There are so many brands of coffee maker and pods on the market these days, it can be hard to know where to start. Two of the most popular brands in the US are Nespresso and Keurig, with both bringing unique features to the market. It can be hard to compare which one dominates in the Nespresso vs Keurig comparison, as Keurig is mainly US focused and Nespresso is global.
This article will take a look at each aspect of the brands including the coffee makers, pods, prices, taste of coffee, and environmental impact of both. This will help you understand about the brands and also make an informed purchase decision.
- What is the Difference Between Keurig and Nespresso?
- Nespresso Background
- Keurig Background
- Nespresso VS Keurig
- Coffee Pods
- Taste – Winner Nespresso
- Environment & Recycling – Winner Nespresso
- Who Wins – Nespresso vs Keurig
- Is a Nespresso Machine Better Than a Keurig?
- The Final Sip
What is the Difference Between Keurig and Nespresso?
Nespresso and Keurig are two of the most popular coffee maker brands. Both offer a variety of machines and coffee pods to choose from.
The brands differ in how they work and what type of coffee they make. Nespresso is a capsule-based system, meaning that the machine must be used with compatible capsules to work. These pods contain both the ground coffee and the water needed to make a single cup of espresso or another type of drink (depending on the capsule). Keurig, on the other hand, lets you use any K-Cup pod with your machine; making it more versatile but also limiting your options if you want to stick with one brand.
The two companies are radically different in terms of their product lines and business models. For instance, Nespresso does not manufacture any other products aside from the coffee maker itself while Keurig makes all sorts of other kitchen appliances that can be used to brew coffee. It’s also worth noting that Nespresso focuses on making high-quality espresso, while Keurig focuses more on commercial grade coffees like pour-over or cold brews.
Nespresso is a European-based company that has been around for over 35 years. Nespresso manufactures affordable coffee machines, capsules, and other coffee accessories. One of the biggest advantages of purchasing a Nespresso machine is getting a rich and bold shot of espresso. Nespresso’s machines are designed to be compact and have a very sleek feature that adds aesthetic value to your kitchen.
One disadvantage that Nespresso has over Keurig machines is that they only have one type of coffee espresso and there is no other option for you. Although this might seem upsetting, if you want to own a high-quality machine and money is not an issue, then investing in a Nespresso machine is a smart move.
Another disadvantage when it comes to Nespresso machines is that pods are expensive compared to buying whole beans, but this does not mean that it’s altogether bad since the pods offer great convenience, so you won’t have to deal with the extra step of grinding and measuring your coffee grounds.
Related: Best Nespresso Coffee Makers 2022
Keurig is an American-based company founded in Massachusetts in 1998. Keurig manufactures all sorts of coffee makers, including single-serve ones, pod brewers, and specialty brewers.
Keurig machines offer a compact and convenient way to brew a cup of coffee. Their small size makes them perfect for homes and offices. They also provide variety by allowing you to choose from different blends and flavors.
On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to this machine as well. Some people say that the coffee is not as good as other brewing methods because it’s too hot and has a watery consistency.
Nespresso VS Keurig
There are many different areas to look at where comparing these 2 brands. We added a quick reference table below
Quality of Machines
Price of Machines
Range of Models
Environment & Recycling
The first part we are going to look at is the actual coffee makers themselves. There are many different options to choose from, some are single serve pod machines, some are carafe style drip makers, and some are designed for larger pods. Each brand comes with different machines that have different aspects of price, quality, performance, and more.
- Nespresso Essenza Mini – $169
- Nespresso Vertuo Plus by De’Longhi – $145
- Nespresso Vertuo Next by De’Longhi – $169.99
- Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee Maker with Aeroccino Milk Frother – $219
- Nespresso Original Espresso Machine by De’Longhi – $131
- Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker – $79
- Keurig K-Express Coffee Maker – $79.99
- Keurig K-Supreme Plus SMART Coffee Maker – $199.99
- Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker – $119
- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker – $74.96
Quality of Machine – Winner Nespresso
If you are spending money on a coffee maker, you don’t want to invest $100 into a cheap, plastic unit that feels like it’s going to break every time you touch it. That’s why when comparing Nespresso vs Keurig, it is beneficial to look at the quality of the machines they offer.
