The Difference Between Coffee Capsules and Coffee Pods

coffee pods and coffee capsules

Coffee pods and coffee capsules – are they the same or different?

This is a simple topic in the coffee world, but it sure is easy to get confused, isn’t it? Especially when the terms are used interchangeably. Well, we’re here to put an end to that confusion and explain exactly what the difference between coffee pods and coffee capsules is.

Coffee pods are round or flat packages made with paper that can fit in multiple machines, but they are fragile and don’t stay fresh long. Coffee capsules are plastic or aluminum containers that are vacuum sealed and more customizable for private label companies.

That’s not all there is to know about how pods and capsules are different. This article will explain the distinct differences between coffee capsules and coffee pods.

Isn’t a Coffee Pod the Same as a Coffee Capsule?

While these items are similar, there are differences between a coffee pod and a coffee capsule. Both options are single-serve and single-use containers for coffee machines like Keurig.

The primary difference is in how each is made, but there are plenty of smaller differences too. However, even these smaller differences can be impactful.

There are also certain differences in the coffee company’s individual choices that change how good a capsule or pod can be, such as whether they make soft pods or hard pods, or what variety of coffee blends they offer.

Here are the differences broken down for you to easily see:

Coffee Pods

  • Coffee pods are round and sometimes flat, like teabags.
  • Coffee pods (AKA coffee pads) are usually made with paper and topped with aluminum foil lids. One example would be Senseo’s products.
  • Coffee pods have their own filter.
  • Coffee pods can often be used with almost all machines that use a portafilter.
  • Usually hold 7g of coffee.

Coffee Capsules

  • Coffee capsules are always oval and taller.
  • Operate with machines that have a disk holder instead of a portafilter.
  • Coffee capsules are either made of soft or hard plastic or aluminum, with a foil top.
  • Coffee capsules are vacuum sealed to maintain freshness and keep out external contaminants, oxygen, and heat.
  • Coffee capsules are generally made to fit one brand, most commonly Nespresso or Keurig.
  • Coffee capsules were made to withstand pressurized coffee machines
  • Usually holds 5-7g of coffee.

Pros and Cons of Coffee Pods

Coffee pods certainly have their pros and cons that are worth mentioning.


  • Coffee pods, being made of mostly paper, are more biodegradable.
  • Coffee pads are usually compatible with multiple machines.
  • There are both soft pods and hard pods.
  • The soft pods are cheaper than capsules.
  • Hard pods are still considered compostable.


  • Coffee pods require a slow drip-like system to brew properly or else their paper packaging disintegrates too quickly or causes the bag to burst.
  • Soft pods are untamped?, making watery coffee tastes
  • Hard pods are exclusively espresso pods.
  • They don’t seal as well.
  • For private labels, coffee pods are limited by their sizes compared to capsules.
  • Coffee pods aren’t stackable

Pros and Cons of Coffee Capsules

So that was coffee pods, but what about capsules? How are they a benefit?


  • Their seals preserve freshness much better and give a more consistent taste.
  • The vacuum seal can even ensure the preservation of sweet notes, acidity, roast strength, and crema (depending on the manufacturer’s coffee).
  • Aluminum capsules are recyclable.
  • Capsules were designed for pressurized coffee machines.
  • Capsules can be made to stack.
  • There is more variety.
  • They are more readily available.
  • They are more customizable for your brand, including how big the capsules should be.
  • They are watertight.
  • They are more hygienic in production


  • Generally, a capsule will only fit one machine.
  • The plastic capsules can’t be recycled and don’t decompose.
  • Plastic capsules are often made with PVC.
  • They are more expensive.

What are the Best Coffee Pods?

If we’re defining the best coffee pod as what is

  • As biodegradable as possible
  • Has a good filter
  • Compatible with the most widely used machine brands
  • Is the least likely to burst

We would say that Beaniac has a strong candidate. Senseo is a trusted brand, and their packaging is really good, but their flat bags don’t fit in as many machines as Beaniac’s pods.

It’s also a little cheaper than Senseo, though they are still pretty expensive. Usually, coffee pods are cheaper than capsules, but in true marketing, the biodegradable packages tend to take advantage of the planet-conscious.

What are the Best Coffee Capsules?

The idea of the best coffee capsules can vary depending on your needs and expectations. Novocapsule is one option to consider, which has several advantages that make them among the best options for consumers and private label businesses alike.

  1. Their durable and stable aluminum material ensures high performance in the machine as well as throughout transport. They also never use an oz of PVC in their design.
  2.  Their Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR) barrier keeps the coffee inside perfectly fresh to ensure bold smells and rich flavor stay intact until it’s in your coffee cup.
  3. Their utility and model (fully patented) are designed to eliminate the need for a filter.
  4. Their design includes precisely measured geometric divots that allow capsule stacking.
  5. Their capsule has a wide welding lid surface to increase production efficiency.
  6. Their capsule minimizes top and bottom leakage.

Dualit is another aluminum capsule-producing company that definitely has some capsules worth looking into. Just be aware they don’t provide capsules for private label companies; they just make their own capsules for their own coffee.


There you have it! We hope this information helps your private label company grow in profit and responsibility. If you’re actually just a coffee enthusiast, at least you now have some fun facts for your friends the next time you see them. Together, we can give the coffee capsule industry a better reputation.


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