Nespresso vs Keurig: Which Pods Make Better Coffee?

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nespresso vs keurig

It seems like the market for coffee pod machines never stops growing. The ease and simplicity of these devices have helped us out immensely, even during our busiest mornings. 

However, now the dilemma is finding the right brewer for you based on your taste and lifestyle preferences. The battle of Nespresso vs. Keurig has been a hot topic around the water cooler, and I want to clear the air. 

Most people think they are in competition, but both serve similar yet very different purposes upon closer examination. 

After long hours of research and testing, I got to the bottom of what these companies do to make your favorite beverage of choice. There were a few pleasant surprises that should make your decision easier by the time you’re done reading this article. 

Let’s start with who these companies are from a corporate standpoint. 

Two Companies, Two Missions

Keurig is more well-known in the US, but in Europe, Nespresso reigns supreme. With all the success that Keurig has in the US, it’s no surprise that the more experienced Nespresso would want a piece of that action. 

Keurig has a stronghold based on simplicity and cost. Their machines are priced a little lower and, therefore, more accessible to a wide range of people. Most Keurigs only make coffee, but some models are able to make espressos and cappuccinos if you have the right K-cup. 

Nespresso prides itself on quality. Their pods are made with better coffee grounds, and cups are designed specifically for espresso in most cases. Nespresso’s new line of coffee makers, VertuoLine, can make espresso and coffee, which they call ‘Americano.’ 

Our Recommended Models

I’ve selected the following two machines because they represent each company very well and are both in a mid-price range. You can upgrade or downgrade from either of these based on your personal preferences, both companies have options on either side.

 Nespresso CitiZKeurig K-Elite
Third-party optionsNoYes
Auto shut offYesYes
Removable drip tray for tall cupsYesYes
Milk frotherYesNo
Makes regular coffeeNoYes
Compact sizeYesNo

Keurig K-Elite

Keurig is known for its inexpensive models, but you can get the K-Elite if you’re willing to shell out a bit more coin. This single-serve coffee maker has Keurig’s best features in a cost-effective and compact design. It uses only K-cup pods and produces quality coffee fast.

One of the improvements this machine has over other Keurig models is its variety of brew sizes. It has five different sizes to choose from instead of three. This range of choice is great for larger households or offices. 

An enormous 75-ounce removable water reservoir is a bonus to have for less frequent top-ups. This will easily get you through a tough work week without refilling. 

Newer Keurig coffee machines like this one also help a lot with cleaning. They have installed a calcium indicator informing you when to clean your machine. This serves two purposes; it keeps your coffee tasting great and protects the inside of your machine to keep it functioning properly for a long time. 

This machine is easy to use right out of the box. You won’t find a touchscreen like on other Keurigs. There is some control over your brewing capabilities, but ultimately this machine specializes in basic coffees made fast.

Pros

Multiple brew sizes available

Brews one cup in under 2 minutes

Automated cleaning detection system

Huge 75-ounce water tank

Auto-shutoff feature

Cons

Not great for high-quality espresso


Nespresso CitiZ  

This is not the most advanced or feature-heavy machine that Nespresso makes, but it’s a great alternative to the Keurig K-Elite for ease of use, speed, and flavor.

The focus of this Nespresso CitiZ is on espressos. The advanced technology makes a flavorful espresso quickly and with minimal effort compared to an authentic espresso. Add the milk frother, and you open up a whole new realm of quality brews you can do at home for much less than going to you-know-where.

If you’re in the mood for a regular coffee or ‘Americano’ or need to whip one up for guests, you can easily do so by adding hot water to a brewed mild espresso. It’s not what the machine is made for, but the quality of the coffee allows you to get away with it. 

It has one of the fastest preheat times of any non-industrial coffee machine brandneeding only 25 seconds to heat up. This means it brews a shot of espresso in about a minute and a half from start to finish. 

The stylish design is a fan favorite as it makes any kitchen look like the trendiest new coffee shop. It works excellent in condos and apartments because it takes up such little counter space. 

Pros

Makes flavorful espresso FAST

Additional milk frother for delicious lattes

Super fast preheat time of 25 seconds

Design is perfect for tight spaces

One-touch button system

Cons

Need to heat the water separately for regular coffee


Some Things to Consider

Let’s compare each aspect of these machines side-by-side.

Features

The features of these two single-serve coffee machines are purposely minimized. They are both meant for everyday use and coffee lovers who want their java fast and easy. However, the Nespresso CitiZ has a few extra brewing options due to its ability to make creamy lattes. 

If you opt for the added milk frother on the CitiZ, you can make an array of high-quality coffee beverages. The Keurig only makes regular coffee based on whatever flavor K-cup pod you’re using. 

Winner: Nespresso

Brewing

The most important feature of any pod-based coffee machine is how well it brews, and these two deliver. While they are focused on two different flavored brews, they are both successful in their mission. 

Having so many Keurig K-cups available means you will never get bored with the same old cup of coffee each morning. There are 100s of brews to choose from. 

The brewing options are less on the CitiZ, but you can have a barista-style coffee without needing a barista with the milk frother. The quality and flavor are more authentic with the CitiZ than with the K-Elite.   

