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Nespresso vs Keurig: Which Single Serve Coffee Maker Is Right For You?

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This is our review of Nespresso vs Keurig brands to determine which one is right for you and what sets them apart from each other.
Nespresso vs Keurig

I’m a long-time coffee enthusiast who has tried and tested countless machines over the years. Each coffee maker has its own nuances and picking which one is best for your specific needs can be challenging, especially when there is so much choice!

Both Nespresso and Keurig are massively popular and create machines that are at the top of the single-serve coffee game.

When it comes to picking a winner between single-serve coffee makers from Nespresso vs Keurig, the Nespresso Vertuo is the clear winner for exceptional coffee every time. It is slightly pricier but makes the brewing process extremely simple with one-touch brewing.

Let’s get started with an in-depth look at what sets these brands apart.

At A Glance Comparison

Winner
Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Maker by De'Longhi
Keurig K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker
Product
Product
Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Maker by De'Longhi
Keurig K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker

Keurig is the most popular single-serve coffee company, dominating the market with its pods and coffee makers available pretty much everywhere.

They offer an extensive range of pods for all roasts, flavors, and caffeine preferences. Ranging from a dark roast all the way to a hot cocoa pod, you’ll never get bored with so many options. 

Keurig specializes in single-serve coffee makers and has the ability to create coffee shots, lattes, cappuccinos, regular coffee, iced beverages and so much more.

Nespresso is also well known but holds a much smaller share of the single-serve market. Most people know the name, but they don’t realize that these machines make some of the best-tasting coffee at home.

While Keurig has an extensive line of machines, a Nespresso machine comes in two models: OriginalLine and VertuoLine. The OriginalLine only brews espresso, while VertuoLine brews both espresso and regular coffee.

If you want a luxury coffee maker to make milk drinks, you can upgrade to the Nespresso Evoluo with Aeroccino.

About Nespresso

About Nespresso

Nespresso, based in Switzerland, is part of the Nestlé Group. [1] In 1975, a Nestlé employee noticed that coffee bars were hugely popular in Italy and suggested that the company start manufacturing machines of their own. 

It took decades before the large Nespresso prototypes were ready for home consumers. The first line of machines only brewed espresso, but as Nespresso became popular in the United States, the demand for single-serve coffee makers grew. The VertuoLine machines launched in 2014 and eventually, the company became what it is today.

It has since spread across Europe and has a smaller presence within the American market.

About Keurig

Keurig started in Massachusetts in 1992, though they didn’t launch their machines and k-cups until 1998. [2] The company originally geared its coffee machines to office environments. Instead of leaving a pot of coffee on the burner for hours, the founders wanted an option to brew fresh coffee easily throughout the day.

The first Keurig for home use wasn’t out until 2004. Though Nespresso already made single-serve machines and pods, they didn’t seem accessible to American coffee fans, so Keurig ended up dominating the market.

In-Depth Feature Comparison: Nespresso Vertuo vs Keurig K-Café

There’s a lot to consider when picking a coffee maker or pod machine. In this section, we use the Nespresso Vertuo vs Keurig K-Café to benchmark and represent the best of each brand and what makes each shine.

Keep reading for the full breakdown to ensure you make the best choice.

Cost And Budget

Nespresso and Keurig both have large ranges of coffee machines. When it comes to price, if you’re looking for a budget option Keurig is a lot cheaper overall, ranging from $70 to $200. It also comes with more bells and whistles for its price point. 

It’s important to note that there is a trade-off, a cheaper machine does mean a lower brew quality in this case. However, Keurig is still a worthy competitor.

Nespresso machines are typically more expensive overall, ranging from $150 to $300. This cost is justified by their premium build quality and materials. This means your machine will last you a lot longer with no problems.

When it comes to cost, we also need to consider the cost per cup as this can add up over time. Keurig pods can range from $0.35 to $0.65 per pod, whilst Nespresso capsules are slightly more expensive at $0.90 to $1.35 per pod.

All in all, if you’re looking for a more premium and reliable machine the Nespresso Vertuo is the right choice. But when it comes to budget the Keurig K-Café is the clear winner with low upfront and maintenance costs.

You might find that the Keurig K-Café is still too expensive for you. In that case, you can check out some other Keurig models. There are plenty on the market that can brew a quick cup of coffee without breaking the bank.

Winner: Keurig

Brew Quality

Brew Quality

Nespresso pods are superior in terms of brew quality because of the technology involved. The machine scans the barcode included on each capsule and adjusts its brew settings automatically.

This method ensures you get the best cup of coffee each time, with no fuss on your part.

Of course, Keurig coffee also has robust flavors. The machine brews coffee by punching a single hole in the lid and forcing the water through it. 

