The PROBLEM With Nespresso Coffee Pods (2023)


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Script: Caroline Eaton Pickard
Editor: Reid Valaitis
Project Manager: Lurana McClure Rodríguez
Host: Levi Hildebrand

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Keurig was the first company to make coffee pods trendy in north america, but if you do any looking around online today, the brand that you'll see most often is nespresso, because, despite keurig's massive head start when their patent expired in 2012 nespresso stole their lunch.

But this dominance was not just luck and the way that they did.

It might surprise you, so it is time to spill the tea on the nespresso coffee, pod craze.

Today's video is sponsored by masterworks.

Now, while it might seem like keurig had the head start in north america, nespresso was actually the original gangster in the story all the way across the water in europe in 1975, an engineer named eric favre had the idea for a machine that allowed people to make sophisticated espresso at home.

Instead of going to an espresso bar, he created a patented technology that used insanely high pressure to make that little nice foam, topping that people love and associate with high-end espresso from there nespresso was born just like keurig nespresso machines popped up in offices before they were ever marketed for home use, but their sales weren't looking particularly great and the company had huge overhead at the time.

So they had to find a new business model to make any money at all enter these guys in 1990 jean-paul gallaude took over as ceo and turned nespresso into a luxury at-home nespresso brand.

He did this by creating an exclusive club around their product, lowering the price of the machines and then jacking up the price of their single-use capsules.

Sound familiar unlike keurig, though, whose marketing tactic was all about convenience gallard wanted to sell nespresso products to high-end consumers, or, as he put in an interview once people who have a doorman which is such a vivid way of describing somebody as wealthy.

It did not take long for nespresso machines to show up in upper class homes all throughout europe.

George clooney was even paid a ridiculous amount of money to do european nespresso ads and that worked apparently, but, as you well know, the nespresso of today isn't just limited to the wealthy europeans and their marble palaces and today there's examples of this all over the world.

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Nespresso has penetrated the gated communities of europe, but there was one massive market that nespresso had a hard time: cracking north america in the land, where coffee means triple xl, with double cream and double sugar drank out of a styrofoam cup the size of your head, fancy espresso, just wasn't what american consumers wanted.

So in 2014 nespresso released new machines that were capable of making much larger cups of coffee that had a european flair.

This basically married north america's need for instant gratification with a bit of that little foamy fancy stuff to make you feel extra special, but of course it wasn't just enough to bring a better keurig to the market.

They needed something special, no someone special.

Yes, they brought george clooney back for a victory lap to make north american nespresso ads and that pretty much sealed their fair.

Apparently, could you imagine how successful this channel was if it was just george clooney hosting? Instead of this dumb idiot, frank we'd be at a million subscribers right now.

I am disappointed in myself.

Honestly, please hit the subscribe button to make me feel better.

However, it wasn't just the elevated clooney coffee experienced an espresso offer by the time.

Nespresso had entered the coffee pod scene.

The environmental impacts of these things was pretty well established and probably one of the largest consumer complaints about the product they're.

Basically, the younger sibling who watched keurig the older sibling go out and do everything wrong, and then they got to come in afterwards and just reap all the benefits they understood from the beginning that if nespresso was going to conquer this new market, they needed to make coffee, pods, better tasting and better for the planet, and they did this by making some huge sustainability promises.

Now, if you check out the sustainability page on nespresso's website, they kind of come off as these like hero, planet, savers, they they promise to protect the rainforest to work with small, independent coffee farmers around the world and their biggest swing to ditch disposable, coffee, pods and replace them with recyclable.

Aluminum coffee capsules.

Nespresso made the bold promise to recycle your coffee pods for you, if you drop them off at a nespresso, boutique or mail them back to them in a bag that they can send to you for free from their website.

If you order it, this innovative solution tackled the problem at the core and, in the course of merely weeks, completely solved the problem of coffee pod waste.

Thank you so much for watching this week's video.

If you liked it, please remember to subscribe, because no we're not done that was like, like a fake ending to the video uh.

We got a lot more to get into here, just because consumers can recycle something does not mean that they do, but the awareness that they could recycle something makes people a lot more willing to buy them, and nespresso knows this.

