April 12, 2024

Are all wholesale coffee capsules the same?

All wholesale coffee capsules have a consistent, recognizable shape. This is no coincidence: it's because they are exclusively compatible with Nespresso original line machines.

However, appearances can be deceiving: even though they might look similar, not all wholesale coffee capsules are created equal. There are plenty of differentiating factors, from the coffee inside to the material of the capsule shell.

Let's take a closer look at what sets different wholesale coffee capsules apart from one another. Read on to learn more.

A black coffee machine and a full mug of coffee

What's the difference between wholesale coffee capsules and pods?

Before we look at what sets individual wholesale coffee capsules apart, let's distinguish between capsules and pods.

While both are single-serve coffee brewing methods, they differ in several ways. Coffee pods are typically compatible with Keurig K-Cup machines, but coffee capsules only work with Nespresso original line brewers and similar machines. This means that pods and capsules have different shapes – and that they are not  interchangeable.

Both can prepare coffee quickly, but only coffee capsules brew espresso-style coffee. Pods, meanwhile, brew drip coffee and can be premixed with creamer or flavorings.

Beyond this, there are several other differences. Pods generally include self-enclosed paper filters and steep the coffee before allowing it to percolate out. In contrast, capsule machines force high-pressure heated water through the grounds. This extracts soluble flavor and aroma compounds more quickly.

So, are all wholesale coffee capsules the same?

No. Nespresso developed its capsule brewing system in the 1970s and held key patents on capsule design for decades. However, several of these expired in 2012 – and in the years since many other brands have entered the market.

Twelve years on, there are thousands of different branded coffee capsules on the market. They share only one similarity: you brew them using Nespresso original line machines – or other similar systems.

A pile of sealed coffee capsules

What makes individual wholesale coffee capsules different?

So, we know that wholesale coffee capsules can differ wildly from one to the next. But how are they different? What separates one capsule from another?  


Just like with whole bean coffee, quality can vary heavily between different wholesale coffee capsules. Some brands manufacture their capsules using cheaper, lower-quality materials and ingredients, while others focus on providing a premium experience.

At Metropolis, we use specialty-grade coffee in all of our capsules. This means each of our coffees has scored higher than 80 on a 100-point scale for quality.

We exclusively source our capsule shells from Smile Beverage Werks. These plant-based sustainable shells brew perfectly in any Nespresso original line machine and are commercially compostable.

Roast level

Roast level is one of the factors that affect how a coffee tastes. For example, darker roasts are typically more intense and bold, with common tasting notes including chocolate, caramel, and toasted nuts. On the other hand, lighter roasts are often brighter, fruitier, and more acidic.

This means that the flavor of any given wholesale coffee capsule varies heavily on its roast profile.

Coffee sourcing

Most coffee capsules are packed with blends, rather than single origin coffees. As well as roast level, the flavor of each capsule depends on the composition of this blend. This can vary significantly from one wholesale coffee capsule to the next.

Each component coffee adds different characteristics to a blend (such as flavor, body, and so on). These characteristics will depend on where the coffee was grown and how it was processed, among many other factors.

Washed coffees, for example, show more of the coffee's origin characteristics and often have a lighter mouthfeel. In contrast, natural coffees tend to have a fruitier or sweeter profile with more body.


When sourcing wholesale coffee capsules, it's important to remember different capsules may hold different certifications. These may relate to how the coffee was sourced or the material used to manufacture the capsule shell.

For instance, Metropolis capsules are commercially compostable. They're certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and the Composter Manufacturing Alliance (CMA).

This means that they pass the strictest standards for composting in the US. Instead of sending them to landfill, you can dispose of them at any commercial composting facility in the country.

A Metropolis branded package of coffee capsules

Metropolis wholesale coffee capsules

At Metropolis, we have four options for customers looking for wholesale coffee capsules. These are:

Redline Espresso Capsules: Our flagship signature espresso blend with notes of cocoa, honey, and merlot.

La Cordillera Espresso Capsules: A classic breakfast blend, perfect for a latte or cappuccino. It has mellow notes of toffee and lemon.

Spice Island Espresso Capsules: An indulgent dark roast – rich and heavy with a fudgy, chocolatey sweetness.

Decaf Redline Espresso Capsules: Creamy and mild with notes of almond milk and cherry.

Each of these options is commercially compostable and nitrogen-flushed for a 12 to 24-month shelf life. Additionally, our facility is certified SQF, meaning we hold the top certification required to sell to the largest retailers and hospitality brands in the US.

For businesses looking for a bespoke solution, we also offer private label coffee capsules. For private label clients, we design a blend to your specifications, prepare it in capsules, and ship them to your business.

Alternatively, if you already have a coffee in mind that you want to sell to customers in capsule form, our co-packing service is the perfect option.

Want to find out more? Learn about our wholesale, co-packing, and private label espresso capsules today.

Certified compostable facilities may not exist in your area. To find a composter near you, visit www.findacomposter.com or www.compostnow.org on all packaging and marketing materials.

Metropolis Coffee is not affiliated with, endorsed, or sponsored by Nespresso. Nespresso is a registered trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé.

Metropolis Coffee

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