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The Seven Best Nespresso Vertuo Pods (Based On Many Nespresso Drinks)

Chocolatey, fruity, cereal notes… What’s your caffeine flavor of choice? Vertuo has tens of dozens of Nespresso pods. You have to think about the acidity and roast level, intensity, and how it pairs with ice and/or milk when choosing the best pod for you.

Here’s a round-up of the best Nespresso pods, complete with the info about each pod’s caffeine amount, roast level, and intensity, so you can choose which ones you’ll love best. 

This is based on months of testing Vertuo pods. This included keeping a spreadsheet with all the flavors, intensity levels, and my personal notes. I’ve gotten feedback from coffee-drinking friends, so I can have a more objective picture of how the pods taste.

Nespresso Vertuo boxes
Full disclosure: many, many Vertuo pods were consumed in preparation for this article

Let’s start caffeinating!

Individual Reviews: Best Nespresso Vertuo Pods

ImageProduct NameFeaturesPrice
Altissio

Altissio

  • Intensity Level: 9
  • Flavor Notes: Roasted and chocolatey
  • Cup size: 1.35 oz espresso
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Master Origin Mexico

Master Origin Mexico

  • Intensity Level: 7
  • Flavor Notes: Woody and earthy
  • Cup size: 7.7 oz coffee
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Melozio

Melozio

  • Intensity Level: 6
  • Flavor Notes: Nutty and balanced
  • Cup size: 7.7 oz coffee
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Intenso

Intenso

  • Intensity Level: 9
  • Flavor Notes: Roasted and chocolatey, brown sugar and caramel notes
  • Cup size: 7.7 oz coffee
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Ice Leggero

Ice Leggero

  • Intensity Level: Medium roast
  • Flavor Notes: Fruity and light
  • Cup size: 2.7 oz double espresso
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Caramel Cookie

Caramel Cookie

  • Intensity Level: Light to medium roast
  • Flavor Notes: Nutty and balanced, with almond, coconut, caramel, and biscuit aromas
  • Cup size: 7.7 oz coffee
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Toccanto

Toccanto

  • Intensity Level: 5
  • Flavor Notes: Candied and winey fruit notes
  • Cup size: 1.35 oz espresso
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Ethiopia

Ethiopia

  • Intensity Level: 4
  • Flavor Notes: Fruity and complex
  • Cup size: 5.07 oz Gran Lungo
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1. Altissio

Altissio pods

Altissio specs:

  • Intensity Level: 9
  • Flavor Notes: Roasted and chocolatey
  • Cup size: 1.35 oz espresso

Altissio Nespresso capsules are full-bodied and creamy, with an intensity level of nine (out of 13). These pods are made with Brazilian Robusta and Costa Rican Arabica coffee beans which give the coffee a cereal note. 

This is dark roast coffee, which gives it a full body and low acidity, and it’s served as an espresso size. The Altissio pod brews at a high temperature and has longer pre-wetting, which results in a thick crema with cereal notes. 

It can be too intense when drunk on its own, but Altissio pairs great with milk, so you can make a latte or a cappuccino

Altissio brews 1.35 oz espresso and has around 70 mg of caffeine. You can choose the decaf version if you want to cut down on caffeine.

Who is it for? Altissio is a great choice if you want a strong espresso that’s not too bitter. It’s also a good option if you want to make milk-based drinks. 




2. Master Origin Mexico

box of Master Origin Mexico pod

Master Origin Mexico specs:

  • Intensity Level: 7
  • Flavor Notes: Woody and earthy 
  • Cup size: 7.7 oz coffee

Mexico is the most popular Nespresso Vertuo pod in the Master Origin collection, and I could immediately taste why. This pod is a blend of hand-picked Arabica and double-washed Robusta, which gives the coffee a strong taste.

Mexico has a woody and earthy taste, with some bitterness in the aftertaste. This is a great choice if dark roasts are too intense for you and you want something milder.

Pro tip: Iced coffee drinkers will love this pod, as it pairs well with ice and doesn’t get too diluted. 

Mexico pods have around 200 mg of caffeine, so you shouldn’t have more than two a day. These Nespresso pods brew 7.7 oz coffee.

Who is it for? Mexico is a great choice if you don’t like darker roasts. You’ll get more subtle flavors in this Nespresso Vertuo pod but still have an intense coffee. 




3. Melozio

Melozio pods

Melozio specs:

  • Intensity Level: 6
  • Flavor Notes: Nutty and balanced
  • Cup size: 7.7 oz coffee

Melozio Nespresso Vertuo pods fall in the middle of the intensity range — they have an intensity level of six. These Nespresso coffee capsules use a blend of Brazilian and Central American Arabica, split roast coffee. Brazilian Bourbon coffee has rich cereal notes that are nicely balanced with the Central American Arabica. 

You’ll get a mellow, earthy taste on the first sip and a smooth aftertaste. There’s no bitterness or burnt flavors that you often get with darker roasts. 