Nespresso has no measurable way to track what percentage of their pods actually get recycled.

Conveniently experts have speculated that at most, only five percent of the 14 billion pods that nespresso sells every year actually get recycled, which means a whole heck and hunk of them are sitting in landfills, which was what they invented the aluminum things to specifically not do so that's sucky nespresso owners have also complained that the pods can get moldy and gross sitting in the recycling bag for months before it's full enough to actually send off for recycling, which means more of them get trashed.

Those really dedicated espresso users advise to fully dry your pods out before storing them in the freezer.

To avoid growing spores and stinking up your kitchen, which seems really super convenient and easy to get on board with, but regardless of this program's actual impact on the implant.

But regardless of this program's actual impact on the environment, it has had a massive impact on their revenue.

Nespresso has dominated the coffee industry, partly on the idea that they were not only better but more sustainable than the competition, but where would they get such a cunning, brilliant idea from well as they used to say back in the late 2000s yeah? That was a weird song that we all sang to for a while.

2000S were a weird time to be alive.

Yes, nespresso's mama company is the infamous and ever controversial nestle.

If you don't know about how horrible this company is, we quite literally don't have time to get into all of it in this video for a number of reasons, from bottling, water in droughts to child labor violations, their top-tier face capitalism.

In a nutshell, but even with all these controversies, nestle is doing just fine because they own everything pretty much everything they own.

Most of it, and it's depressing as hell now, how did nestle influence nespresso in this takeover well other than providing them all the money and technology in the world and free license to do morally anything they want to win.

Nestle is also a marketing genius.

They are one of the world's largest polluters and they earned that title by shoving off the responsibility onto their consumers by promoting recycling they made consumers feel less terrible about using single-use plastics because they understood that if people thought that their recycling efforts offset the waste that they would be creating, they would keep buying it.

So does this sound a little familiar now as long as those nespresso coffee, pods are recyclable and they've made the public claim to be a sustainable company, then you, as the consumer can feel good about buying it.

Nespresso doesn't need to track how many of their pods actually get recycled, because their job is just to offer the program.

It's your job to make sure that the pods get recycled, their nestle style recycling.

Push has been so convincing, in fact that in july of 2021 nespresso was named the most sustainable coffee company by the world finance magazine.

Now this would be more convincing if you just ignored the irony of a finance magazine, giving out sustainability awards and the fact that only publicly traded massive corporations were considered for the award and that this news was provided by nestle nespresso themselves.

But anyway, despite the fact that their recycling program is a failure.

Nespresso still looks like a more planet-friendly option than keurig, who literally just launched recyclable plastic k-cups in 2016 and weren't, even fully rolled out until 2020.

God guys come on pair that with the sexy george clooney coffee experience, and it's really easy to see why everybody is rushing to buy nespresso coffee pods because they want to feel like george clooney likes them.

That's understandable.

So it's been eight minutes of levi telling you how terrible the corporate world is.

The apathy is washing over you, and the last thing that you want to do is like this video.

Obviously, but you should please, because you know what there's always hope.

There is always hope that you will like this video because liking the video helps us it.

You know, helps the videos get more views and more views means more subscribers more subscribers me more views and the growth of this channel overall anyway, I digress at the end of the day whether it is nespresso or keurig.

Single-Use coffee pods are a bane to the planet's existence overall, and both brands know this, which is why they've been scrambling to create solutions to appear to fix the problem and they aren't the only ones doing so.

Other companies have offered new products like reusable and compostable coffee pods to work with nespresso and keurig machines to solve this issue.

So let's talk about compostable, coffee, pods, fun fact.

The first fully biodegradable coffee, pods for nespresso machines, was created by yes, the ethical coffee company, which was founded by none other than jean-paul garda.

Remember that guy we talked about him earlier, he's the one who wanted to turn espresso into like an upscale coffee brand for people who had a dorman gallard left nespresso and had a huge falling out with nestle, which couldn't be hard to do so in 2010, he launched his own company to be in direct competition with nestle, and that's just good old-fashioned capitalism for you, gallard's pods might be biodegradable, but they aren't a perfect solution by any means.

There is this idea that, as long as something is compostable or biodegradable, that it's perfectly sustainable thing- and that is just not true- compostable coffee pods are tricky because they're not easy to manufacture.