Nespresso’s coffee makers are manufactured in Switzerland, where they are upheld to extremely high standards of production. The coffee makers are generally made of stainless steel, hardened plastic, and matte/chrome plastics.
The general build of the Nespresso coffee makers is good. Parts do not feel flimsy and buttons are responsive. When you add in the collaborations with top brands such as Breville and De’Longhi, there is an even higher quality of machine.
It is also worth noting that Nespresso coffee makers generally last longer than Keurig.
Keurig coffee makers are primarily manufactured in China and are similar to Nespresso, where they are made of stainless steel and plastics. Keurig have come under fire for their use of plastics and have committed to using less ‘virgin’ plastic in their machines.
When it comes to the build of Keurig coffee makers, it seems as though they are more budget style machines. The buttons can be cheap, the mechanism can feel flimsy, and as they are made of lighter plastic, they do not last as long as Nespresso makers.
Overall, we think Nespresso wins this one as the manufacturing standards are not as high in China, where there is also a lower drive to use sustainable materials in their production. Keurig machines also feel cheaper and more ‘budget’.
Price of Machines – Winner Keurig
Price is one of the key purchasing decisions when it comes to coffee makers. You should understand that generally, the higher the cost, the better the product. But that doesn’t mean that a budget coffee maker will not do what it’s supposed to do.
Nespresso machines can be fairly expensive, but you are paying for a higher quality machine. At the lower end of the price scale, you are looking at around $140+ for an adequate coffee maker. But this can go up to $300 or more depending on how sophisticated you want it to be.
Keurig machines cost much less. This could be down to the manufacturing in China and cheaper materials, but you can pick a Keurig coffee maker up for around $70. If you manage to stumble across a good sale, this could even be as low as $40.
Due to the lower cost of the machines, it’s a no-brainer that Keurig wins here. However, remember that with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
Range of Models – Winner Keurig
It may not be a decisive purchasing factor, but it can be useful to know how many options each brand has if you are sticking with one ecosystem. For example, if you had a Nespresso club subscription and hundreds of pods, switching to Keurig would mean you lose the rewards and couldn’t use the pods.
There are over 25 Nespresso machines available. This isn’t as many as Keurig, but the machines they have are high-quality. They also have a selection of partnered-brand machines such as the Breville and De’Longhi.
Keurig has over 85 coffee makers that you can choose from. However, some are for ground coffee and have a drip function rather than coffee pods. So their variety is much larger with the addition of extra brewing methods that Nespresso doesn’t have.
Keurig wins this one again, as they have more of a selection and multiple brewing types to choose from.
Design – Winner Nespresso
While the main purpose of a coffee maker is to make good coffee, save money, and speed brewing up, one of the main aspects people look for is the design. When you spend time working on your kitchen decor, it is important to have a coffee maker that fits in. Also, if you have a coffee bar, it has to be the right color to match everything.
Nespresso coffee makers are usually very slim, even the ones with the milk frothing attachments. They generally come in black, white, or silver, and have a slimline body with a larger head (where the pods go). The design is very sleek and will fit in well with your kitchen decor.
If you are looking for more color options, then Keurig should be the choice for you. They have a large selection of colors including red, blue, yellow, and many more. Unfortunately, the design of the actual machine is more ‘clunky’ than the Nespresso machines, and they do not look as sleek due to the cheaper plastics used in manufacturing.
When it comes to Nespresso vs Keurig, Nespresso takes the lead in design. Its machines are sleek, slimline, and look a much higher quality.
Cleaning – Winner Nespresso
Every coffee maker needs to be cleaned and descaled. The ones that cost more, with more functions, typically require more cleaning and maintenance. Some can be relatively hard to do without following step-by-step guides. Thankfully, Nespresso and Keurig coffee makers do not require complex maintenance and cleaning.
Both Nespresso and Keurig coffee makers need to be descaled every 6 months, their parts need detaching and washing regularly, plus the outsides/drip trays need cleaning daily. Descaling is usually done with a pre-bought kit.