Winner: Draw

Settings & Control

The settings and controls of both machines are very user-friendly. They remain focused on their objectives and make it easy for you to get what you want quickly. 

With a few more settings to control, the Nespresso can make a regular shot of espresso, or you can select the lungo option for a double espresso. This is standard for all CitiZ machines, but if you add the milk frother, you have even more control over your cup of coffee.

The only option you have on the K-Elite is a strong brew feature. This is for those sluggish mornings when you need an extra pep in your step. You can also select from a variety of cup sizes ranging from 4-12-ounces.   

Winner: Nespresso

Pods

Simply put, Keurig offers a lot more pod options. Since Keurig has been doing this for longer, they have established a wide range of flavors to choose from. They have some pretty famous partners as well, with the likes of Dunking Donuts and McDonald’s contributing to their line-up. 

Nespresso is always adding new flavors, but it seems they will never catch up to Keurig. Coffee connoisseurs may get bored with the selection from Nespresso and would get more enjoyment with the options available from Keurig.    

Winner: Keurig

Design

Having intuitive design is something both these machines possess. They look fantastic and are made to suit many different home decors. For maximum space-saving, look to the Nespresso CitiZ. It has a small footprint on your counter and will stay out of the way when you’re not using it. 

The Keurig K-Elite is one of the largest Keurig machines but still manageable. Its larger size is mainly due to its water reservoir, which is almost twice the size of the CitiZ.    

Winner: Nespresso

Ease of Use

This is a tough category to rate as both are easy to use. However, the Keurig wins this one by a slight margin because of its limited options. You simply choose the size and then start brewing. 

The Nespresso CitiZ can require a deft touch if you plan to use the milk frother. Without that option, it’s just as simple and faster than the Keurig. But it brews a different style of coffee as well that requires less time. 

If you have never owned one of these or any pod coffee machine, you’ll feel right at home with these simple and effective coffee makers.   

Winner: Keurig

Price

This was a more straightforward category to dissect. The cost of ownership is much lower for the K-Elite than the CitiZ. This is understandable when you look at the different types of coffee they produce. 

Nespresso machines make a refined coffee shot that a casual coffee drinker may not enjoy on a daily basis. The technology used is far more advanced, proved in the shorter brew time. Even though it’s more expensive, it’s worth it to those who love a good shot of espresso and want the option of quick lattes.    

Winner: Keurig

Company Reputation

These two are a couple of the biggest names in coffee brewing. Both are very well-respected and produce outstanding products. However, those ‘in-the-know’ would all agree that Nespresso is the superior organization

The durability & reliability are ahead of any machine that Keurig makes, and their sleek designs are also very impressive.

Keurig is a solid company with convenient product offerings, but its reputation amongst coffee gurus is that of an Outback Steakhouse compared to Nespresso as a Ruth’s Chris.

Winner: Nespresso

FAQ

Which machine brews the fastest?

The fastest brewing machine here is the CitiZ. But take that with a grain of salt since it only brews smaller espressos and not full cups of coffee. It doesn’t need as much water to heat, nor does it have to fill an entire mug. The Keurig is blazing fast for the style of coffee it produces, but it’s not as fast as an espresso from the CitiZ. 

Which machine is louder?

The louder machine of the two is the Nespresso CitiZ. This came as a surprise since it’s so small. Unfortunately, it’s louder than you think, and it will probably wake someone up who is sleeping nearby. The Keurig is not exactly silent either, but it’s less intrusive on your ears than the CitiZ. 

Is it hard to use the milk frother?

If it’s your first time using one, then some practice will be required, but you don’t have to be a barista to learn how to make a variety of beverages. The options are almost endless, and when you get really good, you can make your own coffee art and start a TikTok page showing off your skills. Or you can just enjoy perfect coffee at home. 

Do any Keurig machines make shots of espresso?

Yes, certain newer Keurig machines now can make flavorful espresso. Specifically the Keurig K-Cafe. It has all the bells and whistles any aspiring barista may need to create espressos and lattes, and cappuccinos. This machine can do wonders for your coffee palate with a skilled hand.  

The Verdict

This will be a tough decision for some. These two machines get mentioned in the same sentence a lot, but after breaking down all the details, it’s clear that they offer two different coffee maker models. 

I have to tip my hat to the Nespresso CitiZ. This is solely based on taste and coffee quality. The type of coffee this machine makes is professional-level, and I love that people can have this in their homes now. 

A casual coffee drinker will appreciate the Keurig more due to its functionality and all the different coffee pods they can get. The Keurig still makes a great cup of coffee, but many people will find it lacks a little extra something that the CitiZ has.

The Nespresso CitiZ produces authentic espresso machine quality, while the Keurig K-Elite brews coffee fast and has a ton of coffee pod brands to choose from. 

We’d all have both machines in a perfect world, am I right?  

Another Nespresso Read: De’Longhi vs Nespresso

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Author
Clint's skills as a barista have made it easy for him to transition into writing about coffee. With so much personal experience and passion, he is able to shed light on all aspects of coffee to ensure you can enjoy this delicious beverage as much as he does.

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