Five of the best coffee capsules for your machine

If you’re like me, you need a hit of caffeine first thing in the morning to function.

And while we’d love to spend our days roasting and grinding our own beans and labouring over latte art, most of us simply don’t have the time. We won’t speak of instant or sachet coffee here, but an acceptable alternative is of course a coffee pod machine.

And it’s not just Nespresso making these handy little capsules – countless brands have jumped on board, with all sorts of coffee genres and flavours available in pod form.

A spokesperson for Nespresso says it’s not recommended to use alternative capsules in your Nespresso machine. “However, we know people still do.”

It goes without saying that the best pods are recyclable and preferably aluminium – there’s nothing like that satisfying pop as the coffee pours into your cup.

So, which one best emulates your morning flat white? I put five popular brands to the test to find the best alternatives to your cafe coffee.

Nespresso

It’s hard to go past the original Nespresso pod – but I decided to branch out a little bit and test out one of their organic options, Kahawa ya Congo. It promises a smooth, balanced and fruity coffee.

While some pod coffees can leave you with a flat, metallic taste in your mouth, this one didn’t disappoint. It’s one strong cuppa coffee, even when topped with generous amounts of frothy milk. It definitely woke me up on a sleepy Friday afternoon.

These pods are at the pricier end of the spectrum but compared to the price of a cafe coffee they are still great value.

$14 for a pack of 10

Allpress

This New Zealand coffee roastery makes one of my favourite cafe coffees – so when they released their own version of a coffee pod last month, I was curious to see if it could match their espresso.

Allpress head roaster Zach Dowse says the company wanted to challenge the status quo as “we didn’t feel like most pods met our expectations when it came to flavour”, while Michael Allpress claims they’ve created the best coffee capsule on the market.

Turns out they could be on to something – this blend of their Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Sumatra coffees is absolutely delicious.

$12.50 for a pack of 10

Starbucks

The Starbucks by Nespresso pods are, in fact, better than Starbucks coffee. Controversial, I know. These are a surprisingly good substitute for a latte – I tried the house blend lungo, a medium-intensity coffee with toffee notes.

And if you really want that desserty Starbucks experience, you can add a dash of vanilla or caramel syrup to your coffee shot and get the best of both worlds. No need to drop an extra dollar on a flavour shot at a cafe.

$8.50 for a pack of 10 at Countdown

Mövenpick

I know what you’re thinking, Mövenpick does ice cream. And boy, do they do it well. But it turns out the Swiss company has quietly produced a really delicious capsule coffee as well.

My capsule of choice is their Intenso flavour, also available in Classico, Crema, Ristretto and even Decaf if you’re trying to cut back on caffeine.

Now if only it tasted like ice cream. Affogato, anyone?

$8.19 for a pack of 10 at New World

illy

Coffee aficionados know Italian coffee makers do it differently – they dark roast it until the oils in the beans begin to caramelise.

Italian coffee company illy makes pretty much every form of coffee under the sun, and they’ve managed to pack that flavour into a coffee pod. The result is a delicious cup with that hint of caramel we know and love.

$9 for a pack of 10 at Countdown

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