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A Nespresso-compatible coffee cup by Lidl
A Nespresso-compatible coffee cup by Lidl
Used Nespresso coffee capsules, showing the puncture holes in the top and bottom for mixing the product with water
Used Nespresso coffee capsules, showing the puncture holes in the top and bottom for mixing the product with water

A single-serve coffee container is a method for coffee brewing that prepares only enough coffee for a single portion.

Single-serve coffee containers can both reduce the time needed to brew coffee and simplify the brewing process by eliminating the need to measure out portions, flavorings, and additives from large bulk containers. They can also help to keep the unused product fresher by individually packaging portions separately without exposing the entire supply batch to air and light. Paper coffee pods can be functionally identical to plastic and metal coffee capsules, if the paper pods are individually sealed in separate bags. At the same time, the disposable single-use products add to the global waste production.


Several different systems exist:

Comparison of systems

The plastic and metal coffee capsules typically are used in a non-removable receptacle on the brewing device. The capsules have an outer ring or rim that stays dry during use, allowing for removal and disposal after use without getting the user's hands wet or sticky. Handling of a used moist coffee pod is not necessary if the brewing device has a removable filter tray. This tray is removed after brewing and inverted to eject the used coffee pod.

Coffee pods, bags, and capsules can be sized for individual or multi-serving portions. In food service businesses, pods and capsules used with automatic brewing can help to provide consistency of product strength and flavor for customers.

Paper coffee pods such as those used in Easy Serving Espresso Pod or Senseo machines have the benefit of being a fully biodegradable product that can decompose naturally, while plastic and metal capsules such as those used in Keurig or Nespresso machines either aren't recyclable, or require additional processing to separate the plastic/metal container from the organic waste products.

Many capsule machines specifically warn the user to not disassemble the machine or put their fingers inside the capsule receptacle, as the devices commonly use sharp razor-edge tubes or prongs for piercing the coffee capsule during use.

Different single-cup systems are not interchangeable; some systems force machine owners to buy capsules from a single company (usually the patent owner), locking the machine owner into a single source of coffee. Coffee pods are made by a variety of manufacturers and are interchangeable between brand of pod and model of pod brewer most of the time.

