You are currently viewing Which Coffee Pods Are Best? Nespresso vs. Tassimo vs. Dolce Gusto

Which Coffee Pods Are Best? Nespresso vs. Tassimo vs. Dolce Gusto

Which Coffee Pods Are Best? Nespresso vs. Tassimo vs. Dolce Gusto

Coffee pod machines are becoming a regular feature in the modern-day kitchen. They claim to make coffee shop quality drinks from the comfort of your own home. These machines come in all different shapes and sizes, some going for futuristic looks, some with a more classic approach. The machines aren’t the most important choice here though, it’s all about the pods. The pods are small, circular capsules that you put inside the coffee machine to brew your chosen mug of the brown stuff. As you would imagine, all pods aren’t universal across all coffee pod machines, that would just be too convenient. So when you buy your new machine you need to make sure that its compatible pods make the type of drinks you like otherwise you will be highly disappointed. A number of brands exist in the coffee pod space but there are really 3 main companies that stand out, Nespresso, Tassimo and Dolce Gusto. In this review, I will break down each of the pod brands and weigh up the pros and cons to determine which coffee pods are best.


There are 2 types of pods offered by Nespresso, original and Vertuo. The Vertuo has been the most recently released pod range from Nespresso features a barcode on each pod which is its way of talking to the machine to brew the most optimal drink. Original pods do not feature this barcode system. The Vertuo pods are a dome shape whereas the Original pods are longer and pointed. This means that you can’t put a Vertuo pod into an Original pod machine and vice versa.

Nespresso Original Pods

(Please note all prices are taken from the official Nespresso website at the time of writing this review. Please do your research to find the best deals)

Machines: There are a number of machines in the original range, Pixie, CitiZ and Lattissima to name a few. 

Machine Price Range: £140 – £650

Individual Pods: 35 – 50p per pod

Assorted Packs: £37 for World Explorations Lungo 100 Capsule Assortment pack (37p a pod)

Nespresso classic pods

(Image Source: Image by Monika Mesterházy from Pixabay)

The benefit of the original pod is that it doesn’t feature that barcode which enables third-party sellers to produce compatible pods. This generally results in cheaper prices. I recommend visiting discount supermarkets like B&M and Home Bargains to find the best deal. Places like Aldi also do their own compatible pods which are a lot cheaper than the official Nespresso pods. If you want to buy in bulk and without leaving your home, Amazon can also prove a good option, especially with lightning deals.

Nespresso Vertuo Pods

(Please note all prices are taken from the official Nespresso website at the time of writing this review. Please do your research to find the best deals)

Machines: £100 – £220

Individual Pods: 39 – 67p per pod

Assorted Packs: £54.40 for Peru Organic 100 Capsule Vertuo Assortment (54p a pod)

You will probably notice that the price per pod for the Vertuo range is higher than the Original range. This is because of the barcode technology used on the Vertuo pods. That barcode prevents third-party sellers from producing compatible pods, enabling Nespresso to dictate the prices they want to sell at.

Nespresso coffee machine

(Image Source: Image by Daniel S. from Pixabay)

Subscription Service

Nespresso offers a subscription service for their pods. You can customise a plan that suits you and should expect to pay between £17 – £50 a month depending on the type and number of pods you include in your plan.

Are Nespresso pods recyclable?

Yes, you can recycle Nespresso pods quite easily. Nespresso offers a collection service to pick up the pods from your door but you can also drop them off at a Collect+ or Nespresso boutique store. This nice to see from Nespresso and varied ways to recycle make it suitable for anyone to recycle their used pods.

Who is a Nespresso machine for?

In my opinion, Nespresso machines are tailored more towards people who enjoy the taste of coffee with no frills. If your favourite order is a “venti salted caramel mocha frappuccino” then you will probably want to look elsewhere. Making a flavoured drink with a Nespresso machine requires a lot of other accessories, including syrups and potentially a milk frother. Carry on reading to see the offerings from Tassimo and Dolce Gusto if this is you.

If you drink a lot of strong espressos or dark coffee then the Nespresso pods are perfect for you. The flavour you will get from the pods, especially the Vertuo pods will not leave you disappointed.


  • Great tasting coffee
  • Good subscription service
  • Pod recycling service
  • Machines blend into most envrionments


  • Pods are some of the most expensive on the market
  • Barcodes on Vurtuo pods eliminate the third-party market
  • Not geared up for flavoured coffees


The French brand Tassimo has been around since 2004 and is recognisable by its flat, T-Disc designed pods. Each T-Disc features a barcode that the Tassimo machines use to brew that specific drink correctly. Tassimo pods come in a number of drink types and flavours. Tea, hot chocolate, flavoured coffee, espressos are all available with a Tassimo machine, so if you are partial to lime green root ginger-soy leaf tea then this still probably won’t work for you but it will get you closer than most other pod machines can. You will also recognise a lot of the brands that are on the Tassimo pods. The likes of Costa, Kenco, L’Or, Jacobs all have a range of drinks for the Tassimo.

