Nespresso vs Keurig: What’s Your Pick?

In the world of single-serve, Nespresso and Keurig are the biggest names. Keurig is undoubtedly the leader in sales in the American market. However, Nespresso has a good performance too and is particularly strong in the European market. 

There’s also a difference in the way these machines function. Nespresso vs Keurig is an interesting comparison since both machines have different features, but offer an interesting overlap. 

Keurig vs Nespresso: The Basics That Define These Machines

While they’re both single-serve coffee makers, there are remarkable differences that define a Keurig vs Nespresso comparison. Keurig is best known as a coffee maker that delivers your choice of cuppa in a few seconds. Nespresso, on the other hand, specializes in delivering amazing espresso at a quick pace.

As we see, there is a difference in the approach of these machines. However, there is a lot going on with the offerings available, and that’s what makes a big difference. Plus, there are several areas where they overlap. 

The average Keurig coffee maker may not be able to brew a true espresso, but they can brew a pretty strong coffee with espresso K cups. Plus, Keurig is making way for specialty drinks like latte and cappuccino. The change comes through coffee makers like the Keurig K Cafe. Presence of an integrated milk frother on this machine allows it to brew lattes and cappuccinos, even with regular K cups.

Nespresso is truly best known for its espressos, but coffee isn’t out of its scope. With offerings like the Nespresso VertuoLine, the coffee maker is capable of brewing espresso as well as regular coffee. 

So let’s get into a more nuanced comparison of what these brands offer.

Nespresso vs Keurig – What’s My Expense?

Budget plays a big role for the consumer. For single serve coffee makers like Keurig and Nespresso, it isn’t just the cost of buying the machine that matters, the cost of pods is as important.

Cost Of Machines — Which One’s Better?

Keurig has a large range of models spread across the price range. Whatever you can afford, Keurig likely has a model in your budget. The sheer number of models and the price range works in favor of Keurig. Their coffee makers start at entry-level pricing. Higher priced models can cater to those who like more features.

Nespresso isn’t expensive either. The company has fewer models that are split across two lines — Original and VertuoLine. Thankfully, the pricing is well thought-out and you can get models as low as the sub $100 range. It doesn’t go as cheap as Keurig, but the Nespresso models can be cheap enough to fit a small budget. The higher-end models can be more expensive to suit specific requirements for consumers.

Anyways, if we simply look at entry cost and pricing options, Keurig takes the win.

Cost Of Pods And Coffee

You need coffee pods (or capsules and K-cups) to keep your single-serve coffee maker running. 

The cost of pods can vary depending on your choice of coffee, the number of pods you buy, and other factors. However, a general idea can be easily available.

For Keurig, the average cost of a pod can be considered to be $0.50. While gourmet coffee may be more expensive, it doesn’t necessarily go far beyond these numbers. Plus, there’s always the option to use reusable K cups and bring down your K cup costs further.

Nespresso pods are more expensive. The average cost for a Nespresso pod/capsule comes near $1. And while you could turn to reusable Nespresso capsules, they aren’t inherently supported by the company and may not always be reliable.

As the cost of coffee pods goes, Keurig is cheaper.

Variety Of Coffee And Available Options

Where available varieties of coffee and buying options are concerned, Keurig is a clear winner. The company itself offers a fairly large range of coffee. However, once the third parties get into the picture, the available K cups options are humongous. 

There is a good variety of capsules and pods for Nespresso as well. However, their number is rather limited. Also, third parties don’t seem to have many options or coffees available for Nespresso.

Usage Factors And Performance: Comparing Nespresso And Keurig

How Quickly Is The Beverage Ready?

Both Nespresso and Keurig are quick with delivering coffee. For practically all models, you will have your cup ready in less than a minute. Nespresso can be a tad bit quicker, often having the espresso ready in about 20-30 seconds. 

That’s no simple feat, considering that Nespresso brews espresso, and thus also needs to watch out for pressure. Nespresso VertuoLine can brew regular coffee as well, but the timing remains somewhat similar.

Keurig machines will usually have your coffee ready in 30 seconds to a minute. By all considerations, that’s pretty good timing. Though the few seconds don’t make as much of a difference in practical use, Nespresso machines are undoubtedly faster. 

Brew Quality — What’s The Machine Of Choice?

Keurig works best with coffee and Nespresso’s true talent lies with espresso. However, even if we compare their adeptness at their specialties, Nespresso does better. The machines easily present 15-18 bars of pressure for brewing quality espresso. 

Even the entry-level Nespresso machines do a good job with handling pressure and espresso quality. Coffee brewed by VertuoLine machines is enjoyable as well. It can compete with Keurig rather well in brewing coffee as well. 

Although if you’re interested in lattes and cappuccino, you might have to purchase a separate accessory like the Aeroccino Milk Frother. Of course, you could always use another method if you know how to froth milk.

Nespresso machines also tend to be more reliable. Though this is a blanket statement, considering Nespresso espresso machines are built not just by Nespresso, but also other brands including Breville and De’Longhi.

Keurig works best as a coffee maker. The company did try to venture into espresso makers, but that didn’t quite work out and they currently seem to be okay with sticking to coffee. Anyways, Keurig brews good quality coffee, and the sheer number of K cups available allows for greater options. 

Keurig makes good, enjoyable coffee, but I wouldn’t say their performance is better than Nespresso.