Nespresso is the winner when it comes to cleaning as it actually has a descaling mode built in.
Performance – Winner Keurig
When we talk about performance, it mainly focuses on the outcome of the coffee, how well the machine works, how quickly it makes coffee, how noisy it is, and easy it is to operate. There are many more things to consider if you want to get technical, which would include energy consumption, pressure, water temperature, etc. However, this is a basic comparison and does not go that in-depth.
When it comes to quality of coffee, Nespresso produces a great tasting brew. Especially with their single origin capsules. A downside to this is that your cup size will not be as big. Nespresso coffee makers have smaller water tanks and focus more on espresso based drinks.
It can take anywhere from 20 seconds to 2 minutes to brew a coffee with Nespresso, depending on the complexity of the drink. It may take longer if you decide to use the milk frother and make a milk-based coffee.
When it comes to ease of use, Nespresso is basic and has a compartment for pods, a water tank, and 2-3 buttons. There is nothing fancy about it, you can make your coffee at the touch of a button without having to mess around with settings and other factors of coffee making.
Now, Keurig coffee pods produce a full cup of coffee and have a larger selection available, however, the quality isn’t up to par with Nespresso. The coffee can be slightly weaker and not as flavorful as Nespresso pods. The benefit with Keurig is that you can actually have a large cup of coffee.
Keurig can take around 30 seconds to 2 minutes to brew coffee, depending on the cup size and machine. However, while this may seem similar to Nespresso, you have to remember that Keurig prepares a full cup of coffee, so it is actually faster.
It is still easy to use Keurig coffee makers, however, there are many more options to choose from on some models. For example, some have LCD displays, coffee strength and cup size options. There can also be the option of timers and auto-brew on some machines.
The performance comparison is just a general basis on the majority of coffee makers, individual models may vary and have different performance benefits/flaws. But overall, Keurig just takes the edge with some of its smart features and different coffee options.
Price of Pods – Winner Keurig
Regardless of which pods are lower here, you will still save more money over purchasing a coffee from a physical location such as Starbucks. It is also worth noting that we are not including third-party coffee pods into this mix or reusable pods. This is for the branded pods that are sold specifically for these machines.
Nespresso has two types of pods, the Vertuo range and the Original pods. Vertuo capsules allow for a larger and bolder coffee, plus they have a scanning system that prevents third party capsules from being used in the machine, keeping you in the Nespresso ecosystem.
- Original – From $0.70 to $1 for a pod. Generally come in sleeves of 10 at $10+.
- Vertuo – From $0.95 to $1.50 for a pod. Generally come in sleeves of 10 at $7+.
Keurig only has the one type of capsule and it is the K-Cup. However, you will find there are various different brands of K-Cups, unlike Nespresso. For example, there is McDonald’s, Green Mountain, Newmans, and Cinnabon.
- K-Cups – From $0.30 – $0.70 for a pod. Come in a range of pack sizes.
Keurig is a winner here, just because the cost is much lower. We are not using taste as a factor in this section!
Range of Pods – Draw
If you are investing in a coffee maker, you want to be sure that there are enough coffee options for you to choose from. If you are just looking for a black coffee, with no preference on taste or selection, then this section won’t matter to you. For coffee lovers, it is always great to have options of coffee from different origins and different varieties.
Unfortunately, Nespresso has fewer options available, as their pods are made specifically for Nespresso machines. That being said, there is actually more variety with Nespresso pods. For example, they have coffees from Peru, Indonesia, Jamaica, and also have sweeter coffees such as vanilla, caramel, and hazelnut.
This is excluding the limited edition and special edition ranges they have, and update regularly. You also have the option of choosing different strength coffee pods. With Nespresso, the pod selections have more of a premium feel.
Keurig does have a very large selection of K-Cup pods available, this is down to the many brands it has acquired and partnered with. For example, you have the options of McDonald’s pods, Dunkin’ Donuts, Peets, Folgers, Krispy Creme, and more.