First of all, which means they're, usually more expensive, they have to be able to withstand really high heat to actually make coffee which isn't easy with natural materials like bamboo and paper.

Natural materials also don't keep coffee as fresh as plastic or aluminum.

Pods do so there's also issues with their shelf life.

Then there's the issue of actually disposing of it.

City composting is not something that most people have access to in north america.

A lot of waste management companies also don't accept the coffee pods in their compost collection because they're too easy to confuse with the plastic pods and they end up getting tossed into the regular trash.

Instead, this issue definitely varies based on where you live, but the bottom line is that unless you have an at-home compost system, it's hard to know if your coffee pods are actually getting composted.

So I know you're yelling already the hero here is the reusable coffee pod right, you can fill the pod with your own coffee and then, when you're done with it, you simply wash it.

You know, use it over again is the thing I just said it's cheaper than buying single-use pods.

You can compost the grounds yourself and you're, avoiding all that package waste in the process.

Congratulations, however, there is one major downside and it is that they kind of suck at making coffee.

You have to find the right type of pod to fit your machine and then you've got to get your grind exactly right to fill the pod with an extremely exact amount of coffee grounds and water, and if your measurements are just even slightly off you kind of end up with a terrible cup of coffee.

Now, at this point I hate to say it: you're gonna hate it when I say it and I'm so sorry, but maybe you should just make coffee the old-fashioned way.

You know I was expecting you to have some sort of retort there.

Sorry that was.

That was an extended pause and we don't really do that on this channel very often so, if you're, a human who drinks coffee.

Hopefully this video is of interest to you and uh.

If it was subscribe, we'll see you in the next one.

Thank you so much bye-bye.



The PROBLEM With Nespresso Coffee Pods? ›

In 2020, investigative reporters found children as young as 8 picking coffee on seven Guatemalan farms selling to Nespresso. Then in 2021, Brazilian labor inspectors found multiple instances of wage theft on plantations selling to Nespresso, part of a pattern of violations and human rights abuses on certified farms.

What is the Nespresso pod controversy? ›

In 2020, investigative reporters found children as young as 8 picking coffee on seven Guatemalan farms selling to Nespresso. Then in 2021, Brazilian labor inspectors found multiple instances of wage theft on plantations selling to Nespresso, part of a pattern of violations and human rights abuses on certified farms.

Are Nespresso coffee pods being discontinued? ›

We would like to inform you that the 4 Nespresso coffee capsules from the Single Origin range will be discontinued as soon as stocks end. We are planning to launch a new range of coffee capsules which will offer you similar benefits. Thank you for your loyalty to Nespresso.

Why is my Nespresso coffee not tasting good anymore? ›

Over time and with regular use your Nespresso® machine will experience a build-up of old coffee oils and residue in its brewing chamber. This is where old coffee residue sits, blocking the nozzle and making your coffee taste bitter and your coffee flow poor.

Why do some Nespresso pods not work? ›

The silver foil on a pod is "popped" by a grid of pyramids inside the capsule cradle. This can sometimes get a bit clogged up with previous foils and coffee grinds which means that some pods are not "popped" sufficiently. To clean yours, switch off the machine, unplug it and open the capsule cradle.

Is A Nespresso better than a Keurig? ›

The main difference between Nespresso and Keurig pods comes down to cost and taste. Nespresso delivers a more flavorful cup of coffee or espresso but at a higher price point. Keurig pods are more budget-friendly, do not offer an espresso brew option, and can lack flavor.

Why is Nespresso coffee different? ›

How is Nespresso different from drip coffee? Nespresso machines use pre-packaged capsules and high-pressure to extract a concentrated espresso-like coffee that's much stronger than regular drip. Because of this, the coffee from a Nespresso can be used to make lattes and cappuccinos with an external milk frother.

Are Starbucks pods made by Nespresso? ›

Description. 10 capsules of roast and ground coffee for the Nespresso system. Discover Starbucks® Espresso Roast by Nespresso® Coffee Capsules. Intense and sweet, this coffee is at the heart of our handcrafted latte.