Tassimo Pods

(Please note all prices are taken from the official Tassimo website at the time of writing this review. Please do your research to find the best deals)

Machines: A variety of machines at affordable price points for Tassimo. Some very bizarre names for the machines with the Suny and Vivy 2.

Machine Price Range: £50 – £140

Assorted Packs (8-16 pods): £3.99 – £4.99

Price Per Pod (8 pack @ £4.99): 62p per pod

Price Per Pod (16 pack @£4.99): 31p per pod

Subscription Service

Tassimo does not offer a coffee only subscription service. If you want a coffee subscription with Tassimo you have to have to get a machine as well. This is great if you are just getting started but if you already have a machine it is a bit disappointing. If you are starting from scratch though the Tassimo Starter subscription gives you a Bosch Happy machine and 9 pod packs for £9.99 a month. It is worth noting that payments are taken every 4 months which sounds good but that also means that you only get 9 pod packs every 4 months. So if you are a guzzle a lot of hot drinks I would look at one of the more premium subscriptions if that’s what you are looking to do. 

As mentioned above it is worth shopping around for deals when it comes to buying Tassimo pods. Especially for Tassimo as they are popular and can be found in many high street shops and supermarkets.

Are Tassimo pods recyclable?

Tassimo does provide a recycling service for their pods in partnership with TerraCycle. There are 130 UK drop off points and there is also a collection service. The recycling services aren’t explained and displayed as well as the Tassimo ones are on their site.

Who is a Tassimo machine for?

If you love your vanilla lattes or a Bailey’s macchiato then the Tassimo offers more products you will like. You can get the proper coffee, espresso experience with Tassimo but it’s not as good as that of Nespresso and Dolce Gusto. Tassimo does offer reasonably priced coffee machines though especially in comparison to Nespresso which are the more expensive coffee machines on the market.


  • Lots of Pod options
  • Recycling service
  • Reasonably priced machines


  • Poor subscription service
  • Barcodes on pods eliminate the third-party market

Dolce Gusto

The Dolce Gusto coffee machine range from Nescafé started in 2006 and definitely were on the more futuristic side of things, especially when it comes to the looks of their coffee machines. The majority of their coffee machines are quite jazzy in looks, not Tesla Cybertruck jazzy but still quite out there. Similar to Tassimo, Dolce Gusto offers mixed drink pods like cappuccinos, flavoured lattes and teas. They also have a good range of espresso pods and feature pods from the likes of Starbucks. Their pods do not feature a barcode as well which means that third party sellers can get involved and sell their own pods which is great!

Dolce Gusto Pods

(Please note all prices are taken from the official Dolce Gusto website at the time of writing this review. Please do your research to find the best deals)

Machines: A variety of machines at an affordable price point for the Tassimo. Some very bizarre names for the machines with the Suny and Vivy 2. Check out our review of the Genio S Plus machine here.

Machine Price Range: £40 – £160

Assorted Packs (8-16 pods): £3.99

Price Per Pod (16 pack @£4.99): 25p per pod

Genio S Plus machine with a mug next to it

Subscription Service

Now the FAQs on the Dolce Gusto website do mention a subscription service been available but I could not find anything on their website to actually get any details on it. So maybe they do a subscription service, maybe they don’t, who knows. If you like a subscription service to deliver pods every month I would go with one of the other brands that did a much better job of promoting it.

Are Dolce Gusto pods recyclable?

When it comes to recycling Dolce Gusto does include recycling bags with your order to allow you to recycle your old pods. However, these can only be returned to a Collect+ store, there is no door-step pickup like the other brands offer.

Who is a Dolce Gusto machine for?

The Dolce Gusto range is a great all-rounder for me. It offers a mixture of no frills coffee for the cofficionado as well as the flavour combinations. The addition of no barcodes on the pods also means that Dolce Gusto has the most versatile range of pods out of the three brands. You can pick up a whole host of pods from sellers on the likes of Amazon.  Here are some Dolce Gusto pods I got off Amazon and have tried out.
Flat Whites on Amazon
Starbucks Americano on Amazon


  • Good Pod options
  • Third-party avilable pods
  • Reasonably priced machines


  • Confusing subscription service

Final Thoughts

For me there is a clear distinction between the 3 brands. 

Nespresso – great for people who love espressos and no frills coffee

Tassimo – people who like mixed, flavoured drinks from the likes of Costa

Dolce Gusto – people who like a combination of the 2 above


In my opinion, Dolce Gusto with its all round offering of drinks selections is the best one to go for.

Let me know which brand you prefer down in the comments below.

Thanks for reading this review. Until next time