If you are looking online to buy cheap coffee pods then you have probably invested in a pod coffee machine already only to find that the pods and capsules are working out to be more expensive than you thought.
The good news is that if you have a Nespresso coffee machine or a Dolce Gusto coffee machine then there are lots of different choices other than buying the original pods from either Nespresso or Dolce Gusto.
You DO NOT have to buy the expensive coffee pods sold by the manufacturers of the coffee machines. They will have you believe that using non-original pods may affect the warranty but you are entitled to do whatever you want with your coffee machine and that includes using whatever coffee pods you want to.
The bottom line is that Nespresso and Dolce Gusto (both owned by the same company, Nestle) do not make any money if you don’t buy their pods so they will encourage you to buy their expensive ones and have you believe that it is a bad idea to do anything else.
We disagree and below we show you a range of different options for you to buy significantly cheaper pods without compromising on quality and coffee taste.
If you are a little sceptical as to how you can get great flavour from cheaper pods, we also explain how this is possible in detail below.
But if you just want to try great tasting coffee pods at a fraction of the price you are currently paying here are a selection that offers great value for money and a great-tasting cup of coffee.
After reviewing hundreds of different options here are some of the best cheap coffee pods for you to choose from:
You can get cheaper than these but then you may compromise on quality. With these, you will be paying around 1/3 less than the Dolce Gusto original’s but we challenge you to be able to tell which is which.
Get someone else to make you a coffee with these pods and another one with the Dolce Gusto branded ones and see if you can tell the difference.
This pack comes with 48 x coffee pods and 48 x milk pods for latte’s but you can buy them separately as well.
A good tip with these pods in order to save even more money and make your coffee taste even better is to use fresh milk if you like milk-based drinks like cappuccino or latte. The capsules contain powdered milk which is ok but not as good as fresh milk.
So for cappuccino or latte, try buying the espresso pods and then heating your milk for 60 seconds in the microwave. Using the microwave to heat your milk won’t give you the froth or foam for a full authentic cappuccino or latte but you will get a good flat white this way.
Products that are branded Solimo are sourced by Amazon themselves and it just goes to show what the true price of a Nespresso coffee pod can be when you strip out all of the advertising and branding costs associated with the expensive Nespresso originals.
These Ristretto pods are basically a short, strong espresso that is perfect for adding milk to in order to create a cappuccino or latte. They are also available in Espresso or Lungo (like an Americano) but we would recommend these as the best option for creating milk-based coffee drinks. Amazing value for money.
If you are currently using the Dolce Gusto original cappuccino or latte pods then you will know that you have to use one pod for the coffee and then add another for milk. These have no milk pods so you will have to heat your own milk.
It works out much cheaper that way because the milk pods work out really expensive for what is nothing more than a few grams of powdered milk. Heating fresh milk with a milk frother is much cheaper and tastes far better.
These pods also come with no added sugar, unlike the Dolce Gusto milk pods that do contain sugar to enhance the flavour. If you want to control the sweetness of your coffee yourself or if you don’t want sugar at all then these will not only save you time and money but will give you more control over how you like to take your coffee.
These are our lowest cost Dolce Gusto compatible pod recommendation. They are far from the cheapest options available but they taste really good. Because everyone’s palette is different you could easily prefer these to the original’s or some of the more expensive compatible options.
When you start to look at some of the cheaper options they use a high percentage of Robusta coffee or even 100% Robusta and that can start to compromise flavour but these are 80% Arabica.
These are a great budget option that balances quality and value.
These are a really interesting alternative to the Nespresso originals because they are made by Jacob Douwe Egberts that own the L’OR brand and not only that but they also make and own the Tassimo brand of pod coffee machines.
The point is that these guys know how to make coffee because they do it on a massive scale with their own instant coffee and own pod coffee machines.
These are cheaper than the Nespresso original but are definitely on a par with them in terms of quality of coffee and flavour.
