Having a single-serve espresso or coffee maker like a Nespresso machine is great for making a delicious and quick cup of coffee with a simple push of a button. These type of brewers are convenient, but on the downside, the pods are an ongoing cost that could get expensive if you’re making a lot of cups per day.
One way to save on pod expenses is to use your own coffee grounds. But is that possible with Nespresso? Yes, it is indeed! Whether you have an OriginalLine or a Vertuo machine, it’s doable. But there are several things you need to know before jumping on to the world of reusable coffee pods and using your own coffee grounds. So keep reading to learn whether this is the best option for you or if you should stick to buying your pods instead.
Can You Use Nespresso Vertuo or OriginalLine Without Pods?
You can use Nespresso Vertuo or OriginalLine machines with your own coffee grounds. This means that instead of buying pre-filled pods, you fill reusable pods with your own coffee grounds and brew a cup of coffee this way. But they won’t operate without any type of pod in them.
But here’s one important thing to keep in mind:
- Don’t expect the same cup of coffee as a Nespresso pod. When using a reusable pod, results vary depending on whether you used the correct grind size or correct amount of ground coffee.
- Nespresso does NOT make an officially licensed refillable pod, so the quality of these pods will be a hit or miss.
You’ll have a better chance of getting it right using a refillable pod for OriginalLine than Vertuo.
Using a Reusable Pod With Nespresso OriginalLine
There are several things you need to know in order to brew a good cup of coffee using a reusable pod in a Nespresso OriginalLine.
OriginalLine machines are espresso machines, so it’s highly important that you use find coffee grounds for espresso. You’ll have to experiment with different grind sizes until you get the right texture, that’s if you are grinding your own beans at home. If you’re buynig pre-ground coffee, always make sure they are Espresso grind. Using coarse coffee won’t work and will most likely result in a weak cup of coffee.
Amount of Coffee:
You need to use the right amount of coffee grounds in order for it to brew properly. Again, you might have to experiment with different amounts in order to find the one that works best for you. Most Nespresso OriginalLine pods have between 5g to 7g of coffee in them.
Reusable Pod Quality and Material:
Make sure you get a good quality reusable pod, otherwise your results won’t be as expected. There are usually two materials to choose from: plastic or stainless steel.
Plastic reusable pods are cheaper and easier to clean, but they don’t always fit the machine properly. This can lead to grounds entering the brew chamber which will cause a less than desirable cup of coffee.
Stainless steel pods are more expensive but they last longer and provide a better seal when used with the machine. You’ll have to experiment with different pods until you find the one that works best with your machine.
Using a Reusable Pod With VertuoLine
Although it is possible to use a reusable pod with Nespresso VertuoLine machines, it’s not recommended since they use barcodes on the pods which helps these machines identify the type of coffee grounds used and make adjustments. Without this barcode, the machine won’t be able to properly identify the type of coffee you used and the results won’t be as expected.
So if you’re using a reusable pod in a VertuoLine machine, make sure it has a barcode on it or use an adapter that can read these codes. Otherwise, your results won’t be as good as using a pre-filled pod.
Using Reusable Aluminum Foils on Used Vertuo Pods
Since things are a bit complicated with Vertuo pods, there’s another way to do things than using a refillable pod.
You can clean out a used pod of each cup size you usually have and use a specially made foil lid to recap the pods after filling them with your own coffee grounds.
If you want to use this method, you’ll want to keep in mind:
That each pod size will require different grind size. Espresso uses fine grounds while larger coffee cups require coarser grounds.
Why I Don’t Recommend Using Reusable Nespresso Pods
There are several reasons why someone would choose to use a reusable pod, saving money is one of them, but I know some people would also like to be more environmentally conscious and choose to reduce their waste.
But here’s why I really dislike the use of reusable Nespresso pods and why I don’t recommend them…
It’s a Hassle to Prepare and Clean
It takes more time to prepare and clean a reusable pod than it does with regular pre-filled ones. Additionally, you always have to make sure the pod is properly sealed in order for coffee grounds not to enter the brew chamber.
This takes the magic and convenience out of your Nespresso experience. The whole idea of having a Nespresso machine is to pop a pod and press a button for a perfect cup of coffee with no effort. Dealing with grinding, filling and cleaning a pod is the opposite of that.
It Always Makes a Weak Cup of Coffee
Because of variety of grounds used, different grounds measurements or just how the reusable pod interacts with the machine, the result is always a weaker cup of coffee. This might be ok for some people, but if you’re used to strong espresso and crema it won’t quite cut it.
It Can Harm Your Machine
Nespresso uses aluminum for their capsules. Reusable pods are either plastic or stainless steel. The two materials interact differently and this can cause extra wear on the machine. It can harm the puncture needle on your machine, and plastic can melt over time.
Reusable Nespresso pods might be a good idea in theory, but they’re not without their risks. Nespresso won’t honor your warranty if the machine breaks because of reusable pods.
What To Do Instead of Using Reusable Nespresso Pods
If you’re an Original Line user and want to save on your pod expenses, go for cheaper third party pods. These are made to Nespresso standards, the pods are a sure fit but the taste will vary depending on the brand. I would recommend that you make sure you are buying from brands that make aluminum pods though, which perform best. Plastic pods make the worst coffee, in my experience.
As for Vertuo pods, there is no proper alternative, I’m afraid, since these pods are still patented to Nespresso and are not available from third part brands. Some are available from Starbucks, which are made in collaboration with Nespresso.
If you don’t mind the hassle and choose to go the reusable pod route, use the resealable pod method instead of using a stainless steel refillable pod. At least that way, you are still using a Nespresso pod that won’t harm your machine and should brew the correct cup size.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Nespresso Make Reusable Pods ?
No, Nespresso does not make reusable pods. All reusable pods are available from third party brand and are not guaranteed by Nespresso to work with your machine.
How Many Times Can You Reuse a Refillable Pod?
It really depends, as the pod will eventually wear out and won’t be able to provide a good seal. But they are designed to be used over and over again, as long as you properly clean them between each use.
Are Reusable Pods Better for the Environment?
Theoretically, yes, reusable pods help reduce waste. But Nespresso’s pods are all recycable, they offer a recycling program and provide you with bags that you can use to collect your used pods and ship them back to Nespresso at no extra charge to you.
Which Nespresso Uses Reusable Pods: Original Line or Vertuo?
Most reusable pods are designed for the original line machines. For the Vertuo system, there are very few reusable pods available.