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Nespresso v/s Keurig Coffee Makers – The Ultimate Battle

We live in an era that makes it nearly impossible to talk about single-serve coffee makers without mentioning Keurig and Nespresso. Both brands have revolutionized the way coffee is made, in their own unique way.

If you’re torn between the two brands, the first assurance we could give you is that, you are not alone. But we’ve got great news: the choice isn’t as difficult as it may initially seem.

In fact, it solely depends on how you answer these questions:  

Do you prefer flavored coffee or café-quality espressos?

And how much are you ready to invest?

With the answers to these questions, the brand will become crystal clear to you. But before we differentiate these two brands, let’s have a look at their similarities.

Similarities

Both brands are single-serve coffee makers and they excel at brewing caffeinated beverage. Each brand plays a dominant role in the coffee market; Keurig in America and Nespresso in the Europe. 

Their machines follow a homogenous brewing process where pressurized hot water is pushed through the grounds in such way that no flavour is left behind. Hence the end results from both brands are the industry’s best.

And there the similarities end.

Before we dive into the dissimilarities between the two brands, let’s have a look at a quick overview.

Feature

Keurig

Nespresso

Variety

K-cup and ground coffee, tea, hot chocolates, other hot beverages, hot water.

Espressos, Lungo, espresso in VertuoLine models, cappuccino Decaffeinato in models with milk systems.

Pods

Over 200

Lungo coffee, vanilla-enhanced grounds, caramel-infused brews, spiced coffees, and limited edition grounds.

Bells and Whistles

High-capacity reservoir, brew strength controls, light indicators, auto-off function, descaling option, removable drip tray, temperature control and digital clocks in certain models.

Milk frothers in certain models, built-in capsule drawer, removable drip tray, light indicators, auto-off function.

Coffee Brands

Green Mountain, Starbucks, Folgers, Twinings, Celestial Seasonings, Caribou, Tully's, etc. Certain models allow non-branded pods and ground coffee as well.

Brazilian Dulsao, Ethiopian Bukeela, Colombian Rosabaya, Indian Indriya, etc.

Keurig K-Cups VS Nespresso Capsules

K-Cups

Keurig K-Cups are small plastic containers with Aluminium lids. Each cup contains pre-packaged, freshly ground beans that are nitrogen sealed.

keurig kcups

Keurig K-Cups/ Courtesy: Mike Prosser/Flickr

As a result, the grounds don’t come in contact with air or humidity, ensuring optimum freshness and a longer shelf life.

What makes them extra special, however, is the availability of over two hundred flavors – a flavor for everyone. Light roast, medium roast, dark roast, espresso roast, regular coffee, flavored coffee, caffeinated, decaf, latte's, and hot chocolate are some of the most popular flavors of all-time.

If you’re an adventurous coffee lover, who is up for a new flavour each day, then K-cups will offer you the perfect fit.

Nespresso Capsules

nespresso cups

Nespresso capsules are made mainly out of Aluminium and food-grade lacquer. Unlike K-cups, they are only a handful of flavors to choose from. However their quality is high and every flavour is loved by coffee fiends. Each cup of nespresso contains a unique layer of crema that is often lacked in home-made espressos.

Let’s have a look at the 4 main types of Nespresso capsules.

Also Read: Best Nespresso Capsules and Pods

Espresso Capsules – Available in 6 different types, these are the traditional, high-quality coffee enjoyed by almost anyone.

Pure Origine Capsules – Available in 3 different types, these are espressos that will take you to the Italian countryside.

Decaffeinato Capsules – Available in 3 different types, the flavours are designed specifically by Nespresso.

Lungo Capsules – Uses twice the amount of water, and time as an espresso. It’s less strong, but more bitter than an espresso.

Coffee Brands

Both Keurig and Nespresso tried fruitlessly to eliminate competition from off-brand manufacturers. Keurig even went to the level of sealing off non-branded k-cups, perhaps with the intention to follow the footsteps of Apple, only to have a backlash from customers.