Why are Nespresso pods not sold in stores? ›

It is not our intention to begin selling in supermarket chains. Nespresso's unique business model allows us to guarantee quality at every stage of the value chain, to offer a direct relationship with our Club members as well as a holistic approach to sustainable development from cherry to cup.

Does anyone else make Nespresso pods? ›

Nespresso pods are manufactured only by Nespresso and sold in a relatively exclusive number of locations. They contain coffee that the company curates and optimizes for their machines. Nespresso-compatible pods, on the other hand, are manufactured by many third-party brands and can be purchased all over the place.

Why does Nespresso have a weird taste? ›

What causes the bitterness in your Nespresso® coffee? Nespresso® machines build up coffee oil residue with each coffee capsule that is brewed. These build-ups accumulate in the brewing chamber, spout, and washer plate of the machine (the front-end).

Does descaling Nespresso make it taste better? ›

Descaling. It's important to give your coffee machine a deep clean to keep everything working and tasting the way it should. Descaling your machine every 6-12 months will remove mineral build up that can impact on your machine's performance,taste and temperature of your coffee.

Does Nespresso taste better after descaling? ›

Your questions about descaling answered

Sometimes, your coffee can taste a bit bitter after descaling. Completely flush your coffee machine again. It is possible limescale residue or a bit of descaling agent has not been removed.

How do you clean the Nespresso pod reader? ›

Clean the barcode reader and capsule holder

The barcode reader is the clear plastic surround around the capsule holder. We found that using a damp microfibre cloth worked best, cleaning thoroughly around the capsule holder and just outside of it.

How long do Nespresso machines last? ›

Learn how the build-up of these deposits prevents the heating element from boiling your water, in turn, giving you colder coffee. The great news is that, through proper care and maintenance, your Nespresso® machine could see a lifespan of 5-10 years.

Do Nespresso machines get clogged? ›

Every Nespresso® machine needs a clean at least once a month due to this build-up and clogging. To show you what goes on underneath the nice looking nozzle of your coffee machine, refer to pictures below.

Are Nespresso capsules worth it? ›

So, is Nespresso worth it? A Nespresso machine is worth the investment for those seeking convenience in making espresso-like drinks. It offers a well-balanced flavor, ease of use, minimal maintenance, and sustainability. While it can be a significant investment, it pays for itself in the benefits it offers.

Can you use Nespresso pods twice? ›

Nespresso does not recommend that Nespresso Capsules be used more than once. However, users can get more than one brew from a capsule if they want through other methods. The strength, taste, and aroma of your drink will likely be of lesser quality, though.

Can Nespresso take Keurig pods? ›

Are K-Cups compatible with Nespresso? No, K-Cups aren't compatible with Nespresso machines because of the size and shape of the pods and the technical aspects of the machines. If this is deal breaker, you can consider some these Keurig Alternatives instead. We also discussed the difference between K-Cups and pods here.

Why are Nespresso pods so expensive? ›

Why? Nespresso has a patent in place until the end of the decade, meaning other brands can't manufacture the larger dome shaped Vertuo coffee pods. Prices are at the premium end, sitting between 55p-65p per pod for most styles, with some larger style pods now as high as 82p.

What makes Nespresso coffee so good? ›

Nespresso shots tend to have a medium body, a rich flavor, adequate aromas, and a minor acidity. Compared to a shot of espresso from a commercial machine, it's a little less intense and flavorful. Compared to your regular cup of black coffee, it's certainly stronger and more intense.

Do Nespresso pods taste like regular coffee? ›

It differs in intensity and flavor. But a Nespresso is stronger than regular black coffee. The difference in acidity: A significant difference between the two is that Nespresso is slightly less acidic than regular coffee, which gives it a smoother taste.

Does Keurig own Nespresso? ›

How Do Keurig Coffee Makers Work, Anyways? And while many different coffee companies offer their own version of a K-cup (the name for the style of capsules used in a Keurig), including reusable options, only Nestle makes Nespresso capsules, limiting users to a handful of coffee styles.

What brand owns Nespresso? ›

Nespresso S.A., a Nestlé Group company is founded, with five employees. We launched the world's first portioned coffee system to the office coffee sectors in Switzerland, Japan and Italy.

