Coffee pod compatibility : not so Nespresso compatible after all (updated)

Posted on August 8, 2014

I have two coffee machines. The Nespresso CitiZ (with milk) and a Verona Espresso Caffe Lux machine

Over the past two years or so since I got the first Nespresso machine I have tried out various Nespresso compatible pods. These come with brand names such as :

  1. Caffe Luxe (caffeeluxe.com) (R40 for 10 to R90 for 25)
  2. Vida e Caffe (from Vida or from Cafe Lux) (+-R62 per 10)
  3. Mycoffee (First from Groupon and on allmycoffee.co.za) (R40 for 10)
  4. Beaver Creek Coffee (from their shop on the Farm in Margate – beavercreek.co.za)  (R55-R64 per 10)
  5. Foreign Ground (Checkers) (R36 for 10, sometimes R29)
  6. Caffe Impresso (Some Pick n Pay’s and some Spars – wholesaler is RFI.co.za) (R50 – R62 per 10)
  7. Caffe Cagliari (First from Groupon and they were being sold by Aquazania but aren’t being stocked anymore) (R40 for 10, decaf only on special now for R20)
  8. Nespresso (the genuine article) (R63 – R73 per 10)

Now all of these different brands have worked (almost) perfectly across both of the machines I have. The very first Cafe Luxe pods I had sometimes didn’t pierce properly and a little bit of water would come out before the coffee, but it didn’t affect the flavour of the coffee. The did an upgrade which seemed to mostly fix the problem, but the pods remain a rather thick plastic container.

A few weeks back I had a reader complaining that the Caffe Luxe pods didn’t work at all in his machine. I hadn’t had that problem before and replied as much. I didn’t hear back from the individual.

Tonight I heard from another friend that there is definitely a problem. She bought a Nespresso U milk machine. It works quite nicely, makes your coffee then spits the pod out into its little basket without you having to “eject” it. When trying with the Mycoffee pods though, it huffs and puffs and a very little bit of water comes through but no coffee. Then it ejects the pod with no coffee having been produced. On examining the used pod it can be seen that the machine is having trouble piercing the plastic pod and therefore is unable to pump the water through the pod to brew the coffee. A further test with a Foreign Ground pod produced the same result.

Now a number of the local manufacturers seem to use the same plastic pods (numbers 1 to 5 on the list above). that somewhat limits your options in terms of which coffee pods you can buy. Caffe Luxe are quite adamant on their website and in their adverts that their pods work on all machines (they even expressly name the newer generation machines), so it seems more tested is going to be needed on their pods.

I have tested out some of the newer Caffe Luxe (Option 1) “Origins” range and confirmed they work just fine.  The “new compatible” Caffe Luxe capsules seem to work sometimes (but not all).

Foreign Ground (Option 5) have introduced two new flavours, which use a new pod design, which work just fine. See post here.

Options 6 and 7 seem to be imported (from Italy) and also use plastic pods, but a very different much thinner plastic. Further testing was done and there is no problem here. The Caffe Impresso capsules have a series of small holes pre-pressed into the back of the capsules. Water flows through here a little slowly at times if further holes aren’t punctured but this doesn’t affect the final outcome of a great cup of coffee.

This is incompatibility of “compatible” capsules is bit of a pain as one of the benefits of using the Nespresso system over some of the others was that there seemed to be a growing range of alternate (and cheaper) pods that could buy for daily use.  If you have come across other sources of compatible pods, and have any further test results as to which machines they may work in please do share your experiences.

 

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Categories: Coffee, Fun things to do


4 Responses

  1. Jaco:

    My personal take —
    the CafeLux capsules are hard on the corners where the nespresso machine punctures, at the back. The foil cover also doesn’t always puncture properly. You will mostly get capsules where the water comes out 1st for a few seconds, then halfway through the cycle, the coffee will start running. I will never use cafelux capsules again.

    Foreign Ground, however, works perfect … i havent had a dud capsule, not even once. it always punctures good, front and back, and the coffee flows really well. Their 3 single origin flavours are also worth the monry, really good (R40 for 10 at checkers)

    27.06.2016 21:54 Reply

    • Justin:

      Hi Jaco

      Thanks for sharing.

      I have taken to using a sharp knife and making 3 holes in the back of any plastic pod before popping it into my nespresso machine. This has solved all problems for me regardless of the source of the pod. The foil on front always pierces and decent strength coffee comes out.

      Justin

      27.06.2016 22:18 Reply

  2. Justin:

    Thanks for the feedback Edwin.

    Im not sure about whether the way the pods are filled makes a difference. What I now do that seems to have solved all my problems is just leave a sharp knife next to the coffee machine and poke three holes in the back of the pod to allow a decent water flow. Now it doesnt really matter which pods I use they work just fine 🙂

    11.08.2015 21:35 Reply

  3. Edwin:

    Lovely blog. I have a caffeluxe machine. I have noticed the same about some of the pods – the plastic is too thick in some instances. The caffelux mild (the pink one) seems to be the best. The Lungo (the green one) seems to be the worst. But it would also seem to be different from batch to batch. Do you think it could be how they are filling the pods?

    10.08.2015 19:36 Reply

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