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GadgetGuy Asks: can Nespresso pods be used and reused with other coffee?

By Leigh D. Stark | 5:03 pm 05/09/2012

We’ll admit it: we love our Nespresso pod machine, but while the coffee variety Nespresso puts out is pretty decent, we’re still sticklers for the lovely cuppa our local can provide across the road. So we wondered, just what would we have to do to throw that coffee into coffee pods?

Anyone who owns a Nespresso system knows that the capsules used for these machines doesn’t resemble real coffee. The small shiny hat-shaped metal pods contain ground coffee, but the system isn’t designed to take in whatever blend you want to throw at it, with Nespresso asking you to buy refills from its stores.

Take a look on eBay, though, and you’ll find sellers spruiking the reusable pod, a little plastic box with a similar shape and a $30 buck price for ten pods that can be reused roughly thirty times each, offering essentially 300 uses. You bring your own coffee, fill them up, and run them through the machine.

It sounds so awesomely easy. What could go wrong?

It’s worth noting that if you plan on trying this, Nespresso probably won’t like you very much.

When you buy the Nespresso coffee machines, you’re buying into the Nespresso pod system, which serves as your only real way to use the machine. You buy coffee pods from Nespresso and you get coffee, and at roughly 60 to 90 cents per cup of coffee, it’s not a hard ask.

We’re quite happy to pay for it, mind you, but we’re curious to see whether we can replicate the same espresso by loading our favourite blends from other coffee houses into the Nespresso system.

Coffee from the official Nespresso pod on the left, and we want to replace it with coffee from a local coffee house on the right.

The warranty information from Nespresso actually acknowledges the third party pods, by stating:

“Any defect resulting from the usage of non genuine Nespresso capsules will not be covered by this warranty.”

Nespresso even states it a second time in the warranty, just in case you don’t get the message.

“Any defect resulting from the use of capsules which are not genuine Nespresso capsules will not be covered by this warranty.”

Over in the safety precautions section, the manual states:

“This machine works with Nespresso capsules available exclusively through the Nespresso Club. Your Nespresso machine’s proper functioning and lifetime are only guaranteed with the usage of Nespresso capsules.”

So Nespresso doesn’t want you using external pods that it didn’t make, and you have all your warnings right up there in the manual, so don’t go claiming you weren’t told, because you obviously were.

Still, we’re curious to see if we can have a different type of blend from our local come out of our Nespresso machine, so we pressed on.

Coffee loaded in the Emohome reusable pods.

To try this, we needed some reusable pods for the Nespresso pod machine, as well as some coffee from our local shop. The lovely people at Toby’s Estate helped us out here, providing a blend in three different sizes, after we opened a Nespresso pod and showed the level of granularity we needed.

Then, it was to the testing ground, with ten open reusable pods, a spoon, and several cups to see how well this would all work out.

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