Can You Use Espresso Capsules in a Keurig? (Yes, if you do this!)

Keurig and Nespresso machines are fundamentally similar. But for espresso-lovers who own a Keurig, it’s not uncommon to wonder can you use espresso capsules in a Keurig?

You cannot directly place a Nespresso capsule in a Keurig as they are different sizes and shapes. You can, however, easily cut open a Nespresso capsule and place the ground coffee in a reusable K-cup. Alternately, you can use Cafe Bustelo espresso K-cups, or other similar brands to simulate espresso in your Keurig.

But let’s dig in a little deeper into how to do that, why a Keurig isn’t capable of making “real” espresso, and the one workaround that will have you brewing espresso in no time!

Not all so-called pod coffee makers are created equal. But how do they work and is one brand better than another?

Click here for my comprehensive guide on all styles of pod coffee makers. I get into the pros and cons of each, whether one is more prone to descaling light issues, and if any of them allow you to use any brand of cup to make your coffee.

Let’s get going!

Are K-cups Nespresso compatible and the other way around?

No is the short answer.

Both Keurig and Nespresso machines are pretty similar when it comes to how they are made and what they do; In goes the coffee pod, out comes the coffee.

Keurigs are designed to brew a single cup of coffee and Nespresso machines are designed to brew a single cup espresso. Both use pressurized hot water shooting through coffee grounds to make a consistently perfect cup of hot caffeinated bliss every time.

So does that make them interchangeable? Can you use a Nespresso pod in your Keurig? Can you use a K-cup in your Nespresso machine?

Well, no.

While the machines are similar, and the outcome is the same, the internal mechanics and the pods are vastly different.

Keurig’s K-cup consists of a plastic cup with an aluminum foil lid and a filter to hold the grounds. Every cup is tightly sealed to ensure optimum freshness. The machine uses a top and lower needle to pierce the pod and pump water through the coffee grounds.

Nespresso pods have aluminum bodies and a perforated top. And the shape of the pod is completely different. They are smaller, more compact, and have a rounded bottom.

If you try to use a Nespresso pod in your Keurig, you’ll destroy the pod. And quite possibly, ruin your machine. A K-cup won’t even fit in your Nespresso machine.

Considering using a Nespresso pod because your coffee tastes bad?

Bad-tasting coffee is a common complaint among some Keurig owners. We love the convenience, but we still want great-tasting coffee!

Luckily, Keurig owners don’t have to live with bad coffee! Check out this recent article. In this article, I talk about why your Keurig coffee tastes bad and what to do about it.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can you use Nespresso pods without a machine?

Yes, you can!

If you haven’t got a Nespresso machine, you can still make coffee using the pod. Each Nespresso pod makes one cup of coffee.

To use a Nespresso pod without a machine, very carefully cut open the pod and dump out the grounds. Then brew it using some other method.

You can even get a reuseable K-cup, and fill it with the Nespresso grounds! More on that below.

But, you can also boil the water and coffee together and then strain the grounds out. A French press is also a great option for a single cup of coffee.

One of the best things about using the pods without the machine is that you won’t have to worry about descaling your machine.

Both Keurig and Nespresso have small parts in them that acquire build-up, or scale, over time. As a result, they both need to be descaled every three months or so.

But what do you do if your descale is not working, particularly in your Keurig? Just read this recent article to find out.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can I empty Nespresso pods into a reusable K-cup?


The nice thing about Nespresso pods is that they don’t have a lot of parts. They don’t have an internal filter as the K-cups do.

So, if you want to use the coffee inside the pod without a Nespresso machine, you can cut it open to get the coffee out.

Simply put the Nespresso pod with the widest part down on a cutting board. Very carefully cut the pod open with a sharp knife and empty the coffee into your reusable K-cup.

If there is not enough coffee in the pod for your liking, you may need to cut open another one. If you’ve used your reusable K-cup previously, you should have a good idea of whether there is enough coffee for a delicious cup of coffee.

