Coffee in compatible capsules: the best 4

Espresso pods, at home or at the bar, vary in price and quality. We’ve tried 12 of them, among the ones commonly found in supermarkets, and here are our favourites… The best ones respect the environment and retain the aroma and creaminess


Of Giorgio Sassi

It is obtained by quickly passing hot water under pressure through a small amount of ground and lightly pressed product, so as to extract its aroma and taste. The coffee in capsules It is a concentrate of pleasure that, in order to provide maximum satisfaction, must meet exact requirements: quality of raw material, correct degree of moisture, perfect grinding, airtight packaging, sustainability and price in mind.

A sprint injection

“Gone are the days when the doctor, at the end of a routine visit, would repeat like a mantra: ‘Remember, no alcohol, no cigarettes and some coffee,'” begins our nutritionist, MD. Diana Scatozza. “Today we know that his virtues are many: la caffeine it improves reaction times and memorization skills, also having a positive effect on the vision mechanism. In addition, coffee contains antioxidants, increases diuresis, has a tonic effect on the heart, promotes gastric secretion and bowel function, and is useful against headaches, thanks to its vasoconstrictive action.” large

and the contraindications are very few:Not recommended for those suffering from gastritis or ulcer and for those who are hypersensitive to caffeine and experience tachycardia and agitation after consuming it. in these cases you can choose decaf”, continues the expert. “In the case of espresso in capsules, it must be said that, above all, the enjoyment of the aromas prevails over the results: the short contact of the water with the ground coffee limits the extraction of caffeine compared to what happens for example with a mocha . In addition, if we want it to be aromatic but lighter, we can choose the Arabica variety which is less stimulating than the Robusta variety.”

A look at the material

For our test we took into account capsules compatible with two of the most used systems: Nespresso and Lavazza “my way”, preparing them with original machines from the same brands. “In both cases, the single-dose pods consist of a body containing the ground coffee, hermetically sealed by a metal foil cover. However, the materials used for the capsules may differ and have been evaluated because, given the huge volumes of consumption, disposal can create significant environmental problems,” explains our food technologist, Dr. Giorgio Donegan.

“Therefore, I preferred capsules made of compostable material, collected in organic waste, and those made entirely of aluminum which are lighter and can be recycled by transporting them to the appropriate ecological islands. while I punished the plastics to be thrown in the undifferentiated collection. I also looked at the amount of packaging, rewarding products that do not have the capsules further sealed, one by one, in the plastic material.’

The taste test

“It is the pleasure that the first sip gives us, the trigger that makes us decide on one product or another,” says the technologist. “There is nothing more subjective, of course, but, having said that, there are still some general criteria, shared by experts, that we followed to judge our samples, all flavored without sugar, to better appreciate each flavor characteristic and aroma ». .

First of all, a look at the cream on the surface: “It must be hazel color, not leaning too far towards dark brown (indicating burnt coffee) nor too light beige (indicating under-roasted coffee). As for the consistency of the cream, it must be thick, compact and persistent (the sugar, if added, should go down slowly and the cream should reconstitute even after the coffee has been stirred)”.

As for the aroma, “you can assess it by putting your nose close to the cup and gently stirring the cream with the spoon,” continues Donegani. “It must be full, just intense, rich and complex; Any notes of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, dried fruit are positive qualities, while some faults are a burnt, rubbery or earthy aroma…. In the mouth, the espresso should not be watery, but full, due to the presence of fatty emulsions, while the taste can have a very slightly acidic or sweet impression, reminiscent of honey or chocolate. Bitterness is pleasant when it leaves a caramelized sugar sensation in the mouth, while too much acidity or too much bitterness are negative characteristics. Finally, a good coffee offers pleasant taste sensations for a long time.”

But how much do they cost?

“The option of using a capsule entails a higher cost compared to ground coffee for mocha, but this is compensated by the particular benefits of the product and the speed and ease of preparation,” the technologist underlines. “Regarding the samples tested, the lowest price for an espresso capsule is 20 cents, while on the other hand a cup of the most expensive costs 43 cents. A difference that I took into account in the evaluation, considering that higher costs often result from better quality and care to respect the environment.”

Creamy Vergnano 1882 coffee, €4.45 for a pack of 16 capsules. Cost of an espresso €0.28

The strong point. Good and compostable.

The cube-shaped cardboard box contains a white plastic bag for the capsules made of compostable material. Once used, they can therefore end up in the trash without having to empty them. It is a very practical and beneficial solution for environmental sustainability. The resulting espresso coffee has a dense, fine and durable foam, with the right hazelnut color. The mixture of Arabica and Robusta varieties used produces a pleasant aroma and a taste in which, despite the low presence of sweet notes, pleasant shades of cocoa are perceived. The body in the mouth and the good persistence of the flavor are remarkable. The cost is medium high but the product is worth it.

Lavazza is compatible with my way

Strong Caffè Borbone blend, €2.95 per pack of 10 capsules. Espresso costs €0.30

The strong point. With a strong taste.

The packaging and the sachets containing the individual coffee capsules are made of plastic. The latter appear swollen because they are in a protective atmosphere, which helps maintain product quality. The pods also appear in plastic material, so as to increase the volume of plastic used. After use and emptying of their contents, they can however be recycled with the entire packaging. As the name of the blend suggests, the resulting coffee has a high intensity of aroma and flavor, with a low sense of acidity and notes of sweetness. The body of the drink and the persistence of the taste sensations are excellent. The price is a bit high, but it rewards the quality of the coffee.

Lavazza is compatible with my way

Caffè l’Or espresso Guatemala€3.91 for a pack of 10 capsules Espresso cost €0.39

The strong point. The harmony of scents.

The Huehuetenango region, in Guatemala, is known for the quality of its coffee, which is offered here in aluminum capsules, inside a cardboard package. The resulting espresso has a fine and persistent crema, lighter in color than other samples tested, indicating a medium roast. The aroma, not too aggressive, is impressive for its richness, its complexity and its balance, which in the taste leave room for pleasant sweet fruity tones, which also come from the peculiarities of the soil and climate of the coffee growing area. The body is satisfying, as is the persistence of the taste and aromatic sensations. Features that justify the medium-high cost.

Compatible with Nespresso

Intense Illy coffee, €4.28 for a pack of 10 capsules. Cost of an espresso €0.43.

The strong point. The richness of the senses.

The coffee is presented in a paper case, which contains the 10 aluminum capsules, separated from each other by a paper mesh. The packaging indicates that the degree of roasting is rather high (intense roasting) and, in fact, the espresso has a rather dark, fine and persistent hazel-coloured foam. Thanks to the 100% Arabica blend, the aromatic sensations are full and rich, with clearly perceptible notes of cocoa and dried fruit. In the mouth, the taste reveals the right degree of bitterness, which does not cover but enhances the rest of the senses. The body and persistence of the flavor are also remarkable. The price, the highest among the samples tested, is adequate for the quality.

Compatible with Nespresso

The auditors of our laboratory: Dr. Giorgio Donegani, food technologist in Milan. Dr. Diana Scatozza, science expert
food in Milan.

Ask our experts your question

Leave a Comment