A much cheaper option than the L’OR compatible pods above but at around half the price of the L’OR they are great value for money and have been very well received by a large number of people that have already purchased these.
If you are looking for a great budget option for your Nespresso machine then these are well worth a try.
Similar in price to the Amorcaffe pods above you can get these in a wide variety of different intensities to suit any palette and if you have not tried alternatives to the Nespresso originals then they do a mixed pack of 100 that is well worth a try to see find the one you like best without risking it on just one to find you don’t like that particular type.
What coffee pod machine should you buy?
3 brands dominate the market. Dolce Gusto, Nespresso and Tassimo. Others have tried to get a piece of the pie but without much success.
Lavazza is one of them but the marketing power of the big 3 have ensured that there is not much interest.
If you haven’t already bought a pod machine but you are researching which ones offer the cheapest pods then you should go for either Nespresso or Dolce Gusto because these offer the best value if you choose non-original pods like the ones suggested above.
Tassimo compatible coffee pods
Tassimo operates a different system for coffee delivery than both Nespresso and Dolce Gusto.
All Tassimo pods have a barcode on them that tells the coffee machine what type of drink you want and delivers a fixed amount of water according to the drink type.
So if your drink of choice is an Americano you will get a lot more coffee in your cup than if you use a cappuccino capsule and you don’t have to do a thing, the coffee machine just knows when you put the capsule in by reading the barcode.
That’s nice and convenient if you are using the Tassimo original pods but not if you are looking for cheaper alternatives.
Because of the cost of adding the barcode, it is more difficult for manufacturers of replacement pods to be competitive so you will struggle to find many cheaper alternatives.
If you haven’t already bought a pod machine and you can’t decide between Nespresso, Dolce Gusto and Tassimo then choosing Nespresso or Dolce Gusto will give you more options in the future for trying replacement unbranded pods.
Nespresso compatible coffee pods
If you are wondering why a single coffee pod with about 9g of ground coffee costs so much then believe it or not a small part of the answer is George Clooney.
The exact amount that Nespresso has paid him over the years to be the “brand ambassador” is unknown but it is certainly tens of millions.
That’s a lot of money and the only way to make that pay is to pass that cost onto you, the consumer.
Maybe you are ok with a little bit of what you pay for every Nespresso original coffee pod going to George Clooney but if not try an alternative to the originals and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Nespresso has lovely branding and if you have ever been into one of their stores, in particular the one in Piccadilly Circus then you will notice that they are very expensively kitted out.
The packaging is also strong and expensive and all this costs money. All of these costs have to be borne by someone. Yep, you got it, that someone is you.
Dolce Gusto compatible coffee pods
If you already own a Dolce Gusto coffee machine then you will remember how cheap it was. That’s their business model. They probably don’t make any money on the coffee machine but they hike up the prices of the coffee pods and lock you in for years during the time you own the machine with the high prices of the pods.
In the same way as Nespresso, you also pay for all the advertising and branding in the price of the pods.
What about the supermarket own-brand coffee pods?
If you choose to try some of the pods recommended above then you are almost certainly buying them straight from the manufacturer which means that you save the most amount of money.
There is nothing wrong with the supermarket coffee pods but they have already sourced them from a supplier and they have to add their profit margin on top before they sell them to you.
Also, things like packaging standards where there is a minimum quality requirement will also push up the price. So if you don’t care what the packaging looks like or particularly what the pod looks like then you can save more money by going direct.
It’s a bit like when you buy car insurance. If you use an insurance broker then they will take a cut from your premium and the rest goes to the underwriter that actually takes on the risk.
If you cut out the middleman (in this case the supermarket) then the savings get passed on to you.
Are compatible coffee pods as good as the original ones?
If you choose wisely then you will be able to save a lot of money and not have to compromise on taste.
The companies that make the replacement pods put good quality coffee into the pods but they do not have the overhead costs that the big brands have and those costs savings can be passed over to you.
If you decide to try one of these recommendations we suspect you will be pleasantly surprised by how good they are.