Here are my favorite reusable K-cups (click to see my favorite one on Amazon)

Can I use Cafe Bustelo in a Keurig?

Yes is the short answer.

While you can’t really make authentic espresso with a Keurig, you can make Cafe Bustelo. Keurig actually makes a Cafe Bustelo K-cup.

It is described on Amazon as a “bold…Espresso Style blend” that is rich and full-bodied. It gets excellent reviews on Amazon, too. Words like, “underappreciated” with a “deep, delicious flavor” are used in the reviews. It’ll “knock your socks off” and is strong and the “best tasting coffee” that reviewers have tasted in years.

And of course, if you choose not to purchase the Cafe Bustelo K-cups, you can purchase it in the bag. Then, just use your reusable K-cup and brew like normal.

If you have a Keurig and you drink a lot of coffee, you may consider leaving your Keurig on all day.

While it does not pose a fire hazard, it could increase wear and tear on your machine. But there are some circumstances, where it makes sense to leave it on.

Luckily, I break it all down in this recent article. Just click that link to read it on my site.

In the market for a Keurig espresso maker?

Ultimately, if you’re a Keurig lover, that’s the best way to get real espresso from a Keurig device!

The Keurig K-Cafe (click to see it on Amazon) can do lattes & cappuccinos, have a dishwasher-safe milk frother, and yes; it does single coffee shots too. Just use your favorite espresso K-cup.

It’s an Amazon’s Choice product with well over 5,000 reviews, almost all of which are 5 stars!

CLICK HERE to see it on Amazon.

What are the best K-cups for espresso?

If you are determined to try and make espresso with your Keurig, it’s best to use your reusable K-cup. Fill up with twice as much coffee as you normally do, and set the brew setting to the smallest cup.

Alternatively, you can use an extra dark roast. Illy Dark Roast K-cups (click to see it on Amazon) are a good option.

These produce a strong coffee that is not bitter. While it has great reviews, it doesn’t have a ton of them, and it’s a bit pricey. It is, however, Italian. And Italians are known for making excellent espresso. It is sourced from the top 1% of Arabica beans grown worldwide. So you know the quality and taste are going to be superb.

But that isn’t your only option on Amazon for espresso K-cups.

Glorybrew Noble Extra Dark Roast is another great option that produces a nice smooth flavor.

As a bonus, Glorybrew pods are 100% compostable. This makes them much more eco-friendly than traditional K-Cups. They are delicious and much more affordable than Illy Dark Road K-cups.

San Francisco Bay Espresso Roast has more than 20,000 reviews on Amazon and most are 5-star.

It is a full-bodied, medium-dark roast. It is also eco-friendly and compostable. They are reasonably priced, too. Reviewers use words like “above average,” “amazing,” and “best taste” to describe this K-cup.

Given the price, ratings, and reviews, I would say San Francisco Bay Espresso Roast is the best bet for making espresso with your Keurig.

Just click any of those links to see them on Amazon.

One thing that is necessary for a nice flavored espresso is very hot water. Ideally, between 195 degrees and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Final thoughts

While you cannot use Nespresso pods in your Keurig, it’s absolutely possible to make espresso using your Keurig.

You can empty your Nespresso pods into a reusable K-cup and even purchase Cafe Bustelo pods.

If you are not a hard-core espresso enthusiast, you can purchase dark roast K-cups to go in your Keurig. When using the smallest cup setting, you can make a perfectly acceptable cup of espresso.

What is your favorite kind of espresso?

Keurigs do a pretty good job of making hot coffee, but it’s not quite ideal for espresso temperatures.

As a result, you may be tempted to put hot water in the reservoir of your Keurig.

Luckily, I get into that in this recent article. Up to a certain temp won’t really hurt your Keurig, but too hot can actually destroy your machine.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Photos which require attribution:

Starbucks Caffe Verona Coffee Keurig K-Cups by Cheryl Burns is licensed under public domain

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases if you click to Amazon from my site and choose to make a purchase. You can read my complete affiliate disclosure for more details.

Jeff Campbell

Leave a Comment