May 31, 2024

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

Despite the fact many people talk about coffee pods and espresso capsules interchangeably, there are several important differences that many people aren’t aware of.

The difference lies in how they’re brewed: coffee pods are generally compatible with K-Café machines, while espresso capsules only work with Nespresso original line brewers.

This means pods brew larger cups of drip coffee, while espresso capsules – as the name suggests – brew espresso.

But the differences don’t stop there. Read on to learn more about what sets the two apart.

Espresso capsules assembly line

What are espresso capsules?

But the differences don’t stop there. Read on to learn more about what sets the two apart.

These machines have become much more popular with homes, offices, and businesses across the country over the last decade. It’s now estimated that more than nine million Americans own a capsule brewer.

This growth has been driven by convenience: they are quick and require no skill to use, but still brew great coffee. They are also versatile, containing the perfect amount of coffee to brew a single portion of espresso-style coffee. This can be enjoyed on its own or serve as the base for a range of different drinks – like lattes and cappuccinos.

Furthermore, since Nespresso’s patents expired in the early 2010s, more brands have entered the market – meaning that there are now more options than ever before. 

A cup of espresso being served

How else are espresso capsules different from coffee pods? 

As we mentioned earlier, the main difference is that espresso capsules produce espresso-style coffee in Nespresso original line machines, while pods are used to make more traditional drip coffee in K-Café brewers or similar.

However, the differences don’t stop there. For example, some coffee pods contain entirely different drinks like tea or hot chocolate, or premixed with creamer and flavorings. Espresso capsules, meanwhile, typically only contain ground coffee.

The capsules we produce at Metropolis are manufactured from plant-based materials – and they are commercially compostable.

An espresso capsule machine pouring into a cup

How do you brew espresso capsules?

Thanks to the differences in brewing mechanism, espresso capsules take just seconds to prepare. This ensures consistency from one shot to the next.

The process is simple:

  • Turn the machine on.
  • Place the capsule inside.
  • Close the lid.
  • Select the size of your coffee.
  • Push the button to brew.
  • Wait as espresso-style coffee pours out of the spout and into your cup.

You then dispose of your used capsules. Metropolis capsules are commercially compostable, which means they can be taken to any certified commercial composting facility in the country. The materials are safely broken down into organic, non-toxic matter.


Metropolis espresso capsules

Why are more businesses buying espresso capsules? 

So, now that we know about the differences between coffee pods and espresso capsules – why are more businesses buying capsules specifically?

To start with, capsules deliver consistently excellent coffee with no need for any training or special equipment beyond a capsule machine. This is perfect for a range of hospitality businesses, like restaurants, hotels, and bars.

This also has another benefit: optimizing workflow. Rather than spending minutes pulling espresso shots and steaming milk, staff can dedicate their time to delivering quality customer service. Capsule machines also take up far less space, which helps declutter countertops and work areas.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, espresso capsules are also versatile. You can dilute the coffee to make an americano easily with the capsule. However, it’s also perfect as the base of other drinks, including cappuccinos and lattes, iced versions of these drinks, or even coffee cocktails. This allows businesses to expand their menu without having to invest in different brewing methods – espresso capsules can do it all.

So, now you know how espresso capsules are different from pods and why they’re becoming more popular with businesses, how do you start sourcing them?

Finding the right wholesale espresso capsules can be easier said than done. At Metropolis, we offer four of our signature blends in capsule form to both wholesale and retail customers:

These capsules are all commercially compostable, which means they reduce the amount of waste your business sends to landfill. In addition, our facility is certified SQF Level 2, meaning we hold the certifications required to sell into the nation’s largest retailers and hospitality brands.

Want to find out more? Learn about our espresso capsules today.

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

Metropolis espresso capsules are made under license from Smile Beverage Werks, P.B.C.

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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