Aeropress vs Nespresso: Which is Better? What is Different?

AeroPress brewing

There are so many ways to prepare a drink with just a simple ingredient or two.

Often these have made the most popular drinks in the world. It’s likely a trend that leas all the way back to the Amazon, when tribes combined juice from a vine with grinds from a root.

Okay, so maybe that doesn’t sound like the best tasting drink on earth, but it’s not too far off from the great (and simple) beverages we enjoy today. Tea, coffee, even beer are all relatively simple drinks but make up the majority of consumed liquids on the planet. Oh yes, and water!

Nespresso capsules

The ways we prepare those drinks can vary a lot though. So when Nespresso invented their style of coffee on the spot and to some incredibly exact specification, the world became curious. Now Nespresso is a household name, and it’s for good reason.

For the age-old French Press, it met it’s natural-born predator the AeroPress when the inventor of the Aerobie Frisbee was finished making his mark in sporting goods.

Today, we want to take those top of the food-chain dominators and compare and contrast them, in all their glory.

The Aeropress Brew

Named as a conjunction of Aerobie and French Press, the Aeropress brew has an intense aroma with hints of oils and dark concentration. The process fully supports the coffees rich backbone to give righteous character to the final product.

The French Press style was a particularly impressive development for its time. However, one single cup coffee lover deciding it was time to up the ante. Today, many people enjoy the AeroPress, not only for its wonderful coffee product but also because it has a sleek design which makes it camping friendly, but basically mobile for coffee anywhere one can find a heat source and potable water.

The Aeropress works with a plunger style topper and a mesh filter, which means you’re going to be enjoying a lot of the natural oils and flavors from the beans, without sacrificing them in a paper filter, like one would with drip coffee. The Nespresso also has it’s competition with drip coffee as well.

The Nespresso brewing system differs immensely in regard to the brewing process. Some of the units work slightly differently than the others but all of the best Nespresso machines basically make espresso exactly the same way.

Nespresso Coffee Brewing

Nespresso ShotThe Swiss have had a long time love affair with coffee, so much so that the simple drink we were discussing has been locked down to an exact science. The creation of the Nespresso system, a portmanteau of Nestle and espresso, set a new standard in home coffee automation. However, it wasn’t until many years after its inception, that the system truly became the iconic beverage creator that it is today.

When Eric Favre was studying the popularity of espresso shops in the 1970s, he decided to make an automated version of the drink, perhaps to earn the business of the espresso-crazed which lined up day after day for the dense black drink.

How The Nespresso Machine Works

Over the years, the brewing system was changed and evolved into the high-caliber piece of machinery it is today. Coffee aficionados took note.

Nespresso’s hermetically sealed capsules are made of aluminum. Depending on the Nespresso system being used, the flat top or the pointy end of the capsule is pierced when inserted into the machine and the compartment lever is lowered.

This isn’t much different of a process then the Keurig we all know, so far…

When the machine gets to brewing it pumps hot water under very high pressure into the capsule upon. The flat bottom of the capsule is caused to rupture, as this is made of thinner foil than the rest of the capsule. This is likely engineered to mimic the pressure of the espresso machine.

nespresso brewingThe base of the capsule holder (on which the capsule sits) has a number of raised indentation which causes the foil to rupture. Delicious, rich coffee then dispenses to your cup and a fresh brew is ready.

There’s not much scrutiny of this process, other than the fact the pods can be on the expensive side and cause excess waste, but they do seal the pods to make sure the coffee stays fresh.

The Nespresso company has developed the pods to vary a bit and turn out enough styles of beverage to satisfy the worldwide market:

  • Espresso capsules: These capsules are determined to mimic the ‘short’ espresso coffee we all know and love. Nespresso has an array of six different Espresso-style capsules, they range from light to dark. If you came to the Nespresso machine looking for a quick fix for a home espresso, then these are your go-to capsules.
  • Intenso capsules: Searching for something stronger and blended origin espresso capsules that are perfect for people who prefer strong, full-bodied coffee. This is going to be thick and oily coffee that taste of Guatemalan Robusta and Central and South American Arabicas.
  • Lungo capsules: These are Nespresso capsules for a ‘long’ coffee, such as an Americano or a traditional Italian hot coffee. These are going to be mimicking the longer pulls of espresso that incorporates more water and more extraction from the espresso grounds themselves. These range from a Mexican style coffee to the traditional Arabica blends.
  • Decaffeinato capsules: These are the line of decaffeinated coffee. Nespresso sells three different decaffeinated capsules, which range in strength and taste. You’re still able to get the flavors you want in the Nespresso style coffee, but if decaffeinated is your thing, then these will surely help you get the kind of coffee you want fast.
  • Pure Origin capsules are Nespresso’s version of specialist coffee. These capsules contain espresso coffee sourced from a specific coffee growing region and are aimed specifically at coffee enthusiasts. If you’re interested in tasting coffee from specific areas, even farm plots on occasion, then this is an investment you’ll likely want to make.
  • Variation capsules: These beauties contain Livanto espresso, but with a variety of extra flavors added for people who prefer a little extra taste to their coffee.Nespresso Coffee Capsules

Nespresso UK’s managing director, Brema Drohan has been quoted stating this sort of mission statement for the company,”If we go back 15 years, people thought a cappuccino was a luxury thing, and many would not know what they were,” This is an interesting outlook for the company and gives way to explaining how the Nespresso is perceived. “Nowadays nine out of 10 people will know. As a culture, we have gradually moved more and more to the coffee-drinking habits of people in Europe.”

With a proper Nespresso education under our collective belts, it’s time to compare the brewing methods we’re discussing and make a proper choice for your purchasing.

The Brewing Method Comparison

Access to fresh beans? Check.

Access to a grinder for proper fresh grinding? Check.

The Aeropress might just be the winner of this round. While the Nespresso pods are sealed to preserve freshness, the Nespresso is not designed to take advantage of fresh ground beans. The Aeropress also allows you to hone the brew parameters to your liking. This means you’re likely to get the best cup you can out of your beans.

In terms of quality: if you’re using pre-ground store-bought beans, it probably doesn’t make a much better cup of coffee than the Nespresso will.

Both of these brewing methods will make you a strong coffee, although the AeroPress can be dosed up for a bigger stronger drink, with the Nespresso, the dosing in the pre-bought pods, which range a bit for providing a few different strengths of brews.

Cost wise, the Nespresso pods may set you back a bit, if you’re drinking a lot of coffee, although the Aeropress was invented by a one-cup-a-day drinker. An AeroPress is much cheaper still if you’re pursuing a few more cups of coffee a day. Once you’ve got the gear and the beans, one is set for making coffee until the AeroPress breaks. However, you’ve seen how long those frisbees can last, even under the destructive tendencies of the house dog.

blooming crema coffeeThe biggest difference between these two brewing methods is the impact of the beloved crema. The Nespresso essentially uses immense amounts of crema to allure the drinker, and convince them that this is top of the line coffee.

So which really provides the best user experience and convenience?

Matters of Convenience

Nespresso might seem shockingly expensive, but so is a morning espresso pulled at home if you consider what domestic grinders and espresso machines will cost in setup. There’s nothing better than a home espresso made with all the right gadgets and ingredients. However, that just may not be so realistic for everyone.

With the Nespresso machine, one can make a drink in under a minute, once you’ve made the investment in the machine and the pods. While the AeroPress isn’t a particularly difficult brewing method either, you won’t be getting the same product. Aeropress coffee isn’t espresso. It’s dark and bold, sure, but the atmospheric pressure used to achieve an espresso pull simply isn’t possible with the press-style brewer.

The customizability that comes with the Aeropress is what has won over many coffee brewers overall, it’s arguably more efficient than the  Nespresso in terms of adjusting water temperatures, amount of water, it’s all very easy. The Aeropress certainly excels at being a portable unit, whereas the Nespresso machine will not only take up space but be difficult to move easily.

Keep in mind, that Nespresso has made many different version of their appliance, so if you’re looking for an appliance with a smaller footprint for your kitchen countertop then maybe you’d like to compare the Nespresso Pixie for a purchase.

Although the issues don’t seem as rampant with the Nespresso as they do with the Keurig unit, (although the comparison of the Keurig and Nespresso is worth investigating as well). We’re just proposing that there could be similar issues between the automatic coffee makers. mineral water is readily available from most taps regardless of where you live, and this can pose a serious threat to you coffee makers when the lines become clogged the only thing one can do is find some descaling solutions and clean the machine. Unfortunately, this can happen at the most inconvenient times. Descaling solutions are readily available, however, at a variety of price ranges and styles.

