends on a few variables:

  • The type of coffee beans they contain (Arabica/Robusta). Robusta coffee has twice the amount of caffeine compared to arabica.
  • The type of coffee roast. Darker roasts generally contain more caffeine per ounce compared to lighter roasts.
  • The amount of ground coffee and the grind size.
  • The amount of hot water that runs through the ground coffee (i.e. serving size).
  • Other brewing variables: water temperature, applied pressure during extraction, agitation of the coffee particles, etc.

The amount of caffeine present in a cup, prepared with a Keurig capsule, varies within the range of 75 mg. and 150 mg.

Nespresso pods’ caffeine content varies within a wider range:

  • Original Pods (0.85 oz./1.35 oz./3.7 oz.): 60 mg to 80 mg, but some capsules that contain Robusta in their blend exceed 100 mg.
  • Vertuo Espresso (1.35 oz.): 100 mg of caffeine on average.
  • Vertuo Double Espresso (3.7 oz.): 130 mg. to 165. mg per serving.
  • Vertuo Gran Lungo (5 oz.): 140 mg. on average
  • Vertuo Coffee (Mug, 7.77 oz.): 150 mg. to 200 mg. per serving
  • Vertuo Pour-Over (Carafe, 18 oz.): 230 mg. to 260 mg. of caffeine per serving.

For a detailed guide on the Nespresso pods’ caffeine content, check out this post.

In conclusion, the amount of caffeine in Keurig and Nespresso is pretty similar. Nevertheless, we could say that Nespresso coffee contains slightly higher amounts of caffeine per fluid ounce. This can be explained by the technology that these machines use. There is more applied pressure, or more agitation created by the spinning of VertuoLine capsules.

Related Post: Which coffee has the most caffeine?

Quality, Reliability, Durability

Keurig coffee machines are made in China and Malaysia

Most Nespresso makers are manufactured in Switzerland, and some of them (from the Lattissima range) are made in Italy.

People generally have more trust in the quality of the producing practices of Switzerland’s manufactories, compared to those of China.

Nevertheless, we shouldn’t have such preconceptions, as they may sometimes be misleading.

With that being said, Nespresso coffee makers are made with more durable materials and their overall quality is better than those of Keurig coffee makers.

Both Nespresso and Keurig have 1 year warranty. Furthermore, no matter if you get a Keurig or a Nespresso single-serve maker, you can return them within 30 days post receipt, and get your money back.

That aside, generally, Keurig coffee owners report issues with their machines more often compared to Nespresso owners.

Needless to say, both Keurig and Nespresso offer reliable coffee makers. If that wasn’t the case, they wouldn’t be the industry leaders.

However, if you want to bet on the more reputable in terms of quality and durability brand, go for a Nespresso coffee maker.

Furthermore, the more expensive Nespresso models are almost entirely made of stainless steel. The Nespresso Creatista Plus, and the Nespresso Creatista Pro are great examples.

Keurig coffee makers have more plastic parts.

When comparing them side-by-side, a Nespresso coffee maker seems sturdier compared to a Keurig.

Even though both makers can last for over a decade, most Keurig coffee machines have a lifespan of around 3 to 5 years of daily use and proper maintenance.

Nespresso machines generally last longer.

If you take proper care for them, you can expect your Original or Vertuo maker to serve you for over 8 to 10 years.

Of course, if you’re mainly concerned about the price – get a Keurig coffee maker.

Nevertheless, getting a Nespresso may turn out to be the less expensive alternative in the long run, because of Original and Vertuo machines’ quality.

Design

When it comes to design, Nespresso coffee makers seem more stylish than Keurig coffee makers.

If you like unobtrusive, classic design, you’ll definitely like Nespresso machines better.

You can tell they are more expensive only by looking at them.

Furhtemore, Keurig coffee makers are usually a bit bulkier, so they may take up a bit more space on your kitchen counter.

On the other hand, compared to Nespresso, there is a larger variety of Keurig models with different designs.

Since there’s more to choose from, there is a better chance for you to find an affordable Keurig maker that satisfies your aesthetic preferences.

Moreover, some Keurig models come in plenty of color variations.

For example, in the following picture you can see a variety of colors you can choose from if you decide to get a K-mini Keurig machine.

It’s worth noting that Keurig offers a larger variety of coffee machine models, not only in terms of appearance.

The brand also offers smart coffee makers that you can control through an application. One such model is the Keurig K-Supreme Plus Smart.

Furthermore you can get a Keurig K-Duo Machine that has single-serve pod compartment, and a drip coffee compartment.

This way you can occassionally make larger batches of classic drip coffee. Still, you’ll be able to brew a quick cup with the single-serve pod coffee maker when you’re in a hurry.

There are different colors of Nespresso machines as well, but there isn’t that much flexibility.

With that being said, I prefer the looks and the color variability of Nespresso machines better.

In the following photo you can see the elegant design and nice color variations of the Nespresso Vertuo Next, and the Nespresso Lattissima One coffee makers:

When it comes to design, it’s also worth mentioning the controls, and how easy they are to operate.

To be fair, both Nespresso and Keurig coffee makers are quite intuitive. You only need to brew two or three cups before you start preparing coffee without even thinking about it.

In conclusion, it all comes down to personal preference when it comes to choosing Keurig or Nespresso, based on their design.

After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so trust your own sight, and choose the single-serve maker that matches your taste best.

Sustainability

Photo by Alena Koval from Pexels.com
With the increasing popularity of single-serve pod coffee makers, there is a growing concern over the large amount of waste, generated through the use of capsules.