System Owned by Year invented Machine manufacturers Capsule / pod manufacturers Markets Type Notes
Espresso Point MAXI Lavazza 1992[citation needed] The ECL (Espresso e Cappuccino Lavazza) branded as 1x Lavazza Worldwide Capsule The ECL used a bi-dose capsule system and had a double dispensing head that could brew two coffees at the same time.
Espresso Point Lavazza 1983 Uno Per branded as 1x Lavazza Worldwide Capsule The single-dose capsule machine by Uno Per (Gattinara), acquired by Lavazza in 1989
Espressotoria Vittoria Coffee ? ? Own brand Worldwide Capsule Australian coffee brand that produces its own pods for its Espressotoria machines[3] as well as Nespresso-compatible pods.
A Modo Mio Lavazza 2007 Saeco (Philips) branded as Lavazza/Gaggia, Electrolux Lavazza Worldwide Capsule Lavazza vertical
BLUE Lavazza 2003 ? Lavazza Worldwide Capsule BLUE stands for "Best Lavazza Ultimate Espresso” - mostly used in business and vending machines
Bialetti Diva Bialetti 2013 Bialetti Caff dÕItalia Worldwide Capsule
Bodecker Brewer Bodecker Brewed 2005 TBD Bodecker Brewed Canada Capsule
Caffitaly (Caffita) Caffita System SPA 2004 Various inc. Princess of Netherlands, Tchibo, Gaggia until recently[when?] Various, inc. Dualit, Gaggia, Ecaffe, CBTL, Gloria Jeans, MAP, Woolworths Central Europe, Northern Europe, Brazil, Australia Capsule Physically compatible with K-Fee machines/pods
Delta Q Delta Cafés 2007 Flama, branded Delta Cafés, Brasilia S.p.A., Casa Bugatti Delta Cafés, Tetley Canada, Portugal, Spain, Luxembourg, Brazil, Angola Capsule
Dolce Gusto Nestle 2008 Krups, Delonghi, branded Nescafe. Nescafe (Nestle) Worldwide Capsule Nestle vertical. Also brews cold beverages. Limited Edition machine designs also available. Rewards program.Capsule recycling programs exist in some countries.
Easy Serving Espresso Pod (ESE) Italian ESE Consortium for Development 1998 (standard) and previous Various including Delonghi, Dualit, FrancisFrancis, Handpresso, Kitchenaid, Krups and Saeco Various Worldwide Pod Open, generic standard not tied to particular vendors, pods fit most traditional espresso machines. Not all pods are 44 mm (the standard diameter).
Flavia Beverage Systems Mars, Inc. 1984 Flavia (Mars) Flavia (Mars) United States, United Kingdom Capsule The "fresh pack" (the capsule) is the brewing vessel, so that the drink is not tainted by previous user. Controlled by Mars.
Folgers Folgers 1953 None needed The J.M. Smucker Co. United States Bag Folgers coffee singles,[2] instant coffee
iperEspresso Illy 2007 FrancisFrancis (Illy), Gaggia[4] (Saeco), Cuisinart[5] Illy Worldwide Capsule Recyclable[6]
K-Cup (Keurig) Green Mountain Coffee Roasters 1992 Many: Keurig, Breville, Cuisinart, Insignia, etc. Many, including Green Mountain United States, Canada Capsule My K-Cup available as a reusable filter for using any filter coffee prior to the Keurig 2.0 system.
Compostable K-Cup OneCoffee 2017 Many: Keurig, Cuisinart, BUNN etc. Many, including OneCoffee and Club Coffee United States, Canada Capsule A soft-bottomed pod compatible with any Keurig machine, including 2.0.
K-Fee KRÜGER Group 2010 Aldi Expressi, K Systems GMBH Preferenza K-Fee, Paulig Cupsolo, Starbucks Verismo United States, Europe, Australia Capsule Physically compatible with CaffeItaly machines/pods
(Original Line)
Nestle 1976 Eugster/Frismag branded as Krups, Magimix, Siemens; Delonghi make Latissima model Nespresso Worldwide Capsule (Pod in bars[7]) In 1976, Eric Favre, an employee of Nestlé, invented, patented and introduced the Nespresso system[8][9] Nestle-controlled system
Nespresso VertuoLine Nestle 2014 ? Nespresso United States, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Australia Capsule Nestle-controlled system
Coffee Pods None 2001 (Senseo patent) Bunn, Philips, Melitta, Grindmaster, Cuisinart, CafeXpress, etc. Douwe Egberts, Café Liégeois, Reunion Island, Wolfgang Puck, Melitta, Fratello Coffee Roasters, etc. Worldwide Pod Not owned by a specific corporation. Many more manufacturers of pods and brewers exist. Also biodegradable.
T-Discs (Tassimo) Kraft 2004 Bosch branded as TASSIMO Various subsidiaries of Kraft. (see T-Discs) United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe Capsule

Environmental impact

Environmental activists have said that single-use coffee pods are harmful, as they are often composed of a mix of plastic, aluminium, and organic material (the used coffee) which makes them difficult to recycle. In early 2016 the German city of Hamburg banned coffee capsules from state-run buildings on environmental grounds.[10][11] There are some capsules that are plant-based and that can be compostable as bio-waste.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Nespresso compatible pods for coffee, Best Nespresso Machine, retrieved 13 December 2019
  2. ^ a b "Classic Roast Singles – Folgers Coffee". Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  3. ^ FAQ, Vittoria Coffee
  4. ^ "Gaggia for illy plus single serve".
  5. ^ "Buona Tazza™ Collection Side-by-side comparison". Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  6. ^ "Introducing the iperEspresso Capsule Recycle Program". Retrieved 2014-07-05.
  7. ^ Commercial Coffee Capsule Range (Nespresso Pro Spain)
  8. ^ Societé (in French), CH: Monodor, archived from the original on May 3, 2008
  9. ^ History, Monodor
  10. ^ "Is there a serious problem with coffee capsules?". 19 February 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2017 – via
  11. ^ "Is Tassimo being phased out or going out of business?". 21 June 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Plant based capsules challenge Nespresso®". 24 February 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2017.