For the past few decades, single-serve coffee makers have grown immensely in popularity. If you are considering purchasing one for your home, there are two main brands to consider: Keurig vs. Nespresso. To narrow down your list, we listed the Nespresso machines we recommended in another article.
You may have already heard some positive or negative things about each brand, but the following guide will give you all the information you need to choose which brand is the perfect fit for your home.
What Is A Single-Serve Coffee Maker?
A single-serve coffee maker (Or pod coffee machine is a machine that prepares one cup of coffee. The manufacturers of these machines design them for extreme efficiency. With just the touch of a button – or a few buttons – you can set the machine to make your perfect cup of coffee.
Whether you have a Nespresso vs. Keurig, the single-serve coffee makers use small, pre-packaged coffee capsules. These may include pure coffee or are mixed with some flavors to get a café-style coffee. Either way, you just pop the pod in the machine, and you’ll have some coffee in a matter of minutes.
Nespresso is part of the Nesté company, which was founded in 1866. However, the Nespresso portion of the business didn’t emerge until 1986.
While the Nespresso headquarters are located in Switzerland, the idea for the Nespresso machines started in an Italian café where one of the Nestlé workers saw an innovative form of brewing coffee that created more oxidation and flavor. The company replicated that idea with the single-serve coffee machines and created a worldwide success.
You can now find Nespresso in 84 countries around the world. To give you an idea of their global success, they had a total of 10.8 billion dollars in 2013.
Even though Nespresso is more popular and has a high market share in Europe and Asia, they still have a strong presence in the United States. Most of their coffee makers stateside are made by the top brands in the coffee industry such as De’Longhi or Breville. Check our Nespresso Delonghi and Breville comparison for more details.
Even though Keurig is now a household name, it has only been around for about 30 years. Keurig, Inc. began in 1992, but they didn’t produce the first K-Cups until six years later. Even then the first models were mostly for office use. In 2004, the single-serve Keurig coffee machines that we know today became available for domestic use.
Ever since the launch of their first single-serve pod machine, Keurig has seen exponential success. Today, 27% of Americans use the single-serve machine, making it the second most popular type of coffee maker. Now they offer a variety of models in North America such as Keurig k-cafe, K-Elite, K-mini, K-Slim, K-DUO, and more.
Plus, Keurig had almost four billion dollars worth of net sales in the US during the year 2015. That number alone shows just how popular Keurig coffee machines have become in three short decades.
Nespresso vs. Keurig – Comparison
To settle the score on the Keurig vs. Nespresso debate, we’ll look at 10 different factors. Based on the following information, you can decide which brand is the winner for you.
1.Types of Coffee and Taste – Nespresso vs Keurig
Since the pod coffee maker designs from each company are quite similar, one of the biggest deciding factors between Nespresso and Keurig is the actual coffee.
Taste can be subjective; some people enjoy an extremely dark roast, while others prefer a latte. Plus, both brands of machines are compatible with capsules from various coffee companies. For example, you can buy Starbucks coffee pods for both Keurig and Nespresso machines. The question, therefore, is which brand has more flavor options.
Keurig specializes in flavored coffee. You can find every flavor of coffee imaginable, like cinnamon, latte, coconut, and pumpkin. Plus, they offer pods for other hot beverages when you aren’t in the mood for coffee.
Where Keuring leads in flavors, Nespresso excels in espresso pods. As the name suggests, Nespresso creates delicious espresso options. Both the original and Vertuo line offer a few Barista Creations that have interesting flavors, but the black coffee and espresso blends are the main focus. The Nespresso coffee looks and tastes very similar to authentic espresso, but much easier than using an espresso machine.
2.K-Cups vs. Nespresso Pods
Keurig boasts of an impressive lineup, which includes more than 400 K-Cup options. You can buy coffee pods with the original brand name, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, or you can choose from over 75 other coffee brands. Some popular options include Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Cinnabon, Caribou Coffee, and McCafé.
From the hundreds of options, you can select your favorite roast and flavor. The choices include everything from Blueberry to Pecan. Plus, with a Keurig single-serve coffee machine, you can brew various types of tea and hot chocolate.