Which pods are compatible with Nespresso? ›

  • Starbucks Blonde Espresso Roast 36 Capsules 188G. ...
  • Starbucks House Blend Lungo Medium Roast 36Pk 206G. ...
  • Cafepod Decaffeinated 10 Pack 55G. ...
  • Cafepod Craft Coffee Brunch Blend 10 Pack 55G. ...
  • Starbucks Espresso Roast Coffee Pods 10 Pack 57G. ...
  • Starbucks House Blend Coffee Pods 10 Pack 57G. ...
  • Starbucks Sumatra Coffee Pods 10 Pack 55G.

Is Nespresso cheaper than coffee shop? ›

Nespresso capsules cost more than K-Cups, but it's still cheaper than going to a coffee shop. The Nespresso machines used to come with a much higher price tag, but the newer VertuoLine has made the brand more affordable. But that doesn't mean it's cheap—some of the higher-end models can still cost over $600.

Is there anything other than coffee in Nespresso pods? ›

I think most people asking this question will have heard some of the rumours that pods/disks contain instant soluble coffee vs actual ground coffee beans, so if that's what you were wondering, yes as I've just said, Nespresso pods are real ground coffee beans, they're not instant, and there's no other chemicals in them ...

How much caffeine is in Nespresso? ›

We will be happy to assist you further. How much caffeine is in each capsule? Most all of our espressos contain caffeine within the range of 50-100 mg per cup.

Why are so many Nespresso pods out of stock? ›

Temporarily due to the COVID19 crisis, Nespresso has officially been narrowing down production of some capsules and reducing the scale of work of some of their factories to prevent spreading the virus and the risk of infection among the employees.

Is there a cheaper version of Nespresso pods? ›

Amorcaffe is another choice for those searching for Nespresso-compatible capsules on a budget. Their medium roast is a blend of Robusta and Arabica to combine caffeine with taste. There is more Robusta in this blend than Arabica, so these pods are for those who need a strong pick-me-up in the morning.

Why are there no Nespresso Vertuo pods? ›

The dome-shaped VertuoLine capsules are only available from Nespresso because they require a barcode to be recognized by the Vertuo machine. This means the variety is limited, and you might have a harder time finding what you want.

Why are Nespresso pods so creamy? ›

The beautiful froth on the top of a nespresso pod shot is called 'crema'. Any brewing method that extracts the coffee under pressure pushes oils from the coffee beans and creates the foam on top of the glass.

Why is my Nespresso coffee so weak? ›

This leakage is likely due to an incorrect coffee grind used in the capsule, causing poor extraction and leakage. If you do use refillable capsules and experience watery coffee, you could try adjusting the grind of coffee used in the capsule until you find the leakage stops.

Are Nespresso pods already sweetened? ›

No. Nespresso capsules do not contain added sugar or sweeteners. Nespresso encapsulates 100% ground coffee for you to choose how to enjoy it, either in a black cup or in an indulgent recipe. We hope you enjoy one of our multiple varieties of Original or Vertuo system.

How many times should I descale my Nespresso machine? ›

Nespresso recommends descaling every 3 months or 300 capsules (whichever comes first). (such as vinegar or store-bought descalers) may cause damage to your Nespresso machine. the solution immediately to avoid any damage.

How often should you rinse Nespresso after descaling? ›

Once it's done, empty the used water container and place it back under the spout. Run a rinse cycle — Descaling cleaner is strong, so you need to run a rinse cycle post-descale, and I recommend two rinses.

Should you add sugar to Nespresso? ›

The key takeaway from all of this is that you don't have to worry about added hidden sugars in Nespresso capsules. Nespresso capsules contain 100% pure coffee, even in their flavored offerings, with no added ingredients. If you choose to add milk or sugar to your coffee, you can do so with your choice of milk or sugar!

How do I get my Nespresso back to normal after descaling? ›

Reset to factory settings

NOTE: Choose special function by pressing the lever down: 1 time for "Descaling". 2 times for "Emptying the system". 3 times for "Reset to factory settings". Turn the machine "OFF" by pushing the lever down for 3 seconds.

Should I descale my Nespresso machine twice? ›

We recommend descaling your Nespresso machines at least twice a year, or after about 250 uses.