Nespresso machines poke a hole in the center of the lid but also puncture many holes around the edge of the capsule to accentuate flavor and give you a beautiful crema on your espresso.

While the brew quality is great and gives you a strong cup of coffee or espresso, there are limits to your flavor selection when compared to k-cups.

If you’re only interested in coffee, then the Nespresso Vertuo is for you, hands down. But if you or anyone else in your household likes other flavored beverages, then Keurig K-Café wins for versatility. After all, you can find k-cups for hot cocoa, tea, lemonade, lattes, and more.

Still, in the interest of coffee lovers and coffee purists, I have to declare Nespresso Vertuo the winner in brew quality. Unless you’re a barista, you won’t likely get as delicious a shot of espresso at home as you will with this machine.

Winner: Nespresso

Environmental Impact

Both Keurigs and Nespresso have power-saving modes to decrease their energy use. Even if you don’t turn off the machine, they have an auto shut-off feature. The Keurig powers off after 2 hours without use, while the Nespresso turns off in less than 10 minutes.

It’s important to note that just because the auto shut-off time is longer it doesn’t necessarily mean it uses more energy. This can vary depending on the technology used in the machine and most are more energy efficient. Be sure to check this individually for each machine.

Nespresso makes aluminum coffee capsules using 95% recycled material and offers a recycling program. [3] If you have a Nespresso subscription, you can send back spent capsules when you get a new order too.

Otherwise, you can request free recycling bags that come with prepaid UPS labels. Put the pouch in a UPS dropbox, and they’ll head back to Nespresso for recycling. Easy as that!

Nespresso also sells compostable pods that don’t use any plastic to make recycling even easier.

For many years, Keurig k-cups weren’t recyclable. Now there are finally some lines that make recyclable and compostable k-cups. You typically have to take off the lid and rinse out the coffee grounds, but at that point, you can recycle it in your home bin.

Without question, Nespresso wins in terms of environmental impact. 

Winner: Nespresso

Cleaning And Maintenance

Cleaning is often the most tedious part when it comes to making a delicious brew. Luckily, when it comes to Nespresso and Keurig, both being single-serve machines make it extremely simple and easy.

Both machines have removable drip trays. They not only protect your countertops from coffee stains but also slide out easily for a rinse.

The frother on the Keurig K-Café is also removable, so you can take it off of the coffee machine to clean it. Even better than being able to remove it is that you can toss it in the dishwasher. This makes cleaning milk residue easier than ever.

Nespresso makes cleanup a breeze, too. In addition to a self-cleaning cycle, the Vertuo has a built-in capsule storage container. Once it’s done brewing, it disposes of the capsule itself. There’s no need for you to open the machine and pry out a hot capsule, as you do with the Keurig.

Of course, the capsule storage container fills up over time, so you’ll have to empty it periodically. But it’s nice not to need to remove the capsule after each cup of coffee.

Both machines are on pretty equal footing with cleaning and maintenance, but I have to give the win to Nespresso for the storage container and self-cleaning cycle.

Winner: Nespresso

Design And Aesthetics

Nespresso machines are minimalistic and streamlined, which ensures they fit in with any kitchen aesthetic. They’re compact and don’t have flashing lights or buttons breaking up the sleek lines.

Keurigs are bulkier and take up more counter space. Part of this size discrepancy is that they have larger water reservoirs. This is great as you won’t have to add water each time you want to brew a cup of coffee, but you’re going to have less counter area available. 

The K-Café has a frother, which also means that it occupies a lot of space. It’s optional to get a frother with the Nespresso Vertuo, which might seem like it’s creating the same problem as the K-Café. 

However, I found it to be a pro because the milk frother is separate. I can keep it stored away when I’m not using it, so it doesn’t take up permanent residence on my counter.

In terms of size and efficiency, the winner of this feature depends on your preference, counter-space, and coffee consumption.

Winner: Tie

Durability And Reliability

Nespresso and Keurig both make high-quality machines, but Nespresso edges out the competition here. Though their machines are pricier, Nespresso’s use of better materials makes them a long-term investment.

Keurig makes their machines with a lot of plastic, but they’ll still last a long time if you’re careful with them.

Winner: Nespresso

Ease Of Use

When it comes to ease of use, Nespresso is extremely tough to beat. They have a one-touch brewing system that automatically adapts the brewing parameters to each capsule for the best in-cup result. It does this by scanning each barcode on the pod to ensure a consistently delicious brew.

Keurigs on the other hand, are still very easy to use but give you more control. They have various buttons and it requires a little more work from you to set your brew preference. 

There are pros and cons to both. If you want a stress-free experience and a delicious brew the Nespresso is for you. If you prefer more control and customization then the Keurig may be better.

Nespresso originally manufactured machines to brew espresso only. Even as they expanded their product line to coffee makers, they kept the water reservoirs small, so you’ll have to refill it after every 4 to 5 cups.