Cost Vs. Benefit

The two are at wildly different price points. However, you’re getting very different coffee products and very different brewing experiences. Still, you’re likely to find an AeroPress to be a quick buy-in and you’ll have great coffee quickly. The Nespresso machine will be on a higher scale and investment, but deliver what some would say is a better cup of coffee. Ultimately it’s worth analyzing what kind of coffee you want and how/where you’re going to drink it.

Want to make coffee at the office, then say no more, you’ll find yourself in your cubicle with an Aeropress. However, if you’re finding that home is where your work or time is spent mostly then a Nespresso machine will entertain guests and make for a quick convenient beverage.

Coffee cost per pound

Short VS Long

If we’re going to really hammer down on what style of coffee these two brewing processes are capable of then it’s likely very important to understand the extraction times. First, let’s double down on the AeroPress and decide once and for all what it’s capable of extracting.

We know the AeroPress isn’t a proper espresso maker, but it does have the ability to sit with temperate water in contact with grounds for an extended period. In fact, it’s been long debated the merits of Aeropress Coffee Vs. Espresso.

The Nespresso does offer varying short, long and everything in between when it comes to extracting their pods. Extracting each coffee using the appropriate setting on your Nespresso machine will ensure that you keep each pods designed taste and sensory profile. While Nespresso says its capsules are designed for a specific type of coffee, you’re still fine to use them however you dial in the controls.

Nespresso controls

Regardless of which you choose, but definitely have their pros and cons. It’s likely that both will satisfy the majority of your coffee needs though. There are many fans of great black coffee out there, and they might prefer the AeroPress, however, there’s’ also many that like adding milk and/or cream to their coffee. The Nespresso is great as a base, and their Grand Cru coffee capsules make a fantastic black coffee too.

If you’re looking for more information and reviews on other coffee gear then check out our lists here.

Nespresso vs Aeropress: Two Espresso Alternatives Compared

Most are familiar with the basic methods of brewing coffee, like drip coffee makers or Keurig machines. Keeping up with the many brewing options can be a daunting task, especially when they all are similar in some ways, but with key differences.

Many brewing methods we see these days have come from combining or bettering the functions of other methods, and creating a new brew method itself. We see this with the Aeropress, a method of brewing that essentially combines the features of French presses with the brand name Aerobie.

And then we have the Nespresso, Nestle’s venture into brewing espresso. This method uses a pod inserted in the machine to brew espresso, similar to the way Keurigs work.

Nespresso will always remain consistent, as the pods have the right amount of coffee already inside of them. There is also some room for variety, with lots of different flavors of pods. The appearance and functions of the machines range as well, with some being short and all black, and others taller with different colors.

Aeropresses don’t vary too much in appearance, as most are tall, thin and with two chambers. They are significantly cheaper than Nespresso machines, though the extra cost of other equipment will need to be considered.

The two brewing methods have a lot in common, especially the end result of a rich, bold cup of coffee. There are a lot of differences as well, and they will need to be taken into account before deciding what kind of brew method is best for you.

The Differences Between Nespresso and Aeropress

Before we evaluate the main features of each brewing method, we need to look at what sets the two apart.

The most obvious difference between the two is the way the grounds meet the hot water. With Nespresso, the coffee is always in a pod, so you won’t ever have access to the ground coffee or need to provide your own.

The Aeropress on the other hand works like a French press, so you’ll need to grind up some fresh coffee and add it to the Aeropress before brewing. This brewing method works with total immersion, where a gentle pressure forces a rich extraction of flavor from the coffee beans.

Nespresso pods do not leave room for customization, so you can’t adjust the amount, strength, or texture of the beans as you would with Aeropress. You can choose from a variety of different pod flavors, though. This also means you will always have a consistent cup of coffee if you use the same type pods each day.

As far as equipment needed, Nespressos require the machine and the pods, whereas Aeropresses require a grinder, a scooper, and a stash of your own coffee. Many coffee-enthusiasts already have some of the items necessary for using an Aeropress laying around their kitchen.

Nespressos brew at the touch of a button, and Aeropresses require manual grinding of beans and heating of water before any coffee can be brewed.

Now that we’ve laid out the main differences, let’s take a look at the individual brewing methods.

Is Nespresso Better Than Aeropress?

