Coffee Pods Vs. Coffee Capsules: What’s the Difference?

Many coffee companies are marketing coffee pods and coffee capsules the same. Let’s find out their differences in this coffee pods vs. coffee capsules guide

coffee pods vs. coffee capsules
Coffee Pods vs. Coffee Capsules

There are many ways to brew coffee, with pods, capsules, and many more methods. With coffee makers, you can choose between coffee pods or coffee capsules. But how can you decide if you’re unsure why these are so different in the first place? 

What Are Coffee Pods And Coffee Capsules?

 a cup of coffee with coffee capsules
Coffee capsules are designed to withstand the pressure of a capsule coffee machine

Coffee pods, also known as coffee pads, have a similar appearance to tea bags, except that they are round in shape. They work just like tea bags; they require a slow-pressure, almost drip system to brew.

Since the material used for encasing the ground coffee beans is fragile, attempting to brew this kind of coffee in a high-pressure system is risky, as the bag may burst.

Coffee capsules are strong, since a coffee machine puts pressure on them – which is important for brewing a quality cup of Joe. They require that pressure to properly brew the product contained inside these capsules, made from either aluminum or plastic material.

Coffee pods can be used with any type of coffee machine, as long as the device has a portafilter.

However, it’s not the case for coffee capsules; they are made for use with a specific brand or machine, which means you can’t just use any capsule with any machine.

There are around seven grams of coffee in a coffee pod, which is enough to make one cup of coffee. Whereas, there’s only five grams of coffee in capsules, so they brew a weaker cup.


What Coffee Pods And Coffee Capsules Have In Common

Coffee pods are the same concept as coffee capsules; they are both pre-packaged, measured doses of coffee. In addition, these two products are capable of brewing a quality cup of coffee.

You might also be interested in our coffee pods vs. sachets guide.

Coffee Pods Vs. Coffee Capsules: The Differences

Coffee PodsCoffee Capsules
Coffee pods are paper-based.There are five grams of coffee per capsule.
Must be stored in an extra dry environment.You don’t need to be as strict with storage.
They have a low environmental impact.They’re not as sustainable.
Coffee pods are placed in automatic coffee machines that have filters.Coffee capsules are not placed in automatic filtered coffee machines.
There’s one cup of coffee per pod.They are vacuum-sealed into capsules to brew a cup each.
They can brew with any type of coffee machine.They don’t function with all kinds of coffee machines.
There is seven grams of coffee per pod.There is five grams of coffee per capsule.
They are simple to discard.They are relatively simple to throw away.
They have a higher volume of coffee per brew.They have a lower volume of coffee per brew.

What’s Better About Coffee Pods?

cups of Nespresso pods with coffee beans
Coffee pods are easier to dispose of while serving more per brew

Coffee pods decompose naturally.

They contain more coffee grounds per gram in their packaging and can work with any type of coffee machine. They are easier to dispose of while serving more per brew.

What’s Better About Coffee Capsules?

Coffee capsules do not require extra storage for preservation. They last significantly longer and are more durable than coffee pods. Not that it’s a priority, but coffee capsules are more aesthetically appealing to the eyes.

Who Should Get Coffee Pods (And Why)?

If you are looking for a more eco-friendly option, go for the coffee pods. They can decompose naturally. They can be used as a natural fertilizer for your plants.

Also, since they are only made from paper, they cost less while serving more coffee per brew than capsules.

Read more on Are Coffee Pods Healthy?

Who Should Get Coffee Capsules (And Why)?

If you are looking for the one that will last longer, go for the coffee capsules. Coffee capsules don’t require extra storage for preservation. In addition, they are a lot more durable than coffee pods – not to mention that they are also more aesthetically pleasing.

Related Article: Top 8 Alternatives To Nespresso Coffee Capsules.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.