Keurig cups (or K-cups, as they’re often called) are fairly similar to Nespresso pods (AKA capsules).
So similar, in fact, that the two are commonly mistaken for one another. Oblivious consumers will often purchase pods marked “Nespresso” thinking that they’re interchangeable with K-cups, and vice versa.
Hopefully, they realize their mistake before they actually hit the brew button on the machine (when the cups/pods don’t fit inside correctly—or at all).
But when they don’t realize this… yikes.
Things can get messy.
For two coffee “pods” that are so similar visually, you can certainly forgive people for thinking they must be interchangeable.
But that’s kind of like buying diesel for a gasoline engine because the fuel pumps look the same. (Well, okay—the coffee inside isn’t that different, but you get the point.)
So can you use Nespresso capsules in a Keurig machine?
How about a using a K-cup in a Nespresso maker?
No, and yes.
No is the short answer.
You can’t just put one type of cup/pod inside the other and expect them to work at all, because they’re different shapes and sizes.
Hell, a K-cup won’t even fit inside a Nespresso machine, so that’s a non-starter.
3 Key Differences Between Nespresso pods and Keurig cups:
Let alone the fact that the way the two machines work internally is different.
If you try to use the wrong single-serve cup/pod for your machine, you won’t just waste the coffee—you could waste your machine.
But, as in most things when it comes to brewing coffee, there’s a workaround.
Workaround as in “thing you don’t ideally want to do.” Still, if you’re stuck on a desert island (or your kitchen island) after buying a whole bunch of the wrong type of pods for your machine, there’s a way you can still get your caffeine fix.
You can always tear the lid off a K-cup and pour the coffee inside into a reusable Nespresso pod.
Likewise, you can open up your Nespresso pod and put the contents into a reusable Keurig cup.
By this logic, you could do the same thing to make coffee in a different type of machine/brewer.
Still, I probably won’t be tearing open 8 individual K-cups and dumping the coffee into my pourover brewer any time soon. (Might give it a try with the AeroPress, though! I’ll keep you posted.)
But if you, say, find a stash of Keurig cups on your travels through the wasteland, but you only have supplies to make cowboy coffee over a campfire. You can do it, as the inimitable Rob Schneider once said.
Keep in mind, though, that a Keurig isn’t designed to make espresso. Yes, there are espresso K-cups, and they do make Cafe Bustelo K-cups, and so on. But most would say these are more “espresso style” than true “espresso.”
And yes, you could say the same thing about Nespresso pods I guess, but that’s a different article. We’re here to try to fix your Nespresso pod/K-cup problem.
So your results—and whether it’s feasible to even try this—may vary depending on your situation. But if you’re a Keurig owner who ended up with coffee pods for a Nespresso, it’s worth a “shot.”
Another thing to keep in mind is that since Nespresso capsules are smaller than Keurig cups, they contain less actual coffee inside. So you may end up needing to use more than one capsule to fill your reusable K-cup.
Not ideal, but certainly more ideal than wasting perfectly good caffeine.