Can you run Nespresso machine without pod to clean it? ›

Run a cycle with just water: Empty and clean the water tank, and refill it with fresh water, then replace the tank and press the button to run through a cycle of clean water. The machine will stop when it's done.

How many Nespresso pods should you have a day? ›

The FDA recommends that 400mg of caffeine is a safe amount for healthy adults to consume daily. This equates to around 3-5 cups of original Nespresso coffee or 2-5 cups of Nespresso Vertuo coffee (depending on the cup size).

How many times should you use a Nespresso pod? ›

The same Nespresso pod can be used twice, but the second run-through will be substantially weaker than the first. This trend continues every time the pod is reused, making the coffee weaker every time. For this reason, a pod should not be used more than twice before being refilled or discarded.

How do I know if my Nespresso pods are bad? ›

If you're still unsure whether the coffee pods are fresh, open one and smell it to see if the aroma is still present or if the coffee has gone stale. If the aroma is weak or nonexistent, the pods are stale and likely not worth using.

Why does vinegar damage Nespresso machine? ›

The most popular DIY descaling solutions are made with either citric acid or vinegar. Particularly, the Nespresso company recommends you avoid using vinegar for descaling. This is because vinegar is allegedly too aggressive and can damage your machine's pipes.

Can mold build up in Nespresso machine? ›

Whether it's the single-serve Keurig, espresso Nespresso machine or a traditional coffee maker, it's important to keep these appliances clean to prevent the growth of bacteria, yeast or even mold.

Are there pesticides in Nespresso pods? ›

Organic coffee taste better because it is free from chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Why did Nespresso bring out Vertuo? ›

Both machines make espresso, the Vertuo line is also designed to brew regular coffees to – all in the same machine. Nespresso launched the VertuoLine in about 2014 as a way to lure North American coffee drinkers, who are less about espressos than they are about full size coffees.

Is George Clooney part owner of Nespresso? ›

George Clooney has been a co-partner of Nespresso since 2013.

Are all Nespresso pods Aluminium? ›

We use aluminium for our capsules as it protects the quality of our coffee and it's infinitely recyclable. Aluminium comes with multiple functional and environmental benefits that make it an excellent choice for our capsules.

Does Nespresso coffee have chemicals in it? ›

The chemical approach involves soaking the beans in water and then using a solvent to absorb the caffeine content within the water. The chemicals that are commonly used in this process are methylene chloride and ethyl acetate. In contrast to this, Nespresso uses a 100% natural process of decaffeination.

Is there BPA in Nespresso pods? ›

There is no BPA or other types of Bisphenols in Nespresso capsules. Our capsules are fully compliant with applicable regulations on materials intended to come into contact with food (EU, FDA, etc).

Is Nespresso still owned by Nestle? ›

Nestlé Nespresso S.A., trading as Nespresso, is an operating unit of the Nestlé Group, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Are Vertuo pods better than original? ›

Nespresso Vertuo is better than the Original because it's more advanced, with its coffee capsules that have in-built barcodes, which the machine picks up and uses to adjust its brewing process. However, an Original coffee machine is more versatile, as you can use third-party coffee capsules in it.

Can I use Starbucks pods in Nespresso Vertuo? ›

Made with the finest quality Starbucks® coffee that you know and love, Starbucks® capsules are developed with Nespresso® to work perfectly with the Nespresso® Vertuo system and are fully recyclable through the Nespresso® recycling program.

Why is Vertuo next more expensive? ›

Many of the machines have a higher price point up front, and then cost more long-term to brew, because of the use of the Nespresso capsules. The VertuoLine machines in particular are not compatible with third-party capsules, so costs add up over time.

What company is behind Nespresso? ›

Nespresso S.A., a Nestlé Group company is founded, with five employees. We launched the world's first portioned coffee system to the office coffee sectors in Switzerland, Japan and Italy.

Which celebrity endorses Nespresso? ›

George Clooney has been the face of Nespresso's ad campaigns for over a decade, and there is no denying that he has been a major factor in the brand's success.

Which country owns Nespresso? ›

For more than 30 years, our innovations have redefined the way millions of people enjoy their coffee, growing from a ground-breaking idea in Switzerland to a global brand with a presence in 81 countries.

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