Note: Melozio comes in three versions: Melozio, Melozio Boost, and Melozio Decaffeinato. Melozio has 170 mg of caffeine. Melozio Boost has the same taste but with 20% more caffeine (around 200 mg). This is a great choice for days you need an additional caffeine hit. Or, go for Melozio Decaffeinato if you’re trying to limit caffeine intake.

Who is it for? Melozio is a great well-rounded coffee. It’s a good choice if you want to avoid the bitter aftertaste of darker roasts. You can pair it with milk and get stronger biscuit notes. 




4. Intenso

Intenso pods

Intenso specs:

  • Intensity Level: 9
  • Flavor Notes: Roasted and chocolatey, brown sugar and caramel notes
  • Cup size: 7.7 oz coffee

Intenso Nespresso pods are a blend of South American varieties that are roasted longer for lower acidity. There’s Mexican and Latin American Arabica combined with rare Nicaraguan Robusta, which gives this coffee brown sugar and roasted notes. 

As the name says, this is intense long black coffee with a pleasant aftertaste and a thick crema. The intensity level is nine, so this is bold, dark, and strong coffee.

Who is it for? Intenso is the best choice of Nespresso Vertuo pods if you want a bold and strong coffee that doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste.




5. Ice Leggero

Ice Leggero pods

Ice Leggero specs:

  • Intensity Level: Medium roast
  • Flavor Notes: Fruity and light
  • Cup size: 2.7 oz double espresso

Ice Leggoro is made for iced coffee. Regular Nespresso capsules are hit and miss for making iced coffee and cold lattes, so Nespresso made Vertuo pods specifically for brewing over ice.

Ice Leggero Nespresso Vertuo pods have a good balance between bitterness and sweetness. These Nespresso capsules are made with light roast Ethiopian and Indonesian Arabicas. Ethiopian Arabica is sun-dried for up to a month. The farmers turn the coffee by hand to ensure it dries evenly. This results in a coffee with an orange blossom aroma and a sweet taste.

Ice Leggero Nespresso Vertuo pod brews 2.7 oz double espresso. These unflavored Vertuo coffee pods have up to 120 mg of caffeine.

Who is it for? Ice Leggero Nespresso capsules are the best choice if you like cold coffee drinks. You can use them to make an iced coffee or a cold latte.




6. Caramel Cookie

Caramel Cookie pods

Caramel Cookie specs:

  • Intensity Level: Light to medium roast
  • Flavor Notes: Nutty and balanced, with almond, coconut, caramel, and biscuit aromas
  • Cup size: 7.7 oz coffee

Caramel Cookie belongs to the Barista Creations line of Nespresso capsules. This is a mix of split roast, medium-dark Brazilian, and Ethiopian coffee with notes of coconut, almond, and biscuit. The flavor has a hint of caramel without being too overwhelming.

Caramel Cookie Nespresso pods brew 7.7 oz coffee and have around 170 mg of caffeine. 

Who is it for? Caramel Cookie is the best choice if you like flavored coffee. Moreover, these Vertuo pods are a perfect choice if you like to add syrups and creamers to your coffee.




7. Toccanto

Toccanto pod

Toccanto specs:

  • Intensity Level: 5
  • Flavor Notes: Candied and winey fruit notes
  • Cup size: 1.35 oz espresso

Toccanto Nespresso Vertuoline pods have a mix of Brazilian and Nicaraguan Arabica coffee beans, some of which went through a fermentation process. The coffee beans were split roasted, and the combination of light and dark roast makes the different origins noticeable in the cup.

These Nespresso capsules are aromatic and have a traditional dark roast flavor, while not being overpowering. The light roasts add candied and ripe fruity notes. The all-Arabica blend nicely balances high acidity and provides winey fruit notes to your palate. 

Toccanto brews 1.35 oz espresso and has 85 mg of caffeine.

Who is it for? Toccanto is the dark roast for people who don’t like dark roasts. It’s the best Nespresso Vertuo pod if you like coffee with a darker roast and a smooth taste with winey notes.




8. Ethiopia

boxes of Ethiopia pods

Ethiopia specs:

  • Intensity Level: 4
  • Flavor Notes: Fruity and complex
  • Cup size: 5.07 oz Gran Lungo

Ethiopia Nespresso capsules are great if you want a lighter drink. This is a flowery coffee that gets its fruitiness from the drying method. You’ll notice blueberry notes with some musk.

Ethiopia Nespresso capsules are made with Ethiopian Arabica and are sun-dried and then treated to a short, light roast, so they retain the more subtle flavors. The end result is fruity coffee with a noticeable sour note. There’s no bitterness, but the coffee has high acidity.

Ethiopia Nespresso pods brew 5.07 oz Gran Lungo and have 119 mg of caffeine. 

Who is it for? Ethiopia Nespresso capsules are best if you like a light roast and want to taste more delicate flavors. It’s also a good choice if you drink lattes and don’t want a strong coffee flavor.




