You have a Nespresso single-serve coffee maker, and you love it. We all do! But at some point, almost every Nespresso convert asks the question: can I use my Nespresso machine to brew my own coffee?
The answer is simple: absolutely!
But before you can start brewing your with your favorite non-Nespresso coffee beans (or pre-ground coffee, if you’re into the whole convenience thing), you’ll have to take a few things into consideration.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using your own coffee with Nespresso machines. We’ll look at the necessary equipment, the brewing process, the benefits and drawbacks of using your own coffee, and some helpful tips to help you get the most out of your brews.
Why Use Your Own Coffee with a Nespresso Machine?
Before we get on with the guide, we thought we should consider some of the reasons why someone might want to use her own coffee in a Nespresso machine to begin with. After all, Nespresso produces outstanding single-use capsules for their machines.
So why use your own? There are two common reasons: the relatively high cost of single-use capsules and their potential environmental impact.
While we are huge fans of Nespresso’s single-serve capsules, there’s no escaping the fact that they are comparatively expensive. It can sometimes be troubling to spend good money on an item that you only use once and then throw away.
Using your own coffee to brew a cup with your Nespresso machine is definitely a great way to save on the cost of capsules, whether you replace the capsules altogether or simply use your own coffee to supplement your capsule use.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the surging popularity of single-serve coffee makers is the environmental impact of throwing away the one-time-use coffee capsules and pods.
It is true that many single-serve capsules and pods can be cleaned and recycled, many people find that this process undermines the whole reason for these machines: convenience and quickness.
One way to mitigate your environmental impact with your Nespresso machine, obviously, is to brew your own coffee with reusable capsules.
What You Need to Brew Your Own Coffee with Your Nespresso Machine
If you’ve decided you want to give brewing your own coffee with your Nespresso coffee maker a try, you’ll first have to buy some things. We’ll focus on the capsules and include other required accessories as they relate to the different capsule types.
Here is all the necessary equipment to get started.
Reusable Coffee Capsules
To use a Nespresso machine, you obviously have to have capsules to get the coffee into the machine. Thus, the most important item you’ll have to buy are reusable capsules.
These capsules come in a variety of styles and are made of various materials. Here are some of the most common types of reusable capsules.
Since the single-use Nespresso pods are made of aluminum, it might seem intuitive to use metal capsules for your own coffee as well.
Indeed, these metal capsules are quite durable and usually feature a sticker closure to keep your coffee in the capsule. One thing to note about this is that, if you go with metal capsules, you’ll need to continually buy new sticker closures, as each one can only be used once.
There are also metal capsules that have a screw-top closure. These are a nice option because you don’t need to replace any of their components. The downside is that they have a tendency to get clogged, so you’ll want to purchase some descaling solution and/or a wire brush to clear the holes.
While metal capsules are certainly more durable and will probably last you much longer, the benefit of plastic capsules is that they are much cheaper than the metal ones.
As with many products, though, you get what you pay for, and the plastic reusable capsules simply don’t function as well as the metal ones. They are more prone to clogging and usually produce a rather diluted brew.
Also, you should consider your time and energy spent on using your own coffee.
Is it Easy to Use Reusable Nespresso Capsules? Is it Worth the Effort?
The Nespresso machine offers users, wide customization, glitzy colorways, and the ability to cut down upon their plastic waste by opting to purchase reusable Nespresso canisters or capsules.
However, how easy are these reusable pods to use?
Reusable Pods – Advantages
- Cost Effective
- Less Wasteful
- Variety of Options
Any Nespresso user knows just how quickly the cost of Nespresso machine starts to inflate when it is time to refill on their supply of pods. These pods can easily cost up to a dollar each and even on the low end they aren’t cheap.
Reusable Nespresso capsules help to cut this cost by allowing the user to refill their pods on their own. A package of five reusable stainless steel pods won’t cost very much but you must also factor in the cost of the coffee in which one would fill these pods with as well as your time spent preparing them every day or two.
Though, even after this calculation is complete it is clear using these pods is much cheaper than their disposable brethren.
Reusable Nespresso pods are also a great choice for the environment. The continued production and purchase of plastic pods has created a plastic use problem, but reusable pods help to limit this problem by offering users a way to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Reusable Pods – Disadvantages
- Harder to Use
- Lighter Coffee
This is where things get real.
Using reusable Nespresso capsules is a rather daunting task in my opinion. Much of this trouble, since the user has to fill the pods themselves before use, is a by-product of a coffee ratio problem. Most of the reusable Nespresso pods that are on the market are in fact slightly smaller than the regular disposable Nespresso pods.
This size difference directly affects the brewing process, for less coffee is able to be held by the Nespresso pod. This decrease in the amount of coffee used will result in a “lighter” cup of espresso.
Other than problems during the brewing process, Nespresso users have all reported that maintenance of their reusable pods is quite challenging.
Reusable pods require continuous cleaning in order to maximize their longevity, but these small pods are often hard to work with, for many of their features are too tiny to clean within.
Certainly there are a number of users that love them but I find them way to cumbersome for my routine and not worth the extra effort.
Should You Start Brewing Your Own Coffee in Your Nespresso Machine with Reusable Capsules?
It depends. If the reasons we mentioned above are very important to you, then you should absolutely give it a shot (sorry for that pun).
However, if these things aren’t a big concern, we think there are much better ways for you to brew your own coffee. The fact is, no matter the quality of your reusable capsules, Nespresso machines simply weren’t designed for this use.
Sure, you can get a decent cup of coffee this way, but it is almost always going to be weaker and less aromatic than using dedicated Nespresso single-use capsules, or simply brewing your own coffee with another method.
Still, the reusable capsules are relatively cheap, so it might be worth it to try one out either way.