Today, however, Keurig coffee machines are compatible with k-cups from brands such as Green Mountain, Caribou, Donut Shop, Tully's, Twinings, Folgers, Celestial Seasonings, and Starbucks. Some models, like the Keurig K55 welcome any coffee pod, regardless of the brand.

Nespresso machines, on the other hand, welcome pod coffee from the famous espresso brands such as Brazilian Dulsao, Ethiopian Bukeela, Colombian Rosabaya, Indian Indriya, Hawaiian Kona and Maragogype Special Reserves.

If you already have developed a strong liking to coffee from any of these brands, then take it into consideration before you choose your machine.

Variety

Keurig has always been for the ones who love variety. Apart from the hundreds of different flavours found in k-cups, Keurig machines can brew tea, hot chocolates and other hot drinks or just plain hot water. If your partner isn’t a big fan of coffee, perhaps with Keurig, you won’t have to invest in two separate machines.

Nespresso, on the other hand, is specialized to brew only coffee, particularly espressos. Additionally, some models with milk systems can even brew cappuccino Decaffeinato. It’s true that Nespresso offers only a limited variety of caffeinated beverages, but if you’re a coffee fanatic who doesn’t settle for anything less than original Italian coffee, then the lack of variety will not serve as a disappointment.

Coffee Quality

Which machine makes better coffee?

This has been a frequently asked question and the answer could make a world of difference.

As mentioned previously, Nespresso capsules are specifically designed for espresso lovers and they add only a meagre amount of additives. This pretty much explains why they don’t have as many flavors as Keurig does, so they manage to brew coffee with a creamy froth that represents the likings of most espresso snobs.

If you’re a fan of authentic espresso, then you need to be buying a Nespresso.

Nespresso coffee

Keurig, on the other hand, has a variety of coffee flavors that would once have been impossible to be flavoured with coffee. So their pods and blended, and not 100% coffee. But then again, the taste depends entirely on the pods you choose, which means the quality of the final cup is a direct result of the pod. So you need to test them out and handpick the best ones that serve your liking.

Brewing Time

Machines from both brands are considered to be the industry’s fastest; Nespresso usually takes about 25 seconds to brew a good shot of espresso, which is only a few seconds faster than Keurig. However the brewing time depends mainly on the type of coffee being brewed.

Some flavors of coffee take more time. Lungos, for example, take double the time of a normal coffee. So the brew time is not something you need to be worrying about because both machines are known to be fast and efficient.

Aesthetics and Design

Dubbed as the ‘Apple iPhone of Coffee Makers’, the manufacturers have gone into great detail when designing the Nespresso machines, making them stand elegantly out in the market for single-serve coffee makers.

They come in many colors, and are usually compact so that they could fit under any kitchen cabinet, with a colour to go in line with your kitchen deco. Most of the machines have a built-in capsule drawer as well, and it can collect up to 10 capsules before having to be manually cleaned.

Contrastingly, Keurig machines are simpler, and they have a no-frills-no-fuss design. Almost all the models look the same, with the typical Keurig design, and their signature logo right on top.

keurig 2.0

They often tend to vary only in size and the control panel. Usually these machines come with a single or a few button control mechanisms. 

However the latest models have a sleek touch control system.

Bells and Whistles

When buying a Keurig, you can expect a high-capacity reservoir, auto-off function, brew strength controls, light indicators, descaling option, a removable drip tray to accommodate travel mugs and varying pod sizes. Certain models even boast temperature controls and digital clocks.

Nespresso machines have the same set of functions too, except for a large reservoir, brew strength controls and varying pod sizes. They have substituted the convenience of a reservoir over the convenience of size. Additionally, most Nespresso models come with a capsule drawer, and a wonderful milk-frother that enables you to brew milk-based coffees without making a fuss.

Cost Effectiveness

Keurig is the winner in terms of cost-effectiveness. Not only are their machines, but also most of their pods are less expensive than Nespresso. The biggest selling point in terms of cost effectiveness however, is the ability to use ground coffee. Even if you run out of pods, or decide to cut short on your coffee expenses, you can still use the machine to brew coffee using ground coffee of your choice.

Nespresso, however, is not compatible with ground coffee.You will always need pods if you want the machine to run.