That’s why both Nespresso and Keurig has put in effort towards lowering the negative environmental impact from the use of their products.

Since 2020 all Keurig pods are recycleable.

They are made with polypropylene (#5 plastic) that is accepted in most recycling facilities in the US.

Furthermore, Keurig has come up with an easy-peel foil lid, which makes it easier for you to prepare your k-cup for recycling.

You just need to remove the foil, empty the used capsule and recycle the plastic container. You can compost the used coffee grounds or reuse them for other purposes.

Related Post: How to Reuse Coffee Grounds

It’s also worth noting that there are compostable k-cups that are great for those who are looking for ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Utilizing a reusable k-cup is also an option that will minimize the waste you generate.

Luckily, Keurig offers such a refillable capsule, that’s called My K-cup.

Click here to check out the price of the reusable k-cup on Amazon.

Nespresso pods are designed to be recycled as well. Nevertheless the recycling program of Nestè’s Nespresso is much better in terms of organization and execution compared to Keurig’s.

Firstly, Nespresso has made it easy for the consumer to recycle their pods.

You don’t have to remove the foil, empty the pod, and rinse it before recycling.

You just need to throw the used pod in a recycling bag that you can order from Nespresso’s website, or buy from a Nespresso boutique.

After you fill the bag with used pods, you should drop them off at one of many collection points (UPS store or Nespresso store).

The pods are then shipped to proper recycling facilities.

You can find a recycling location by using the collection point search engine in the Nespresso application.

The whole system of recycling Nespresso pods is well thought out. Furthermore, Nespresso’s efforts towards sustainability have also spread to supporting coffee farming communities.

The thing is that there aren’t Nespresso-branded refillable capsules.

Some other brands offer reusable pods that work with Nespresso Original makers.

Nevertheless, because of the complicated Vertuo barcode system, it’s hard to find well-performing third-party refillable pods.

Related Post: Best Nespresso Refillable Capsules

Some consumers would also reuse their Vertuo pods, by emptying, rinsing, filling with ground coffee, and sealing with new foil lids, such as these ones by My Cap.

With that being said, single-serve coffee makers’ main advantage is that with tham you can make a cup of coffee quickly and effortlessly.

Why would you get one of these pod machines, if you are to use a refillable pod?

If you’re willing to put in that much effort when brewing a cup, there sure are much more sustainable and affordable alternatives.

You can make cold brew, use a French press, Moka pot, AeroPress, Hario V60, etc. Or simply get an affordable home grade espresso machine, such as the Capresso EC100.

Related Posts:

Anyway, all in all, Nestlè’s Nespresso is much better in terms of sustainability and eco-friendly practices, compared to Keurig. So if you care about lowering your negative impact on the environment, but you insist on having a single-serve pod coffee maker, definitely go for a Nespresso.

Summary. Which is the better coffee maker for you: Nespresso or Keurig?

The Nespresso vs. Keurig comparison guide is undoubtedly needed and helpful for beginners who feel confused while choosing which product is the right one.

By going over the basic characteristics of the machines and the companies behind them, you can easily figure out which brand suits your needs and personal preferences better.

There’s no way for me to tell you which coffee machine is the best for you personally, but knowing their fundamental differences would definitely ease your choice.

To make things even easier, here are the key takeaways from this Keurig vs. Nespresso comparison guide:

  • If you are an espresso lover who likes coffee with intense flavor and a foamy crema layer, opt for a Nespresso coffee maker.
  • If you’re used to drinking drip coffee, and you aren’t that rigorous about your coffee’s flavor, go for a Keurig machine.
  • If you’re looking for the most affordable coffee maker buy a Keurig. Moreover, the price per k-cup is lower compared to the cost per Nespresso capsule.
  • If you’re looking for a more durable and reliable machine that’s built to last, choose Nespresso.
  • If you want to be able to make a variety of flavored coffee drinks and other coffee-free beverages with your single-serve machine, a Keurig is a better option than a Nespresso.
  • If you want to be able to drink coffee of higher quality, and occasionally explore different single-origin coffee beans, go for a Nespresso. Original Nespresso makers are better for classic espresso lovers, while Vertuo makers are better for those who like to have coffee in bigger serving sizes (they can brew 7.77 mug-sized coffee, some models can even make 18 oz. of coffee at once).
  • If you like simple, elegant design go for Nespresso.
  • If you want to have the flexibility of choosing from a larger variety of models and colors, you will most likely find what you’re looking for among Keurig’s products.
  • If living a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle is important to you, a Nespresso machine is a better option compared to Keurig.
  • If you like having classic espresso-based milk coffee drinks with well-pronounced coffee flavors, such as lattes and cappuccinos, get a Nespresso machine. Great options for you would be the Lattissima with integrated milk frother, or the more compact Pixie in combination with an Aeroccino frother.
  • If you’re used to drinking less-intense drip coffee with frothy milk, the K-cafe Keurig coffee maker would be perfect for you.
  • If you need a single-serve pod coffee maker because of its ease of use, but you don’t want to let go of the possibility of making larger batches of classic drip coffee – go for a Keurig K-Duo Coffee maker.

As you see, it all comes down to what’s truly important to you.

Furthermore, choosing between Nespresso and Keurig may be determined by other peculiar factors that I haven’t gone over. For example, my best friend chose to buy a Nespresso machine only because the brand is advertised by George Clooney. So Nespresso undoubtedly has some effective advertising strategies.

Related Post: Best Nespresso Machines: Comparison & Reviews

Anyway, I hope you found this guide helpful. If you have further questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

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