When it comes down to it, the Nespresso cannot make coffee as good as a skilled Aeropress brew can.  That’s not to say there aren’t good reasons to choose a Nespresso, or that the brew is not quality. Both methods produce delicious, high quality coffee, but the Nespresso can only reach a certain taste, whereas the Aeropress allows for more skill to craft a bold cup.

The Nespresso works with pods, so you will never have to measure out how much coffee you’re grinding, or even purchase coffee in bulk. As a result, you will have consistent coffee with each brew, because it will always use the same amount.

Another great feature of the Nespresso that the Aeropress cannot offer is the inclusion of a milk frother. If you get a Nespresso with a frother, you will be able to make more creative drinks and experiment with achieving the perfect foam.

This is a great feature for someone who takes the presentation of their drinks seriously, or just wants to experiment more with their barista skills. I love frothing milk and making homemade lattes, so this is a great feature to be included in these machines.

The overall time it takes to brew coffee with a Nespresso machine is very short, making it an outstanding choice against an Aeropress if you are looking for convenience. You can brew a cup of coffee in under a minute and know that the taste will remain consistent each time.

Since everything you need for Nespresso is included in the machine, with the exception of the pods themselves, this machine takes up less counter space than others. If you’re really looking to condense, there are plenty of mini Nespressos available that brew delicious espresso.

There are lots of varieties of Nespresso machines, so users are able to choose exactly what features they want.

Is Aeropress Better Than Nespresso?

Good coffee brewed in an Aeropress is going to taste better than what a Nespresso can brew, though the two are both able to brew bold and rich flavors.

It’s important to keep in mind that Aeropress does not brew espresso, although the result is a very similar bold and rich brew. The method is very similar to a French press, and the resulting coffee is a close match.

A decent Aeropress is going to be cheaper than a Nespresso machine, although you’ll have to factor in the extra gadgets you’ll need in order to use the Aeropress. Luckily, there are many bundles including extra gadgets for use. You’ll still need to get your hands on a good grinder, as the best Aeropress coffee will come from freshly ground beans.

Although you’ll need a bit more to make a successful brew with an Aeropress, the taste and quality is worth it. Making a drink with an Aeropress takes under two minutes, as compared to French presses which take closer to five. The Nespresso brews coffee faster than both of the mentioned methods, but Aeropress still comes out with a much faster brew than a lot of methods.

The Aeropress brew method also offers a lot more control and flexibility than the Nespresso. You get to toy with different amounts of beans to make stronger or weaker brews, and larger amounts.

Again, you’ll want to grind your own beans, so you also will have control over the extraction of the coffee, which depends on how fine or coarse you grind it. For Aeropress, you’ll want finely ground coffee. Aeropresses also cut some of the acid out of the coffee taste, which can be difficult to achieve and is nice to find in a brew method.

If you have the necessary supplies, and know how to properly use an Aeropress, the coffee you brew will undoubtedly top that of a cup brewed from a Nespresso.

Nespresso or Aeropress?

The best choice for a great tasting cup of joe is going to be the Aeropress. Nespresso can make a great choice for a lot of reasons, but if we’re judging the quality of the finished product, it comes out behind.

If you’re an espresso-enthusiast, keep in mind that traditional espresso makers are not the same as these two brew methods. But if you’re looking for a dark, bold roast, a Nespresso or an Aeropress can both achieve that.

If you’re someone who likes convenience, and does not want to experiment with their coffee, a Nespresso is a good choice. You’re guaranteed a fresh, delicious cup with each pod you brew. You’re not entirely doomed to have the same exact tasting coffee each day either, because they offer many flavors for the pods.

The cost of the Nespresso is higher than an Aeropress, although it doesn’t require any extra products except for the coffee pods. Many find that the price of the machine is worth the convenience in their every day life, so it’s important to consider the pros and cons before making a decision for your own needs.

If you like to add your own personal touch to your morning brew, the Aeropress is a great choice. The taste of the coffee is entirely dependent on the steps taken to brew it, so you’ll need to get the hang of the process before reaching the desired brew.

Personally, I go for the Aeropress because I enjoy the process and like to reap the benefits with a bold, rich brew. I find the overall process rewarding. The difference in price is an important factor for me, especially considering I already have the other equipment necessary for using an Aeropress.

Which method is right for you will depend on your lifestyle and preferences. Both will brew a great cup of coffee. This article should help you gather the necessary information to make the right decision for you.

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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