Newer models like the Keurig K Cafe give a touch of specialty coffee and the ability to brew latte and cappuccino. The included milk frother makes it all possible. However, we’re essentially brewing latte and cappuccino with strong drip coffee. It tastes good enough, but since the Keurig K Cafe can’t make authentic espresso, there’s a clear limitation on how impressive the latte can be.

I’d say Nespresso does a better job at getting your brew of choice.

Brew Size And Management

All Keurig and Nespresso models offer choices in picking the preferred brew size. Size options vary with models, but they’re always present and are well-suited for these machines.

Nespresso does a better job and several models make it possible to customize brew size. This way, while there are buttons for brew size picks, users can customize the volume to their liking. Brew size customization is remarkably easy with Nespresso models.

Ease Of Cleaning And Maintaining The Coffee Maker

Nespresso and Keurig machines are easy to clean. There isn’t much effort required for cleaning either machine, and they’re both easily managed.

Environmental Concerns – Which Brand Or Pod Does Better?

A huge problem with single-serve coffee machines is that pods create waste. Since they are single use items, they’re often discarded by users and end up in a landfill. Estimates suggest that there are enough K cups in landfills that if they were laid side by side, they could cover the earth many times over. 

K cups are made from plastic and discarded after a single use. Some companies are offering K cups made from disposable materials, but they too require commercial composting facilities that aren’t easily available. Some manufacturers offer K cups made with reusable plastic. However, it is believed that only a small fraction of these K cups ever undergo proper recycling.

Nespresso pods and capsules are generally made from aluminum. The company has also done a better job with its recycling initiatives. Nespresso works with several recycling centers across the country to allow recycling of its pods. 

If users don’t have access to these facilities, they can even mail the used pods back to Nespresso for recycling. In some instances, Nespresso also offers advantages or some fresh pods for sending these used pods for recycling. 

Nespresso wins the green concerns, simply because the company appears to be more deeply involved in ensuring recycling and better handling of products.

The Top Coffee Makers For Each Brand

There aren’t any specifically representative models for Nespresso or Keurig, but the following should be good for a quick comparison.

Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker

Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker

Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker is an interesting and feature-rich coffee maker from the brand. It works great as a classic Keurig machine. The presence of a built-in frother gives it more features and sets it apart from other Keurig models.

It is accompanied by a 60 oz removable water reservoir that makes refills very easy. Besides, the available large volume means you don’t have to bother with refills often. 

Available brew size options are 6, 8, 10, and 12 oz. Keurig K-Cafe also makes it possible to brew a 2 oz shot. The idea here is to brew a concentrated shot that can be used as a base for lattes and cappuccinos. These brews generally need an espresso, but the concentrated shot can work well, especially with the right coffee and roast.

The automatic milk frother works great and will get to work at the touch of a button. Apart from regular milk, the frother also accepts skim, soy, and almond milk. It can be set to brew cold or hot foam as per your preferences. 

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Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine 

Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine by De'Longhi

Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine by De’Longhi is a part of the VertuoLine offering from the company. As the name implies, it can brew both coffee and espresso – and it does a pretty good job for each. 

Vertuo doesn’t use a pump to brew espresso. Instead, the machine has a centrifusion mechanism where the pods are rotated and the pressure is simulated. Each pod used with the machine includes barcode instructions that let the machine know how to brew it.

Users don’t have to make any changes to brew specific drinks, or even when moving from espresso to coffee pods. The barcodes handle that job. This simplifies things, but also makes it more difficult to use refillable pods or third-party pods for these machines.

Should you prefer a latte or cappuccino, buying an Aeroccino or another milk frother is the way to go. The versatile machine offers five brew size options, covering everything from espresso to large coffee brews. Available brew sizes are 1.35, 2.7, 5, 7.7, and 14 oz. it is also possible to customize the brew sizes to your liking.

Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine has a removable, 54 oz water tank, so you won’t have to spend much time or effort in refilling it.

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Nespresso VS Keurig FAQs

Does Nespresso have more caffeine than Keurig?

Keurig brews drip coffee while Nespresso usually works with espresso. While exact caffeine content can vary depending on the coffee type, roast, and other factors, an educated guess is possible. Drip coffee can have 15-20 mg of caffeine per oz, so an average 8 oz cup may have around 160 mg caffeine.

Espresso often has 64 mg caffeine per oz. So an average 1.25 oz shot can have 80 mg caffeine.

Simply put, espresso brewed in a Nespresso has more caffeine per ounce, but an average cup of drip coffee from Keurig can have more caffeine content overall.

Is Nespresso as good as real espresso?

In a way, yes. Quality of espresso from a Nespresso is usually as good, if not better than comparable espresso machines. Nespresso seems to be capable of brewing fairly good coffee for its price range and intended use as a home-based single-serve machine. Since Nespresso Original Line uses a pressure system, we can say it brews better espresso than the VertuoLine.

However, this small espresso maker can’t really compare to commercial espresso machines or high-end espresso machines for home use. 

Can you run a Nespresso pod twice?

Yes, you can. Nespresso pods are (relatively) expensive, and some consumers do consider using them again. It is possible to use your Nespresso pod twice, but be prepared for the brew quality to feel weaker and degraded with each use. 

The Coffee Maker To Pick For You

In our Nespresso vs Keurig comparison, it becomes evident that each of these has its own strengths. An easy way to pick between the two is your preferred beverage. Coffee lovers will likely love Keurig, though Nespresso VertuoLine has some good options as well. Espresso lovers will find Nespresso OriginalLine to be a better choice.

For everything else, see the detailed comparison here to find the single-serve coffee maker that answers your needs.