There is definitely a wider selection here, and you can choose the K-Cups that match your preferred roast type and coffee blend. You also have the option of trying different brands to see what their coffees taste like.
This one was too hard to call. Nespresso has more of a premium range available and seems to focus on the quality of coffee rather than the quantity. Whereas Keurig is more about the variety and different named brand offerings.
Taste – Winner Nespresso
One of the most important factors when it comes to picking a brand is the taste of the coffee. This one was difficult because Nespresso has their own range of pods and that’s it, whereas Keurig has a range of different pods from different brands. So it can be hard to judge to the taste.
What’s important to remember here is that coffee pods are brewed in seconds using pressure and water flow, this doesn’t allow for a long coffee bloom or extraction, so taste wouldn’t be as impactful as a drip coffee or other longer brewing coffee methods.
The thing that we are looking at in regard to taste is the actual coffee that comes out of the machine, not the pod.
Nespresso’s coffees are rich and strong. This is mainly due to the fact that they brew shorter cups with less water, so the coffees are more flavorful and do not taste watered down. The aromas are strong, and you can definitely notice the different notes in the coffees.
Keurig’s coffees are slightly weaker and bitter. They use more water to make a ‘fuller cup’ which could make the coffee slightly watered down. You can’t really notice the aroma of the coffees as much as Nespresso, but it can depend on the type of the coffee.
Nespresso is the clear winner here as they invest into their own premium coffees and care about the taste of their product.
Environment & Recycling – Winner Nespresso
A big focus in the world and for companies is the environment. It is important for consumers that the brands they purchase from are focused on sustainability, recycling, and protecting the Environment. This includes everything from manufacturing to where they source the coffee.
Firstly, Nespresso has a great recycling program for their aluminum pods. In fact, they provide recycling bags with purchases and encourage machine owners to return their used pods to one of the ‘88,000 UPS drop-off points or any Nespresso Boutique’. These recycled capsules get used for the creation of other products. The coffee in the recycled pods is even recycled back into the earth and used for composting.
Nespresso collaborates with and supports a number of different rainforest and coffee organizations to support growth, protection, and sustainability. They also ensure that their machines brew with such precision that reduces their carbon footprint as much as possible.
Keurig came under fire for their poor focus on environmental impact of the K-Cup pods. These pods were hard to recycle and ended up in landfills, which is bad for the environment. However, they have since adjusted manufacturing and now all K-Cups are recyclable, helping the company shift focus to sustainability.
As a brand they have a high focus on achieving global environmental goals by 2030, but at this time, they still have a lot of work to do.
Nespresso is the winner here due to their excellent recycling program. Both still have a huge amount of work to do, but Nespresso is ahead of the game.
Who Wins – Nespresso vs Keurig
Nespresso is better than Keurig when it comes to quality of coffee and the high-quality coffee makers they produce. However, if you are looking for a variety in coffee brands and a budget coffee maker, then Keurig may be your preferred option.
If you are going to invest in a coffee maker and a brand, we recommend Nespresso. The flavors and selection of their coffees are excellent, and you will get a high-quality machine, even if it costs you a little more initially.
Ultimately, whichever one you choose, you might not even notice the difference between the coffees. It depends on how much of a coffee fanatic you are. If you just want a coffee maker for convenience and don’t care about much else, go for the budget Keurig option.
Is a Nespresso Machine Better Than a Keurig?
Keurig and Nespresso are both well-known coffee machine brands. Both have a wide range of products to offer. It is difficult to tell which is better, as both have their pros and cons.
While Keurig coffee makers are cheaper, the quality of the coffee it makes is not as good as Nespresso’s. They don’t have a wide variety of drinks to offer either. In terms of durability, Nespresso seems to be more reliable, as they last longer than Keurig machines do.
Nespresso also has a variety of machines that consumers can choose from depending on their budget, preference, and needs – from low-priced ones for those who want a cup or two a day, to more extravagant ones for those who drink coffee every hour on the hour.
The Final Sip
With Nespresso vs Keurig, our decision was Nespresso for the quality, performance, and design. If you have any thoughts on which one is better, let us know below.