Nespresso doesn’t have nearly as many brands or pod options, but they do offer a nice variety and high-quality pods. For the originalline espresso machines, you can choose between dozens of original Nespresso pods or third-party options from companies like Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee, and Bestpresso.
The new VertuoLine of pods is only compatible with the Vertuo pod coffee machine since they come in a different shape. Plus, each pod has a barcode unique to that particular roast and flavor that the Vertuo coffee maker scans. The barcode scanning technology gives information about the coffee drinks to the machine so it can brew it perfectly. We explained the differences between Nespresso Original vs Vertuo, check it out for more information.
The Keurig K-Cups come in five standard sizes. You may choose between the four, six, eight, 10, or 12-ounce options.
The Nespresso pods come in various sizes. In the OriginalLine, the Espresso pods contain 1.35 ounces of coffee, while the Lungo variety has 3.7 ounces. The Ristretto pods have only 0.84 ounces.
For the VertuoLine, the Espresso pods are the same size. The other options include the Gran Lungo at 5.07 ounces, the Double Espresso with 2.7 ounces, regular coffee at 7.77 ounces, and the Alto at 14 ounces. They also offer a Pour-Over Style which has a whopping 18 ounces in their latest model Vertuo Next.
The Keurig coffee maker uses a very simple method to brew your coffee. The water passes from the tank through heating tubes. Once it has reached the perfect temperature, it travels to the pod.
When you put the K-Cup in the machine, tiny pins puncture the top seal and bottom of the capsule. The water goes into the K-Cup through the top hole and into the ground coffee. The bottom hole allows the resulting coffee to flow into your cup.
The original Nespresso coffee machines use hermetically sealed capsules. Thanks to a combination of up to 19 bar pressure, perfectly timed extraction, and exact water temperature, the machine creates a delicious crema.
Nespresso VertuoLine brews your coffee a bit differently, using a method called centrifusion. Each capsule has a specific barcode on the rim, which the coffee maker reads as it spins the pod. The information tells the machine how much water to use and what temperature to apply.
Then, the water infuses with the coffee grounds as the capsule continues to spin rapidly. With rotations up to 7,000 RPM, the coffee is brewed due to the strong centrifugal force.
5.Cost for the Machines
Keurig machines are much more affordable than the Nespresso options. Their price range starts at $80 and go up to about $200. There are some discounts available if you purchase bundles, which include a coffee maker, packages of K-Cups, and a mug.
For the Nespresso OriginalLine, the prices start at $130 and go up to $800. There are fewer VertuoLine machines, and they range from $160 to $200. Keep in mind that many models have the option of adding on a milk frother, which is an added cost.
6.Cost per Serving
Just like how Keurig machines are much more affordable than their Nespresso counterparts, the K-Cups are also quite inexpensive. Even though there are hundreds of options, all K-Cups stay below a dollar per serving. Each cup costs anywhere between $0.30 and $0.80, depending on the flavor and brand.
All of the Original Nespresso capsules are close in price, with the cheapest costing $0.70 and the most costly choice reaching $0.90 per serving.
Most of the Vertuo capsules are $1.10 per serving, but the cheapest is as low as $0.85. Some of the more expensive Vertuo pods cost up to $1.60 each.
To save some money, you can look for third-party capsules that are compatible with either the Keruig or Nespresso machines. Or, you can buy refillable pods. However, all of these options – even the name-brand capsules – are much cheaper than purchasing coffee at your local coffee shop.
7.Ease of Use
The idea of single-serve coffee brewers is to embody simplicity. As such, both the Keurig and Nespresso coffee makers are very easy to use.
To use a Keurig machine, make sure that the water reservoir is full. They are usually quite large, so you don’t have to refill them after every use. Plugin the machine, and wait for the water to heat up to the appropriate temperature. Then, put your desired K-Cup into the chamber.
Many Keurig coffee machines have LCD touch screens with multiple options. Lick through the prompts to program your desired coffee style. Then, wait a couple of minutes and enjoy your coffee!
The Nespresso is just as easy to use. One of the main differences is that the Nespresso machines usually only have a start button since the pods are simpler. Many coffee makers also have a milk frother, and you can use it by simply pressing a button. For added convenience, the frother will turn off when it is done, and you can automatically eject your used capsule.