Water reservoirs in Keurigs range from 24 to 40 ounces, so you won’t need to refill them as often.

Both coffee machines can come with milk frothers; Keurig has it attached, and Nespresso’s is optional. 

On the K Cafe, you can customize the frother settings as well. It can heat the milk and froth it enough for espresso-based drinks like lattes or cappuccinos.

The Nespresso Aeroccino frother has only one button, like the Vertuo itself. After you add the milk, you press the button, and the machine froths it. It doesn’t warm it, though, and there are no custom settings.

If you want the ease of brewing many cups of coffee without refilling the reservoir, you have to choose Keurig. The options with milk frothing are just the icing on the cake in terms of performance.

Winner: Nespresso

Innovation

Nespresso machines have a streamlined design with just one button necessary to brew the best coffee. Keurig has refined its coffee makers over the years to give brewers a chance to adjust their drink size, milk frothing, and more. Their controls are clearly labeled and easy to use.

The winner of this feature depends greatly on what you’re looking for. If you want the simplicity of a single button, Nespresso wins. If you like personalizing your brew and milk, then Keurig pulls into the lead.

Winner: Tie

Customer Service

Nespresso prides itself on customer service—anytime you call, you’re going to talk to a real person. This is helpful in case something goes wrong with your machine. 

Instead of trying to find the right search terms to troubleshoot online, just make a phone call and talk to someone who knows the equipment.

Keurig has service representatives available via phone as well, but they have significantly longer hold times.

Both companies offer warranties: Keurig with one year, Nespresso with two. That extra year under warranty and the exceptional customer service ensure Nespresso wins this round.

Winner: Nespresso

K-Cups vs Nespresso Capsules

When you buy a single-serve coffee maker, you need to think ahead about the coffee pods. 

Each capsule will make one cup, but the flavor and strength can differ according to the brand and variety of coffee you buy.

If you want more than one cup of coffee at a time, consider shopping for a larger machine like a 4 cup coffee maker.

Nespresso pods come in Ristretto, Espresso, and Lungo, which are short shots, regular shots, and long shots. Being able to brew your espresso in various ways at home gives you tons of options to customize your coffee flavor.

A k-cup, on the other hand, comes in one size. You can find espresso K-cups to brew stronger coffee, but it’s not the same as having the chance to select your brew.

Cost Per Cup

K-cup pods are more affordable compared to Nespresso capsules because so many third-party vendors make them. 

Since Keurig machines all use the same cup size, you can buy capsules from any brand and know that they’ll fit your coffee maker. You can also buy a reusable cup and add your own ground coffee.

Nespresso capsules, on the other hand, are a bit different, especially if you have a VertuoLine machine. These capsules have barcodes printed on them so the machine can optimize its brewing style for the coffee contained within.

If you get a Nespresso OriginalLine machine, you can find third-party capsules that will save you money in the long run.

Winner: Keurig

Caffeine Content

Nespresso capsules have about 165 milligrams of caffeine, though that varies depending on if you brew a Ristretto, Espresso, or Lungo. What’s more, your chosen blend will also influence the amount of caffeine in a cup. The lowest I found was 70 milligrams. [4]

Keurig’s have less caffeine overall, but the k-cup pods provide greater consistency across the blends. Each k-cup has anywhere from 100 to 140 milligrams of caffeine. You can always use your favorite ground coffee and fill reusable capsules to get your caffeine fix.

The winner here isn’t clear-cut in terms of Nespresso vs Keurig; it depends on what matters to you. If you value a solid caffeine kick, then Nespresso is the answer. But those capsules are expensive, so if you’re on a budget, Keurig does pull ahead.

Winner: Nespresso

Customer Reviews

Customer ratings are equal when it comes to Nespresso vs Keurig, with plenty of rave reviews to be found online. 

Keurig makes a variety of drinks, so you never get tired of your morning coffee. Nespresso makes espresso and coffee that tastes so great, you won’t miss your coffee shop visits.

Winner: Tie

Overall Winner

Choosing between Nespresso vs Keurig can be a tough choice, especially with so many machines and variables to consider. 

It comes down to a number of factors like cost, brew quality, cleaning and maintenance, ease of use, environmental impact, design, innovation, customer service, cost per cup, and caffeine content.

Keurig has more variety in the k-cups available, so if you like to try different coffees and beverages, you might prefer the K-Café. But if you want the best cup of coffee, you have to choose a Nespresso.

Coffee aficionados won’t regret investing in the Nespresso Vertuo. Though it’s an expensive machine with pricier capsules, you’re going to get great-tasting coffee or espresso with each cup. 

You can rationalize your purchase by realizing it’s massively cheaper than visiting a local coffee shop every day!

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