Tips for Choosing Nespresso Vertuo Pods

Intensity and Roast Level

Nespresso has an intensity scale of 1 to 13. The lower the number, the lower the intensity (and the lighter the roast), and vice versa. 

The higher the intensity, the stronger the coffee flavor, so if you like intense coffee, go for an intensity level of eight or above. Or, if you like mild-tasting coffee, stick to coffees below six.

As for the roast level, there are three kinds of roasts: light, dark, and medium. The kind of roast depends on how long you roast the beans. There’s a whole science to roasting times, but it comes down to this: the fruity notes are more noticeable in light roasts and burnt notes in dark roasts.

The three different coffee roasts

Light roasts have the highest acidity and brighter flavors. The medium roast has medium acidity and a balanced flavor profile. Dark-roasted coffee has the lowest acidity and dark flavors.

Flavor Notes

Nespresso Vertuo pods have a huge range of flavor notes — everything from chocolatey, cereal, winey, candid, floral, and more. Flavor notes are a matter of personal preference, so choose Vertuo pods with flavors you like. Use the Counter Culture flavor wheel to link specific notes to broader flavors.

Be careful with flavor notes if you intend to make milk drinks and iced coffee. These dilute the coffee, and you won’t notice individual flavors, especially if you like to add syrups and creams to your drink. That’s why it’s better to choose dark roast Vertuo pods. These have a strong and rich flavor and handle milk and ice well.

Nespresso Vertuoline Pods Origin

There are several Vertuo pod collections:

  • Master Crafted Single Origin — These Nespresso Vertuoline pods are inspired by a country. You can choose single-origin pods from Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, and Colombia. 
  • Barista Creations — This range of Nespresso pods is created by the world’s finest baristas. The range is divided into:
    • Indulgent flavors: These are flavored pods, such as vanilla and caramel.
    • Crafted for milk: These pods are made for milk-based drinks.
    • Iced coffee: These pods are made to be brewed over ice.
  • Reviving Origin — This is a special Nespresso program that helps farmers preserve rare varieties. Currently, there’s only one pod in reviving origins: Amaha Awe Uganda, which contains special Uganda coffee with sandalwood notes.
  • Limited Editions — Nespresso releases limited edition pods from time to time, usually around holidays. Some limited edition Nespresso pods get re-released yearly.

Caffeine Levels

Nespresso Vertuoline pods have from 50 mg to 200 mg of caffeine. Generally, single espresso pods have lower amounts of caffeine — from 60 mg to 100 mg of caffeine. 7.7 oz pods have up to 200 mg, and Gran Lungo pods have from 120 mg to 200 mg of caffeine. Overall, there’s usually more caffeine than regular coffee.

Vertuo pods are made for large coffee drinks, so these pods have more caffeine than OriginalLine. 

Nespresso also has decaf and half-caff pod versions, which have lower amounts of caffeine. For example, a decaf Nespresso Vertuo pod can only have 12 mg of caffeine.

Cup Size

Vertuo pods are different sizes because these pods can brew different-sized drinks. You can get a Vertuo pod for:

  • Espresso 1.35 oz
  • Double Espresso 2.7 oz
  • Gran Lungo 5.07 oz
  • Coffee 7.7 oz
  • Pour over coffee (carafe) 18 oz
five different drink options for the Nespresso Vertuo machines



FAQ

What’s the difference between Vertuo and Original pods?

The difference between Vertuo and Original pods is in their shape and size. Vertuo pods are bowl-shaped and come in different sizes because Nespresso Vertuo machines can brew different coffee drinks. These pods have a barcode on the side, which the Nespresso machine reads and adjusts the brewing parameters. OriginalLine pods are cup-shaped and are all the same size because Original Nespresso machines only brew espresso drinks.

How much caffeine is in a Vertuo pod?

A Vertuo pod can have from 50 mg to 200 mg of caffeine. This depends on the pod size, dark or light roast, and intensity.

What’s the most popular Nespresso flavor?

The most popular Nespresso flavor is Melozio.

What happened to the Bianco Leggero pod?

Unfortunately, it was discontinued. Nespresso plans to launch new blends to replace it.




What’s the Best Nespresso Vertuo Pod for You?

Nespresso brews delicious coffee, but everyone has different coffee preferences. If you like intense coffee and bold flavors, stick to dark roast coffee and go for Altissio pods. If you like more mild and subtle coffee flavors, go for a medium or light roast and Melozio Nespresso capsule. Experiment with different pods until you find one that works best for you.

If you’re bored drinking the same coffee every day, check out our selection of the best Nespresso recipes for delicious coffee.

Marina Maletic

Marina Maletic

Marina comes from a family of coffee addicts, but she started to appreciate java fairly late — around 25 years old. Her coffee journey began by writing coffee articles. This led to buying her first coffee machine, where she fell in love with the drink that means so much to people all over the world. For the last five years, she starts every day by brewing a cup of coffee. Nowadays, if she’s not writing or thinking about coffee, she can be found trying out the latest social media coffee trend.

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