While is true that Nespresso machines are far sleeker and sturdier-looking that Keurig, keep in mind that the aesthetics come at a cost.

 If you have the extra cash, and don’t mind spending them on a high-end brand, then we hold nothing back in recommending you a Nespresso machine.

Warranty and Build Quality

Both Keurig and Nespresso machines don’t come with longer warranties. Only a few Nespresso models have 2-year limited warranties while all Keurig models have only a year-long limited warranty.

This, however, doesn’t mean Nespresso is superior to Keurig.

While it is true that they feel sturdier and bulkier than Keurig, Keurig models do live long. Proper maintenance is the key. Use descaling solutions frequently and keep the machines clean after every use. Only then will both brands live up to your expectations.

To understand these machines better, let’s have a look at two of the famous models from each brand.

Best of the Best

Feature/ Model

Keurig B70 Platinum

Similarities

Single-serve

Single-serve

Aesthetics and Design

Classic compact and portable design with the availability of multiple colors.

Signature Keurig design

Bells and Whistles

24-oz water tank, auto-off, hinged drip tray,

60-oz water reservoir, one-touch LCD panel, adjustable temperature control, auto-off feature, digital clock.

Variety

Espresso and lungo.

Coffee (K-cup as well as ground coffee), tea, and other hot beverages with 5 different cup sizes.

Coffee Quality

Rich espressos with crema

Optimum-quality flavored coffees and teas

Brew Time

About 25 seconds

Less than 30 secs

Cost Effectiveness

Low initial cost

Average initial cost

Noise

Loud

Ultra quiet

Warranty

1-year Limited warranty

1-year Limited warranty

Best Value for the Money

Feature/ Model

Similarities

Single-serve

Single-serve

Aesthetics and Design

Compact, futuristic design

Signature Keurig design

Bells and Whistles

Milk frother, folding drip tray, 24-oz water reservoir, Backlight indicators, water level detection, auto power-off, used capsule container, convenient power cord storage

48-oz water reservoir, descaling, auto-off, removable drip tray.

Variety

Espresso and lungo.

Coffee, tea, and other hot beverages with 3 different cup sizes.

Coffee Quality

Perfect shot of espresso

Optimum-quality flavored coffees and teas of any K-cup brand

Brew Time

About 30 seconds

Less than one minute

Cost Effectiveness

Expensive

Low cost

Noise

Ultra quiet

Quiet

Warranty

2-year Limited warranty

1-year Limited warranty

Who Should Choose Keurig

If you have an eclectic taste for coffee, then keep in mind that Keurig agrees with you. They allow you to sample a variety of coffee flavors from not only popular brands but also from off-branded pods that are often cheap, and rich in flavors.

Other beverages such as tea, hot chocolates can also be brewed from a Keurig, and that has been their biggest game changer for years. So our entire comparison boils down to your taste buds, and what they actually demand.

If they’re adventurous and love testing out different varieties of coffees, teas and other hot beverages from a low price point, then Keurig will perfectly fit the bill.

Who Should Choose Nespresso?

If you’re a firm believer that authentic Italian espressos are something out of this world, then keep in mind that Nespresso is the specialist at brewing it. It can jolt you awake and get you going with its rich cup of strong, dark espresso.

The models with milk frothers can brew you milk-based coffees too, and the latest Nespresso machines claim to be good at brewing regular coffee as well. So you can now brew not only espressos and lungos, but also milk-based coffees and just plain, regular coffee.

Though Nespresso is comparatively more expensive than Keurig machines, for a real espresso lover, splurging a little more is next to nothing.

A Few Final Words

Neither Keurig, nor Nespresso is superior to one another.

Though they compete in the same industry, they differ in what they specialize in, so a choice between the two becomes less difficult.

All you need is to discover what type of coffee you prefer, and in the answer to that question will lay the ideal brand.

Happy Brewing!


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Avatar for Dennies John

Dennies is the founder and editor-in-chief of Dripped Coffee. He is a trained barista who knows coffee like the back of his hand. When he's not brewing coffee, you can find him fishing or swimming.

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