8.Dimension and Size
Both Keurig and Nespresso have multiple machine options that all vary in size and style. However, as a general rule, the Keurig machines are slightly bigger.
One of the popular Keurig machines is the K-Classic Coffee Maker, which measures 13 inches high, 9.8 inches wide, and 13.3 inches deep. The water reservoir holds 48 fluid ounces.
Keurig does offer slimmer options, such as the K-Mini Plus. The measurements are 12.1 inches high, 4.5 inches wide, and 11.3 inches deep. Because of the smaller size, it only holds enough water for one cup.
One of Nespresso’s more popular original espresso machines is the Nespresso Pixie (We reviewed Pixie in detail), which measures 9.3 inches high, 4.4 inches wide, and 12.8 inches deep. The water tank is smaller than the Keurig, holding only 25 ounces.
For the VertuoLine, the highest-rated model is the Vertuo. Even with the removable water tank, the measurements are 11.93 inches high, 8.32 inches wide, and 11.91 inches deep.
9.Impact on the Environment (Sustainability)
Since the coffee for single-serve machines comes in individual packets, sustainability and recyclability are crucial factors when choosing between Keurig and Nespresso.
Over the past decade, Keurig has received harsh criticism for its non-recyclable K-Cups. From mocking videos to scathing articles and even a confession from the inventor that he had regrets, there has been plenty of backlash over their containers.
However, Keurig continued with impressive sales and was committed to creating more environmentally-friendly products. They fulfilled their promise to switch to recyclable K-Cups by 2020 and are now focused on several sustainability measures.
They have several new goals for 2025, including transitioning to 100% renewable energy resources, using 30% recycled materials to make all their products, and improving water use efficiency by 20%.
While Keurig has made great strides in the right direction, Nespresso has an extensive approach to sustainability.
Their aluminum pods are recyclable, and they have almost 90,000 drop-off points across the country for you to recycle your used pods. Nespresso then takes the pods, uses the remaining coffee grounds as fertilizer, and creates new products with the pod materials.
Nespresso is also committed to sustainability practices around the world where their coffee is harvested. They’ve planted over 4 million trees to counteract deforestation and have numerous global initiatives in various countries, including Ethiopia and Colombia.
The company even considers the environmental footprint that their coffee machines leave. Every single-serve machine turns off automatically after nine minutes and uses only the amount of water necessary. From the coffee plantation to your morning cup of coffee, Nespresso has a sustainability plan to cover it all.
10.Amount of Caffeine
The amount of caffeine in each capsule depends on the size of the capsule and the type of coffee.
Keurig sells K-Cups that vary in size from six to 12 ounces. For a generic eight-ounce K-Cup, you’ll get 100 mg of caffeine. If you opt for the largest size, you’ll consume 150 mg of caffeine.
Most of Nespresso’s original line pods are 1.35 ounces and contain 60 mg of caffeine. If you opt for the Lungo pods, you can expect a range of 77-85 mg.
The VertuoLine coffee includes many more options. For an espresso capsule, you’ll get an average of 105 mg of caffeine, while the alto variation can have up to 200 mg of caffeine. Nespresso does have ½ caffeine capsules, which only have about 90 mg of caffeine.
While Nespresso has some decaffeinated capsules, Keurig offers a much wider variety. You can expect about 12 mg of caffeine in the decaffeinated options.
Nespresso vs. Keurig: The Verdict
The race between Nespresso vs. Keurig is extremely close. Each brand has stellar qualities, as shown in the above categories. At the end of the day, the choice between the two brands comes down to your personal preferences and what you prioritize.
For example, if you are a coffee connoisseur and need to have your espresso every morning and don’t mind paying a bit more for your coffee, Nespresso is your brand. Especially with the new Vertuo line, the Nespresso coffee is slightly more exclusive. It’s also a good alternative to a more expensive traditional espresso machine.
Now, if your priority is saving money and enjoying hundreds of different coffee flavors, your best option is Keurig. For the latte-lovers, fans of specialty coffee, tea and coffee drinkers, Keurig provides plenty of choices.
So, which one will you choose? Use the information above to make your decision, and enjoy that coffee!